Italian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 14 Sep 2008
Toro Rossos Sebastian Vettel on his maiden Grand Prix victory; McLarens Lewis Hamilton on his unfulfilled hope for more rain at Monza; and Force Indias Giancarlo Fisichella on his early exit from the Italian race. All 20 drivers report back on Sundays action
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (1st):
A fantastic race, a fantastic weekend with pole as well and a fantastic strategy this afternoon. As for the podium ceremony it was unbelievable and this is the best day of my life. I will never forget these feelings. It is so unbelievable. It is better than I had ever expected. A big thank you to everyone in the team for their great work. After a poor start to the season, we got better and better. Maybe in todays conditions, we could close the gap with a bit more effort or by staying on the throttle a bit longer. Im speechless. As for the race, we were very fast in a straight line because we didnt go for high downforce as we thought it might be dry, so we stayed on the dry level. Being out in front with no visibility problems was the key and I could build up a solid gap to Heikki straightaway. Then I was pushing very hard, maybe going over the limit sometimes and I nearly lost the car. In the last stint I was in a very good position on the intermediate tyre. I couldnt believe it when it kept saying P1 on my board. But I kept my focus and kept pushing so as not to lose concentration. A perfect weekend.
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (2nd):
"In today's tricky weather conditions I struggled to keep temperature in the brakes, and in the opening stages of the race I had problems with my extreme-wet tyres. First I thought it would improve after a few laps, but it didn't. Only at the end was I able to match the lap times of Sebastian Vettel in front of me. In today's conditions he was just too fast for me - congratulations to him for his very first grand prix win. Im happy to have scored eight points, and I look forward to the next race in Singapore."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (3rd):
"I'm very happy to finish on the podium today! Yesterday qualifying was difficult when I was the first one not to make it into the top ten. The only advantage of this was I could choose my race strategy, and we decided to go for just one stop with a very long first stint. At the start the visibility was really bad. When the safety car went in after two laps, I overtook Nick (Heidfeld) before the first chicane without even seeing him. It was really dangerous. Then I was able to drive at my own pace, but towards the end of my first stint I was having problems with the tyres, obviously because the car had been very heavy. We were then lucky with our pit stop, because it was just the right time to change to intermediate tyres. From then on I was easily able to control my position on the track. Third place was a well deserved reward for the whole team. Congratulations to Sebastian and the Toro Rosso team for winning here today!"
Fernando Alonso, Renault (4th):
"I am very happy. The result today is very good because Monza was supposed to be the race that we were looking forward to the least. We made up the five points that we needed in our championship fight, which is really rewarding and a big source of motivation for the rest of the season. I am now curious to see what awaits us in Singapore.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th):
"Coming from tenth on the grid it is okay to finish fifth, but still my race wasn't ideal. Unfortunately I lost a place to Robert right at the start. It was the right decision to let us start behind the safety car. When it pulled off the visibility was still so poor that I braked much too early and Robert passed me. This time it was the team who made the tyre choice. I left it to my race engineer as on the pit wall they had a lot more information about the weather. It was absolutely right to go for intermediates. Today it was important to avoid mistakes and keep the car on the track. I'm happy I had the pace to keep Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton behind me at the end. Warmest congratulations to Sebastian and the Toro Rosso team, this was a fantastic victory."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (6th):
"It was a tough race: I had hoped to do better but I'm also aware it could have been worse. In fact, I've managed to make up a point on my nearest rival so this is absolutely not a negative result. In normal conditions, in other words in the dry, I think I could have made it to the podium. In the first part, I was struggling because there was not much grip. In the incident when I overtook Rosberg, I lost a few seconds when the team told me I had to give back the position: that was probably the decisive moment because after the first pit stop, I found myself in traffic. On top of that, when it was time to switch from the extreme rain tyres to the standard ones, those who had opted to do just one stop definitely had the advantage. In the second part, I knew Hamilton was closing on me fast, but I could not see him in my mirrors because they were too dirty. Luckily, Rob helped me, talking me through the situation in real time. Then he dropped back a bit. I tried to attack Heidfeld but then I thought it wasn't worth taking too many risks and I chose to just bring the car home."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (7th):
"I felt I drove a really good race and was moving through the field very quickly when the circuit was at its wettest. If it had kept on raining, I feel pretty confident I probably could have even won from 15th grid position; but, as the circuit dried out, my tyres overcooked and I had to defend my position from Mark Webber. Still, today was all about damage control: I came away with some points and kept my lead in the world drivers championship. Finally, Id like to offer my congratulations to Sebastian on winning his first grand prix - I know what a sweet feeling that is!"
Mark Webber, Red Bull (8th):
"We came out after the first stop behind Robert and Fernando and lost a lot of time on the fresh tyres. Thats when Heikki got a really good gap on me, so the first seven or eight laps behind them killed the tyres and trying to go through them wasn't easy so lost some time. The last section wasn't too bad, but when you're ten seconds behind starting it, then that's where you've finished. So we did give some points away today, but it's hard to get everything right on days like this."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (9th):
"This was a very difficult race for us. In the conditions at the start, as we have seen before in the past, we could not keep our tyres up to temperature and we totally lacked grip. I could do nothing but try to stay on the track hoping the conditions would change. When they did, unfortunately it was too late to aim for a points finish. The car worked well but without grip, you're not going anywhere. The situation in the drivers' championship is now even more difficult, but I will continue to give it my best shot as usual."
Nelson Piquet, Renault (10th):
I had a good fight through the pack today and my pace was good considering the fuel load that I started with, which is quite satisfying. Unfortunately I finished outside the points, but I think that everything was decided in qualifying. I want to remain positive and will now concentrate on preparing for the next race in Singapore.
Timo Glock, Toyota (11th):
"Overall it was just quite a difficult day for us. I made a good start but I lost a couple of seconds soon afterwards when I spun as I tried to overtake Alonso. Early on it was very hard to see through all the spray when the track was at its wettest. It was hard to attack but I still managed to pull off some moves. Then the extra stop cost us the chance to go for points. It's obviously a shame to finish where we did but we were unlucky and our pace shows we can score again in the coming races."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (12th):
"It was a difficult race today with many close decisions to take. Starting from the pitlane to allow me to make some aero changes was not penalising as we started behind the safety car and it was a very good decision from the team. In the early stages of the race, it was very difficult with the poor visibility and also I struggled with the braking, so the pace just wasnt there to begin with, but we changed from extreme wets to wets at just the right time and from then on my pace was much better."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (13th):
"In the wet conditions early on I was going well on the heavy wet tyres but we had no luck with the strategy because the timings just didn't work out for us today. When I came in for my pit stop it was still four or five laps too soon for standard wet tyres. That meant we had to pit again shortly afterwards and we lost everything. Later on I was not as competitive because I was sliding around. So it was not our day today. Still, we were expecting this to be a difficult race but the next few races might be better for us. So I remain optimistic because we still have a lot of points to score and the season has been good so far."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (14th):
"The outcome today was really disappointing as we were in a great position with potentially the best strategy, but again I finished towards the back of the field. In the first stint I thought I should be able to maintain a good pace, but I really struggled with tyre degradation and I lost time to those in front of me. But what was really decisive today was the tyre decision for my stop, which really destroyed the possibility of a good finish in the points. Everyone else was staying on full wets, so we thought we were in a good position to do the same and to keep risk to a minimum. In any case, at that point there wasnt a dry line to see, but ultimately it proved to be the wrong choice."
Jenson Button, Honda (15th):
"We decided to start the race from the pit lane today as it may have given us an advantage with tyre choice, however when the race started behind the safety car it just meant that my tyres and brakes were very cold. The first couple of laps were quite difficult with the amount of spray and I lost a place which was disappointing. Then I got stuck behind Coulthard in the middle of the race when my lap times were good, which compromised my race quite badly. The last stint was a lot of fun though as we left the very worn wet tyres on and I had a couple of purple middle sectors. But at the end of the day it was disappointing to come home in 15th position and we have not had a good weekend here."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (16th):
"I had some difficulties in the beginning as my brake balance bar jammed, so I couldn't get rearwards on the brakes - they locked up and I went off at second Lesmo. Thereafter I burned out the rear tyres early so I had blisters on the rear wets. Coming into the pitstop we put on the inters, but again seemed to burn out the rear tyres early, so I kept tip-toeing through the corners and kept losing places. In the end Nakajima came out around on the outside under braking at the Parabloica, but there's an arc through the corner and I couldn't avoid him - when he was turning in he hit my wing."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (17th):
"We made the decision on lap 16 to pit for the wet tyres as I felt the track was starting to dry out and it could give us an advantage. Although it was a positive decision as our lap times came down from there and I was gaining time on the cars ahead of me, it did interrupt our planned one-stop strategy. The wet tyres worked well in the middle stint but when I came up to my second stop with ten laps to go, the team asked if it was dry enough for slicks. It was not quite dry enough however they asked me to give it a go as we had nothing to lose. I tried my best but it was definitely too wet. We could have finished higher up by sticking to the wets but it was worth trying something different. It's been a tough weekend all round."
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (18th):
Im not sure what happened on the grid. When I tried to get first I couldnt and so then I let go of the flipper a bit quickly and when the gear selected I stalled, when normally the antistall should have come in. Then we couldnt get neutral and that was it, I had lost a lap immediately as the race started behind the Safety Car. It should have been a dream weekend with a chance of finishing first and third but sadly for me, it was first and nothing. However, this has been a great day for Sebastian and the team.
Adrian Sutil, Force India (19th):
"For sure it was not the best race for us. At the start I just had no grip on the extreme wets and I couldn't push. The second set of extremes was better than the first, but by then it was drying out so after 10 laps I lost even more grip and had some vibrations in the front. I came into the pits to change and we went over to the dry tyres. It was a little too early but we had to try it. It was pretty much a race to forget."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (DNF):
"I'm disappointed that after the good qualifying we couldn't convert this into a better result in the race. The conditions at the start were very wet but I had a good battle with Raikkonen and Hamilton. Coulthard then overtook me in the first chicane and in the corner he was slow so I touched him. Unfortunately the tap damaged the front nose and it went under the car. On the back straight I couldn't control the car and went off into the gravel."