Sakhir GP 2020
DECEMBER 6, 2020
Sunday Team Quotes
Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
Valtteri Bottas (8th): "It's been a really bad day for us. My start wasn't great, I had some wheelspin and didn't get a good getaway. George had a good start and could controlled the race from there. The beginning of my second stint looked quite promising, my pace was good and I started making up time on George. Without the Safety Car, I think George and I would have ended up having a nice battle towards the end. When we pitted under the Safety Car, there was some kind of mix up with the tyres and I ended up. I'm still not quite sure what happened, but I ended up leaving the pits on the same set of old Hard tyres that I was on before. That's obviously not an ideal stop; you lose positions and don't get fresh rubber, which then made it very tricky at the Safety Car re-start and I lost even more positions on the old tyres. It's always easy to criticise this afterwards but we're all in this together and normally the team is really bullet proof in those situations. So we will take a good look at this internally and see what we can learn from it. George did a great job today and was just really unfortunate - I think he could have otherwise won this race. Overall, it's been a difficult day for the team, but we'll be back on track in just a few days and I'll give it everything to end the season on a high."
George Russell (9th): "I don't quite know how to sum up the mixture of emotions I'm feeling at the moment. On the one hand, I'm proud of the job we did this weekend. I had a great group of people around me that was working very hard and diligently to get me prepared and ready for qualifying and the race. But today was absolutely gutting. I've had races before where I had a victory taken away from me, but it felt like that happened twice today, I still can't quite believe it. I had everything under control after the start and was managing the race, looking after my tyres and keeping the gap to Valtteri. Then we had that mess-up during the pit stop, I think there were some issues with the comms. That put us on the back foot, but I think we still could have won. And then the car was starting to feel a bit funny; I didn't want to believe it was a puncture, I just wanted to power through, but that obviously was not an option. I'm gutted, but also proud of what we have achieved and very happy to have had the opportunity to drive this car this weekend. Congratulations to Checo, he's been around for a long time and is a great driver and deserves to have a victory on his tally."
Toto Wolff, Team Principal: "Firstly, I want to say congratulations to Racing Point and Sergio on the victory, and Lance and Esteban for their podiums. It's great to see a refreshing new podium and they did a brilliant job. Overall, we messed up in a major way today. Obviously, it was looking good for us until the Safety Car running in a strong one-two, we were fine on the Hard tyre and could have stayed out, but we had the gap for a free stop and we took that opportunity. I think it was absolutely the right call, but it was a late one and we had a radio problem, which meant we didn't have the right tyres in the box. Which is why George exited with the wrong tyres and Valtteri left the pits on the same tyres he'd arrived with. Then we had to pit George again to correct the mistake. By then, the race was not lost and he battled back in an impressive way; but then he had the slow puncture and that dropped him back. These things can happen but obviously we need to investigate the problems, learn from them and move forward. It was heart-breaking for George after a monumental drive in his first race with Mercedes and he should have won. It didn't work out today, but I'm sure this isn't going to be his last attempt to win a race. For Valtteri, too, it was a difficult race and being on those old tyres at the end was hugely challenging. We'll make sure we learn from this weekend and come back stronger in Abu Dhabi."
Andrew Shovlin: "A frustrating result when we were looking very strong for a 1-2 finish and a win for George. The pitstop issues were linked to the way our radio system handles the priorities of messages which caught us out in a big way. As the safety car came out, we were calling for the crew to be ready, and for the tyres for each car to come into the pitlane. At the time that message was going out, another radio message for a very brief period prevented one of the key messages getting through to one set of tyre collectors. It's something that's been lurking in there and could have caught us out at any time over the past few seasons. The ensuing problems were all a function of this single issue and certainly not the fault of anyone in our pit-crew who have done a great job all year. That obviously caused huge damage to both driver's chances, both losing positions and Valtteri not even getting the fresh rubber we'd planned to fit. George did a great job fighting back through the field, but it was clear his bad luck wasn't over when we spotted a slow puncture caused by debris in the final laps. We had no choice but to stop; however, he was determined to not give up and did a great job recovering into a points-scoring position and claiming fastest lap. We've still got some work to do unpicking the issues that caused our problems at the pit stop but we have time to do that properly before the next race and we'll be going to Abu Dhabi focused on finishing the season with a good result."
Sebastian Vettel (12th): "Today we didn't have a very exciting race. I really fought hard trying to get a good result but in the end it was very difficult. I was defending today rather than attacking. Even at the end, when I had a small advantage in terms of tyres it was not easy at all, so for me it was a bit of a boring race. We tried to do something different going quite long in the first stint and then fitting Hard tyres. From then on, I tried to look after the tyres and drive sensibly, but I don't think that it made a difference today."
Charles Leclerc (DNF, Accident): "It was a shame to be out of the race on the first lap. I was on the inside of Max, a bit behind, and I tried to go side by side with him to the first corner and tried to brake a bit later. I had seen Checo in front of me but expected him to stay round the outside of Valtteri, which didn't happen because he braked a bit earlier than Valtteri and came back towards the inside of the corner. As soon as I saw him coming back, I braked but it was too late as I locked up my front wheel and collided with him. I am not putting the blame on anyone else, if anyone is to blame, it's me. Of course I am disappointed and it will be good to be back in the car in just a few days so that I can put this race behind me."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal: "Charles' race ended after just four corners when he collided with Perez, whom we congratulate by the way for his first Formula 1 win. The Stewards investigated the incident and have imposed a three place grid penalty on Charles for the next race in Abu Dhabi, so that ends any discussion about the rights or wrongs of it all. As for Sebastian, it's a shame we could not get a single point out of such a crazy race. We have to look ahead, get this season done and then concentrate fully on next year. While it was a disappointing day for the Scuderia, it went very well for the Ferrari Driver Academy. Mick Schumacher took the Formula 2 title and we also had Callum Ilott in second place and Robert Shwartzman fourth. In Formula Regional, Gianluca Petecof won the title ahead of Arthur Leclerc. Out of 91 races across F2, F3, F.Regional and F4, our guys won 20 and were on the podium 59 times. These are amazing statistics that show what a great job our Academy is doing, as is the fact that Mick, Callum and Robert are all taking part in what is known as the Young Driver Test on 15 December in Abu Dhabi."
Red Bull Racing
Alexander Albon (6th): "It was a very strange and scrappy race and I'm not really sure how it all unfolded but climbing from 12th to sixth isn't too bad but we hoped for more today. We expected to be slow on the straights and we only just about to managed to stay with the other cars when we had DRS but it was so hard to overtake and I was having to dive bomb into Turn One to get the moves made. It was very hard to race with the configuration of downforce we had, and we were quick in parts of the track like sector two where you just can't overtake. Now it's full focus on Abu Dhabi in a few days' time."
Max Verstappen (DNF, Accident): "I had a good start but got boxed in so was trying to stay out of trouble but everyone around me was being so aggressive and risking things like it was the last lap of the race. Especially Charles going up the inside at Turn 4 and braking so late when the track is so dusty. I understand he wanted to pass a car but it was just too optimistic. I respect Charles a lot and he is a great driver but I think that was a bit too much. Checo couldn't see what was happening on the inside, Charles hit him and then he was spinning backwards across the track. I tried to go around the outside to avoid any damage to my car but ended up in the gravel and then the barrier. It's frustrating to retire so soon in a race where we had a racy car and a good chance of doing well."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "An incredibly frustrating end to the weekend with Max's race being cut short on the opening lap through no fault of his own. He managed to avoid Valtteri who had a slide at Turn 2 which cost him a lot of momentum and then unfortunately Leclerc misjudged his braking and hit Perez. Max was forced to take avoiding action and subsequently hit the barrier, which was a great shame as he would have been a real contender for the win today. Alex survived contact in the opening lap but struggled for pace in the initial stint. He pitted for the hard tyre which he seemed more comfortable on and we then took a bit of a risk under the last safety car to put the soft tyre on which he used to good effect to move up to P6. It was an entertaining race for the fans at home and congratulations to Racing Point and Sergio Perez for their first victories in Formula One."
Renault Sport Formula One Team
Esteban Ocon (2nd): "What a race! We made it, we're on the podium and it's a fantastic feeling. It was awesome and all the emotions left my body when I crossed the line. I definitely cried and I'm proud to say it. That moment, crossing the line, I'll remember it forever. The team executed the race really well, we had strong pace, and I had some fun out there with some overtakes too. It's been a tough season but we kept believing in ourselves and that's rewarded with this amazing feeling. Keep believing and it will come at some point! We've progressed massively this year and next week it's back to it to focus on ending the season as best as we can."
Daniel Ricciardo (5th): "It's an amazing result for the team and congratulations to Esteban for getting his first ever podium, it was a really strong race by him and his side of the garage. For me it was slightly disappointing as we could have done even better than fifth. I was happy with my start and I felt like there was a lot of opportunity being in fourth after lap one. We then boxed and lost ground to Kvyat and stayed behind him for a while. We managed to get back ahead after the second stop but there wasn't much I could do in the DRS train. We go at it again next weekend and try finish the season strong."
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director: "If a result like today is a team effort, it's clearly one for Esteban. I am very, very happy for him that he can also experience for himself the good vibes that we've been having since the summer shutdown when the team's progression has accelerated. We've had two podiums with Daniel and this time round it was with Esteban and we are all very grateful for that. His weekend was strong, the only challenging moment was in Q2 when we failed to progress into Q3. But that actually may have helped with the free starting tyre choice. From that point onwards, he drove a very strong race, managing to preserve the tyres at the start, be aggressive when it mattered and defending very well at the end against faster cars. There is a feeling that maybe we could have done a bit better with Daniel, which would have helped a bit our Constructors' Championship situation. We'll give our maximum in Abu Dhabi next weekend with the particular double thought and motivation of our last race with Daniel and as Renault F1 Team."
Haas F1 Team
Kevin Magnussen (15th): "We were just slow today, there was no chance for us to do anything. We weren't able to compete; the pace just wasn't there for us. No matter what happened in the race we'd have needed a lot of people to not finish to be able to reach the points. It was a tough race, you always hope something can happen, but it didn't today. We'll look at everything tonight and see if there are any positives we can take from the day."
Pietro Fittipaldi (17th): "I'm happy to have finished my first grand prix – that was the goal. I had a good battle at the end with Jack (Aitken), and I had Kevin (Magnussen) in front of me as well. It was good to get some action in there. My pace was quite good from mid-race through to the end. At the restart I was trying to fight, but I was conscious at the same time that the goal was to finish. I've learned a lot for my next race, that's the most important thing. It's very difficult nowadays to make it to Formula 1 but I can say I've finished a Formula 1 race. I'm thankful to the team for the opportunity."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "We finished the race with both cars without any major drama. We're not happy with the positions we've finished the race in, but we know we have to improve everywhere. Pietro (Fittipaldi) did a good job in his first race having not driven a Formula 1 car in a year. He drove a solid race; he couldn't have done much more – the same goes for Kevin (Magnussen). We now look forward to the final race of the season and then a well-earned winter break."
McLaren F1 Team
Carlos Sainz (4th): "Argh! This is a very bitter fourth place. The podium was very very close the whole way but unfortunately, we couldn't make it happen. The start was obviously eventful, and I managed to squeeze into P3. That first stint on the Soft was super strong. It was a close call between strategies, and we went for the two stops. After the last Safety Car, the Mercedes stuck behind Stroll was not very helpful and I think I lost one lap too many. I managed to get past him and hunt down Stroll to the end, missing the podium by a small margin. I drove my heart out there today and did everything I could to get it. It's frustrating, but at the same time we've been beaten by cars that were a bit luckier today and also a bit faster the whole weekend. So, we can't be too disappointed, and we need to keep pushing until the last chequered flag. Congratulations to Checo on his first win, I think he deserves it. On to Abu Dhabi!"
Lando Norris (10th): "Today was tough. We had a really good first lap and got into P10 within the first few corners which was nice, but after that it was extremely difficult. We didn't have great pace and I just had to try to stay where I was, which was still good enough for a point but nothing more. A tough one and we've got some improvements to make next time, but it was a good recovery from the back of the grid."
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: "This morning we would've happily taken P4 and P10, but in the final analysis it is a disappointing outcome, with our competitors in the Constructors' Championship both scoring heavily today. Carlos drove a great race and maximised everything in our hands. Lando had a very strong opening lap and was in a position to fight for some good points, but unfortunately we couldn't extract the same performance as we could with Carlos's car due to an issue with the car. This is something we need to investigate. Thank you to the entire team here at the track and back home for the hard work. One more race to go, next weekend in Abu Dhabi. The team – together with our colleagues at Renault – will dig deep and give it our all to finish the season strongly."
Racing Point F1 Team
Sergio Perez (1st): “It’s still sinking in that I’ve won the race; I’m almost afraid to get too excited in case I’m dreaming! I’ve dreamed about this moment so many times. It’s taken 10 years to get to this point in Formula 1. There’s been a lot of hard work throughout my career and it’s not just been me, but my family and sponsors too. Success for Mexico in Formula 1 has been rare, so I will never forget the moment of seeing the Mexican flag on the podium, it was an incredible moment for me and my family. It was an unbelievable race. We made such a good start to battle with Max [Verstappen] and Charles [Leclerc] and then I got hit and I was thinking ‘this can’t be happening again!’. We were lucky not to pick up any more damage too. We didn’t give up and we pitted to go onto the medium tyre. I then had a lock-up under the safety car and flat-spotted one of my tyres. The vibration became so bad it was hurting my hands to grip the steering wheel and I thought we might have to pit again – but the team told me to stay out. The feeling in the car got much better and the medium tyre stint ended up being crucial to our win. When we stopped for a second time and got onto the hard tyre, it felt like a limousine to drive! It was so smooth and we had some great pace. I was able to overtake Lance and then get past Esteban. Obviously, the Mercedes had some problems, but I think we had enough pace in hand to hold George off – our simulation showed that you needed to be significantly faster to get by. Luck or not, we had a tremendous race today and we won on merit. I was crying behind the wheel and speechless for a while but it’s an incredible result for the team. Well done to Lance for getting on the podium too. I can’t wait to celebrate with the team! We have one race left and we’re determined to hold onto P3 at the end of the season.”
Lance Stroll (3rd): “It’s a great result but a little part of me is a bit disappointed because I think I had the potential to win the race. After the first lap, we were in P6 and I knew we had a chance at a podium. I think we perhaps pitted a lap too late and that allowed Esteban [Ocon] to get ahead – but only after a really great battle until the exit of Turn 3 when he got the DRS effect. I didn’t have the pace to get by Esteban and then I was also a little late on the DRS, which helped Checo get by at Turn 4. I braked a little too late and he was then past me. It’s one of those things, but the important thing is the team result. I’m delighted for the team and so happy for Checo. He’s been a part of this team for a long time. He’s been running up at the front so many times in his career and he totally deserves a victory. It’s an unbelievable result for the team to get both cars on the podium and it’s exactly what we needed to bounce back from last weekend. We’ve had a great car all season and it was really strong this weekend and we delivered when it matters. I’m really excited about our potential and we’ll be looking to end the season on a high in Abu Dhabi.”
Lawrence Stroll: “When we took over this team, we knew we were taking over an operation that has always punched above its weight and delivered on a much smaller budget than our rivals. Today’s result isn’t a huge surprise considering this team in the past was able to deliver P4 in the Constructors’ Championship in back-to-back seasons. When I arrived, it was about giving the team the funding it deserved and working with the outstanding core staff to allow the team to continue to flourish. The 400-plus members of the team can be hugely proud of their efforts and we’ll continue expanding to ensure this outfit continues to be competitive and in the hope that we celebrate more days like today in the future! Checo drove an exceptional race and he has been a hugely important part of the team’s history, while Lance also drove very well to ensure the double podium.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: “What an incredible day for the team: we delivered under pressure to get a massive result. Not many teams and drivers can say they went from P18 to P1, but we certainly can! Checo bounced back from the lap one crash and after his lock-up on his new mediums under the safety car, we managed the situation with him and overcame the vibration to keep him out on track. That proved crucial to our chances of winning. Both sides of the garage did a superb job and Lance drove incredibly well to get P3. It’s another podium for Lance and he’s still a young driver who's constantly improving. Checo’s win puts him back in P4 in the Drivers’ Championship, which I think speaks volumes. With his and Lance’s points, we are in better shape for the Constructors’ Championship battle for third with one race remaining. Today has been a huge team effort and we really demonstrated that this week. After a really tough weekend last time out with both cars damaged, the boys and girls back at Silverstone delivered by working day and night to ensure we had all the parts we needed for this weekend. That’s what Formula 1 is all about: it’s teamwork. But for now, there’s a great Mexican restaurant at the hotel, we’ll be celebrating with Checo and Lance before heading to Abu Dhabi!”
Alfa Romeo Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi (13th): "P13 was probably the maximum we could achieve on the night so to finish in front of our rivals and just behind a Ferrari is what we have to take home. Overtaking was very difficult, even though we seemed to be quick enough in the corners, and in the end we couldn't really take any advantage out of the late safety car. Hopefully we can be a bit more competitive next week and finish the season well."
Kimi Raikkonen (14th): "It was a difficult night in which we probably got as much as we could have hoped for, given the circumstances. I had a good start but had to go wide outside of turn two, hit the kerb and lost the rear. I lost two places there but in the end it made no difference for the end result. The car felt really similar to last week: it was good with fresh tyres but the pace fell off as the stint went on."
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "We kept our cool in a race where many others made mistakes, but in the end that was not enough to bring home some points. Besides Kimi's spin on the opening lap, neither drivers nor team did much wrong and to bring home the cars in P13 and P14, behind a Ferrari, is probably as much as we could achieve tonight. Antonio had good pace throughout the race, but on this track it was quite difficult to overtake and he couldn't really express it to the fullest. We can still find something more and hopefully finish the season strongly in Abu Dhabi next week, so that we can carry this momentum into the winter break."
Red Bull AlphaTauri Honda
Daniil Kvyat (7th): "This was a very good weekend for me and I was hoping for an even better result today - when the safety car came out I thought 'this isn't great timing for us' but still, 7th is not bad. We did everything right today as a team, I had a perfect Quali yesterday, I drove really well for an almost perfect race today and I'm very happy with my performance. It was a strongly executed race and the best weekend of the year for me. The pace was there and we were close to the top of the midfield, there was one point where it was Carlos, myself and Ricciardo separated by just a couple of tenths, it was very on the edge and entertaining. It's great to bring home some much-deserved points."
Pierre Gasly (11th): "It was a very tough race today. We lacked pace and I just didn't manage to do what I wanted inside the cockpit, I struggled with the rear and had a lot of understeer. In addition to that, we were also pretty unlucky with the timing of the virtual safety car. It was a crazy race and looking at the final podium, there were big opportunities today and it's just a shame not being able to be in the mix for this fight. We need to have a look at the data to understand why it was so different today in comparison to Friday and what we could have done better, to try again and finish the season on a high in Abu Dhabi."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Both cars had a good start and we finished the first lap with Daniil in P5 and Pierre in P7. The first stint on the Option went as expected, we decided to pit both drivers on lap 26 and change to the Prime tyre. The drivers reported some understeer but nevertheless, the pace was reasonably good. We then stopped them again to move onto the Base tyre. We were a bit unlucky here, especially with Daniil, pitting just before the virtual safety car, and as a consequence, we lost a position to Ricciardo. Daniil's pace was good at this point, but Pierre on the other side wasn't happy with the car, so we will need to investigate the reason for this. Unfortunately, he was only able to finish P11. Daniil drove a fantastic race, one of his best races with us, fighting for seventh position. He wasn't able to catch Albon, but he could keep Bottas behind. I think his seventh position is something the team deserved, we had the speed to be within the top seven, maybe even fifth or sixth with a bit more luck. As for the strategy, it was a disadvantage for us to start with the Option tyre because the cars in front were on the Primes, giving them the choice of a one-stop strategy. However, this was, in general, a good weekend for us and we're looking forward to the final race in Abu Dhabi, where we hope to bring home some more points."
Claudio Balestri, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Performance: "Today's race was a good example of how tight the midfield battle is. After the first safety car, we were P5 with Daniil and P7 with Pierre, the pace was good on the first stint on the Option, then we fitted Prime tyres on both cars and the pace was still competitive. Monitoring the performance of the Hard compound on other competitors' cars, we decided to also fit the Hard tyre for the last stint. The deployment of the virtual safety car and the safety car helped cars running on a one-stop strategy, which wasn't an option for us. Today we have shown good pace, especially with Daniil. He did a solid race finishing P7. On the other side of the garage, Pierre was unfortunately just outside of the points finishing P11. Now we need to switch our thoughts on the preparation for the last race of this unprecedented season in Abu Dhabi."
Jack Aitken (16th): "I have mixed emotions and I am a bit gutted by the mistake, I think we were doing a pretty good job up until then. I was trying to get up to speed and follow the guys through in front of me. We were on the option tyre which was working out pretty well for us. I have learnt a lot this weekend, and there are a lot of positives to take away. The single lap pace came on a really long way in such a short space of time, and our race pace was good as well. If I do step in again next weekend, I will be looking to do an even better job."
Nicholas Latifi (DNF, Oil leak): "We think it was a suspected oil leak, so I was told to stop the car right away. It is obviously disappointing as we were running a strong race up until then in P13. We were looking quite comfortable; we still had a lot of the race to go and you never know what is going to happen. It is frustrating but the reliability has been pretty strong, and we have barely had any issues this season. I can't fault anyone; it is just a shame but that is motorsport sometimes."
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: "Until Nicholas had to retire with a suspected oil leak, he was driving very well and was able to manage comfortably the gaps to the Alfa Romeo and Haas cars and for a while he was in a race with Vettel, following a slow Ferrari pitstop. We are currently investigating the cause of his issue and we apologise to Nicholas for the retirement. Jack was driving very well and was able to stay ahead of Raikkonen whilst chasing down Magnussen. Unfortunately, in doing so he span the car at the last corner, damaging the front wing. Fortunately, he was able to recover straight to the pit lane, and although his arrival caught us a little by surprise, the crew were able to service his car and get him back into the race. His pace in the final stint was good and he was able to regain position over Fittipaldi and again chase down Magnussen. Although our final result was disappointing, there are positives to take away with Nicholas showing good pace throughout and Jack completing his first F1 race. He learned a lot today, raced well and gained a lot of race operational experience, all of which will serve him well in the future."