Australian GP 2016
MARCH 20, 2016
Sunday Team Quotes
Nico Rosberg (1st): "That was a perfect race for me. The start was tricky, as I was on the dirty side of the grid and Vettel managed to be ahead. He did a really good job at the start - but we chose the perfect strategy by going onto the medium tyre after the red flag. A big thanks to the team on the pit wall for that, to everyone back at the factories for this fantastic car and to everyone back in Europe who woke up so early to tune in for the race. I hope it was a good show for you! We can enjoy this moment for sure - but we know now just how strong those red cars will be this season, so we cannot afford to relax. I'm really looking forward to the next races and hopefully some more exciting battles. Finally, I also have to say it was a big relief to see Fernando walk away from his shunt. It shows how incredible the safety of these cars is now, which is great to see."
Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "I'd had a perfect weekend in every way up until the lights went out and felt confident heading into the race. I got a bit of wheelspin off the line then got pushed wide at the first corner, so from there it was just about recovering. But these things happen and I'm grateful for the way I was able to fight back through. P2 isn't bad in terms of damage limitation after a start like that. I spent a long time stuck behind one of the Toro Rossos and there wasn't a lot I could do about it as he was on a quicker tyre. I could just see the others pulling away, so the safety car definitely helped by bunching us all up again. I was already on a one-stop strategy and, to be honest, I don't know why everyone else didn't do the same on the medium. I'm happy they didn't, as I probably would have finished a lot further back. In any case, the team did a great job to help us pull it back and there's still 20 races to go, so I'm feeling pretty chilled. I've had far worse starts to the season, so I'll take that today and head into the next one looking up."
Paddy Lowe, Technical Director: "What can you say after a race like that? Absolutely fantastic to get a 1-2 at the first race of the season - particularly after we made life very difficult for ourselves with a pair of poor starts. After the red flag we opted to run the medium tyre to the end and expected others to do the same - which would have made the win a very big ask, let alone a 1-2. Of course, we can look back and enjoy it now - but it was quite stressful at the time! It made for a great spectacle, so I hope the fans enjoyed it. Overall, we can be extremely happy today. Congratulations to everyone back at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart. Together, they've produced a car which has given us the perfect start to the season in very exciting circumstances."
Toto Wolff: "First of all, a big relief to see Fernando walk away from that shunt. The race itself was extremely tense throughout - a real cliffhanger and a great way to show what Formula One is really about. We didn't get it right at the start. The drivers were slow away from the line then touched at the first corner, so we were forced into recovery mode. Our plan from there had been to put Nico on a two stop and Lewis a one stop strategy before the red flag came out. We did the maths and opted to go with one set of mediums to the end, with the drivers on the knife edge of endurance and performance. Managing tyres and temperatures became a big challenge, with debris causing an overheating brake caliper that almost forced us to retire Nico at one stage. Thankfully that was not the case and he led Lewis home for a hard-fought 1-2. A perfect result to start the year, a great job from the drivers to manage and recover the race, fantastic work on the pit wall to give them the right strategy to do so and an incredible team effort from everybody at the factories to get us here. We must now sort our starts and look to carry out momentum into Bahrain."
Sebastian Vettel (3rd): "I obviously had a great start, I was very happy to see that I had a better start than the two cars in front of me, reminding me of Hungary last year and it worked out. It was great to see that Kimi made it as well, so we got first and second and from there we dictated the pace. The red flag didn't help us, but to be fair the most important thing was that Fernando and Esteban were alright. It was the right decision to stop the race. First time I went through I saw the debris on the track. Naturally the expectations are higher when you had a strong season last year and you wanted to close the gap. Yesterday we were a bit further away and today we were closer. In general it was a great race, I was racing flat out until to the end, I didn't want to go onto the grass but I did the lawn mower! So I don't have to do it next week when I go home, but for sure we would have liked more from today."
Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Engine): "Today we had a good first part of the race but at a certain point I lost power and had to retire. I don't know exactly what happened, I don't think that the problem was related to the engine because it was still running. It must have been something else. It's a very unfortunate thing for the whole team. After the winter testing we had a rough idea that we should be pretty ok, Saturday was a funny day, with very odd conditions and circumstances, so we knew that the time difference in qualifying was not real. The car has been handling well, it's fast and I had a good feeling but obviously we need to finish the race. We still have some work to do."
Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal: "Our pace was good in the first part of the Grand Prix, before the race was red-flagged, but we shouldn't use it as an excuse. This only show that you shouldn't count your chickens before they're hatched. Today's race should serve as a lesson to us to push even harder, with even more humility and dedication, starting already at the next race in Bahrain."
Felipe Massa (5th): "It was a good race. To finish fifth, scoring some good points, is definitely a good start to the season. The red flag in the middle helped us to keep our strategy to one-stop and, thanks to that, we managed to overtake both Toro Rossos who had decided to go for different tyres. That's why I am happy with the result - and for Valtteri as well, he started P16 and finished P8, so it was a great drive for him."
Valtteri Bottas (8th): "It has obviously been a very difficult week. The struggles we had with qualifying and then the grid penalty compromised the race. It wasn't the nice clean race we were hoping for, but we still have points from both of our cars. We are definitely aiming for better positions, and myself personally, so I am looking forward to Bahrain because I am sure we can do better than this weekend."
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: "Australia is always a strange race. You come here and there are lots of unknowns with pace, in both qualifying and the race. You just want to make sure you get through it with a decent haul of points, and we have done that. We can hold our heads reasonably high after that race. We made the right call in the pit lane under the red flag, fitting the medium tyres and going to the end. That's got us third in the championship now. Today has probably been the calmest day of the weekend, with all the various regulation and rule changes. Today we just got our heads down and did the job. Now we look forward to developing the car as we have some good upgrades coming. We need to look at every little bit of performance we can get out of the car and get ourselves into a slightly better position. The guys did a brilliant job in the pits today. We've redesigned the wheel nuts and axles, and the crew themselves did an amazing job. We got both stops close to two seconds, so I'm very happy with that."
Red Bull-Tag Heuer
Daniel Ricciardo (4th): "Today was fun for me, it was so good to be back racing. I came on the radio more than once expressing my joy to just being out there competing. That joy was emphasized by having a good car underneath me. At the start we were able to pick cars off. We had good pace with high fuel on the Option and it was fun to be able to pass cars, I was enjoying that as always. I was sitting in a podium spot towards the end and I was hoping the tyres would last but I knew they weren't going to hold and I would have to pit again. But fourth is still a good result and I'm happy we're not that far off Mercedes and Ferrari. It was also good to see that Fernando and Esteban are okay. I haven't watched the replay yet but I saw the car upside down so I knew it wasn't a small accident."
Daniil Kvyat (DNS): "I'm glad Fernando is OK, it looked like a very bad accident and it's a relief to know that he is alright. In terms of my day, it looks like an electronic issue put us out of the race before it started. I think Australia doesn't seem to be the luckiest place for me so far. The car just shut itself off - I guess it didn't want to do the race today, but we'll be back in Bahrain and we'll start again from there! Last year it was very hard to take, not starting the race, but this year I'm a stronger person so I'll be OK, these things happen, that's life and that's racing."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A great drive from Daniel at his home race, he drove a competitive race from start to finish. It was always a long shot for a podium but he did everything possible today. It's encouraging to see the pace of the car in race trim. It's a shame that Dany wasn't able to start the race today, he seems to be cursed here in Melbourne. He unfortunately had a CU-H failure on the power unit, but he'll be back in Bahrain. The biggest result today was seeing Fernando emerge unscathed from what looked like a very nasty accident. It's a testament to the safety of the cars and the circuits that he was able to walk away from that."
Nico Hulkenberg (7th): "To get some points in the bag at the first race is a positive way to start the year. It was not an easy day and it's difficult to know what would have happened without the race being stopped and restarted. I think the red flag made things a lot more difficult for our planned one-stop strategy because it gave everybody around us the chance to reset and change their tyres. So that was a shame and it meant I was out of position and got stuck behind the Haas for most of the race. It was not easy to get close to Romain [Grosjean] and I had a lot of cars behind me, which meant I was always under pressure and having to defend as well as chase. So, given all the circumstances, seventh place feels quite satisfying."
Sergio Perez (13th): "It's a real shame to finish outside of the points. My problems began at the start: I lost a couple of places off the line and that put me in a very difficult position. I spent my first stint behind Alonso, who was on a faster compound, and being stuck in the dirty air destroyed my tyres. Unfortunately there was a very similar situation after the restart because I was passed by Jenson (Button), who was on supersoft tyres, and that cost me a lot of time. Sadly the Safety Car and the red flag ruined our strategy, which was to stop only once. When the race restarted we had our work cut out: I had pressure from behind and the Renaults and Williams ahead were very difficult to catch - I got close but couldn't really attack. In the end I had an issue with overheating brakes, probably because I spent most of the race in traffic, but we still managed to finish the race. It's not an ideal start of the season for me, especially after the good work we had done in qualifying yesterday, but we have to keep looking ahead and continue working hard."
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "The first race is always a bit of a step into the unknown, so getting some points on the board is a positive conclusion to a challenging weekend. Our strategy was shaping up very nicely with the plan to stop both cars only once, but the red flag reset the strategies of everyone around us and made our task much more difficult. Making our pit stops just prior to the safety car also cost us track position. Getting Nico back up to seventh place was a good recovery and he did an excellent job of containing Bottas and the Toro Rosso pair for most of the afternoon. Sergio's strategy was also undone by the red flag, even more so than Nico's because he dropped to the back of the midfield traffic jam and suffered with high tyre degradation. So a day of mixed fortunes for us, but at least we've got some points on the board and we are looking forward to Bahrain."
Jolyon Palmer (11th): "I think the team has done an incredible job this weekend to qualify in Q2 and then finishing the race in eleventh and twelfth; it's the maximum we could expect to achieve. It's a good start, we were so close to scoring points, and we can move forward from here. The race itself was busy but good fun; I absolutely loved being wheel to wheel again after a year out of racing. It was great to be back in the fray and it all went pretty smoothly for me. Happy days."
Kevin Magnussen (12th): "We have a really good car; the pace is strong, as is the baseline set-up. It's something we can continue to work from and evolve to gain more performance. Today was pretty tough at the start as I was really gutted about the puncture. I don't think I had any contact so it was really unfortunate. You never want to see a red flag incident, and it's a positive statement that Fernando could walk away from that dramatic crash, but the restart did benefit us. Our pace after the restart was very promising so I'm excited for the next races."
Fred Vasseur, Racing Director: "Today was very encouraging for the team as we showed good race pace and a good base to build on. We need to take a look at our qualifying pace to get us further up the grid and hopefully start to get some good results as it would have been much better to score points today! Both Kevin and Jolyon did a very good job, it was a shame to have Kevin suffer from a puncture but the rest of the afternoon went well, especially for a first race."
Bob Bell, Chief Technical Officer: "It was a very credible first race from the team with everyone gelling and performing at a high standard. We had a trouble-free weekend, made the most out of the new qualifying format then the race was managed well with the only upset being Kevin's puncture. Both drivers drove well and the car even looked a little racier than expected. We didn't score points today but we weren't far off. That's definitely the next target."
Carlos Sainz (9th): "I'm not entirely happy with today's result because I think we could've scored more points with the car we have, but I did everything I could to finish as high up as possible... To finish in P9 is frustrating. The race was a bit of a chaos, so it was difficult to get it all right. After the red flag things got interesting and even though it's not the easiest of tracks to overtake, I was able to do some good moves - some of them were quite tough! I did my race and I think we put on a good show. I enjoyed it out there but I think we deserved to end up higher up instead of going backwards after qualifying in P7 yesterday."
Max Verstappen (10th): "Quite a frustrating afternoon. We had a great start to the race and were able to keep the Mercedes behind. The first pit-stop was also good. We had great pace and I didn't have pressure from behind, but after the red flag we had a bit of a miscommunication for the second stop and it got very difficult. We have a fantastic car and to finish P10 here is not where we should be. I'm very disappointed as this was a great opportunity for us to get a very good result. Now we just need to focus on the next race and try and score more points than today."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Both drivers did a good start. Max came back from the first lap in 4th position, Carlos was 7th. We kept a fast pace in this first stint. Carlos' pit-stop went well, by undercutting Massa. After the red flag, when the race was restarted, Max was 5th and Carlos 6th. But in the following laps we lost the pace. Carlos had a lot of front locking. Therefore we called him for an early pit stop. We changed our strategy and sent him out on medium tires. Within the next three laps also Max came into the pits, but the team was not prepared for this stop, as we did not call him. Therefore he lost 7 seconds, which put him in 12th position. This result is very disappointing for us, as we had the speed to finish in a much better position. The only positive aspect is the knowledge that the STR11 is very competitive."
Felipe Nasr (15th): "Overall it was a difficult race for us. We struggled with our pace compared to our competitors. It was clear during the race that I could not keep up with the cars in front of me. It was good that we could gain important data from the C35, and we need to analyse every detail to find performance in the car. We have to improve the C35 in different areas. I think we have a lot of work ahead of us."
Marcus Ericsson (DNF, Vibration): "It was not a good day. When the race was interrupted, I had an issue with one tyre warmer on the pit lane. It could not be removed as quickly as usual, so I got a drive through penalty for that. After the race resumed, I felt that something was wrong with the left rear tyre, so I went back to the garage. Sometimes these things can happen. We will look into it to be in a better shape for the next race weekend in Bahrain."
Jenson Button (14th): "I'm really glad Fernando was able to walk away from that accident - I'm sure he'll remember that one for a few weeks. It's amazing how far these cars can be catapulted when they touch tyres; under braking, it can all happen very quickly when it goes wrong. But the fact that his car survived shows how far the sport has come in terms of safety. My car wasn't too bad, but I think we made some imperfect strategic calls this afternoon. Also, the red flag hurt us because we'd already made our first stop. Then, after the restart, we ran the Supersoft - which lasted about 10 laps - and then fitted the Back-Up, which everyone else had been on since the restart. Around here, you can catch up but you can't easily overtake, so we ended up at the back of the queue after making our stop."
Fernando Alonso (Accident): "I'm thankful I'm alive and that nothing serious happened - it was a big shunt. A combination of factors caused Esteban [Gutierrez] and me to end up crashing. I was in the car flying and bouncing around - I could see the sky, then the ground, then the sky again. Then, when the car landed, I saw a little gap and I got out quickly to make sure that my mum, who was watching the race on TV at home, could see that I was okay! It was a racing incident - I'm very happy we're both fine, which is the most important thing. But, soon afterwards, my thoughts switched to frustration and disappointment, because we missed an opportunity to get some points in the first race of the season, and we probably lost a power unit too because the car is more or less completely destroyed. We risk our lives every time we get in a Formula 1 car: these things happen, but I'm extremely happy to be okay. The reason I'm still alive is probably thanks to all the fantastic work the FIA has done over the past 10 or 15 years to improve safety, work they continue to do. And I'm also grateful to everyone at McLaren, who built me such a strong and safe car."
Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "Before I say anything else, I want to praise two things: the structural integrity of modern-day Formula 1 cars, and the safety features of modern-day racetracks. Fernando's shunt was a big one, and the fact that he was able to walk out of his car after such a heavy impact is impressive indeed. He visited the FIA medical centre immediately after the accident, and was formally okayed by the doctors there. He'd been driving extremely well at the time, and we believe he may well have scored points had his race run its normal course. Moving on to Jenson, ironically, it was the Safety Car and then the red flag triggered by Fernando's accident that compromised his race strategy, preventing him from being able to drive for a points-scoring finish himself. Tyre degradation was also a problem for him this afternoon. However, all in all, despite the fact that we scored no points here in Melbourne today, we're quietly encouraged by the progress we've made over the winter, and we firmly believe that, given a less confused qualifying session and an incident-free race, we'll be in a position to score points in grands prix to come."
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda: "First of all, I am relieved that both Fernando and Esteban walked away uninjured from their accident. Our overall pace during the race was solid, but unfortunately Jenson lost out to the red flag caused by the crash. As the majority of drivers switched tyres during the track clean-up, sadly Jenson had already pitted four laps before. Unfortunately he struggled with his tyres throughout the race, and was unable to regain any of the positions. I am pleased that throughout this weekend's practice sessions and qualifying, we were able to see the improvement of the whole package. However, it was a disappointing to not be able to prove our progress through race results."
Pascal Wehrlein (16th): "First of all it's great to finish my first race and thanks to the team for that. I got a fantastic start and I was very happy to find myself in 15th place at the end of the opening lap. That first half of the race was really strong and I was pushing hard on the Supersoft and then the Soft. It was great to be as high as 13th at one point and to be racing with Sauber. Things turned for me after my first stop, which happened just before the red flag. Our plan was to have a short stint on the Supersoft which meant we pitted for the Soft not long before the crash, so that was a major setback because many of the other cars still hadn't stopped. After that, everyone ahead started to pull away from me and because we were struggling with tyre degradation I couldn't do anything about it. Towards the end I had a braking issue, so I just had to focus on getting to the flag. We've all learned a lot this weekend and everyone is working well together, so we've made a good start and now we have to push hard to improve."
Rio Haryanto (DNF, Driveline): "My race was short but really positive. I made a good start, the pace was strong and I was happy with the way I was managing the gap to the cars around me. Obviously I'm disappointed not to finish my first Grand Prix but I know the team are disappointed this happened. Everyone is really starting to work well together so I'm sure we'll be on top of things for Bahrain. It's been a mixed weekend; some positives, some things we need to learn from. Problems aside, my debut weekend was really special and the support I've had from the crowd here and everyone back in Indonesia has been incredible. I hope for a better reward for us in Bahrain."
Dave Ryan, Racing Director: "On one hand, we can take some real positives from our first race of the season. It's clear we've made a good step forward from last year and the pace in the early part of the race showed the potential in the package. At the same time, we've learned a lot about where we need to improve. Pascal did a great job and was flying in the first half of the race. Rio also got a good start and was managing the cars around him really well. After the red flag things took a turn for the worse, starting with the problem that led to Rio's retirement. We let him down today so reliability will be our highest priority ahead of Bahrain and at the same time, we have to look at where we've lost out in performance terms. We've struggled with the tyres and that was a big factor for Pascal in the second half of his race. Operationally there's also work to be done. Credit to the drivers, who can be pretty proud of the job they've done here with a lot of pressure on young shoulders. There's a good opportunity to improve now ahead of Bahrain and we'll leave no stone unturned when we're back at the factory."
Romain Grosjean (6th): "A very good day at the office. This feels like a win. For all the guys who worked so hard over the last few weeks, this is unbelievable. We were unlucky yesterday, but got a bit lucky today with the red flag. Still, we were able to hold off the Williams (Valtteri Bottas) and the Force India (Hulkenberg). We didn't have much set-up (time) on the car. It was a case of, off you go and see what happens. This is an unbelievable feeling. The guys did an amazing job and I told them, this is like a win for all of us. First race and here we are, P6. A happy day."
Esteban Gutierrez (Accident): "It's not the race I was hoping for. However, the most important thing is that Fernando and I are both OK. The car was handling well and the results show we can be very competitive. Romain did a great job for the team. To achieve points in our first race is fantastic. I'm now looking ahead and focusing on Bahrain. I can't wait to get back out racing."
Gene Haas, Owner: "A lot of people have contributed to this, so we have to thank all the people, starting with Guenther Steiner (team principal) who put all this together and kept pushing me to go out and try this. The Ferrari people have been excellent. They've helped us a lot. Dallara helped us build the chassis. We've got a great sponsor in Haas Automation. It's all great. There's a new F1 team on the block and it's an American F1 team, so we're real proud of that. But these other teams are pretty dang good at what they do. I wouldn't sit here and say we're going to be in front of them all the time, but today was a good day. Obviously, the chassis, aero, engine - they all work. That's what's really important. That's why we took the extra year to work on that. The car is a very stable platform. We've kind of known that since (testing in) Barcelona. There's been a lot of little gremlins and technical issues, but I think the fundamental chassis will be awesome for us. Grosjean had a heck of a challenge there. They made the decision to go on the mediums for 39 laps, so that was really pushing it. He basically didn't chew up his tires initially, so he was able to get 39 laps out of them. I think near the end he was starting to pick up time on the person behind him. Tire strategy, saving your tires, those are the kinds of things that make a driver a legend. Grosjean just drove his heart out and did everything he could to keep it up there and it worked out. When (Nico) Hulkenberg was behind him I thought he might catch him, but he held him off and we actually started to make some time. He was saving fuel near the end, so I think once we got to the last few laps and we started to push a little harder, the car really responded. This is racing. It's what we do for a living and, you know, it's cool. But I'll tell you, there'll be some bad days too, so we'll enjoy this one."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "First, the good thing is that Esteban and Fernando were not injured. It was unfortunate for our results, but I think a sixth-place finish makes up for it, and I'm sure Esteban will come back strong in Bahrain. Romain and the team did a great job and a big thanks goes to everyone for working so hard in the months leading up to our first race. Yesterday I said I was looking forward to the race, but to finish it in the points is a dream come true. Now we move forward and on to Bahrain."