Chinese Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 19 Oct 2008
Toyotas Jarno Trulli and Toro Rossos Sebastien Bourdais on their first lap collision; McLarens Lewis Hamilton on returning to the top step of the podium after a six race absence; and BMW Saubers Robert Kubica on the end of his title hopes. All 20 drivers report back on Sundays action
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (1st):
"Everything just went right this weekend: our car has been simply phenomenal, I made one of my best-ever starts and had perfect balance during the race. I owe so much of that to the guys in the team - both at the track and back home; they did an amazing job so a big thanks to them. Ive got a seven-point lead in the world championship, but that doesnt allow me to take anything for granted. It might be another step towards my dream but weve still got to stay calm and keep our heads. I just hope we can pull through."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd):
"This is a great result for the team, less so for me. Today's race was a difficult one: we were not quick enough to fight against Hamilton. Losing two points does not mean that I have lost hope. I will continue to fight right to the very end and I can't wait to race in Interlagos in front of my home crowd: I will try my luck there - it will be the first time for a Brazilian - which will be a further incentive. There was no specific element that wasn't working on my car. It's just that today it was impossible for me to win. I feel a bit as though I'm in a penalty shoot-out in the football World Cup finals: we have missed the first two shots, while the other team has scored and therefore we cannot make any more mistakes and hope that they make three. It will be very difficult, but not impossible as we saw last year. The team is united and has faith: that is very important and nice too."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd):
"Today I had a good car, but it was not quick enough to beat our main competitor. At the start and after every tyre change, Hamilton managed to pull away, while when it got near to the pit stops I was able to go a bit quicker, but it was always too late. On top of that, three times, I came up behind backmarkers who cost me valuable time. We secured a very good result for the Constructors' classification. Now we go to Brazil where we must try and get a one-two finish and then we can see where we stand in both Championships. Felipe passing me? I am part of a team and I am well aware what they expect of me. I am out of the title fight and have to do the maximum because Ferrari can achieve both its objectives. It's a simple as that."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (4th):
"Fourth place is the best result that we could have hoped for today and so I am therefore extremely satisfied with my race. We had good pace, close to the Ferrari, which is another reason to be pleased. We have now won the battle for fourth place in the constructors' championship, which was our objective, and so we can approach the Brazilian Grand Prix with confidence and aim to make the most of this final race of the year."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th):
"I'm quite happy with today's race. At the start I gained positions and in corner two I overtook Sebastian Vettel on the outside. He touched the rear of my car, but he has already told me it wasn't on purpose and, anyway, nothing happened. So after a few corners I was sixth again - just where I thought I would start from after qualifying. Later in the race I reduced the engine revs to save it for Brazil. It is a fact we now don't have any hopes of claiming the constructors' title, and neither can Robert win the drivers' championship. But we shouldn't be too disappointed, the team has had a fantastic third season, and Robert especially had a very good year. It's not over yet."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (6th):
"After a very difficult qualifying I'm pleased with sixth. I made up a position at the start and then another two when Jarno Trulli and Sebastien Bourdais touched in the first corner. The balance of the car was still not good in the first two stints, and it only changed in the final stint after we changed to the softer compound. There is now one race left, and I shall try hard to defend my third place in the drivers' championship."
Timo Glock, Toyota (7th):
"That was the most that we could have got out of today so we should be satisfied. We struggled a bit to warm up the tyres at the beginning but from then on the car felt good and we had very good pace. At the end of the first stint I had a light car but I couldn't make the most of it because I was stuck behind Nick Heidfeld when he came out of his first stop. So we lost some time there and maybe lost a place to Robert Kubica but we were quick again at the end. The strategy worked well so thanks to all the guys."
Nelson Piquet, Renault (8th):
"It was a difficult race but I am happy with my performance. Of course I would have liked to have made more progress through the field, but the end result is satisfying and I have scored an important point, which has helped the team finally confirm its fourth place in the constructors' championship."
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (9th):
I had a reasonably good start, but then I was surprised by Nick going down the outside and he passed a few cars. After that I had to defend my position against Robert on the opening lap. Then, I had quite a clean first stint. But in the first pit stop we had a problem with the front left wheel which wouldnt come off. I think that cost me a position in the points. P9 is not bad but its the most frustrating place, just outside the points. Now we are all looking forward to Brazil.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (10th):
I had a reasonable start and thereafter was trying to manage tyre degeneration on the option and the prime. I tried to keep out of racing too much with the two stoppers so I wouldnt lose time, but ultimately I dont think there was much more I could have done from our grid position than 10th.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (11th):
"It was a better race today than some of our recent races but it is disappointing not to have been able to get into the points. I had a great start and first lap where I overtook three cars to move up to 10th and went flat out for the whole race to try and make up some ground on the people ahead. However our finishing position in 11th is reflective of what the car is capable of and we have to be pleased with making the best out of the package that we have available whilst still being disappointed not to score any points."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (12th):
"I think it was a good race for me considering where I started. Initially it was very hard work managing the car on a heavy fuel load. I lost position off the line, but during the first stint I managed to develop a good race pace. The other significant part of the race for me was the last period when I had to work hard to keep quite a few cars behind me and defend my position, and I was pleased that I succeeded in this."
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (13th):
Im not sure what happened with Trulli at the first corner. I guess he didnt see me. I was halfway alongside him and he turned in. I was right under Sebastians rear wing and of course we are all very close in the first corner. We touched, he spun and I went really wide, dropped to the back and that was my race spoilt. It was a shame because after that, every time I was in clean air I had a good pace and passed around half a dozen cars. Finishing 13th, having been last is not a bad result, but its disappointing, given we started eighth with a car good enough to score points today.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (14th):
It was going reasonably well until I got up to Nakajima, but its so difficult to follow cars through the quick sections here. I tried my best, the strategy was always going to be difficult with a ten place penalty, but the guys from Red Bull did a good job. Its a shame for Renault, as that was the first engine failure for us.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (15th):
"My race was not good today, but it wasnt for lack of trying. We ran a different strategy to Kazuki just to see if we could generate some advantage, but it didnt pay off and it wasnt a lot of fun driving at the back. It didnt really represent our capability as our pace was okay and we were the tenth fastest car. I made a few passes but it was quite difficult to overtake as our top gear was too short. From here we can look forward to Brazil which should be a bit better for us, and then after this season working with the team on a positive winter in order to move us forward for next year."
Jenson Button, Honda (16th):
"The race today was more exciting than the last couple of races have been at least and I had some fun overtaking Sutil and Nakajima into the hairpin at the start. From then I really struggled with the car and from being stuck behind Coulthard for much of the race. After my final pitstop I had a clear stint on the option tyre and the car balance felt reasonable, but I had very poor traction and corner apex understeer. So overall a frustrating race as I wasn't able to find out my true pace on the prime tyre in clean air."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (17th):
"We knew our pace was not really good enough today so we just tried to find a different solution to gain places. We went for a one stop strategy but I was really struggling with the grip to start with. In the last 10 laps before the end of the race I was able to do reasonable lap times, but it was a fairly lonely race for me at that point. Anyway, we now go onto Brazil and the last race."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (DNF):
"I made a good start, got past Fernando and almost got alongside Felipe. Fernando managed to repass me before Turn 14 and I settled down in fifth. I had a lot of understeer during my first stint and tried to improve things during the first stop by raising the front wing angle. Later, I was still running in the points when I had a puncture early on in the lap - it cost me a lot of time driving slowly back to the pits and I knew it would be an uphill struggle for the rest of the race. In the closing stages, I had a problem with the pneumatic system so the team called me in as a precautionary measure. We still have a chance to win the constructors championship in Brazil, so Ill definitely be going for it in Sao Paulo."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (DNF):
"Very early on in the race my car developed a problem. I couldn't select gears anymore and had to pull off just before the main straight and park the car. Until that point I was quite happy in the car, even though the traction and grip was very low so it's disappointing not to finish yet again. I really hope for more in Brazil now."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (DNF):
"Away from the line I was side-by-side with Sebastian Vettel but I had to give up on him because he had the inside line. Then Sebastien Bourdais suddenly hit the right side of my car at the rear and damaged it. It is frustrating because he did this once before this year at Spa, where he also ruined my race at the first corner. Today I couldn't carry on which is a pity because we had a very good chance of more points. Still, there is one more race to go and we will push to the end to try and finish the season on a high in Brazil."