Singapore GP 2008
SEPTEMBER 28, 2008
Sunday Team Quotes
Felipe Massa (13th): "It's hard to deal with losing in this fashion a race that was within our grasp, with a car that was just the way I wanted it. We had a good strategy and all the signs were there that we could get a one-two finish. But things can change in a moment and that's what happened today. At the pit stop, one of the guys made a mistake. But we are only human. Each one of us always tries to do our best and these things can happen. With the Safety Car still on track, I didn't lose a lap, but then I got a drive-through and later I also picked up a puncture in the left rear. On this track it is almost impossible to overtake and ending up at the back meant I had no chance of getting into the points. Seven points to make up in three races? That can be a lot or it can be a little. We have the potential to do well, as we saw today and we will give it our best shot. We mustn't give up and I'm sure we won't."
Kimi Raikkonen (15th): "I was trying to attack Glock in case he might make a mistake, but I went slightly wide at the chicane, jumping over the kerb and when the car landed, I lost control and ended up in the barriers. My situation in the championship was already rather compromised, so this doesn't really make that much difference but I am unhappy because the team has lost precious points in the Constructors' classification. In the opening laps, the car was a bit difficult but then it improved a lot, to such an extent that I was able to close right up to Hamilton. When the Safety Car came out, I know my race was compromised given that I had to pit behind Felipe. I was able to get back up to fifth but then the incident I described earlier happened. Clearly, morale is not high today. But I am not used to giving up and will do my very best to try and help the team reach its targets."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "A black day, there's little else to say. We had the potential to finish first and second but we didn't even pick up a point. We are very disappointed but that doesn't mean we are downtrodden. We have always shown our ability to react, especially at the most difficult times and we will do it again this time. The situation in the two championships has become more complicated but there are still three races to go and a lot of points up for grabs. We know what we have to do to reach our objectives. The first part of the race showed that today our car was the quickest on track. The Safety Car came out at the worst possible moment, but we are not looking for excuses because this uncertain factor must always be taken into account. Then the team made a mistake at the pit stop during the Safety Car period, which cost Massa the race. I am very sorry for Felipe because he was driving a very strong race following on from a great pole yesterday. I want to point out that it was Felipe himself who went to console the mechanic who made the mistake, which shows the team spirit that we have between us: we win together and we lose together. Kimi managed to get into the points but then he ended up in the barriers at one of the many tricky points around this track. A shame, as it would have meant precious points for the Constructors' classification. We must look ahead and prepare ourselves as well as possible for the remaining three races."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "It's hard to put into words today's disappointment. We had everything in place to get the best possible result and unfortunately we ended up with nothing. Felipe was controlling the early stages of the race, while Kimi, after a few difficulties at the beginning, was running at a great pace. The Safety Car through our plans into the air. First and foremost, we had to go for a double pit stop - the best choice in this situation - but it penalized Kimi. Then we made a mistake in letting Felipe go and that ruined his race. We could have made a significant step forward in both championships but we ended up going backwards. Now we must roll up our sleeves and prepare as well as possible for the coming races. There is still plenty of time to recover but there is no more room for error."
Nick Heidfeld (6th): "Although I shouldn't complain about finishing sixth when I came from ninth, I must say it is such a shame I couldn't show my pace today. The car was so good and I could have gone a lot faster if I hadn't been stuck in traffic all the time. I was even saving fuel and tyres because I hoped the others would kill their tyres and I could attack later. I think some did ruin their rubber, but still this wasn't enough of an advantage to overtake. I had a good start during which I managed to pass Nico Rosberg. However, because of how the race turned out for me I hardly sweated at all."
Robert Kubica (11th): "The race was physically very hard. There are so many bumps, I hope the organisers will work on the surface for next year. On top of that, the visibility was getting worse and worse as I was getting tired. Over the final fifteen laps I had an incredible headache. The decision not to pit on the first lap when the pit lane was closed because of the Safety Car was unlucky, and cost me a good race result as the cars behind me closed the gap. The team thought the pit lane would reopen very soon, but this was not the case. However, that's racing."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Another spectacular chapter was added to the Formula One history book. The first night race was a total success. My compliments go to the organisers. The race itself was turbulent and influenced by the first safety car period. Unfortunately the safety car rule meant Robert was completely out of contention in the race, whereas Nick was able to stay out just long enough until the pit lane was reopened. This was a shame for Robert because he was well on his way to score important points for the championship standings. By finishing sixth Nick made up three positions and scored three points. Everything didn't go according to plan either for our direct competitors as, apart from Nick, out of the top six only Lewis Hamilton scored points. Congratulations to Renault and Fernando Alonso for the win in this exciting race."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "The race start was okay for our drivers. Robert managed to defend his position and Nick gained a place. After that the race went according to plan for both cars and they were able to open a gap over the cars behind. However, then the first safety car period ruined Robert's race completely. We had to refuel although the pit lane was still closed. The penalty dropped Robert into a hopeless position at the end of the field - and this on a circuit where anyway you can hardly overtake. In the end Nick scored three points, so this means we have still scored championship points in every Grand Prix this year."
Fernando Alonso (1st): "This is a fantastic result - my first podium of the season; my first victory and I'm very happy, although I think it will take several days for me to realise what we have achieved. Wining a Grand Prix here just seemed to be impossible because we missed our chance yesterday in qualifying, but we were very fortunate today and it's a superb result for the team. We chose a very aggressive strategy and we had a bit of luck, but we had the pace and the car was fantastic throughout the weekend."
Nelson Piquet (DNF, Accident): "From the start of the race things were complicated and I had a lot of graining and the situation got worse and worse. The team asked me to push, which I tried to do and finally I lost the rear of my car. I hit the wall heavily but I'm okay. I am disappointed with my race but obviously very happy for the team this evening."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "I think the luck we had in the early part of the race was nearly a cancellation of the bad luck we had yesterday. The car has proven itself and so has Fernando. The whole result is a tribute to the team and this wonderful circuit is a tribute to Singapore!"
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This is an amazing victory for Renault and for Fernando. Since Friday we knew that the car was very competitive and we were very disappointed at the end of qualifying. Today the car was extremely quick, stronger than the Ferrari and McLaren, and although we had some luck when the safety car came out, we deserved this victory. It's a very important result for Renault after two difficult seasons and helps us prepare for 2009 in the best way possible."
Nico Rosberg (2nd): "It was a race of so many ups and downs for me. It started badly as I ended up behind a heavy Jarno Trulli and I absolutely had to get by him to allow my strategy to work. It was quite a hairy moment getting past because it is so bumpy to out brake at turn 7 and I couldn't get close at turn 1, the only two places where overtaking is possible. Anyway, having eventually cleared him, I couldn't believe it when I saw that the safety car had come out just after the team had called me in for my stop and I thought that's the end of it. Before my stop-go penalty, I just had to push like mad and do qualifying lap after qualifying lap and I managed to build enough of a gap to complete my second stop and hold on to second place. With a handful or laps to go in the most physical race this year and a car in your mirrors, time goes amazingly slowly, but for once everything went our way. I think Frank will have to wear his lucky tartan trousers again!"
Kazuki Nakajima (8th): "It was a great day for the team, returning to form and of course congratulations to Nico. As far as my race was concerned, the Safety Car timing was a little bit unfortunate, but I just had to push my race pace on regardless of what happened and overtake a few cars, and in the end, it was great to claim a point for the first time in a while. Hopefully today showed potential which we can try to maintain for the rest of the season."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a fantastic result from Nico, obviously the penalty for refuelling under the safety car could have been a problem, but he still managed to open up a sufficient gap to achieve a second podium this season and his career best finish. Kazuki did well to hang in there and score a point too, all-in-all it was just what the team needed. We didn't have any technical problems and everything went without a hitch, so it was a great effort from everyone concerned."
David Coulthard (7th): "That was my second points finish this year, so I've got to be happy with today's result. As far as the second pit stop went, the guys have been great this year and the work that they did on Saturday morning to get my car out so I could do a run was quite remarkable, so I'm not going to point any fingers at them. It's just one of those things. There was a misunderstanding between some of the guys and I go when the lollipop comes up, but these things happen. Thankfully we got some points today. It was incredibly bumpy out there, you can't see the braking down into Turn Seven and it was as hot as hell."
Mark Webber (DNF, Gearbox): "I lost seventh and then fifth gear, which cost us a fantastic result, as I was stopping for my second pit stop later than Fernando (Alonso). It would have been nice to share the podium with him today, with him winning and me second. We got a bit lucky with the safety car, but in the end it didn't work out. We had some good pace in the second stint and it was looking good. Overall, the event here has been very impressive, I think we should do more night racing."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "After putting ourselves in a great position with a good call that enabled us to get both cars fuelled, serviced and back out on track before the pit lane closed, it's really frustrating for Mark to lose a definite podium with our first mechanical failure during a race this year. David thereafter was doing a great job. He held Lewis (Hamilton) off for a large part of the race, but then dropped three seconds on his in-lap when Fernando (Alonso) popped out from the pit lane just ahead of him. He then lost more time at his final pit stop. That cost David what would have almost certainly been fourth position. So seventh, albeit his first points score since Canada, leaves us feeling that we should have come away with more. Congratulations to Renault on their win with Fernando. Well done to our mechanics too, who have done a fantastic job this weekend. The technician who was knocked over during David's final pit stop has damaged his ankle ligaments and burned his thumb, but fortunately other than that he's okay."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "A very frustrating day, we should have been second with Mark and it's a big disappointment. We should also have been better with David, but he was blocked by Fernando (Alonso) when he came out from his second pit stop, which destroyed his chance. Congratulations to Renault, they won the race so well done to them."
Timo Glock (4th): "I am happy with the job I did; I made no mistakes and fourth is a good result. It was quite tough out there in these conditions and with such a bumpy track the car was not very comfortable to drive; I am sure I will feel the effects tomorrow. My goal at the beginning of the year was to score 20 points this season so I am very satisfied to achieve that with three races still to go. However, I am fighting for the team to help them finish fourth in the Constructors' Championship and we were a bit unlucky with that today, but congratulations to Fernando, who did a great job. Now we will go to Fuji and aim to recover the lost ground."
Jarno Trulli (DNF, Hydraulics): "The race was going pretty well, I was on a one-stop strategy and I made a good start. After the safety car, I was one of the quickest on the track and I led the race for several laps. But in the end a weekend which started pretty bad has finished even worse. I had a hydraulic problem when I would have finished in fifth; that would have been good points from a weekend which has been quite hard for me. I am exhausted because I am so disappointed. I have been fighting really hard and doing a good job but when that bad luck comes you can't do anything about it. I think I am owed a lot of good luck after that."
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "Considering our practice and qualifying performances, when we found the car was not so well suited to the bumpy conditions, the team did a very good job. Our strategy proved to be very complimentary considering the expected safety car periods and we were looking good until Jarno's issue, which cost us a lot of points. Both drivers performed really well and pushed as hard as possible despite the difficult conditions. We are pleased with fourth place but we should have had both cars in the top six. We must analyse Jarno's hydraulic problem and find out why it happened. I have to say, some drivers' races were ruined by the safety car rules and we have had a lot of intense discussion on this matter, so I think it is time the situation was improved. Now of course we turn our attentions towards the Japanese Grand Prix and we will be pushing ourselves really hard to get a good result at Fuji Speedway."
Sebastian Vettel (5th): "Overall, this was a good race for us, even if the Safety Car didn't help. It was a difficult race for everyone, but the important thing is we have scored some more points. The hardest elements in the race were dealing with the heat and concentrating not to make any mistakes, as it could be very easy to clip a kerb. I tried to keep the car on track but still push like crazy. It was one of the toughest races of the season, but I think with everything that happened, this was the best result we could get. Maybe fourth might have been possible if I hadn't lost a place to Timo (Glock) when I missed a braking point, but we can be happy with this fifth place."
Sebastien Bourdais (12th): "It was a tough race. When I was running on my own my brake balance was fine, but once I was in traffic I kept losing the front end, even with all the brake bias on the rear. I know it was difficult to pass here, but I was even having difficulty following other cars and didn't know where my limit was. It was a really tough race physically too, given how long it was and the lack of air coming through the cockpit and with a long last stint, I was running a heavy fuel load which meant my tyres were suffering towards the end. It's been a long night."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Once again, a strong performance from Sebastian Vettel. Until the first Safety Car, he was a solid fifth, but really the SC came out two laps too early for us. After that, he drove a fantastic race and at his second pit stop the team did a very good job as we were able to keep Heidfeld behind us. Sebastien Bourdais did what he could given his grid position. We feel the characteristics of the next circuits on the calendar should better suit our package, so we are really looking forward to racing in Japan in a fortnight."
Jenson Button (9th): "It was one of those races today where luck and the timing of the safety car could make or break your race. Unfortunately luck was not on our side and the timing of the two safety cars hurt our two-stop strategy. In addition to that, we were just not competitive or quick enough as I was struggling for balance for much of the race. To finish in 9th position is always frustrating as you are just outside of the points."
Rubens Barrichello (DNF, Electrical): "Coming into the race from 18th on the grid, we were obviously hoping for any eventuality to help us move further up the grid. That opportunity came on lap 14 when my engineer made a brilliant call following Piquet's crash. I came into the pits just before the safety car was called and when I rejoined I would have been in a strong position. But then the engine just died. I had lots of fuel on board and my place was great because I had good pace and was keeping up with the whole group in front of me. So we could have had a great end to the race. We lost a great opportunity today and obviously I feel very sad about that."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "We decided to put the cars on two different strategies today, the rationale for which was in part due to the predicted safety car outings. The first safety car played into the hands of Rubens and those on a similar one-stop strategy. Moreover, on the pitwall we anticipated that the safety car would be called out and brought Rubens in to refuel him before the flags went to yellow. We would have been in an extremely good position for the balance of the race, however he stopped shortly after leaving the pits with an electrical problem. In as much as that situation helped Rubens, that was the safety car window that hurt people on the same two-stop strategy as Jenson. He was forced to pit with the pack which handed the advantage to one-stoppers. Later in the race the traffic situation was such that Jenson was unable to improve, so we decided to pit him early for his second pitstop and he was one of the first cars to fuel to the end of the race. This was purely a gamble in anticipation of another safety car, which did eventually come but it was too late and unfortunately the timing was such that Jenson simply had a heavier car as a result."
Giancarlo Fisichella (14th): "It was a long, hard race, but I have to say we really did the maximum possible. A big thank you to everyone on the team who did such a fantastic job to get the car going again after the accidents yesterday and for giving me a car we could really race with. It was great to be back racing again and I think we had a good strategy that let us move up a few places. In the final few laps I had a small problem, but I'm really pleased we could get to the finish."
Adrian Sutil (DNF, Accident): "I think it was a good race as the race pace was good and I felt really confident in the car. We lost a little in the first safety car period as we were a little too late coming into the pits but after that it was nice to be able to push. It was just so unlucky when Felipe spun in front of me and then suddenly pulled away. The way was blocked, but I avoided a crash with him only to go into the barrier myself. It's really disappointing as we've had so much bad luck already this year. It's Fuji next though, which I really enjoy and know I can perform well on."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "It's been a difficult weekend for us, but the team has worked really hard and the teamwork has been excellent. We now move on to some races where the team were very strong last year and we can look to get back to the form of the last three races."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Although it is slightly disappointing not to get two cars to the finish, overall I think we had a good race. We narrowly missed calling Adrian in during the first safety car period, which would have been to his advantage, but with Giancarlo running a long stint we kept him out and that worked to his benefit. Both defended their positions from strong opposition and without Adrian's accident we would have had a strong two car finish. All the same it's been a tough event and we've all pulled together and I think we can be proud of our performance."
Lewis Hamilton (3rd): "A positive end to a difficult weekend at this fantastic new venue. I started well, but then my rear tyres faded and, although we had good pace, I wasn't in a position to challenge Felipe ahead of me. During my first pit stop I lost a bit of time because everybody came in due to the Safety Car period. After that I was unfortunately stuck behind David and although I was clearly faster it was really difficult to overtake him. After the second re-start, I tried to stay as close as possible behind Nico; however, I didn't want to take chances - particularly as the Ferraris were outside the points. Also, this is not a track where overtaking is easy. The first night race in Formula 1 history was great fun, and I now look forward to the forthcoming double-header in Japan and China."
Heikki Kovalainen (10th): "I made a good start and was going to pass Kubica round the outside at the first two corners. Unfortunately he touched me and almost spun me around. My under floor was slightly damaged as a result. I lost momentum and two cars overtook me. When the Safety Car came out and the pitlane was opened a couple of laps later, Lewis and I came in and I had to wait behind him until it was my turn. It then was a strange race and most of the time I was in traffic with no overtaking chances. Halfway through the race I had brake problems and had to conserve them until the finish. I'm happy for Lewis and the team now that he has extended the championship lead and we are on top of the Constructors' rankings. I will now go for it in the next races and help to make sure that we stay ahead in both championships."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Today's race was a very exciting one, full of incidents, triggering Safety Car interventions that had a significant influence on the final outcome. In the last few laps, having seen Kimi's accident, we advised Lewis not to attempt to overtake Nico but instead to settle for third place and the seven-point lead in the Drivers' Championship that the resulting six points netted him. Heikki's race was spoiled by having to queue in the pits. Overall, then, the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix was a hugely successful event, and we're delighted to have emerged from it with the lead in both the Drivers' and the Constructors' Championships."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A great Formula 1 premiere at night. Lewis extended his championship lead with third place which is a good result. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes leads now in the Constructors' rankings as well which is also not bad. Thank you to the organisers and Bernie and his team for their efforts - this spectacular event will create a big response."