Chinese GP 2008
OCTOBER 19, 2008
Sunday Team Quotes
Felipe Massa (2nd): "This is a great result for the team, less so for me. Today's race was a difficult one: we were not quick enough to fight against Hamilton. Losing two points does not mean that I have lost hope. I will continue to fight right to the very end and I can't wait to race in Interlagos in front of my home crowd: I will try my luck there - it will be the first time for a Brazilian - which will be a further incentive. There was no specific element that wasn't working on my car. It's just that today it was impossible for me to win. I feel a bit as though I'm in a penalty shoot-out in the football World Cup finals: we have missed the first two shots, while the other team has scored and therefore we cannot make any more mistakes and hope that they make three. It will be very difficult, but not impossible as we saw last year. The team is united and has faith: that is very important and nice too."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "Today I had a good car, but it was not quick enough to beat our main competitor. At the start and after every tyre change, Hamilton managed to pull away, while when it got near to the pit stops I was able to go a bit quicker, but it was always too late. On top of that, three times, I came up behind backmarkers who cost me valuable time. We secured a very good result for the Constructors' classification. Now we go to Brazil where we must try and get a one-two finish and then we can see where we stand in both Championships. Felipe passing me? I am part of a team and I am well aware what they expect of me. I am out of the title fight and have to do the maximum because Ferrari can achieve both its objectives. It's a simple as that."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Today, we did the best we could at the end of a weekend when our main rival proved to be superior to us in terms of performance, both over a single lap and in terms of race pace. These fourteen points are very important for the Constructors' championship, in which we have increased our lead. Felipe has lost a bit of ground but now has nothing to lose, and he will give it his best shot in his home race, where he can count on the warm support of his fans. We will try and give our drivers a car with more performance than we had today. To do that, we need to analyse what did not work on this track, also taking into account that things can change very quickly: at Fuji and in Singapore we were better than our competitors in terms of performance, while here it was the opposite. Felipe passing Kimi? Our drivers are well aware what is in the best interests of the team and they acted accordingly. Indeed, events like this have already happened this season in other teams, which is a normal state of affairs in a sport like Formula 1."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Our opponents were better than us today which we must do something about. We suffered from a chronic lack of traction, on both types of tyre. We worked on the car all weekend to try and improve the situation, but evidently our efforts were not enough to fight at the highest level. Therefore, second and third places represent the maximum we could do in these conditions, although it does allow us to make a step forward towards the Constructors' title, which is very important for us. Now we must concentrate on analyzing our performance at this track and on preparing for the Brazilian Grand Prix, where we will do our utmost to pick up maximum points, as in fact we do at every race."
Nick Heidfeld (5th): "I'm quite happy with today's race. At the start I gained positions and in corner two I overtook Sebastian Vettel on the outside. He touched the rear of my car, but he has already told me it wasn't on purpose and, anyway, nothing happened. So after a few corners I was sixth again - just where I thought I would start from after qualifying. Later in the race I reduced the engine revs to save it for Brazil. It is a fact we now don't have any hopes of claiming the constructors' title, and neither can Robert win the drivers' championship. But we shouldn't be too disappointed, the team has had a fantastic third season, and Robert especially had a very good year. It's not over yet."
Robert Kubica (6th): "After a very difficult qualifying I'm pleased with sixth. I made up a position at the start and then another two when Jarno Trulli and Sebastien Bourdais touched in the first corner. The balance of the car was still not good in the first two stints, and it only changed in the final stint after we changed to the softer compound. There is now one race left, and I shall try hard to defend my third place in the drivers' championship."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Coming fifth and sixth is a good outcome after yesterday's disappointing qualifying. Both drivers put in the ground work for this result at the start, and after that drove fine races without any mistakes. The strategy was good, all pit stops worked out perfectly, and we had no technical problems."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "If you start from ninth and 11th on the grid and finish the race fifth and sixth you do have to be satisfied. The drivers gained three positions each right at the start. Robert, in particular, reacted perfectly when a car spun right in front of him. During the race both drivers were doing well with the strategy. Thank you to the whole team for the good work, especially during all the pit stops."
Fernando Alonso (4th): "Fourth place is the best result that we could have hoped for today and so I am therefore extremely satisfied with my race. We had good pace, close to the Ferrari, which is another reason to be pleased. We have now won the battle for fourth place in the constructors' championship, which was our objective, and so we can approach the Brazilian Grand Prix with confidence and aim to make the most of this final race of the year."
Nelson Piquet (8th): "It was a difficult race but I am happy with my performance. Of course I would have liked to have made more progress through the field, but the end result is satisfying and I have scored an important point, which has helped the team finally confirm its fourth place in the constructors' championship."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Another strong race for us today. Points scored by our both drivers have now secured our fourth position in the championship, which was the target we set ourselves in the middle of the season."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "It's was a good race for us today. We were able to show our true level of performance and that we are stronger than BMW and very close to Ferrari. Our result means we have secured fourth place in the constructors' championship and confirmed our recent progress."
Kazuki Nakajima (12th): "I think it was a good race for me considering where I started. Initially it was very hard work managing the car on a heavy fuel load. I lost position off the line, but during the first stint I managed to develop a good race pace. The other significant part of the race for me was the last period when I had to work hard to keep quite a few cars behind me and defend my position, and I was pleased that I succeeded in this."
Nico Rosberg (15th): "My race was not good today, but it wasn't for lack of trying. We ran a different strategy to Kazuki just to see if we could generate some advantage, but it didn't pay off and it wasn't a lot of fun driving at the back. It didn't really represent our capability as our pace was okay and we were the tenth fastest car. I made a few passes but it was quite difficult to overtake as our top gear was too short. From here we can look forward to Brazil which should be a bit better for us, and then after this season working with the team on a positive winter in order to move us forward for next year."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "It was not a strong result today, but I thought Kazuki did a good job defending his position. As we qualified poorly, we had to do something a bit adventurous with our strategy, so we split our options on the cars, but unfortunately the two stop route we took with Nico didn't work. Having not attended a race for some time, I must say I am very impressed with the professionalism of the race team. The car is reliable, but the problem remains that on this type of circuit it is just not quick enough."
David Coulthard (10th): "I had a reasonable start and thereafter was trying to manage tyre degeneration on the option and the prime. I tried to keep out of racing too much with the two stoppers so I wouldn't lose time, but ultimately I don't think there was much more I could have done from our grid position than tenth."
Mark Webber (14th): "It was going reasonably well until I got up to Nakajima, but it's so difficult to follow cars through the quick sections here. I tried my best, the strategy was always going to be difficult with a ten place penalty, but the guys from Red Bull did a good job. It's a shame for Renault, as that was the first engine failure for us."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Unfortunately yesterday's grid penalty was always going to be a massive handicap in the race today. Mark drove a good first stint, passing several cars, he made progress in the second stint until he got stuck behind Nakajima, which killed his chance of progress. With one further stop before the end of the race, 14th was as much as he could achieve today. David drove a good race on a one-stop strategy, but unfortunately we just weren't quick enough. He got close to Vettel at his last stop, but tenth was all that was possible."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "A very tough day. Mark had a great race, but with the penalty he received, he was too far back for it to make any impression. He had a very good first stint and overtook several cars, but we had to make a pit-stop quite early. He then got stuck behind Nakajima and it wasn't possible to overtake. For David, it was a difficult race on a one stop strategy - but he drove well. The same engines will do Brazil, so they have still a long way to go."
Timo Glock (7th): "That was the most that we could have got out of today so we should be satisfied. We struggled a bit to warm up the tyres at the beginning but from then on the car felt good and we had very good pace. At the end of the first stint I had a light car but I couldn't make the most of it because I was stuck behind Nick Heidfeld when he came out of his first stop. So we lost some time there and maybe lost a place to Robert Kubica but we were quick again at the end. The strategy worked well so thanks to all the guys."
Jarno Trulli (DNF, Damage): "Away from the line I was side-by-side with Sebastian Vettel but I had to give up on him because he had the inside line. Then Sebastien Bourdais suddenly hit the right side of my car at the rear and damaged it. It is frustrating because he did this once before this year at Spa, where he also ruined my race at the first corner. Today I couldn't carry on which is a pity because we had a very good chance of more points. Still, there is one more race to go and we will push to the end to try and finish the season on a high in Brazil."
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "Today got off to the worst of starts when Jarno was put out of the race by another car. His motivation was very high today and he could certainly have made the top six. But instead he suffered damage to the whole of the right side of his car, including the bodywork and aerodynamic parts so it was undriveable. Timo did a great job, especially considering how practice and qualifying had gone for him. He drove well and the one-stop strategy was the right one. So now both drivers should now be very focused on the last race in Brazil. Of course we will never give up and try to come away with the best possible result."
Sebastian Vettel (9th): "I had a reasonably good start, but then I was surprised by Nick (Heidfeld) going down the outside and he passed a few cars. After that I had to defend my position against Robert (Kubica) on the opening lap. Then, I had quite a clean first stint. But in the first pit stop we had a problem with the front left wheel which wouldn't come off. I think that cost me a position in the points. P9 is not bad but it's the most frustrating place, just outside the points. Now we are all looking forward to Brazil."
Sebastien Bourdais (13th): "I'm not sure what happened with Trulli at the first corner. I guess he didn't see me. I was halfway alongside him and he turned in. I was right under Sebastian's rear wing and of course we are all very close in the first corner. We touched, he spun and I went really wide, dropped to the back and that was my race spoilt. It was a shame because after that, every time I was in clean air I had a good pace and passed around half a dozen cars. Finishing 13th, having been last is not a bad result, but it's disappointing, given we started eighth with a car good enough to score points today."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "If you start from sixth and eighth and don't score points then something must have gone wrong. Bourdais' race was lost at the first corner after a collision with Trulli, but after that some competitive lap times showed the car performance was good. Vettel's race was badly affected by graining in the early stages of his second stint, which cost him time and we also lost around 3.5 seconds in his pit stop. These factors kept us out of the points. Fortunately, our closest competitors in the Constructors' classification (Red Bull Renault) are still behind us, so now we hope to finish the season in fine style in Brazil in two weeks time."
Rubens Barrichello (11th): "It was a better race today than some of our recent races but it is disappointing not to have been able to get into the points. I had a great start and first lap where I overtook three cars to move up to 10th and went flat out for the whole race to try and make up some ground on the people ahead. However our finishing position in 11th is reflective of what the car is capable of and we have to be pleased with making the best out of the package that we have available whilst still being disappointed not to score any points."
Jenson Button (16th): "The race today was more exciting than the last couple of races have been at least and I had some fun overtaking Sutil and Nakajima into the hairpin at the start. From then I really struggled with the car and from being stuck behind Coulthard for much of the race. After my final pitstop I had a clear stint on the option tyre and the car balance felt reasonable, but I had very poor traction and corner apex understeer. So overall a frustrating race as I wasn't able to find out my true pace on the prime tyre in clean air."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "We opted for a reasonably aggressive strategy with both cars on two stops, as we had seen through the weekend that the tyres would struggle on heavy fuel. Rubens had a very good start and his pace was good throughout the race. It would have been nice to pick up a point or two but nonetheless we are very pleased that we beat several cars that have been faster than us of late and on merit alone. Jenson's race was compromised in the early stages when he was held up behind a one-stopping David Coulthard but this was always the risk of an aggressive strategy from the back. Even without any developments on the car we have had quite a good weekend here. The team and cars worked well. We have nothing new for Brazil but by working well, as we did here in China, we will be aiming to make the most of every opportunity to pick up one final point before the season draws to a close. Interlagos is a challenging track and it is destined to be an exciting race there, so who knows?"
Giancarlo Fisichella (17th): "We knew our pace was not really good enough today so we just tried to find a different solution to gain places. We went for a one stop strategy but I was really struggling with the grip to start with. In the last 10 laps before the end of the race I was able to do reasonable lap times, but it was a fairly lonely race for me at that point. Anyway, we now go onto Brazil and the last race."
Adrian Sutil (DNF, Gearbox): "Very early on in the race my car developed a problem. I couldn't select gears anymore and had to pull off just before the main straight and park the car. Until that point I was quite happy in the car, even though the traction and grip was very low so it's disappointing not to finish yet again. I really hope for more in Brazil now."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "It has been a challenging weekend for the team and to get one finish is at least some small consolation. Giancarlo did everything expected of him, keeping out of trouble and bringing the car home. While 17th position is not something we can get excited about, it is a finish and in an extremely reliable field we need everything we can. Adrian was again unfortunate to be struck by a problem early on. It is a shame but we have to learn from this and move on. I am sure he and the team will be expecting more in Brazil."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "It was disappointing not to get two cars to the finish today, but Giancarlo did a good job to get the car home in what's been a difficult event for us. Adrian was on a two stop strategy but unfortunately had a failure, which we believe was an electronic matter related to the gearbox. Giancarlo was on a one stop strategy and while the first stint on the harder tyre was OK, with the lapping in the second stint he couldn't really improve his position. We'll now move onto the final race and hope to be more competitive there."
Lewis Hamilton (1st): "Everything just went right this weekend: our car has been simply phenomenal, I made one of my best-ever starts and had perfect balance during the race. I owe so much of that to the guys in the team - both at the track and back home; they did an amazing job so a big thanks to them. I've got a seven-point lead in the world championship, but that doesn't allow me to take anything for granted. It might be another step towards my dream but we've still got to stay calm and keep our heads. I just hope we can pull through."
Heikki Kovalainen (DNF, Hydraulics): "I made a good start, got past Fernando and almost got alongside Felipe. Fernando managed to re-pass me before Turn 14 and I settled down in fifth. I had a lot of understeer during my first stint and tried to improve things during the first stop by raising the front wing angle. Later, I was still running in the points when I had a puncture early on in the lap - it cost me a lot of time driving slowly back to the pits and I knew it would be an uphill struggle for the rest of the race. In the closing stages, I had a problem with the pneumatic system so the team called me in as a precautionary measure. We still have a chance to win the constructors' championship in Brazil, so I'll definitely be going for it in Sao Paulo."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "No-one will be surprised to hear me describe today's Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team performance as a tremendous one, because that's exactly what it was. In difficult circumstances we never allowed our focus to waver, and we paced ourselves carefully throughout. Lewis did a truly fabulous job, as did our entire team. Our race strategy was extremely solid too, but the key message from China that we take forward to Brazil is that we qualified extremely well despite the fact that our cars were fuelled longer than those of our principal opposition, which clearly demonstrates the inherent pace of our car. Heikki's first stint was compromised by the fitting of a set of mismatched tyres, which caused his car to understeer. After his first stop, a punctured tyre then forced an unscheduled pitstop before an air pressure problem with his engine caused us to retire him in order to avoid risking an engine failure."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Great - a more convincing win is hardly possible. What an excellent victory for Lewis and the team, and what a well deserved one. Pole, win and fastest lap, Lewis demonstrated his skills and was clearly the man of the race and the whole weekend. He made a perfect start and controlled the field, never putting a foot wrong and the team executed a perfect strategy. I am sorry for Heikki, he first had a puncture, which cost him a lap, and later we had to call him in as a precautionary measure as the air consumption in his engine was too high. We are now looking forward to an exciting finale in Brazil and everybody in the team is working hard to score enough points to win the world championship."