Japanese Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 12 Oct 2008
Red Bulls David Coulthard, Force Indias Adrian Sutil and Toyotas Timo Glock on their early retirements in Japan; Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen on a race to forget for McLaren; and Fernando Alonso on making it two in a row for Renault. All 20 drivers report back on Sundays action
Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st):
Its still difficult to believe what we have done today! Winning in Singapore was unexpected, but we benefited from special conditions. Today we won again on a circuit that was not supposed to suit us. The team has really done a remarkable job to fight back this season and we are now the third strongest team. Its unbelievable and I am extremely happy this evening.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (2nd):
"My start was good but the clutch slipped a little, therefore Jarno Trulli was able to pass me on the straight. I then decided to take the inside line and braked very late, too late actually and I locked the front wheels. But then everybody went wide while I was more or less able to keep my line, and after the second corner I was in front. I then tried to pull away, but I couldn't. My tyres were graining and I lost time, particularly in the last sector. I was pushing as hard as I could, but after the pit stop, Fernando Alonso was in front of me and I was not able to match his pace. At the beginning of the final stint the tyres were graining heavily and my lap times were slow, so I came under strong pressure from Kimi Raikkonen and we had a great fight. At one point he was beside me in corner two, but I was on the inside, just didn't back off and was able to keep him behind. After a few laps the graining went away and I was able to run at my normal pace. It's a great result for the whole team at a time when it is not easy. We have been struggling a little bit recently and we were under pressure from some teams, so this second place is a real boost for our morale. Now we have nothing to lose, but everything is possible."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd):
"Even if third place has put an end to a run of poor results, I am a bit disappointed because today we had the means to win. At the start, I got away well but then, at the first corner, the two McLarens arrived too fast at the braking point and prevented me from turning in, taking me off the track. That lost me a lot of ground and I found myself in the middle of the pack. On top of that, the car was not quite right as I was hit by one of the McLarens: the steering was a bit light and there was other damage as well. I tried to do the best I could but I was not as quick as I'd hoped, especially in the second stint. Before the second stop, I closed on Kubica but I couldn't pass him in the pit stop because on my in lap I found myself behind Rosberg a lap down. Then I tried several times to attack Robert but he defended his position well. At one point, I did find myself slightly ahead of him going into turn 3, but I was on the outside and he did not give up the line so I had to go off the track. After that, I had a bit of graining and so I was not able to catch up again. In any case, I am happy to have brought home important points for the team."
Nelson Piquet, Renault (4th):
I am very happy with this great result for the team. I had a bit of luck at the start, but after that the car handled really well, I was on the pace, and I just had to remain concentrated and keep pushing. The team is having a really strong end to the season and I hope that is going to continue.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (5th):
"We have to be happy with that today but honestly I wanted to give a bit more both to the team and to all the Japanese fans who cheered us on. I was really hoping that we could make the podium but this fifth place was all that we could have done this afternoon. I gave everything from start to finish but we could not do any better today. We've been competitive all weekend and the car was good again in the race but the lower temperatures didn't help us. That meant that the car was slightly unbalanced. I tried to keep Piquet's Renault behind me but they were very quick today. Still, I'm glad to come away with some points to give the home support something to cheer."
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (6th):
At the first corner, I was forced to run wide as there was an incident on the inside, losing a lot of places. After that it was difficult to fight my way back. Nevertheless, getting both cars in the points is a strong showing from us, even if we could have been looking for a few more points today. Two more races to go: I hope to add to our total in both of them.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (7th):
"A strange race with everything that happened on track. In the end, seventh place is definitely not a disaster given that my closest rival failed to score points. At the start, I got away well and had passed Alonso and Kovalainen. Then Hamilton braked over the limit and I found myself sandwiched between one car on the inside and one on the outside and all I could do was brake and stay behind. I think the duel that followed with Hamilton was hard but fair and the drive-through really penalized my race. In the second part, on the hard tyres, the car was flying, which is very encouraging for the next races. As for the incident with Bourdais, I think there's little to say: I had already entered the turn and he hit me from behind, spinning me round. In the duel with Webber I saw a space down the inside and went for it. He moved over on me a little bit towards the wall which might have looked a bit scary but it was not like that from the cockpit. Anyway, it was a very important moment in the race and I had to try. Now we will give it our all in the next two races. We have great potential available to us and we must do all we can to exploit it."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (8th):
After a poor start, which put me at the back, I had a good first stint passing Heidfeld twice amongst others. The second stint was difficult pace wise, as I was having a tricky time on the options. I had some front graining and it was hard to maintain a good pace at the end of the race. Felipe had fresh tyres towards the finish and also a faster car, so I knew it would be difficult to keep him behind me as his traction was so much better. I pushed him to the limit when he made his overtaking move, but thats what its about, trying to get another point for the team. It was too difficult against his car though and he passed me.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (9th):
"Compared to the Williams cars in front of me, my start was okay, but the Hondas behind got off the grid even better. There was an awful lot of traffic in the first corner and I was lucky to get through all the hassle. For me the nicest moment of the race was certainly when I managed to overtake two cars at the same time on lap four. I was on a one stop strategy and, as well as that, the second last one-stopper to pit. It was not easy to handle the heavy car. Now I'm looking forward to next weekend's race in Shanghai where we should do better in qualifying."
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (10th):
The start seemed like a big mess, but fortunately I survived it. The incident with Massa? I was coming out of the pits, he turned in, I was on the kerb and there was nowhere else I could go and I was racing him for position. It was a good showing today for me, running consistently in the top five with only one mistake in what was a tough race. All in all, a very eventful race.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (11th):
"Our start was poor due to a technical problem so I just fell to the back of the pack. I was also quite heavy with fuel. Im satisfied with my performance and it was actually good fun out there today. I was able to overtake in the first part of the race and to drive one qualifying lap after another the whole way through. I gave it 100 percent and was as quick as Heidfeld, who was on the same strategy. Unfortunately, that wasnt enough to score any points, though. Im flying to Shanghai tomorrow and looking forward to collecting some points there."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (12th):
"Obviously, Im not happy after a result like todays - but Im already getting over it and tomorrow will be another day. Disappointingly, I didnt make a great start, but I slipstreamed Kimi and went up the inside. I braked a bit late - but so did everybody. A lot of cars went wide at Turn One - and I just went a bit wider than everyone else. But you cant undo the penalty or change todays result. On lap two, Felipe went wide and I went up the inside, giving him room, but he tapped me quite hard into a spin. There are positives to take from today; Ive only lost two points to Felipe in the drivers championship, so its definitely not over. Now Ill forget today ever happened and move forward; weve got two more races to go and my target is still to win both of them."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (13th):
"I had a great start to the race today, passing three or four cars on the way down to the first corner and was able to hold the position well. Unfortunately I was then hit from behind by Fisichella which damaged the rear end of the car and affected the balance for the remainder of the race. From then on, we were really limited by the poor performance and pace of the car this weekend. We did all that we could but were not able to make any headway up the field."
Jenson Button, Honda (14th):
"The race began really well for me and I was running inside the top ten at the first corner after making a great start. Unfortunately going with the option for my first stint didn't work well and I really suffered from this in the early laps. I was passed by a few cars around the first lap and from then on had graining on the front and rear tyres which meant I was slow through the corners and we couldn't compete on straightline speed, particularly with a heavy fuel load. Once we put the prime tyre on for the second stint, the balance was much better, but by then it was impossible to catch up and make progress."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (15th):
"That was a shame. It was very disappointing to have an accident in the first corner, but I couldnt do anything about it. After the incident, I just tried to do my best for the rest of the race. I dont think our race pace was that great, though, so I couldnt make any progress. We need to go away and work on our performance to see where we can improve for the next time."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (DNF):
The start off the grid was fantastic for me and I could overtake a lot of people. In the first corner there were a lot of cars across and off the track and a lot of mess, so they slowed down a lot and I touched Barrichello at the back of his car and I damaged my front nose slightly. I decided to stay out and it was looking good. We were considering a one stop strategy which was much more comfortable and I was doing a good race, but then unfortunately at the end I had a problem with the gearbox and seventh gear. At least we are fighting again.
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (DNF):
"Today started with so much promise and ended so disappointingly. I made a good start and, although I ran wide at the first corner, I still managed to slot in behind Robert and Fernando. I was feeling pretty confident about catching them both because the car was feeling just fantastic and then, all of a sudden, the engine stopped. That was a real pity because our reliability has been fantastic all season. Nevertheless, my pace today was good and I head to China feeling positive that we can once again show the same sort of pace we had this weekend."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (DNF):
I had a puncture on my right rear tyre and then suddenly on the straight the tyre blew and I had to stop the car. It was a shame as we were running 10th and it was feeling really good. We had a fantastic start - from 19th to 11th at the end of the first corner as I stayed to the inside and clear of all the problems, and I was in 10th position within a couple of laps. It was going very well and we had a good strategy, it was just so unlucky again.
Timo Glock, Toyota (DNF):
"That was a short afternoon's work for me. I made a good start but I lost ground when everyone went wide at the first corner and I was pushed off the track. Then following David Coulthard's accident it felt like I drove over some of the debris. After that the car felt strange and in the end I lost the car on the kerb at the exit of turn six. I went over the grass and the car launched through the air. When I landed it felt like something broke on the rear, causing us to retire. It's a particular pity because we had a lot of fuel, we looked strong all weekend and we were confident of picking up a good result in front of our home fans."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (DNF):
Its disappointing to go out. I was trying to go down the inside of Bourdais car into Turn one and naturally he came back across a little bit towards the apex. Piquet was in front of us both and I found myself between the two of them. There was a little bit of bumping and grinding as we went through the apex of Turn one and then, as I accelerated out of Turn two, whatever damage was done in the apex of Turn one let go and the car had a tank slapper (turned one way and then started to turn the other) and I went it to the barrier. I guess it was suspension damage rather than a tyre as normally youd feel it if a tyre was going down. Well need a new chassis for the next race.