German Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 20 Jul 2008
Red Bulls David Coulthard on tangling with fellow veteran Rubens Barrichello in the Honda; McLarens Lewis Hamilton on his hard-won victory; and Toro Rossos Sebastian Vettel and BMW Saubers Nick Heidfeld on scoring in front of their home crowd. All 20 drivers report back on the action at Hockenheim
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (1st):
"I nailed it this afternoon: when the team told me I had to build a 23-second gap in just seven laps, I knew I had to drive over the limit - and I did. But I knew we had the best car this weekend and felt comfortable pushing hard to make up the gap. In the final stint, I had to work for today's win - when the Safety Car came out, I questioned whether I should pit but I trusted the team to make the best decision on strategy. It didn't quite work out - but I knew we had the pace in the car to keep pushing and want to say a big thank-you to Heikki, who realised I was quicker. I was able to slipstream past Felipe and then thought my work was done; then I had to do it all again to get past Nelson. But I made a couple of textbook moves to get past them both. Everybody in this team has worked so hard to make this victory happen. We mustn't grow complacent but must feel assured that our efforts are being rewarded. We couldn't have asked for more today."
Nelson Piquet, Renault (2nd):
"I am obviously very happy! After qualifying yesterday I was thinking that my weekend was over, but we opted for an aggressive strategy in the race and the team made some great decisions when the safety car came out. Then I had to concentrate to keep my pace up and look after my tyres as much as possible towards the end of the race. I knew that Lewis was much faster than me, so I did not want to take any pointless risks. This second place today is a great reward for the whole team.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (3rd):
"It was a difficult race. Right from the beginning, Hamilton's pace seemed unbeatable and I understood that it would be very hard to beat him. I never had good grip and, in the final stages, I also had brake problems and was not even able to attack Piquet, whom I congratulate on the first podium of his career. We must try and understand why, this weekend, we have not been a match for our rivals. They have definitely improved, but I think this was more a case of us having taken a step backwards. However, we are still confident: we have the ability to get out of this situation, right from the next race."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (4th):
"Coming fourth from 12th on the grid is a great result. Not making it into the top ten in qualifying meant we were free to choose our fuel load afterwards, and so we went for a rather long first stint. That's why I was able to stay out during the safety car period when almost everybody else was refuelling. That was certainly crucial as I was able to pull away as soon as the traffic was behind me. Before that I couldn't show my true speed as I never had a clear lap. The car was good and the fact that I set the fastest race lap proves it. In the end I was very close to Felipe, but still had no chance to overtake him. It was a good home race for me and I'm happy I could give something back to the fans who may have been disappointed by my qualifying performance yesterday."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (5th):
"A very difficult race for me. I had a good start and almost managed to pass Felipe but, unfortunately, my speed was not good enough, and I couldn't make the tyres work to their best. The Safety Car period didn't help me either, and I lost positions during my pitstop. Then I lost time behind Kubica. However, I managed to overtake him again two laps later and, from then on, it was a rather uneventful race. Fifth position was not what I had hoped to achieve here, but I am now looking forward to the Hungarian Grand Prix, where I will try my hardest to fight for a podium finish."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (6th):
"This was definitely not the kind of race we had been hoping for. We have struggled all weekend and we have to try and understand why. Usually, our race pace is always good, but today that was not the case, because I almost always suffered with a lack of grip: only in the final stages did the situation improve a little bit, but it was never enough to be competitive. We have a test in Jerez, where we will try and improve the car so as to arrive in Budapest in better shape. This is definitely not a crisis, but we have to study carefully the handling of the car to understand if we have taken the right road in terms of development."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (7th):
"It is difficult to be happy after a race like this. During the first half of the race I was able to match the pace of McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari. Suddenly my car's pace was miles too slow. My tyres lost lots of grip, and perhaps this was because my tyres cooled down too much. We now have to analyse the data."
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (8th):
It was a tough race with a lot of fights but it was big fun. The first lap was hard and close. I tried to pass Kimi, but it didnt work out. I took some time to find a rhythm but I had a wonderful car and could run a great pace. I was disappointed when I saw the Safety Car as I was comfortably holding a points position, but we did the best we could in the situation. I fought to the end and although I was quicker than Jarno I could not pass and then he made a mistake, which brought me back to eighth place. Congratulations to everyone in the team. Eighth with no retirements, means we deserved to finish where we did and I am proud of that.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (9th):
"That was a disappointing race for me because we had high hopes of scoring points today. Everything was looking good early in the race but after our second stop, when we switched our strategy because of the safety car, it became really difficult. I was having problems with the balance. I struggled a lot and in the last 10 laps it was really tough. But I was in eighth place and fighting really hard to get a point. I was holding off Vettel but unfortunately I locked up the front and couldn't recover so I lost the position. After that I lost more pace and wasn't able to push as hard as I wanted."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (10th):
"Even though its not great to go home without any points, it was a good race. It was a bit difficult at the beginning as I had a technical problem at the start which cost me a place. From then on I was pretty comfortable, and I was able to push hard when I had free track the car felt good, but then with the safety car the order was mixed up quite a bit. Regardless, it was great to race here in front of the German fans, and the atmosphere was amazing. We now have a few races ahead of us where I am sure we can do well and our performance will improve."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (11th):
That was a difficult race for me. I had a bad start and lost several positions. Then I was on the pace but it was difficult to recover. I think that we were simply out of luck today, but we must now look forward and concentrate on the next Grand Prix.
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (12th):
I am happy with this result in terms of the pace I could run, but I was a bit unlucky with the Safety Car incident, as I knew it would involve me queuing in the pits behind Sebastian. I was able to keep up with Heidfeld in the first stint and the lap times were decent. The car worked better on the Option tyre. Overall, I had a strong race and kept pushing, hanging on to take twelfth. So now, I need to repeat this sort of performance and hopefully have some good luck to see it move me further up the order.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (13th):
It was a poor start. Heidfeld ran wide in Turn One, which pushed me wide and off the circuit, so a lot of people passed me there. I was stuck behind Jenson (Button) for 13 laps or so, he always seemed to have better traction so it was difficult to have a big dive at the end of braking. I got past him, as well as Rosberg before that. Towards the end of the race, Rubens (Barrichello) got better traction off a Turn and moved over, I came back onto my line to take the corner. I guess he thought I wasnt going to do that, which is why he had his car there, but it didnt work out.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (14th):
"In the first part of the race I was not comfortable with the car as I was struggling with the grip and it was understeering and oversteering with some wheelspin, but then at the end of the run it was getting better. On the soft tyre it was a step forward. The team made a good move for me with the strategy under the safety car and I could make up some places after I pitted and the others went in. I could have finished perhaps one place higher up, but unfortunately I locked up through turn eight and lost a position, but all the same it's nice to get a finish and to be racing again."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (15th):
"It was a difficult race for us today with something happening in every stint. First of all I lost a bit of time early on and I was stuck in the traffic for a long time. It would have also helped if the safety car had stayed out a bit longer so I could have made my stop. Then finally, in the last stint, I picked up some debris under the car which was causing bad understeer and I lost a place. Eventually, whatever it was under the car came free and the balance returned but by then it was too late."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (16th):
"I'm a bit disappointed as I think we had a good race pace but didn't ultimately get anything out of it. We lost some time on the first pit stop and then with the safety car we couldn't pit at the right moment and then couldn't catch up again so I lost 10 seconds or so. In my last stint something didn't feel right in my car, so we will have to investigate what happened, so it was not the best race, but at least we finished it."
Jenson Button, Honda (17th):
"A frustrating race today and it is obviously disappointing to finish in 17th position. We pitted early for my first stop to prevent Rosberg overtaking and I lost a lot of time there to both him and Rubens because we had no performance on the prime tyre after my stop. The traction was really poor and I was losing so much time out of the corners. When the safety car came out, we immediately pitted for tyres to enable us to switch back to the option tyre as soon as possible and unfortunately that meant that although I was a lap down, I was not able to overtake the leader. I'm very disappointed, particularly after a stronger qualifying performance than in recent races, but we'll learn from our mistakes today."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (DNF):
"The race began well today as I gained a couple of positions at the start and our strategy was to run as long as possible. Unfortunately we didn't have the pace to be competitive and we were really struggling with the traction. Our strategy was good but if we had been able to run for just another few laps it would have made my day, just as it did for Piquet Jr. Congratulations to him on his podium. The incident with Coulthard which ended my race was just unlucky. I was trying to force him to take a wider line on the outside through turn nine so that on turn 10 I would be able to come up the inside, but unfortunately he didn't see me on the inside and we touched. The team could see at the stop that there was too much damage to the front bargeboards to continue and that ended my race."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (DNF):
We knew it would be a tight race with the guys that were around us on the grid. I had a good fight with Vettel on the first lap and, as the race unfolded, there wasnt much between the cars. We know the weaknesses of our car here and well work on those before the next race. It was my first mechanical retirement this year; well have to check what caused it and make sure it doesnt happen again.
Timo Glock, Toyota (DNF):
Team statement following accident: "Timo is fine and there are no physical signs of injury. He has been taken to a hospital for further precautionary checks. Further updates will be given as soon as they are available."