Mexican GP 2016
OCTOBER 30, 2016
Sunday Team Quotes
Lewis Hamilton (1st): "This weekend I've had really good pace. The car felt really strong from start to finish - night and day compared to last year. I had a good start - but it's such a long way down to Turn One that everyone just got the tow on me. The right front brake disc had glazed on the formation lap and I couldn't un-glaze it. I thought it might be okay - but when I hit the brakes it just locked up as the temperature came up and I went flying across the grass. I was lucky to get across and rejoin on the other side of the track. I had a big flat spot - and I mean seriously big. I could barely see the end of each straight with the vibrations and I genuinely didn't know if my suspension was going to last. I was really lucky not to catch it again and either destroy the tyre or have to come in for an early stop. Luckily, I got it under control and was cruising from quite early on. It's kinda crazy to think I now have 51 wins. It's a shame these results are coming so late in the season - possibly too late. You can look back at say that maybe if Malaysia didn't happen then I'd be in a different position right now. But that's motor racing. All I can do is my best and hope things go as they have done for the past two weekends. History has shown that it's never too late - that's why I keep pushing and doing everything I can to repeat weekends like this. I hadn't won here before so it's a great feeling to do that in front of this incredible crowd. Now my sights are fully set on Brazil. I've never won there either - but if I can take this kind of performance into the next weekend I'll be in a good position. Ultimately, as long as I feel I did the best I could in these final races, I can be happy at the end of the season."
Nico Rosberg (2nd): "The Mexican fans were really outstanding again. I got goose bumps already in the stadium before the race at the driver's parade. But then, when the people were calling my name on the podium, that was the most emotional moment of the weekend. Thank you to everybody who made this event possible and to every Mexican fan who made their way today to the track today. Checo Perez and Esteban Gutierrez can be really proud of their countrymen. I had a tough race today. At the start I had a good getaway and thought I would be able to take the lead from Lewis, when I saw he had a massive lock up and went straight through the grass. Then, suddenly, Verstappen hit me heavily after he had a lock up too and forced me off the track. Luckily my car wasn't damaged and it didn't cost me a position. Lewis was that little bit quicker today, so I didn't manage to achieve my goal and win here again. But being second is not too bad overall. Now I look forward to flying home after two long weeks and relaxing a bit with my family, ready to come back stronger in Brazil and go for the win there. I think the Interlagos track suits our car much better, so I'm looking forward to going there and seeing what we can do."
Paddy Lowe: "A fantastic day. This is one of the best crowds of the year and I hope we provided terrific entertainment for them - particularly at the end of the race. It's incredible to have our drivers on the top two steps here after a weekend with such close competition. It was a great drive from Lewis to take the win. There was a great deal of stress for us at the beginning of the race after he flat spotted a tyre at the first corner. The vibrations and corresponding suspension loads were above permitted limits. I remember painfully Kimi's suspension failure in 2005 in similar circumstances. In this situation we knew that taking a precautionary pit stop would ruin Lewis' race and potentially his Championship, so we chose to cross our fingers and run him to the first stop, which we took a little bit early because of that issue. From then on it was quite straightforward on his side of the garage and he managed the race well from the front. Nico struggled a little bit more for pace and had a few scary moments with the challenge from Max and time loss through back markers. But he kept his head and got to the flag with a good margin in the end to take a well-earned P2 after a tricky weekend for him. A great job all round by the team and the drivers to get a perfect result at this fantastic race. A word too for Tony Walton, our Spares Co-ordinator, who represented the team on the podium today. Tony has been a part of the race team for 17 years and is now taking a factory-based job with us and a well-earned break from the tough business of travelling. It was great to have him up there today and a thoroughly fitting send off. Finally congratulations to Lewis for matching the 51 wins of Alain Prost. I have had the privilege to work with both of these great World Champions. so that is a very special statistic to appreciate."
Toto Wolff, Technical Director: "Maybe that race looked straightforward from the outside but it really wasn't from within the team. It all began at Turn One when Lewis flat spotted his front right tyre under braking. That gave us a really tough call to make because we could see the vibrations getting worse and some of the peaks he was hitting were pretty scary. In any normal race we would have pitted him because of the risk of tyre failure or maybe worse but of course today that stop would have cost him the Championship. We had a lot of debate with the engineers, balancing the positive and negative aspects of the decision, and we were monitoring the numbers every single lap. But in the end, some of Lewis' bad luck this year got cancelled out today by making it through this situation and we pulled him into the pits as early as we could to make the one-stop strategy work. From there, he was able to control his pace all the way to the end, in spite of some high exhaust temperatures that meant we were juggling with engine modes to look after everything properly. For Nico, it was a bit tougher today as he was at risk from the Red Bulls through the race. Under some big pressure, he didn't put a foot wrong, kept a cool head and finished in a very solid second position, managing the same temperature issues as Lewis in the final laps. Overall, it was a great day, with Lewis showing he is one of the greats of our sport by equalling Prost's record of 51 wins. Congratulations to him for this incredible achievement. And now we head to Brazil with everything delicately poised. Lewis will keep fighting to the end but the championship is now in Nico's hands - a win in Sao Paulo could make him Champion. Our job is simple: to give the boys a perfect, fault-free car to battle it out on track and that will be the entire focus of our preparations."
Sebastian Vettel (3rd): "Today I think we did everything right, we had a very good pace. I think we could have even done better with a better position in Qualifying, but we can't change yesterday. We were very positive going into the day today, we knew that the speed was there, so we had good confidence for the race. We made the tires last longer than anybody else. We were quicker, so we put Verstappen under pressure: for sure it was not easy to pass, but he did a mistake, cut the track and didn't give the position back even if he was told to do so. About the fight with Daniel: I respect him a lot, it is never ideal when you touch. On my defense, I was fighting hard, and trying to give him some space, which I think I did."
Kimi Raikkonen (6th): "My start was not too bad and we were running quite ok. After the first pit stop, though, I struggled to get any good grip with the Mediums, so we thought maybe we should try and see if we could go back on track with a new set of the same tires: but to be honest I had no better grip at the rear. It was the first time I was running with these tires, maybe it's just how the tire is. Afterwards it's easy to say that probably it was not the right thing to do, but I'm happy that we tried. It was not easy to pass Hulkenberg, it's difficult when you get close and you have no grip. I don't know if we touched, I just saw him spin."
Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal: "Today could have felt special: we fully deserved this podium, which was taken away by bureaucracy. The whole team had showed great stamina by staying united and focused in a difficult moment. Our strategy had made it possible to make good progress through the race and both drivers did a very good job. Unfortunately, we were penalized by Stewards' unappealable decision which, in my opinion, is too harsh and somehow unfair."
Valtteri Bottas (8th): "As a team we did a good job today, with a strategy and tactics that worked as good as we could have hoped. We managed to make the one-stop strategy work, which was helped by perfect timing with the pitstops. Unfortunately Force India still have a bit more pace than us and that is why one of them was ahead of us today. Our battle with them is very close and we just need to make sure that we do an even better job next time in Brazil."
Felipe Massa (9th): "It was a really difficult race. I was really happy with the first lap because I made a lot of overtakes and got up to sixth. I stopped to put on the medium tyres and suffered on the first 15 laps with those, the same as in practice. Then, lap-by-lap I picked up the grip and fought for the whole race with Perez. It was really difficult to keep in front, but I pushed to the end and I'm so happy with the result. Even if we lost one point, we will keep fighting them, and that's what we're going to do until the last race of the season. I'm really looking forward to my next race at home, just being there and being with the Brazilian people will be amazing. I always try to fly the flag of my country as high as I can. I love my country and will never forget how special that weekend will be. I'm trying to enjoy all these amazing races recently, but I'm sure Brazil will be the best. To the Mexican fans - gracias. Thank you very much for all your support and I will never forget this weekend. It's amazing to see how much you love Formula One and motorsport. You will always be inside my heart."
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: "We went into the race with the plan of doing a one-stop, knowing that it would be close between that and a two-stop race depending on how long the medium tyre would last. We thought we were right on the limit when stopping with Felipe on lap 14, but in the end the degradation was very low, even negative. The medium tyres were getting better and better throughout the race and we even saw a couple of cars do 69-lap stints on them. Our strategy was the right one, the drivers both drove great races and the pitstops were really good. We had some new people on the pit crew this weekend and so it's great to see us still performing some of the fastest race stops. We lost a point to Force India but it remains very open between us with two races remaining, so we will be doing our utmost to get that fourth place back in the championship."
Red Bull-Tag Heuer
Daniel Ricciardo (4th): "Obviously I'm happy to get the points and I think that means third for me in the Drivers' Championship so I'm quite proud of that this year. Sure it would have been nice to get up on the podium and enjoy it but none the less that was the situation today. It was a fun race. Even though I was quite frustrated after the race with the incident and all that, I still had a lot of fun with that battle. And being the hunter at the end is so much more fun than driving around by yourself. The race came alive and obviously it became a bit spicy but it was a cool day. Sure I want to race and having penalties after the race isn't ideal, but I did feel today that it was called for. I committed to the move and he squeezed me. Racing should be tough and l don't expect being waved through but we talked about the moving under braking and that's on paper now. The only thing I'm disappointed of is not to be in the stadium in that moment but the podium is still up so I'll go and have a few photos with the guys."
Max Verstappen (5th): "When I went off the track towards the end I think it was pretty similar to Lewis on lap one, corner one. He went off and I felt he gained an advantage, I didn't even gain an advantage, I was ahead going into braking and when I came back on the track I was the same distance in front so I don't understand the penalty. I think it was a small bit of justice that the stewards made the decision to penalise Seb. It was clearly a wrong move which has been punished according to the rules. As long as we can stick to the rules every week then we won't have the frustration we felt after the race. I'm really happy for Daniel to get on the podium after a strong drive and it's a great result for the team. It makes our second position in the Constructors' Championship that little bit closer and I believe it confirms Daniel as P3 in the Drivers' Championship. After a bit of stress we end the weekend with smiles all round. I could have done with a few more laps on the supersoft to get me closer to overtaking Nico, but at the end of the day we were always going to struggle to overtake here due to straight line speed. At the end of the day the Mexican fans have been amazing once again, the atmosphere and noise was great."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "I'm glad to see the Stewards making the right decision regarding the Ricciardo-Vettel incident, and it extends our lead over Ferrari in the Constructors Championship to 62 points. It's been an interesting end to the Mexican Grand Prix, not one that anyone really wants to see, but I'm delighted for Daniel in having secured 3rd place in the Drivers' Championship, he's had an excellent season and deserves it. Daniel and Max have been driving brilliantly well, pushing each other on, they've both raised the bar and the level that they are operating at now is good to witness. We are looking forward to the final two races and it's encouraging to see we are getting closer and closer to Mercedes. For Max to be able to have a go at Nico today, having tailed him all the way through the race is really good news. We are chipping away and you are not seeing the margins Mercedes have had in previous years which bodes well not just for this year but for a more competitive Formula One in 2017."
Nico Hulkenberg (7th): "Definitely not a bad effort today and the best result we could hope for in regular circumstances. I made a great start, but once the pit stops were out of the way, it turned out to be quite a lonely afternoon for me. This allowed me to manage my tyres and my pace. At the end, the battle with Kimi [Raikkonen] was always going to be difficult, because he had a massive tyre advantage over me: I was surprised we could keep him behind for so long. I tried to defend as hard as I could on the inside, but braking on a dirty line with 60-lap-old tyres is quite tricky! He turned in on me and there was no way I could stop the car, so I forced it into a spin to avoid a crash. In the end, it was a good weekend: qualifying was my highlight and we've come away with a solid result today. We leave Mexico having strengthened our fourth place in the constructors' championship, so there is plenty to smile about tonight."
Sergio Perez (10th): "Even though I scored a point today, it was a very frustrating race being stuck behind the Williams cars and unable to overtake. I tried everything I could, but it's not easy because they had a straight-line speed advantage. There were a few occasions when I was very close to making the move stick on Felipe [Massa], but in the end it just wasn't possible. I think maybe we could have tried something different with the strategy because we underestimated the effect of the medium tyre, which turned out to have much more life than we expected. So perhaps we could have pitted earlier and run longer on the medium. That's something we need to analyse and understand if it would have made a difference to our result. Even with the tenth place today the fans were cheering for me. They are so loyal; always behind me and they have given me so much positive energy all week. Although I wanted to give them a better result, this has still been the most enjoyable race of the year."
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "Scoring seven points in Mexico is an excellent result after a very strong performance by the team all weekend long. The pace of the car was excellent and both drivers delivered what we needed. Nico was pushing hard in the closing laps to keep the Ferrari of Raikkonen at bay, but in the end seventh was the maximum result achievable. Sergio spent most of his race behind the Williams cars, but despite his best efforts he had to settle for the final point. It means we've increased our points' advantage in the constructors' championship with just two races to go. We also take encouragement from the pace we have shown in both qualifying and the race."
Jolyon Palmer (14th): "I think fourteenth is as good as we could have got from starting at the back, so I'm happy! I had some really good fights with the McLaren guys, which was good fun, and 70 laps on one set of tyres is probably some sort of record... It was a bit of a challenge but in the end we were still going okay; we were quick enough to keep our competitors behind. All in all, I'm pretty happy with today."
Kevin Magnussen (17th): "Last weekend a late stint on the super soft tyres worked really well for us but today it wasn't the same story. We just didn't seem to have the outright pace we needed on any of the tyres we used. It was a frustrating race for me. My first set of soft tyres dropped away as we expected but then we didn't seem to be able to maintain the pace on the medium tyres so we changed strategy to the super softs, but by then we were too far behind. I'm hoping that we can have a much better race in Brazil."
Fred Vasseur, Team Principal: "Jolyon had a strong race where we made the most of an aggressive strategy and pitted him very early under the safety car. He drove 70 laps on the same set of tyres and was very consistent to finish in front of some of our nearest rivals. He put in a robust defence of his position, in particular against both Jenson and Fernando. It was a very strong race for him. Kevin had a puzzling race as he was well-placed at the start but he struggled for pace whatever the tyres. We'll spend a lot of time checking the car and analysing the race to understand how we could have done better. For Brazil we certainly want both cars fighting for points."
Carlos Sainz (16th): "It just wasn't our day today... What a tough afternoon! During the laps to the grid I already felt that there was something wrong with the gearbox while downshifting, as well as with the brakes that kept overheating from the first lap onwards - we didn't have the pace today and these issues didn't help. If to all this you also add a 5-second penalty for impeding Fernando during Lap 1... It just became a very difficult race from the very start and it meant we were never going to finish in the points unfortunately. It's a shame, because we had a very good day yesterday, but this is racing and finishes like last Sunday in Austin don't happen every day!"
Daniil Kvyat (18th): "I'm quite happy with my race today, even if we finished P18 - I enjoyed a few very nice battles, did a couple of overtakes and had some fun. If I say the truth, I'd say that our pace today was just too slow to fight for higher positions, unfortunately. Regarding the 5-second penalty I was given, I have to say that there's just no consistency with these penalties... I disagree with mine, even though I will review the race and maybe then I change my opinion. We now have two more races left and we will try and do our best, you never know what can happen."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "This is not a result we expected, as Carlos was starting from P10, but during the race we simply had poor pace and we were therefore not in a position to fight for points. Carlos lost some performance in the second corner when he touched Massa and lost his front-wing end plate. From that point onwards he had less downforce, which also had a negative impact regarding the performance of the car. Later on, he got a penalty because of an incident with Alonso and this is the reason why we decided not to pit him again, because the end result wouldn't have improved if we had. Regarding Daniil, his first stint wasn't bad. He ended up getting stuck behind Nasr and couldn't overtake him, so we decided to pit him for a second set of soft tyres. From that point onwards he drove a strong and competitive race. For his final stint, we went for a bit of a gamble with the supersofts just in case there was a last-minute Safety Car, but it didn't happen in the end. We now look forward to the Brazilian GP that takes place in two weeks' time."
Marcus Ericsson (11th): "It was a strong race today. The collision at the start was unfortunate, and, to be honest, I was worried that it was going to be the end of my race after I was hit. I managed to get back to the pits to fit a new front wing. We also saw on the data that the car's floor had been damaged. We kept on going, and I managed to get back into the rhythm, so the pace was still good. Today we were close to the points, but just not close enough. We as a team take a lot of positives from this weekend. It shows again that we are taking steps in the right direction. We will fight back in Brazil."
Felipe Nasr (15th): "As I started the race on medium tyres, I was the only car on the grid to take an aggressive strategy. It was looking good on the first lap, as I was able to gain some positions, and also some of the competitors had started on soft tyres. I think I was unlucky with the safety car phase, which closed everybody back up together into a group. That did not help my strategy, but sometimes this is racing. Besides that, I had a damaged front wing as well as a turning vane, which compromised the lap times. Now it is time to think about the next race in Brazil. It is always a great feeling getting back home and racing in Interlagos."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "We can be very satisfied with our performance today. Finishing in P11 confirms that we are working in the right direction. With such a performance under these difficult conditions, the team should have been rewarded with a point today. Marcus again had another strong performance and Felipe took the maximum out of his strategy. We are very confident about the next two races."
Jenson Button (12th): "We did a one-stop strategy, but the problem for us - for everyone, I think - was that you just couldn't overtake. We lost so much time in the first 30 laps of the stint on the Back-Up [tyres] in traffic behind other cars. I was stuck behind Kevin [Magnussen], then Fernando, then Carlos, and then [Jolyon] Palmer. It was really difficult to overtake but I eventually got past them all - our pace was really good then - and we did as well as we could have done. Even if we'd had clear air ahead of us I still don't think we could have finished 10th though. The actual pace was good during the race, as I say, and I had some fun out there overtaking, and enjoyed some good fights, but it's just so difficult to pass here. You wouldn't think so with such a long straight, but out of the last corner you just can't stay close. When you do get past, you suddenly find the time, but in the process you've lost so much compared with the people who stopped on lap one. We could have stopped on lap one ourselves, but, when you're in 12th or 13th place, it's not a great position, but it's also not a bad enough position to say 'let's take a gamble' when you're potentially on the edge of the points. All in all, it was a really unusual race, and it's a pity because we could have finished a lot higher up had we gambled, but you don't know that in advance. It was still a fun race for me and I definitely got the best out of the car today - and that's all you can hope for."
Fernando Alonso (13th): "I guess we could have done a little bit better today, but unfortunately on the first lap we seemed always to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We also had a small incident, which put us in a difficult position as we were in traffic for the remainder of the race, as we sat behind Carlos [Sainz] for 40 laps or so. We also had a small problem in our second pit-stop, which didn't help. We had one tyre that lasted a long, long time and another that lasted much less long, so Jenson and I went for different strategies, but, even so, neither of us finished in the points. At the end of the day, when you have the pace everything is easier, so that's what we need to focus on."
Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "Clearly, when you qualify 11th and 13th, as we did yesterday, there isn't much to shout about when you manage to convert those starting positions to only 12th and 13th, as we did today. But this afternoon's race was a tough one for us, for many reasons. First, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodr‰ guez is a decidedly difficult circuit on which to overtake, as a result of which our drivers were held up behind Carlos's Toro Rosso for many laps; second, we were forced to down-tune Fernando's power unit during the race, which obviously handicapped him to some extent; and, third, there was a delay during Fernando's second pit-stop, which lost him a further two or three seconds. These things happen - that's racing - but it's always frustrating for driver and team alike when they do. Anyway, from here we move on to Sao Paulo, Brazil, whose famously undulating Interlagos circuit will present a very different set of challenges. Having won the Brazilian Grand Prix no fewer than 12 times in our history, which is more than any other team, we hope to fare better there than we did here, although a 13th Brazilian Grand Prix victory will of course be out of our reach. But we hope points will be possible."
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda: "Today's Mexican Grand Prix was very harsh on our team. Fernando had a hairy start, being pushed out onto the grass, and as a result backed up Jenson who was directly behind him. Neither car was able to gain positions as they often do at the start, therefore. Furthermore, after the first pit-stops, we were constantly stuck in traffic, whereby we weren't able to push into the points-scoring positions. I don't think we were able to show any of the team's strengths in the 71 laps today. We also had some issues with our power units, Fernando suffering from an anomaly in the ICE whereby we were forced to detune the output, and Jenson showed a temperature rise in the ERS whereby he wasn't able to use the maximum performance mode at the end of the race. I am mostly disappointed as it feels like we have unfinished business and couldn't challenge enough on the track. Now that the two long Americas back-to-back races are over, we'll go to our respective factories and gather data to analyse, and look to pull the team together and forward for the upcoming Brazilian race."
Esteban Ocon (21st): "Mexico won't go down as one of my favourite races of the season so far, which is a shame, because it's a great track and an amazing Formula 1 venue. Actually today was not as bad as the rest of the weekend by comparison, but we never really did overcome the problems we have experienced with the way my car was handling. In the end, I was just glad we made it to the finish. I hope the problems of the weekend were specific to this event. With a bit more investigation I'm sure we can understand them a little better and things will be back to normal for Brazil. This was a tense race for the team. There was nothing more I could have done today, especially as 20 other cars finished the race, so we need to make sure that in the next two races we're in a more stable position and better placed to create or respond to opportunities."
Pascal Wehrlein (DNF, Accident): "I couldn't believe it. It was heart-breaking, yes. We had a chance at a really strong race today and for that opportunity to be ripped away before we'd even begun was difficult to take. I got a great start, gained two places and I was up to 14th - then it was over. I was in front and when I turned in, Gutierrez hit me from behind. That's it. The impact launched me into the air and that pushed me into Marcus Ericsson. My suspension was broken and my race was over. I was on the outside, leaving a lot of space and that is a left and right chicane. I don't understand why you would risk so much there when it's such a long race. It's not the end to the weekend we deserved, but there are only good things to say about practice, qualifying and the way the team has performed here. We need to keep working at this level because from where I ended up watching the race, it made for very uncomfortable viewing. We have to do everything possible to secure our championship position and ensure that our result in Austria counts."
Dave Ryan, Racing Director: "Phew - talk about stress! We had 100 minutes of it on the pit wall this afternoon, starting with Pascal being punted out on the opening lap. Then we had to endure Ericsson's Sauber hovering just outside the points towards the last quarter of the race, while ahead of him several cars were getting very intimate with each other. There was every possibility of an incident of some sort elevating him into the points, but that's racing and that's what we're here for! For Pascal a very disappointing end to what had been a brilliant weekend and I'm sure that without the incident he would have had a very strong race. Esteban on the other hand has endured a difficult weekend and leading into the race we still hadn't managed to solve the handling issues he was suffering from. From that starting point he drove a creditable race and I'm absolutely sure we will be back on top of things for the penultimate race in Sao Paulo in two weeks' time."
Esteban Gutierrez (19th): "It was an incredible experience. We were pushing all the way, pushing all the limits we could with the car we had. I had to take care of the brakes as we were struggling with the cooling of them, so I had to brake a lot earlier than I would have liked to. This wasn't ideal when trying to fight your way up the grid, but it's the only thing we could do to finish the race. I wish we could have been able to deliver something better this weekend but, unfortunately, we were not able to this time. However, it was an amazing weekend - racing in my home country in front of all the Mexican people - and I really want to thank them because they've really made it a race to remember."
Romain Grosjean (20th): "We tried to change a few parts to analyze what was going wrong, but we really haven't found the problem yet. The car was just nowhere today. It was very difficult to handle and to drive. We didn't get anything right. We're experiencing inconsistency with lots of oversteer and understeer. I never knew what I was going to get out there. The car was pulling on the left under braking. It felt weird. It was just a very difficult day."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "It was a tough day and a tough weekend for us. We started on the wrong foot and it ended how it ended. Sometimes you have to go through bad experiences like this to be able to learn from them. I hope this is our only bad weekend of the year. We've got two more races to go. We'll get ourselves ready for those and get our spirits up again. We saw this coming on Friday, so today's result is not too unexpected. A race like this just makes it a long day."