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United States GP 2014

NOVEMBER 1, 2014

Saturday Team Quotes

Daniel Ricciardo, United States GP 2014
© Terry Griffin, The Cahier Archive

Red Bull-Renault

Daniel Ricciardo (3rd): "I'm happy with that. I could see the Mercedes for the first part of the race which was really cool, I don't know if they were just chilling, but we seemed to have good pace. It was great to get ahead of the Williams and to get onto the podium. The start wasn't very good, I have to put my hand up to that one, but the recovery was good so we didn't really lose out. The pit stops were really good, Red Bull is known for being awesome in the pits and they showed it today."

Sebastian Vettel (7th): "The first half of the race wasn't so good. The second half it came more alive and we were able to make up some ground with a pit-stop near the end of the race. We decided to go for fresh tyres with only a few laps to go, so we were in a stronger position at that point compared to others who were struggling on older tyres and the pace was better. The low downforce set up was good for passing, but it made it difficult to stay close to people."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "After a poor start, it was a fantastic recovery from Daniel. Some of his overtaking manoeuvres, along with the today's pit work, got us back ahead of Fernando and the two Williams to take a place on the podium, so an incredible drive by Daniel. For Sebastian, after starting from the pit lane, he had a difficult first stint struggling with the wind; his race really started to come alive on his second set of tyres. Then, with a final stop going onto the soft tyres for the last eight laps, he drove incredibly well to finish seventh place from the pit lane - so a good team performance today."

Thierry Salvi, Renault: "Daniel delivered another great result for the team today after starting fifth, dropping down to seventh and charging back to finish third. There were some great overtaking moves at a circuit where top-end horsepower is critical. Likewise Seb, who started from the pits and fought back superbly. He struggled a lot with the car during his first stint, but then came alive as the fuel load dropped. There were no problems with his Power Unit either, which helped him fight his way back up to seventh on the option tyre at the end. Once again both drivers have done the job. It's now a question of being able to complete the final two races with these Power Units. Reliability is obviously key and we'll be looking at everything in order to preserve them."

Mercedes GP

Lewis Hamilton (1st): "What an incredible place this is to go racing. We have such great support here and I have to say a massive thanks to the fans who have been awesome all weekend. I'm really grateful to have had the opportunity to be out front here. It's a very special feeling to have such an amazing car, an amazing team and to be on this incredible run. It's been an unbelievable job from the team all year so a big thanks to everyone here at the track and at the factories back home. We managed to correct the problems from qualifying today which was great and I pushed as hard as I could. For the overtake, I just stayed as close as possible to Nico and waited for the moment to be just close enough to throw it up the inside. This is a good circuit to be able to follow another car but it's still not easy. You have to judge the risk in these situations but I felt confident I could pull it off. Once I got past Nico, it was just about controlling the race. I'm very, very proud to now hold the record for the most Formula One wins for a British driver. I have to say, though, it's all thanks to the team and the car we have this year that I've been able to reach that landmark so quickly. Ten wins in a season is just... well, wow!"

Nico Rosberg (2nd): "It was a tough day for me and it feels horrible to finish second after starting from pole. The conditions were very different compared to yesterday and it took me too long to find my rhythm at the beginning. In Formula One it is all about adapting quickly, but it just took me too long. Only 10 laps after Lewis passed me, I got it right and was able to push much more. Lewis just did a better job today, so congratulations to him. It's getting tougher but there is still a chance for the title and everything can happen. I'm still going to be pushing flat out just as I always have. I never give up."

Paddy Lowe: "The decisive moments in this afternoon's race came in the laps after the first pit stop, when Nico was suffering from understeer on the prime tyre and there was a pace difference between the two cars. This allowed Lewis to close the gap on Nico, take advantage of the DRS and make a clean overtake into Turn 12. Both drivers had to manage the challenge of making the tyres last long enough in each stint and they did a great job with this, running at a strong pace all the way to the flag. There were some alarming moments in the final laps as we saw our pair closing on a gaggle of cars absorbed in their own battle. But they were able to negotiate these backmarkers safely to bring home our tenth one-two finish of the season - which is a real tribute to what this team has achieved in 2014. As we have seen throughout the season, tiny margins are making the difference between first and second place finishes, and it's fantastic to see such Nico and Lewis battling neck and neck in such a sporting way. We reached a number of milestones today but, on a personal level, the most significant is to see Lewis break the all-time record for race wins by a British driver. I worked closely with Nigel Mansell, the previous record holder, during his most successful years in the early 1990s, and he was another great, lionhearted racing driver; to see Lewis set a new record this afternoon is very special."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Today, we ensured that only a Mercedes-Benz driver can win the 2014 Drivers' title, and that is an incredible achievement for the whole team - regardless of whether Lewis or Nico comes out on top in Abu Dhabi. It was a very strong race from both of them: each had the pace to win and the decisive laps came at the start of the second stint, when Nico was suffering of too much understeer on the prime tyre and Lewis was able to catch and then overtake him on lap 24. After that, both cars were very evenly matched and it was fantastic to see the tenth one-two finish for the team; that is record-equalling and shows the amazing job everybody in this team has done this year. Now we need to get our heads down and work to ensure two clean races on the sporting and reliability front in Brazil and Abu Dhabi."


Fernando Alonso (6th): "Today went more or less as expected, with the cars ahead of us being very quick, clearing off immediately after the start. After a good start, we tried to manage our sixth place, with a view to the Constructors' championship, in which it was important to finish ahead of the McLarens. The strategy was the best possible, coming in for the first pit stop at the right moment. For the second one, we tried to go long to fit the Softs and go quicker. I think this season has been very complicated and regardless of the car's performance in these final races, I want to do my utmost to score points and help my team."

Kimi Raikkonen (13th): "This weekend was very complicated and again today in the race, I wasn't able to give my maximum. Up to the first stop, the car behaved well, but after fitting the Mediums the situation got tricky, with higher degradation than expected, so I lacked grip and after a few laps I began to have problems with the front end. I tried to save the tyres in any way possible, slowing in some parts of the track and turning into the corners, but even so I had to take on a set of Softs earlier than expected, which meant I had to make a third stop in the closing stages. Now we will continue to work to try and solve our problems. It won't be easy, but we won't give up all the way to the end of the last race."

Marco Mattiacci, Team Principal: "After all the news this week, today, it was particularly pleasing to see that the grandstands were packed. The response of the American public was an encouraging sign, which shows how much the interest in our sport is growing in a country where we would like to strengthen its presence. It was a shame we could not give our fans a better result, with a Ferrari capable of fighting for the top places. Today, with Fernando, we were able to maintain his start position, while Kimi had some of those difficulties that we are working hard to solve as a team, to ensure he has a better car. On track, we continue to learn a lot and at home we are working tirelessly to reach our goals as soon as possible."

Pat Fry: "Today, both drivers got away well at the start, even though they were on the dirty side of the track, making the most of one of our car's strong points. When the Safety Car came out, we decided not to pit, aware that from then on we would have had to deal with the traffic of the group that was stopping. With Fernando we managed to maintain position, even if, unfortunately, we lacked the pace to keep up with those ahead of him. The collision with Perez might have damaged the left rear on Kimi's car and unfortunately he then had traffic on his second stint and excessive degradation that meant he had to make an extra stop. When we get the car back, we will try and see if there's something wrong with it, although an initial look at the telemetry data revealed nothing. For both Kimi and Fernando, the Mediums did not perform as expected and so it was after the first stop that we began to lose ground to the leaders. After another difficult race, we will now focus on Brazil where, in a few days' time we tackle the penultimate race of the championship."


Pastor Maldonado (10th): "It was a great fight from the very beginning; it felt good, the strategy was good and the car pace was surprisingly good! We were fully focused, keeping the pace and managing the tyres. We did lose out in the slow-speed corners but we were very competitive in the medium and high speed turns throughout the first and last sector. That meant we could recover the time lost in the slow ones so we were in the mix. Overtaking was challenging because of the speed we have but we still took the fight to others for position which was great. Let's keep pushing like that; I think we can do a good job in the next two races."

Romain Grosjean (11th): "The race was really good, I enjoyed it. On the soft tyres, the car was quick; I could follow the Ferraris, and on prime it was a bit more difficult but still enjoyable. Fighting with JB was very very tight but definitely good fun. It was less amusing with Jean-Eric though, he broke my front wing and he broke my rear floor which made the car pretty difficult to drive afterwards. I wasn't very happy about that as the incident cost me P8. On the plus side, it's good to be back in the points with Pastor, it's just a shame not to have been there too."

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal: "It was a great race from both our drivers and everyone in the garage for which we owe everyone at Enstone thanks for their perseverance throughout the season. Pastor and Romain both drove really well and showed their class on track. For Pastor it was great to finally score, which is something we all want. There are two further races in 2014 and we aim to achieve the very best possible in both of them."

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "It was good to be back racing Ferraris and McLarens today and see both cars running in scoring positions. Tyres were key, with degradation varying at different points in the race but we seemed to manage well with the allocation here. Our pace was good and we matched that of McLaren and Toro Rosso fairly evenly. Overall it was a good effort from everyone. We have the same tyre combination for Brazil next weekend, we can go on and do the same."

Simon Rebreyend, Renault: "We've seen a much-improved performance today, which is fantastic for the whole team. The Power Unit is made to work pretty hard here, especially in the first two sectors which involve a lot of straight-line speed, so to have scored a point for Pastor, and had the potential for a few more, and been able to overtake many cars, is personally very satisfying. We extracted everything we could from each PU, and neither experienced any problems, which allowed both drivers to complete good mileage early in the weekend and hone their race set-ups. Clearly that made a difference today."


Kevin Magnussen (8th): "Eighth position isn't a fantastic result, but I honestly don't think we could have got much more out of the car this afternoon. It's a shame that Jenson lost out on a points finish at the end - I guess he must have run out of tyres - but I was fortunate enough to be slightly farther up the road, which enabled me to keep ahead of the cars chasing me down. Fortunately, therefore, I didn't lose out too much. I can't be too unhappy with today's result, but it's not really been a weekend for the team to remember. Still, we now head straight to Brazil for another grand prix in just a few days' time - I'm really looking to driving at Interlagos, which looks like a fantastic racetrack, and I very much hope we can have a better weekend there."

Jenson Button (12th): "I just went backwards today. The only fun bit of the afternoon was my fight with Fernando. But, apart from that, it was pretty dull out there. It's unusual for our car to suffer tyre degradation as damaging as we did today, and I experienced particularly significant issues with the rears. Their surface temperatures were getting really hot, yet their core temperatures were dropping. That meant we were slipping and sliding around, and as a result I was really struggling compared with the drivers around me. Hopefully, Brazil will suit us a little bit better."

Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "We're very disappointed to be leaving Austin having scored only four constructors' championship points, courtesy of Kevin's eighth-place finish. For much of the race, Kevin and Jenson ran in line astern, both drivers racing extremely well in decidedly difficult circumstances, coping manfully with less than optimal grip levels. Towards the end of the race, Kevin was able to cling on to eighth place, having managed his tyre wear extremely well. Jenson was by that time struggling with more significant tyre-degradation issues, especially to his rears, and was consequently unable to prevent being overtaken in the final laps by a series of cars running on newer rubber. As a result he ended up 12th, which was understandably disappointing for him. As of this afternoon, we're in fifth place in the constructors' championship, 24 points ahead of Force India and 49 points behind Ferrari. From here we fly to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where we're looking forward to the challenge of racing on one of the Formula 1 world's great circuits: Interlagos. There, and in Abu Dhabi two weeks thereafter, we'll be aiming to consolidate our constructors' championship advantage over Force India, and we haven't given up on pipping Ferrari for fourth place. By no means will it be easy, but you can bet your bottom dollar that we'll be giving it our very best shot."

Force India-Mercedes

Nico Hulkenberg (DNF, Power Unit): "Unfortunately an early end to my race. I lost drive and had no more power so the team told me over the radio to stop the car. Even before that it had not been an easy race with a very difficult first lap. I was right behind Sergio and Adrian when they crashed, and Sergio's front wing just happened to fall right in front of my car. I ran over it, which caused damage to my car and the tyres. I dived into the pits and lost quite a lot of track position. After that I was running behind the McLarens on a similar strategy with the plan to run the softs at the end of the race. It's always disappointing to end a race with retirement but fortunately we have the next race in seven days so I will soon be back in the car. Sao Paulo is one of my favourite races and hopefully we can have a better weekend there."

Sergio Perez (DNF, Accident): "What happened today is really unfortunate. I made a move on Adrian [Sutil] at turn 15 when he left the door open, so I went up the inside. Then Adrian started to close the door and I had to try and brake later than him. By doing so I was unable to avoid contact with Kimi [Raikkonen], which caused me to make contact with Adrian also. I just didn't expect Kimi to be in that position. It's a big shame because I had a great chance to keep up my run of points finishes and I was determined to do well in such an important race. I feel very sorry for all my fans who came to support me this weekend and I'm disappointed I could not give them a race to remember."

Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "It was obviously a very disappointing day for Sahara Force India. We have had a pretty good level of reliability and consistency so far in the season, so when a day like this happens and two cars fail to finish the race it comes as a bit of a surprise. Checo's race was very short and it was a real shame as he was already up inside the points before his retirement. He had the pace to bring home a good result and perhaps it was just a case of being too eager to make up the positions. Nico had to pit as he couldn't avoid the debris from the crash, but we are confident he would have been battling for the points. Unfortunately, he was sidelined by an engine failure that will be investigated once the power unit is back in the UK. Today's result complicates our battle for fifth in the Championship, but we will keep fighting until the very end. There are still two races, one with double points, and today has shown a bad weekend can happen to anyone."


Esteban Gutierrez (14th): "It was challenging to get the tyres to work after the safety car period. We lost quite a lot of time on this run. It is tricky when you have to push every lap of the race. Not being able to manage the tyres as other drivers do put us in a critical situation. I did my best and fought through the whole race. From now on we have to keep our focus on Brazil and Abu Dhabi, where I believe we will get the chance to score points."

Adrian Sutil (DNF, Accident): "Unfortunately, it was a short race. I had a good start and was in a promising position. Sadly Sergio (Perez) crashed into my car, which was completely needless. It is very disappointing that we missed our biggest chance of points because of this move."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "After the promising qualifying this result is a huge disappointment especially for Adrian, who was forced out of the race through no fault of his own because of another driver. Looking at what happened at the end of the race, the question is what would have been possible today. Esteban, especially during the early race phase, lost a lot of time. We now have to analyse why that was the case."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "In the end a number of things went wrong today. Adrian made a good start defending ninth position. It was a good way to get into the race, but then he was taken out by another driver, which was a pity. So we had to concentrate on the other car. Being quite far back, we decided to change the strategy, and when the safety car came out at the end of lap one we brought him into the pits and put him on the medium compound tyres, in order to have longer stints in the beginning and a better pace in the end. But, particularly in the first stint, the lap times were not as expected. Overall we were limited by the race pace."

Toro Rosso-Renault

Jean-Eric Vergne (9th): "It was an exciting race, but difficult at the same time. In the final stages I absolutely wanted to gain positions. I saw the opportunity to overtake Romain (Grosjean) and I decided to go for it. When he closed the door it was just too late. At the end, this is racing and you have to fight as much as you can. I like fighting, so it was good fun. It's great to be in the points, especially after a difficult weekend, with not much running. We have the car to do well and I'm happy that we do not have to wait too much before being back in the car next week in Brazil, where hopefully we'll be able score more points."

Daniil Kvyat (15th): "We were competitive today and we deserved to score some points here in Austin. We had a fantastic pace until the last part of the Grand Prix when I managed to overtake Raikkonen, but unfortunately I damaged my front left tyre during the fight. I had too many vibrations and I had to pit again. It could have been a fantastic race and it's obviously disappointing when towards the end everything goes wrong. We couldn't have done anything better, but sometimes that's how it goes. I'm looking forward to Brazil, where hopefully we can achieve a better result."

Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Here in Austin the race weekend started very well on Friday in FP1, with Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen finishing respectively in 4th and 10th position. Unfortunately the trend changed on Saturday for qualifying, when we suffered from a lack of performance, which we will have to investigate. In addition, we had a 10 grid position penalty with Daniil, for a change to the 7th Power Unit, which meant we had to start the race from the back of the grid. Both drivers had a reasonably good start, especially Jean-Eric who moved up to twelfth place. During the safety car period he was found to have been over the speed limit, getting a 5 seconds penalty, followed by another penalty of the same kind for his move in overtaking Grosjean. This meant we scored just one point for his 10th position at the end of the race. As for Daniil, his pace was really good and his strategy worked quite well. Unfortunately in overtaking Raikkonen, he damaged his front left tyre and he had to pit again, otherwise I reckon he could have finished higher in the ranking, possibly in 7th or 8th position. Nevertheless, the team showed quite a good performance and I hope we'll be able to benefit from this positive aspect even more in the next two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, to bring home some very important points."

Ricardo Penteado, Renault: "Jean-Eric recovered from a disappointing qualifying session to produce another wonderful race performance and pick up one more point for the team. It was a combination of good tyre management and knowing when to attack. The Power Unit also ran without any problems, so all in all it's been a very satisfactory day on that side of the garage. Things went less smoothly for Daniil who, as well as getting debris caught in his front wing, had an Energy Store sensor issue with his car's battery. That meant the default mode wasn't working correctly, which reduces the amount of energy available. He was handicapped a bit today."


Felipe Massa (4th): "I had a very good start to get up to third place and we showed strong pace throughout the race, but unfortunately a slower than normal pitstop allowed Ricciardo to jump me and this could have cost us a podium which was possible. These things happen though and the team have been operating at a very high level with pitstops this season so we need to quickly move on from this one. On the whole we need to see this as a positive weekend as we have scored more points than our rivals in the Constructors' Championship and we have good momentum for the final two races of the season."

Valtteri Bottas (5th): "Overall we have managed to secure some good points and increased our lead over Ferrari for third in the Constructors' Championship, but there are a number of things we can learn from today. I had a bit of clutch slip at the beginning which allowed Ricciardo to jump me in the first corner. The Red Bull's also had better tyre management and could run at a better pace for longer, so that made it difficult to catch Ricciardo after he jumped me at the pitstops. At this point in the season we're trying to maximise our points haul and this has been a solid result that puts us in a good position headed into Brazil."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: "We are slightly disappointed to have lost places to where we started, but at the end of the day Ricciardo was quicker than us and drove a very good race. We need to analyse our strategy as our pitstop choice allowed Red Bull to jump us for the podium, so we will go away and assess what we could have done differently and rectify that for next time. We are focused on consolidating third place in the Constructors' Championship and we need to be satisfied with the fact that we have extended our position over Ferrari so well done to all of the team for another strong performance."