Malaysian GP 2008
MARCH 23, 2008
Sunday Team Quotes
Kimi Raikkonen (1st): "I am very happy with this win, for me and for the team. It's a shame that Felipe was unable to let us bring home a result that was within our grasp. At the start I came alongside Felipe, but I did not take any risks, knowing I was stopping one lap later than him at the end of the first stint. When that time came, I pushed to the maximum and I managed to come out of my pit stop ahead of him. From then on, with a clear track ahead of me, the car was perfect I was able to control the situation without having to stress the car or the tyres. We are struggling a little bit in qualifying, but in the race we have a very high potential. We have had a very complicated start to the season, but I have certainly not lost faith in the team: we can still do better."
Felipe Massa (DNF, Spin): "On lap 31, I clipped the kerb at the exit to Turn 6 and hit it quite hard and then I lost the rear end going into the next corner. We have to check to see if the impact with the kerb damaged the car. It's a real shame because we could have brought home a one-two finish. Obviously this has been a very difficult start to the season for me, but there is still a very long way to go. We have great potential, as was seen today and so I am still confident. Naturally I hope to make up for this soon, starting with the next race in Bahrain."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "This has been a bittersweet Easter day. We are very happy with Kimi's victory, but equally disappointed with Felipe's retirement as it robbed us of a possible one-two. This weekend, we have shown what the team can do after our very bad weekend in Melbourne. So, we were not cart horses in Australia and we did not become phenomenons today. We know we still have much to do to improve in terms of performance and, above all, reliability. The team carried out its tasks well, showing in style that it knows how to react. Congratulations to Kimi, who drove a superb race and thanks to our commercial and technical partners, first and foremost, Philip Morris and Shell."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Today we showed we had a clear advantage over the opposition, but obviously there a slightly bitter feeling that we did not manage to bring home maximum points today. It's a real shame, because we could have made up for the bad start in Melbourne in fine style, but there's no point in crying over spilt milk. Incidents such as the one that befell Felipe are part of racing. We now have to prepare as well as possible for the next round in Bahrain: our rivals will not be twiddling their thumbs and we have to improve, especially in terms of overall reliability."
Luca di Montezemolo: "I expected a reaction like this, because I know how strong and competitive our car and also our team is. I am especially happy for Stefano Domenicali, as it was his first win as Team Principal of the Scuderia Ferrari, but also for Kimi Raikkonen, who drove a perfect race. This is the best Easter present we could give to our fans."
Robert Kubica (2nd): "It's a fantastic day for the team, for Petronas and for me - the second consecutive podium. After Monza 2006 I finally managed to get another podium myself. I want to thank everybody in the team who worked very hard over the last two months to improve the car. I didn't have a good start because of too much wheel spin, and was fighting with Nick and Jarno Trulli. I took the dirty inside line and almost lost the car, but somehow I managed to get through the corner and overtake them. From this moment on I drove at my own pace. The Ferraris were too quick, but I was able to increase the gap from the cars following me. After the second pit stop I reduced the revs to save the engine and took it easy. I didn't feel very well all weekend and it was very hot in the car, so the last ten laps were pretty tough. But it all paid off with a brilliant result."
Nick Heidfeld (6th): "I have mixed emotions about today's race. Of course I'm happy to have clocked up my first fastest race lap in F1, and 11 points are also the best ever result for our team. The pace of the car was really, really good - about the same level as the McLaren. That's all very positive and makes it even more disappointing that I only finished sixth. My start was very good and then I tried to overtake right on the outside in the first corner. Robert was on the inside, and Jarno Trulli was between us - I just ran out of room. It was a try, but it didn't work out. I picked up some dirt and lost two more positions on the first lap. At least I got them back when I overtook David Coulthard and Fernando Alonso on lap four. Again our pit crew did a very good job."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This was another good performance for our team. Robert was able to establish himself behind the Ferrari right after the start. He drove a very strong race and claimed not only his second podium, but also his best result in F1. Nick had no luck in the first corner and lost some positions. I regard it as a success that he still managed to finish sixth and also clocked up the fastest race lap. Of course we are very pleased with the early days of the season - two podiums in two races, 19 nice points to our account and 11 points in one go is a new record for us. That's all very positive and a good basis for the next races."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "The second second place in a row, fastest race lap, thanks to Nick, and eleven points - we are very pleased how this season has started for us. It was another fantastic race for us. Only the Ferrari was faster than Robert today, and I am especially happy for him that all went so well after he had a lot of bad luck in Australia. While Robert was able to gain a place at the start, Nick unfortunately lost a few. Later he managed to come back and executed a very fine overtaking manoeuvre by catching two cars at once. We had no technical problems on either car, the performance was again very strong. Now highly motivated we fly back to Hinwil and Munich and look forward to the coming races."
Fernando Alonso (8th): "I did the best that I could today and I scored the final point. We were able see that in normal race conditions we are a little far away in terms of performance. Our goal for the moment is to try and score points at each race and to work hard in the next tests so that we can perform better."
Nelson Piquet (11th): "I am happy to have finished the race as this was my first objective after the race in Melbourne. I have learned a lot today and I recognise that the group we are fighting with is very competitive and that you have to drive the perfect race, but I finished close to my team-mate and that is encouraging for me. The race was difficult and the car is still not competitive enough, but I am making progress and I hope to continue that at the next race in Bahrain."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "A relatively straightforward race, which gives us a much clearer picture of where we all stand. There is not much to report with either car as both drivers had uneventful races and there were not many strategic opportunities. It is clear we need to work hard on the car and improve it, as there is a big gap to the front."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "Unfortunately we did not make the most of the strong grid position with Fernando and this left us down the field, in spite of both Fernando and Nelson doing their best. The only point we bring home is no consolation and now we have to work hard to pinpoint our problems so that we can come back stronger in two weeks time in Bahrain."
Nico Rosberg (14th): "I knew that starting from 16th I would have to take some risks to make the race worthwhile and in fact it went well off the line considering I was carrying a lot of fuel. But then I came together with Timo Glock. When he left a gap, I went for it and I got alongside him. I guess he didn't see me as he turned in and I couldn't back out, which was unfortunate. The car was better today in the race but despite trying everything I tried, it really wasn't our weekend. Now I am just looking forward to Bahrain where things should go better."
Kazuki Nakajima (17th): "From the back of the grid, we decided upon quite an aggressive strategy and I made up quite a few places from the start, but it was difficult to open up a comfortable gap. On the second stint, I had a puncture and had to stop very early, which was not ideal as I had to run two short stints and a long final one. I was struggling a little in the last stint and in a high speed corner I spun off, so after that I just wanted to concentrate on making it home to get two races on the engine."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "This was a race weekend to move on from. After a poor qualifying, we tried two different strategies on the cars, Nico on a one stop and Kazuki on a two stop. The plan didn't work out because Nico lost his front wing on the first lap and Kazuki had a puncture. We later had a problem with the fuel system on Nico's car, meaning we had to pit earlier than planned and run some extra fuel. Kazuki made good progress during the first stint and it looked like the strategy was working, but then he had a puncture in the second stint, so we had to pit him earlier than scheduled too. Kazuki then went off the road and flat spotted the tyres. We need to learn from all the mistakes we made this weekend, look forward to Bahrain and have a good recovery."
Mark Webber (7th): "The start wasn't fantastic, but we knew a lot of people would be on soft tyres at that point of the race. I got a really good run through Turns one and two and came out in fourth position. The first stint went okay, but I struggled a bit during the second stint with poor grip, although we kept trying to chip away at the times. I also got stuck behind Sato at a crucial point in the race and lost around two seconds, when we should have stayed in front of Heidfeld. I'm pleased for everyone at Red Bull to get two points, it's been a tough start to the year for us and it's great to get the car to the finish today. A big thanks to Renault too."
David Coulthard (9th): "There was too much graining on my first set of tyres, so I lost nine seconds in the first part of the race, which was frustrating. It was very hot out there, but thankfully it was also a little bit overcast, so that improved things."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Mark drove a good race. He had the handicap of an air pump issue from very early on, which meant we had to build in quite a large safety margin, fuel wise. This required him to stop earlier than scheduled in order to compensate, which over the course of the race probably cost us between 12 and 15 seconds. Unfortunately Sato didn't move out of the way at a critical point when we were racing with Heidfeld, otherwise I'm sure we would have stayed ahead over the final stop. David put in a very gritty drive, especially after not feeling one hundred percent this morning, and was very competitive in the second half of the race. It's good to go away from here with some points on the board."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "For the team it's a good result. We had one finish in the points, and one finish very close to the points. It wasn't a trouble-free race, but we managed it well as a team and it's great to get two points, which we will now look to build on at the next race."
Jarno Trulli (4th): "It's nice to be back in the points after such a strong race. I'm especially happy for the team both here and in Cologne. This result is mainly down to their work over the winter and I dedicate it to them. I had a difficult first corner when I lost grip, ran wide and touched Nick Heidfeld, losing a bit of ground. But after that I was able to keep up with the McLarens. Then we made it past Mark Webber as the team did a good job at the pit stops. At the end it was a great fight with Lewis Hamilton and we were pushing each other hard. He was obviously slightly quicker than me but I gave 100 percent and thanks to the team's good job and the trouble-free weekend we took fourth. I just hope we can carry on improving the performance of the car, because as I mentioned at the end of winter testing we are looking strong. With Toyota's potential we can bounce back to the 2005 level already this year."
Timo Glock (DNF, Damage): "Unfortunately that was a short afternoon's work. The start wasn't perfect, we had a bit too much wheelspin and I made contact with someone but I could continue okay. Then at turn 14 I was hit from behind by Nico Rosberg. When I looked in the mirror he was further back so I didn't expect him to try to overtake where he did. Then when I turned in he hit me on the rear right, breaking my rear suspension and putting me out of the race. Again we had qualified well so this is a pity. Now we will just have to hope for better fortunes in Bahrain."
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "This completely makes up for the disappointment of Australia. Everyone at the team is so happy with this result after such a good race. The last stint fight with Hamilton was exactly the kind of battle that I like so I really want to thank Jarno for an excellent performance. He lost ground when he was sandwiched into the first corner but then he was quick throughout and the fuel strategy and pit stops were perfect. Unfortunately Timo's car was hit on the first lap, breaking an element of his rear suspension, but that's racing. Next time he will make it to a better position as well. Now we head to Bahrain looking to keep up this momentum. We will try to get both cars into Q3 and then aim to fight with the top teams again."
Sebastian Vettel (DNF, Hydraulics): "I started to have difficulty shifting gear and with the power steering. And then the back end caught fire as I pulled over to stop, which can sometimes happen when everything is overheating. Up to that point I was having a reasonable race. In the first stint, I had too much understeer and some graining on the tyres. The second stint was much better."
Sebastien Bourdais (DNF, Spin): "I made a good start, but then I found myself stuck between two gears. Then I got as far as Turn 4 where I was being passed on the right and then in Turn 5 I found myself on the inside with someone alongside me and by Turn 6 I was back on the outside and when I tried to turn to the right, I ended up on the dirty side and the car snapped away from me and I spun into the gravel. And so my race was over."
Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "Not a great weekend for us and even practice did not go the way we would have liked. Then, on the opening lap we lost Bourdais. On his first set, Vettel had too much understeer, but still showed a reasonable pace until he stopped with a problem we have yet to investigate. On the positive side, the two Red Bull Racing cars finished and obviously we will get the benefit of this later in the season."
Jenson Button (10th): "It was good to finish the full race distance today and we will get a lot of very useful information from this weekend. I'm pretty satisfied with 10th place as that is where the performance of the car is right now. With the majority of cars ahead of us also finishing, it is a good reflection of our overall position. We're going in the right direction and learning more about the car all the time, so we need to keep up the hard work and continue to develop ahead of the next race in two weeks' time."
Rubens Barrichello (13th): "Unfortunately my weekend was compromised when we lost the free practice running on Saturday morning, as I lacked balance in the car for the race today. I had a lot of understeer and was battling with that throughout the race. The drive-through penalty after my second stop was unfortunate, even though I only lost one place, as the markings in the pitlane to indicate where the speed limit ends were not clear enough. We have learnt a great deal from the past two weeks and I have been very encouraged by our reliability. We still have a lot of work to do on the performance but that will come through our development programme over the coming weeks in preparation for Europe. We are quite competitive within the very tight midfield group and it is encouraging to see that both cars made it through a very tough race today. We will learn from our experiences, both positive and negative, and I am confident that we will continue to improve over the next few races."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "This weekend was more straightforward for the whole field compared with Melbourne and we saw fewer drivers making mistakes. Sepang is also a more representative circuit in terms of car performance, as Melbourne can produce unusual results. Therefore to see Jenson finish the race in 10th place with Rubens just behind, in spite of his problems in the third free practice session, is very encouraging and a real indication of the car's pace. There is still a great deal of work to do but we are really starting to make improvements one step at a time. Our next development step will be introduced for Barcelona where we will see another aero update and we also plan to have some new suspension components. Of course every team will have updates but we feel the rate of our own progress is significant and we are hopeful that it will see us take a step up the grid for the start of the European season."
Anthony Davidson (15th): "It was a good race for the team, and me, today. It was great to do my first full distance race since Brazil and I think it went well. The boys did an excellent job and the car ran reliably all the way through the race. There were no problems what so ever and the tyres worked well. I felt comfortable in the car and I could push whenever I wanted to improve the lap time. I just stayed out of trouble and brought the car home in a very respectable position for the situation that we are in at the moment."
Takuma Sato (16th): "It was good to finish the race. The first and second stints were good, but then in the second stint, unfortunately, I picked up marbles through the high speed section, ran wide and lost a lot of time there. On almost every lap we had traffic, especially during the last stint, so it was a pity that I couldn't pick up the pace again until the very end. But it was good to see that the car was reliable and that we have collected a valuable set of data, so it was a tough, but good race for the team."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "I am very happy to have a two-car finish here in Malaysia because it is a very hot, humid and difficult race. The whole team has done an excellent job and for both cars to finish means that we have finally started the 2008 season."
Giancarlo Fisichella (12th): "I think we honestly did our best here. At the start I had a lot of wheelspin and lost a lot of positions, I don't know why but we have to look into it. On my first stint I was suffering a lot of understeer with graining on the soft tyres but then in my stop I adjusted the front flap and went onto the harder tyres and stayed on them for both stints. I am happy with the race pace later on though and it is promising for the rest of the season."
Adrian Sutil (DNF, Hydraulics): "Very early on in the race I developed a mechanical problem and had to switch the engine off and pull off the track. I am very disappointed with this start to the season, especially after I had to stop so soon into the race in Australia too."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Some real positives from the weekend, but also some very bad luck for Adrian. He had had a difficult weekend until the race but then made a great start and his race pace was looking really strong, so it's a real shame we had a hydraulic issue on his car very early on. Giancarlo made a bad start, but after the first stop he showed a really competitive race pace. Ultimately it was disappointing not to get two cars to the finish but overall I think we can look forward to a much better season than the team has had over the last few years."
Heikki Kovalainen (3rd): "I am pretty happy with my third place today, considering yesterday's penalty, and it was probably the best possible result for us in these circumstances. Our strategy worked really well and it meant that I was able to be in clean air for most of the race. The team really did a fantastic job and I am happy to reward them with my first podium for the team. I did have a small issue with graining during my first stint; however, I was able to stay out until lap 20, which helped me to overtake Jarno Trulli during my first pit stop. After my second stop I was able to play it safe and secure my third place, as it was not possible at this stage to go one better."
Lewis Hamilton (5th): "I got a really good start and was pretty happy as we jumped four positions from ninth to fifth. I was pushing Mark for a very long time, but being behind someone, no matter how quick you are, it is really difficult to get past. We were in a good position for a shot at third place at least, but then I had the problem in my first pit stop which lost me a lot of time. So I did the best job I could. However we take away the fact that the car ran very reliably in these extreme conditions, and I was able to push Jarno right until the last second. I have to say that both Mark and Jarno drove really well today, and it was great to fight them out on track today."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Two very strong performances from both Heikki and Lewis following an eventful weekend, which despite the problems yielded sufficient points to keep us ahead in both Championships. Heikki had a great race dealing well with the traffic and achieving a well deserved first podium position with the team. Lewis's race was hampered when a wheel nut locking mechanism failed during his first stop, costing him valuable time at a critical part in his race. The true pace of our cars was masked today by the inherent understeer that comes when driving in traffic. We now look forward to the Bahrain Grand Prix in two weeks' time."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Heikki and Lewis did a good job following yesterday's relegation to eighth and ninth on the grid and after the wheel nut problem during Lewis's first pitstop. With third and fifth place we scored 10 valuable points. Heikki made the best out of his strategy and achieved his first podium for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes - well done for him and the team. Today Lewis obviously had two handicaps starting ninth and losing more than 10 seconds in the pits, but still we finished in the points with both cars in both races of the season so far. We all will now continue to work hard to further improve our performance."