German GP 2008
JULY 20, 2008
Sunday Team Quotes
Felipe Massa (3rd): "It was a difficult race. Right from the beginning, Hamilton's pace seemed unbeatable and I understood that it would be very hard to beat him. I never had good grip and, in the final stages, I also had brake problems and was not even able to attack Piquet, whom I congratulate on the first podium of his career. We must try and understand why, this weekend, we have not been a match for our rivals. They have definitely improved, but I think this was more a case of us having taken a step backwards. However, we are still confident: we have the ability to get out of this situation, right from the next race."
Kimi Raikkonen (6th): "This was definitely not the kind of race we had been hoping for. We have struggled all weekend and we have to try and understand why. Usually, our race pace is always good, but today that was not the case, because I almost always suffered with a lack of grip: only in the final stages did the situation improve a little bit, but it was never enough to be competitive. We have a test in Jerez, where we will try and improve the car so as to arrive in Budapest in better shape. This is definitely not a crisis, but we have to study carefully the handling of the car to understand if we have taken the right road in terms of development."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "This was not a good day and there's no point denying it. Our rivals were stronger than us and we have to work out why, without however getting caught up in nebulous and superficial analysis. For the first time this season in a race, we did not have the pace we had expected to run at, with both Kimi and Felipe. We suffered constantly from a lack of grip and, in the final stages, Felipe's brakes were also overheating which complicated still further the management of his car. The Safety Car offered us the opportunity to give it another go and all things considered, I think we made the right choice in terms of strategy, but when your pace is inadequate, it is therefore difficult to get a good result. We have to work well over the coming days to react in the right manner to return to the level we were at just two races ago."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "This weekend, to be honest, we were not competitive enough to fight for the win. Again today, we did not have the speed to go up against our main rivals. When the Safety Car came out, we opted for a double pit stop and I think that was the right decisions. Then in the final stages of the race, Felipe did not have the right grip level and furthermore, he had problems with his brakes which first prevented him from attacking Piquet and then from adequately fighting off a closing Hamilton. We have to carefully study our situation to try and understand how to return to being as quick as we had been up to a short time ago."
Nick Heidfeld (4th): "Coming fourth from 12th on the grid is a great result. Not making it into the top ten in qualifying meant we were free to choose our fuel load afterwards, and so we went for a rather long first stint. That's why I was able to stay out during the safety car period when almost everybody else was refuelling. That was certainly crucial as I was able to pull away as soon as the traffic was behind me. Before that I couldn't show my true speed as I never had a clear lap. The car was good and the fact that I set the fastest race lap proves it. In the end I was very close to Felipe, but still had no chance to overtake him. It was a good home race for me and I'm happy I could give something back to the fans who may have been disappointed by my qualifying performance yesterday."
Robert Kubica (7th): "It is difficult to be happy after a race like this. During the first half of the race I was able to match the pace of McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari. Suddenly my car's pace was miles too slow. My tyres lost lots of grip, and perhaps this was because my tyres cooled down too much. We now have to analyse the data."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "If you start from seventh and 12th on the grid and end up collecting seven points you can be very satisfied. Of course the safety car period influenced the race quite a lot. Due to that Robert lost his strong fourth place, whereas Nick profited from this. Neither of our drivers made any mistakes. On top of that Nick set the fastest lap, which makes me very happy for him. However, there is some work for us to do to get back to the front of the grid."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "This was an exciting and thrilling race for our team! Robert made a good start and was able to move up to fourth in the first corners. He was able to consolidate this position, but in the safety car period his strategy meant we had to bring him in for a pit stop. Nick was on a higher fuel load and, therefore, could stay out. When the Safety Car came in again, Nick drove several very fast laps and was able to make up time on his direct competitors. In addition, the pit crew did a perfect job which enabled him to also overtake Heikki Kovalainen in the pits. Robert was struggling with the heavy car and warming up the prime tyres properly, so as a result was not in a position to set the best possible lap times anymore. We can be pleased we scored seven championship points today under difficult circumstances."
Nelson Piquet (2nd): "I am obviously very happy! After qualifying yesterday I was thinking that my weekend was over, but we opted for an aggressive strategy in the race and the team made some great decisions when the safety car came out. Then I had to concentrate to keep my pace up and look after my tyres as much as possible towards the end of the race. I knew that Lewis was much faster than me, so I did not want to take any pointless risks. This second place today is a great reward for the whole team."
Fernando Alonso (11th): "That was a difficult race for me. I had a bad start and lost several positions. Then I was on the pace but it was difficult to recover. I think that we were simply out of luck today, but we must now look forward and concentrate on the next Grand Prix."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Today we were lucky, but I still believe we made our own luck and our decision to go long with Nelson paid off as the safety car came out at the ideal moment! Nelson's driving after that was impeccable. He was under pressure and did everything we asked of him. I'd like to congratulate him and hope this is the start of a better time for him. While Nelson had some luck today, it totally deserted Fernando. He had a difficult race and none of the breaks went his way, but we know Fernando always gives his best. Today's race will make him even more determined for Hungary."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "Nelson had an amazing race. He proved to be very fast towards the end of the race and was able to remain strong under enormous pressure. He was not able to hold off Hamilton who was much faster, but he was able to defend his second place strongly. I am delighted for him and for the team who really deserve this result."
Nico Rosberg (10th): "Even though it's not great to go home without any points, it was a good race. It was a bit difficult at the beginning as I had a technical problem at the start which cost me a place. From then on I was pretty comfortable, and I was able to push hard when I had free track - the car felt good, but then with the safety car the order was mixed up quite a bit. Regardless, it was great to race here in front of the German fans, and the atmosphere was amazing. We now have a few races ahead of us where I am sure we can do well and our performance will improve."
Kazuki Nakajima (15th): "It was a difficult race for us today with something happening in every stint. First of all I lost a bit of time early on and I was stuck in the traffic for a long time. It would have also helped if the safety car had stayed out a bit longer so I could have made my stop. Then finally, in the last stint, I picked up some debris under the car which was causing bad understeer and I lost a place. Eventually, whatever it was under the car came free and the balance returned but by then it was too late."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was an unrewarding race in terms of the results. With such a tight grid, it is very difficult to make progress once you are back in the pack regardless of strategy and obviously the safety car in the middle of race didn't really help matters, but that's just the way it is. We will now head back to the factory and prepare for the next race in Budapest."
David Coulthard (13th): "It was a poor start. Heidfeld ran wide in Turn one, which pushed me wide and off the circuit, so a lot of people passed me there. I was stuck behind Jenson (Button) for 13 laps or so, he always seemed to have better traction so it was difficult to have a big dive at the end of braking. I got past him, as well as Rosberg before that. Towards the end of the race, Rubens (Barrichello) got better traction off a Turn and moved over, I came back onto my line to take the corner. I guess he thought I wasn't going to do that, which is why he had his car there, but it didn't work out."
Mark Webber (DNF, Engine): "We knew it would be a tight race with the guys that were around us on the grid. I had a good fight with Vettel on the first lap and, as the race unfolded, there wasn't much between the cars. We know the weaknesses of our car here and we'll work on those before the next race. It was my first mechanical retirement this year; we'll have to check what caused it and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "An extremely disappointing race. Both drivers didn't have a fantastic first lap and lost positions. Thereafter, our strategy was looking reasonable. The pace car came at a pretty bad time for us and we had to pit both cars due to Glock's accident. Mark unfortunately collected some debris, which damaged the oil cooler and caused engine oil loss. That resulted in us retiring his car. With David, after problems on the first lap, he was making progress through the field, but was compromised by the pace car and was then was hit by Barrichello, which meant the end of his afternoon."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "A very disappointing race with both cars out of the points and one retirement due to an oil leak. It was a bad day. Congratulations though to Nelson - it was a very good result for him."
Jarno Trulli (9th): "That was a disappointing race for me because we had high hopes of scoring points today. Everything was looking good early in the race but after our second stop, when we switched our strategy because of the safety car, it became really difficult. I was having problems with the balance. I struggled a lot and in the last 10 laps it was really tough. But I was in eighth place and fighting really hard to get a point. I was holding off Vettel but unfortunately I locked up the front and couldn't recover so I lost the position. After that I lost more pace and wasn't able to push as hard as I wanted."
Timo Glock (DNF, Accident):
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "For us the priority is that Timo is okay. At the moment it is too early to determine exactly what the cause of the incident was but of course we are investigating. He was doing a strong race and was looking set for another points finish so it was a real pity. Timo's accident brought out the safety car and that was a key point for Jarno, because he pitted and changed to prime tyres. He was not happy with the balance of the car after that and his pace suffered. Here as well we have to analyse more the reasons for this because, after the outstanding pace we showed earlier in the weekend, this was unexpected. It has been a difficult day but we must look forward and fight to have both cars in the points at the next race."
Sebastian Vettel (8th): "It was a tough race with a lot of fights but it was big fun. The first lap was hard and close. I tried to pass Kimi, but it didn't work out. I took some time to find a rhythm but I had a wonderful car and could run a great pace. I was disappointed when I saw the Safety Car as I was comfortably holding a points position, but we did the best we could in the situation. I fought to the end and although I was quicker than Jarno I could not pass and then he made a mistake, which brought me back to eighth place. Congratulations to everyone in the team. Eighth with no retirements, means we deserved to finish where we did and I am proud of that."
Sebastien Bourdais (12th): "I am happy with this result in terms of the pace I could run, but I was a bit unlucky with the Safety Car incident, as I knew it would involve me queuing in the pits behind Sebastian. I was able to keep up with Heidfeld in the first stint and the lap times were decent. The car worked better on the Option tyre. Overall, I had a strong race and kept pushing, hanging on to take twelfth. So now, I need to repeat this sort of performance and hopefully have some good luck to see it move me further up the order."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Vettel's best race to date. He got a good start passing Webber, running consistent lap times to stay ahead of him. The guys did a fantastic job in the pit stop as it got us ahead of Alonso. He fought very well against Alonso, in an entertaining fight. The Safety Car worked against us, as it meant Piquet got ahead of us, having stopped before it. From then on, Vettel defended his position in a fantastic way and deserved this point in his home race. Bourdais also did a great job. Towards the end, he was closing the gap on Alonso and might even have passed him with a couple more laps. Well done to the whole team for a good day's work."
Jenson Button (17th): "A frustrating race today and it is obviously disappointing to finish in 17th position. We pitted early for my first stop to prevent Rosberg overtaking and I lost a lot of time there to both him and Rubens because we had no performance on the prime tyre after my stop. The traction was really poor and I was losing so much time out of the corners. When the safety car came out, we immediately pitted for tyres to enable us to switch back to the option tyre as soon as possible and unfortunately that meant that although I was a lap down, I was not able to overtake the leader. I'm very disappointed, particularly after a stronger qualifying performance than in recent races, but we'll learn from our mistakes today."
Rubens Barrichello (DNF, Damage): "The race began well today as I gained a couple of positions at the start and our strategy was to run as long as possible. Unfortunately we didn't have the pace to be competitive and we were really struggling with the traction. Our strategy was good but if we had been able to run for just another few laps it would have made my day, just as it did for Piquet Jr. Congratulations to him on his podium. The incident with Coulthard which ended my race was just unlucky. I was trying to force him to take a wider line on the outside through turn nine so that on turn 10 I would be able to come up the inside, but unfortunately he didn't see me on the inside and we touched. The team could see at the stop that there was too much damage to the front bargeboards to continue and that ended my race."
Ross Brawn, Honda Team Principal: "Well unfortunately we weren't very quick today. At Jenson's first stop, when we put on his second set of tyres, we lost all performance, which was unexpected. We lost a lot of grip and started to fall down the field. So when the safety car came out following Glock's accident, we took the opportunity to change the tyres back to the options. We didn't struggle quite so badly with Rubens' car but he needed to push through the field because he had one more pitstop due. Unfortunately he collided with Coulthard and the resulting damage ended his race. So a disappointing outcome this weekend. We have a four-day test in Jerez next week when we will be evaluating our new rear suspension, which we are optimistic about. We also have the latest update to our aero package, so I think those two elements combined should enable us to make a step forward in Hungary."
Giancarlo Fisichella (14th): "In the first part of the race I was not comfortable with the car as I was struggling with the grip and it was understeering and oversteering with some wheelspin, but then at the end of the run it was getting better. On the soft tyre it was a step forward. The team made a good move for me with the strategy under the safety car and I could make up some places after I pitted and the others went in. I could have finished perhaps one place higher up, but unfortunately I locked up through turn eight and lost a position, but all the same it's nice to get a finish and to be racing again."
Adrian Sutil (16th): "I'm a bit disappointed as I think we had a good race pace but didn't ultimately get anything out of it. We lost some time on the first pit stop and then with the safety car we couldn't pit at the right moment and then couldn't catch up again so I lost 10 seconds or so. In my last stint something didn't feel right in my car, so we will have to investigate what happened, so it was not the best race, but at least we finished it."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "It was a tough race to call this time out as the safety car period came at a critical moment. For Giancarlo, it worked to his advantage, but unfortunately for Adrian it dropped him down the order. This is - as we always say - racing and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. What I am however clearly very pleased about is that we were racing other cars and staying with them, plus our reliability was very good. This clearly bodes well for the future, and if we succeed in testing and then introducing our new gearbox then we could finish in front of some people on merit."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "After a disappointing qualifying yesterday, once again we had a better race pace and performance. Obviously the strategy was dominated by the safety car and we were able to use it to gain some places. Adrian in the first part of the race had a better pace, but unfortunately the way the safety car period panned out meant he dropped behind Giancarlo but, even so, his pace was excellent throughout and he deserved more. Giancarlo struggled more with the balance but did it well to bring it home, but overall we did the best we could do with our car here today. Unfortunately Giancarlo was handed a 25 second penalty for We now we have to move on and look forward to the test next week where we will use the seamless shift gearbox and can look forward to another step in the races to come."
Lewis Hamilton (1st): "I nailed it this afternoon: when the team told me I had to build a 23-second gap in just seven laps, I knew I had to drive over the limit - and I did. But I knew we had the best car this weekend and felt comfortable pushing hard to make up the gap. In the final stint, I had to work for today's win - when the Safety Car came out, I questioned whether I should pit but I trusted the team to make the best decision on strategy. It didn't quite work out - but I knew we had the pace in the car to keep pushing and want to say a big thank-you to Heikki, who realised I was quicker. I was able to slipstream past Felipe and then thought my work was done; then I had to do it all again to get past Nelson. But I made a couple of textbook moves to get past them both. Everybody in this team has worked so hard to make this victory happen. We mustn't grow complacent but must feel assured that our efforts are being rewarded. We couldn't have asked for more today."
Heikki Kovalainen (5th): "A very difficult race for me. I had a good start and almost managed to pass Felipe but, unfortunately, my speed was not good enough, and I couldn't make the tyres work to their best. The Safety Car period didn't help me either, and I lost positions during my pitstop. Then I lost time behind Kubica. However, I managed to overtake him again two laps later and, from then on, it was a rather uneventful race. Fifth position was not what I had hoped to achieve here, but I am now looking forward to the Hungarian Grand Prix, where I will try my hardest to fight for a podium finish."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Today's victory topped-off another magnificent weekend for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. I stress the word 'team' because our win was very much a team effort. The deployment of the Safety Car presented us with a difficult decision: should we or should we not bring Lewis in for a pitstop? We decided that, since he still had quite a lot of fuel on board, we would leave him out until lap 50. We'd expected the track to be cleared of debris a little faster than it was, which would have allowed the Safety Car to come in a bit earlier. As a result, Lewis was unable to rejoin the race in the lead. He responded majestically, however, and scored another fabulous win. Heikki was troubled by oversteer in his first stint, which we attempted to correct at his first pit stop, but he still struggled a little in his next stint. That being the case, he wasn't able to match Lewis's pace today. But it's the mark of both his professionalism and his sportsmanship that, aware of his situation relative to Lewis's, he made it relatively straightforward for Lewis to pass him. As I've said before, Heikki's time will come. In difficult circumstances he raced tremendously well today - his overtaking manoeuvre on Robert Kubica was just sensational - and once again he showed a winner's grit and determination. It's a joy to have two drivers who are not only super-competitive but also super-cooperative."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A sensational victory for Lewis with some great overtaking - he was in a class of his own in the team's second consecutive home Grand Prix. His speed was better than I had ever dreamed of. After we let him continue during the Safety Car period we saw two of the most exciting overtaking manoeuvres of the championship. I am really happy about this convincing win - thank-you Lewis. I also want to thank everybody in the team for doing a great job; not only in the garage but also to everybody on the marketing, press and organisational side. Finally, I want to thank all our friends and guests who enjoyed a fantastic day at the Mercedes grandstand where they all saw a lot of action and enjoyed the great atmosphere."