Brazilian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 18 Oct 2009
Renaults Fernando Alonso, Toyotas Jarno Trulli and Force Indias Adrian Sutil on their first lap collision; Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima on their double DNF for Williams; and Brawn GPs Jenson Button on overcoming his poor grid slot to clinch his first world championship. The drivers and senior team personnel report back on Sundays title-deciding race action
Jenson Button (5th):
"Today was the best race that I've driven in my career and I'm really going to enjoy this moment. For the team to win the constructors' and the drivers championships here is just fantastic and they deserve it so very much after all the difficult times that we all went through over the winter. This season has been a rollercoaster ride from the elation of the wins at the start to the hard graft in the second half of the season which has seen us grind out the results needed to take the titles. We have to say a huge thank you to Norbert Haug and Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines for all of the support that they have given us over the year. Without their commitment and faith in the team, and the fantastic engine that they have provided, we would not have been able to achieve the success that we have today. The list of people that I have to thank personally is too long to mention but they all know who they are and how much their support has meant to me over the years. To everyone back at the factory in Brackley, thank you for all of your hard work and for producing such a fantastic car. It's going to take a while to sink in but for now I'm just revelling in the achievement of a lifelong dream. It's going to be one hell of a party tonight!"
Rubens Barrichello (8th):
"Whilst I am obviously disappointed with the result today, I have to be pleased with our year at Brawn GP. We really have a great car and a great team and it has truly been an amazing year when you consider the situation that we were in just before the start of the season. I'm truly pleased for Jenson as a friend and he is a great champion. We have a fantastic relationship working together and that has really shown through this year. Well done to him. It was a true fight and I fought really hard but he really won it in the first half of the season. The team have been superb this year and they thoroughly deserve to win both the constructors' and drivers' championships today. We're going to have a great night together and I'm pleased to have played my part in securing the constructors' title for the team."
Ross Brawn, Brawn team principal:
"What a day! I am so incredibly proud of the team and our drivers and it's so very special to have won the constructors' and the drivers' championships in our first year as Brawn GP. The second half of the year has been tough after such a successful start but getting the results in the difficult times is what counts in a championship season. It's really going to take a while for what we have achieved today to sink in. Jenson is a fantastic racer and he had a great race today, particularly after such a difficult qualifying yesterday. He knew what he had to do and did just that and is a very deserving world champion. Rubens has made a fantastic contribution to this season without which we could not have won the constructors' championship today. The spirit in which our two drivers have fought for the championship makes me very proud. They have been a credit to the team and our sport. The work and the commitment that the team showed over the winter and throughout this season really has been sensational. We would like to take this opportunity to say our thanks to Mercedes-Benz who have been a fantastic partner for our team and have integrated incredibly well this season. Their contribution to our success, and the support of McLaren gave us over the winter and at beginning of season, has enabled us to be in the position that we are in today. I hope that everyone at the factory in Brackley and at Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines in Brackley, is very proud of what we have achieved today. I also want to thank everyone who has worked with the team over the years that couldn't be with us this season as we had to resize the team at the start of the season. My sincere thanks go out to them because they worked so hard and should feel a part of our success."
Mark Webber (1st):
Im happy with that! You never know in the first stint of a race whats going to happen, although I knew Rubens (Barrichello) and Robert (Kubica) were a bit shorter than me. I was matching Roberts pace to start with and when they made their pit stops, I knew I had a clear run to make a gap to start my second stint. I just cleared Jenson (Button) on my outlap, which was good too. I was just making sure the tyres were comfortable for the whole stint. I was a little bit panicky in the second stint as Robert started closing, although my pace was not too bad and I knew he was quite short in the middle stint. I was then able to control the gap to Robert and he backed off towards the end, which gave me a nice run home. Its fantastic feeling to win again. As a team weve had quite a few victories this year off the back of some tough seasons, but today has confirmed second place for us in the constructors championship. Were very proud of what we have achieved this year as a team - I want to thank Renault as well, the engines have been very good and theyre not easy environments for them to work in. Congratulations to Jenson and also to Brawn on clinching the championships today after a good fight. It was a good weekend for the Australians, as Jason Crump won the World Speedway Championship last night. Hes a close friend of mine and he won it under difficult conditions, so a good weekend.
Sebastian Vettel (4th):
I think there is a guy at Brawn who is happier than me today. All in all it was a good race - starting from the back and finishing fourth. We were helped by some people crashing, but I think fourth was the maximum we could do today. Without the problems in yesterdays qualifying, we could have won the race, but we didnt so theres not much more to say. The pressure wasnt too much during the race, I was just focusing on each lap. I knew that Jenson was just ahead or behind me and would score points for the championship - but you dont really think about it until the last couple of laps. Before that you never know what can still happen. At one point I was praying for rain, there was the smell of rain, but it didnt come. Congratulations to Jenson and Brawn, I think they did the best job this year.
Christian Horner, team principal:
A brilliant drive from Mark today; he was faultless from start to finish. We knew he had a good overlap of fuel and he used it to brilliant effect, so a dominant win and a very strong weekend for him. For Sebastian, it was an excellent recovery from a lowly grid position. After the difficulties of yesterday, he drove a stunning race and fourth is a great result considering where he started. It was a very good team performance today, with great pit work. Congratulations to Jenson on becoming world champion, hes been a great competitor this year and also to the Brawn team on winning the constructors championship. We can reflect on an outstanding season and well go to Abu Dhabi determined to finish with the momentum that weve had at the last few races.
Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer, Track Support:
On one side we lost both championships today, so I have a sad feeling for that. The fight was hard and very fair with Brawn, so congratulations to them. I wont let anyone say that the engine is the only aspect that cost us the title, we won as a team and we lost as a team. Renault is part of this team and we are proud to be so. Putting the negatives aside, we are second in the constructors championship, which is a great achievement and I am very, very happy for Mark today. The second win is perhaps the one that confirms the talent of the driver and Mark has gained his second win with Renault, so congratulations to him and well done.
Robert Kubica (2nd):
The basis for todays result was laid yesterday when we decided to take a gamble and drive the wet qualifying with a low-downforce set-up. This went well in Q1, but was difficult in Q3. Although some people were disappointed with eighth place yesterday, I was quite pleased. Today we had a good and consistent pace. I was surprised at the beginning that it was quite easy to follow Rubens Barrichello and Mark Webber. But I had to reduce the engine revs after about 15 laps because the water temperature was too high, and I had to avoid the tow of the guys in front of me. After my first pit stop I was unlucky because I got stuck behind four cars. At that stage Mark was able to increase the gap. This is a great result in a difficult season, and I really hope that I will see this team on the grid next year.
Nick Heidfeld (DNF):
My start wasnt perfect but I saw there were very tight fights and decided it was better to stay clear of trouble. Then straight away there were crashes in Turn Two and at the exit of Turn Five. I was able to overtake a couple of cars, and among them was Romain Grosjean who didnt really play fair. I was worried I could lose my front wing then. After I had left him behind me I closed the gap to Sebastian Vettel but could not overtake him. Then I was due for my first pit stop. I wondered how quick the car was and soon I received the call to save fuel and to save more fuel, but it was too late. I ran dry in Turn Eight. At least it is good that the team has something to be happy about today.
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport director:
First of all congratulations to Jenson Button and Brawn GP for having won both the drivers and the constructors world championships. But today we also have some reason to be happy. Robert put in a strong performance without the slightest mistake. He was the only one on track who could keep up with the speed of the front runner over the entire race distance. His second place is a well deserved reward for the intensive work and the efforts of the last weeks. For the entire team it is important to achieve a top result at the end of that difficult season. I want to thank every single team member for that. Unfortunately the fuel rig didnt work at Nicks pit stop. Up to then he also drove a strong race. Our second podium finish this season saw us move up one position in the constructors championship. We want to keep that momentum for the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber head of engineering:
That was a first class performance from Robert. He was consistently fast and without any mistakes. A great compliment and thank you to him and the entire team. We really earned this second place on the podium in our penultimate race. The risk to set the car up for dry race conditions during the wet qualifying session on Saturday paid off. Unfortunately Nick had a problem with the fuel rig, which did not work and was responsible for his early exit. Congratulations to Jenson Button and Brawn GP for winning two world championships."
Lewis Hamilton (3rd):
It was an incredible race for me and Im so happy. Starting at the back was a completely different feeling from last year. This time, I wasnt involved in the championship outcome, but Im incredibly happy for Jenson. Ive been down to congratulate him, his team and his family.As for my race, I was so far behind on the grid that I didnt expect to finish on the podium, but I fought so hard and kept pushing like crazy throughout the whole race. It feels like a win when you come through fighting for positions all the time with good overtaking manoeuvres at the end. I just kept pushing and did one qualifying lap after another, which was very hard. The team kept telling me to keep going at that speed and our strategy was excellent. This was a great team effort.
Heikki Kovalainen (9th):
While the results dont show it, I had a good race out there today. I lost about six or seven laps worth of fuel with the incident with the fuel-hose. And, without that problem, my first stint would have been longer and would have allowed me to get ahead of some of the cars ahead of me.I chased Kobayashi for a long time, and, even though I had the pace, I couldnt launch an attack on him because my rear tyres had degraded quite a bit by then. Still, Im very pleased that our team has now moved ahead of Ferrari in the constructors world championship. And I really feel I could have added to that total without my problems in the pit lane today. Im already looking forward to the next race in Abu Dhabi. My aim there will be to go flat-out to ensure we consolidate that position and finish the season in third place.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:
First of all, on behalf of all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, Id like to offer our congratulations to Jenson, to Ross, to Nick and to the entire Brawn team for winning the drivers and constructors world championships this afternoon - and to Mercedes-Benz, too, who supplied their winning engines. Jenson fully deserves his success - although Id like to make clear that both Rubens and Sebastian would also have been worthy champions, had things played out differently. Passing the champions baton to Jenson is of course Lewis, who performed as brilliantly as ever today.
"We altered his strategy as a result of the deployment of the safety car, after which he drove a fantastic race from 17th on the grid to third at the flag. Had he not been stuck in traffic for a few key periods of the race, he may have finished even higher up the field. Certainly, his race pace was very strong. Heikki would have scored points too, had he not been delayed by a pit lane incident in which he was blameless, caused by human error.
"Fortunately, no-one was hurt in the incident and we were quickly able to effect the back-up rig ahead of both drivers second stops. Once we get all the video footage back to Woking, well perform a forensic investigation, in slow time, to establish exactly what happened. Until weve done that, its impossible for us to comment on the incident with any precision. Now, we travel to Abu Dhabi, where we intend to defend our new one-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors world championship that Lewiss third place earned us today.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
What a race! Firstly, I would like to congratulate, on behalf of Mercedes-Benz, Jenson Button and the Brawn GP team for winning both Formula One world championships today. Ten months ago these guys were in danger of having no future in Formula One. Today, they all achieved the biggest reward possible for all their hard work and effort. Well done Ross and Nick and everybody at Brawn GP - you wrote a fairytale story this season.
"I also would like to express my sincere compliments to all our engine people at Brixworth and Stuttgart - Mercedes-Benz powered two times in a row the world champion! Of course, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Lewis would have liked to keep the world championship title in our camp - but I think its fair to say that Jenson and Brawn GP are successors that fully deserve what they achieved. So here are some unusual statistics to enjoy: for the second year in a row, car number 22, driven by an Englishman and powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine has finished fifth in Brazil to win the world championship - what an amazing list of coincidences!
"Lewis today drove a fantastic race from 17th on the grid onto the podium, and this certainly was the best climbing up the ranks during all the 16 races this season. Im totally convinced that he could have fought for victory today if he had started from the first two rows of the grid, which originally had been our plan. The team displayed a very smart move in switching both cars to a one-stop strategy after the safety car was deployed during the first lap. Heikki suffered from an early release from the pits which was entirely not his fault - without this handicap he would have scored some solid points today.
"We are now third in the constructors world championship and no other team has scored more points than we did during the second half of the season in the last seven races since Lewiss first win this year in Hungary in July. And no driver scored more points than Lewis since then. I would like to say sorry to Rubens and Sebastian who today needed to give up their fierce plans of winning the world championship - but I am sure both of them see, like all of us, in Jenson Button a worthy successor to Lewis Hamilton as F1 world champion.
Kimi Raikkonen (6th):
"What happened on the first lap ruined my race. First I was hit at the first corner, then when trying to pass Webber, I was hit and lost the front wing. At the pit stop, I ended up with some drops of petrol in my eye, from the fuel line stuck on Kovalainen's car and then I was engulfed in flames and blinded: I was going to stop, but luckily the flames soon went out. Even now, my eyes are still burning, but I'm alright. After the restart, I could only try and use the strategy to move up the order and at least I brought home a few points. I am disappointed because today I'm sure we could have made it to the podium. There is one race to go: let's see what we can do in Abu Dhabi to get back that third place."
Giancarlo Fisichella (11th):
"Obviously, starting from the back row, my race was already compromised. Then there was also the incident with Kovalainen, who spun in front of me, forcing me onto the grass, which prevented me from trying to make up a few places in the fight on the opening lap. We had opted for a one-stop strategy and it was a good one, but in the final part of the race, the soft tyres began to develop a bit of graining and I was not able to match the pace of those ahead of me and I even lost a place. On top of that, the KERS worked in fits and starts. Looking at my experience with Ferrari so far, I don't want to hide that I feel a bit upset, as there has not been a single weekend in which everything went to plan. Now we go to Abu Dhabi which will be a new venue for everyone: I will do my very best to help the team retake this third place which slipped away from us today."
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal:
"First and foremost, on behalf of the entire team, I want to congratulate Jenson Button and Brawn GP for winning both world championships today. I am particularly pleased for an old friend like Ross. As for us, obviously we are very disappointed, because today we had the chance to extend our advantage in the constructors' classification, but we have ended up one point down. What happened on the opening lap penalized Kimi heavily, as he had to restart from the back of the pack. It's a shame, because today, our driver could match the pace of the best and could certainly have been fighting for a place on the podium: once again he delivered a great drive. After yesterday's qualifying, Giancarlo started from the back row and faced a difficult race: he tried his best, but he could not get into the points. Now, we look forward to the final Grand Prix of the season at the new Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. There, we will have to do all we can to bring home a third place finish in the championship, which we are very keen to do and I am sure that all of us, drivers and team, will do all in our power to try and reach this target."
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer:
"A very disappointing race for us. Yesterday already, Kimi had done a fantastic job, obtaining a good grid position and today, he did it again, climbing up from the back of the pack, all the way up to sixth place after the accident with Webber, which meant he had to pit to change the front wing. At this moment, his race was compromised, which is a real shame. With Kimi, we chose to use the soft tyre first and given how things went, it was the right decision, but then we had to use the hards, as the first part of the race would be very long. Giancarlo was stuck in traffic in the first stint and then, when he had a clear track, his lap times were reasonable. At the start of his second stint, when he was on the soft tyres, his pace was better, but then towards the end, he suffered with graining. Now we will do all we can in Abu Dhabi, to recover the third place that slipped from our grasp today."
Sebastien Buemi (7th):
It was a very difficult race for me, as I had to push hard every lap, but in the end to come away with points for the first time since China is a good result, for me and for the team, who did a good job today. My start was difficult, as I was sandwiched between Kubica and Rosberg at the first corner, so they got past me, which was a shame. However, we did not have a particularly strong race pace, so we must look at the data to try and understand why. I have mixed feelings because after our performance on Friday I had hoped to finish in the top five, so although the points are nice, its not as good as I expected. Now we can look forward to Abu Dhabi where we must try and build on this result and keep moving forward.
Jaime Alguersuari (14th):
I am happy to have finished the race and I feel I am still making progress and learning every time I go out on track. My start was quite good and I managed to get past Kobayashi. But I was on the wrong side for the start and other cars began going past me as I was slow in a straight line. After that, I was stuck in traffic and from then on my race was always going to be tough. When I had a clear track I could be quicker and overall, I feel I have improved again this weekend.
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer:
Its good to be back in the points with Sebastien, however we were hoping for a bit more today and now we have to work out why we were unable to reproduce our Friday pace today. As for Jaime, he had a very difficult first part of the race, fighting with a lot of cars and dealing with traffic. He got caught behind a couple of one-stoppers, but on the Option tyre towards the end, his lap times were fairly competitive.
Kamui Kobayashi (10th):
"It was a tough race for me. As this was my Grand Prix debut I experienced a lot of things for the first time in Formula One so it was a learning experience. Physically it felt like a really long race and it was quite tough. My first target was to finish the race and I am pleased to achieve that, but after the start I was in a decent position to score points so I am a little disappointed I didn't. The car felt good in the first stint but when I changed tyres the balance felt a different and I was struggling a bit; probably this was just down to experience. It was my first race so there are several areas to improve but overall I am happy with how I have performed this weekend and I would like to thank the team for all its support."
Jarno Trulli (DNF):
"I am extremely frustrated by what happened today because I had a very good chance to challenge for the podium. On the first lap (Adrian) Sutil was very slow through turn four because he was fighting with (Kimi) Raikkonen. He was on the inside so I took the outside line but he kept pushing me wider and wider. In the end I was on the grass and had no control of the car so I crashed into the wall at high speed. I think there was enough space for both of us to get around the corner."
Tadashi Yamashina - Toyota team principal:
"It is disappointing not to score points here because we had high expectations. Jarno was unlucky on the first lap and I feel really sorry for him because he had the chance to get another very strong result. So Kamui was the only Toyota in the race but he did a really good job, especially on a track he has never raced on before and after the difficult conditions earlier in the weekend. As we have come to expect from him, he battled really hard and also put on an exciting show for the fans. It was particularly impressive to see him overtaking another car at the end of a hard race and I am proud of his efforts."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (12th):
It was a long race, starting from last on the grid after the gearbox change yesterday. We made a change to the soft tyres in the safety car period, using them for just one lap to get them out of the way as we felt we couldn't do longer stints with them. On the harder compound in the first stint I had a good pace but we struggled a lot with oversteer on the second so I couldn't get past Giancarlo. Then at the end I had a brake problem, which compromised the race but at least we finished this difficult Grand Prix, which was important. We had hoped for rain as we seemed to be very competitive in those conditions but that's how it is - now we can just look forward to Abu Dhabi.
Adrian Sutil (DNF):
The start was fine, I lost one position as Kimi overtook me on the outside. It was fine for the next corner but then Kimi hit Webber and lost his front wing. I was following him through the corner but then suddenly I got hit in the rear and lost control of the car. Trulli was there on the outside trying to go round. It was a really stupid maneouvre as there was no space and I couldn't see him at all. At that point it wasn't worth it and it ended my race far too early on as I went over into the gravel. Jarno was furious and said it was my mistake but I just told him what had happened to me. But it's over and now he's just got to deal with it.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal:
Firstly congratulations to Jenson Button and Brawn GP for winning their first-ever world titles. Their performance this season has been quite staggering and they thoroughly deserve this success. For Force India, for sure we had expected much more from this race. Adrian did an amazing job in qualifying and we were confident we could have picked up another few points, but unfortunately he was just a victim of the accident. He deserved much more. Tonio's race was always going to be tough after yesterday's crash but he picked up another race finish - again by tailing home a Ferrari! We are all now really looking forward to Abu Dhabi. The car's working well, the drivers are confident and hopefully the track should suit us pretty well.
Romain Grosjean (13th):
"I made a good start but after that I was missing grip and it was difficult for me to get heat into the tyres. I did my best and pushed hard throughout the race, but unfortunately that wasn't enough. The end of my race was better but because of the problems at the start of the race I only finished in 13th place."
Fernando Alonso (DNF):
"It was a very busy first lap and unfortunately I got caught up in it. I made a good start and we had a promising strategy for the race, but unfortunately when Sutil and Trulli collided I was hit by the Force India as well. It's a real shame because this is a special track for me; I always enjoy racing here and I think we could have scored points today."
Jean-Francois Caubet, Renault Managing Director:
"It was unfortunate to see Fernando taken out by Sutil because he probably could have challenged for points today. Romain had a good start to the race, although his pace in the early laps saw him drop back as he was overtaken by several cars. We are now looking forward to Abu Dhabi and we hope that he can have a strong race there. We are happy to see another victory for Mark Webber and Red Bull Renault, which once again shows the competitiveness of the Renault engine."
Bob Bell, Renault team principal:
"This race is a great disappointment for us with Fernando being taken out on the first lap through no fault of his own. He did start down in 10th place but we genuinely thought that he could have a solid race and could finish in the points. Romain finished the race but really didn't manage to keep the people he needed to behind him early on when he was heavy on fuel. But he brought the car home which is good. Although it's a disappointing race for us, we will hold our heads up going into the final race of the season and fight again."
Remi Taffin, Renault head of engine operations:
"We brought new engines here and there have been no issues in the wet qualifying yesterday or during the race today. Romain gave his all in the race but unfortunately couldn't challenge for points. He will use the same engine for the race in Abu Dhabi. Fernando's race unfortunately ended on the first lap, which is a shame, although his engine will be practically new for the final race of the season."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (DNF):
We were lucky to gain some places at the start and make progress up the field after all the incidents. It was quite difficult after the restart; I didnt manage to hold position and I was left stuck behind the cars in front. We were having a good race until the accident, so Im disappointed it ended this way.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (DNF):
I had a good start, making up one position off the line and then managing to stay away from the incidents ahead of me. I was lying in third, but then Kubica overtook me at the restart when the safety car went in. Fourth was still ok though because we had a strong strategy and competitive pace. It was therefore looking good until the gearbox problem. After a promising weekend, this result is a shame.
Rod Nelson, Williams chief operations engineer:
Disappointing end to quite a promising weekend. We struggled slightly in the dry on Friday but recovered well for the wet qualifying session on Saturday. Despite the fact that we were running reasonably heavy downforce today, we were quite competitive in the race. Nico couldnt keep Kubica behind him, but he was looking good for fourth place before what looks like a gearbox failure. Kazuki was also going well until an incident in the middle of the race forced him into retirement. Fortunately, Kazuki didnt suffer any injuries from the accident.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport:
"Well done to Mark Webber and Red Bull Racing for Mark's second win today and many congratulations to Jenson and Ross and all of the team for winning both the drivers' and constructors' championships in such fantastic fashion. The story of Brawn GP is an amazing one and many millions of people around the world have seen such an exciting race that definitely added something fascinating to the sport. These were tremendous achievements. We always see exciting races here and enjoy the fabulous atmosphere created by the Brazilian fans. It's been a long and hard fought season and we are proud to be the official tyre supplier to this great sport."
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development:
"Once again Interlagos gave us some surprises, and a thrilling race. Most people expected more rain today, but the race was dry. Many people thought that the super soft Bridgestone would not be durable, but it worked better than predicted. Heidfeld used it at the start and Raikkonen used it twice without major issue. After so much rain yesterday the track was very green so we saw a lot of surface improvement through the race. Lap times were quite slow as the surface was still not at its best, especially in sector two. Well done to Webber, who drove a very controlled race for Red Bull, Kubica and BMW Sauber who used a good strategy for second, and Hamilton and McLaren who showed good patience for third. We are investigating Barrichello's tyre, as it appears that a puncture caused air loss. It was sad to see Barrichello and Vettel's championship hopes dashed but well done to winners Jenson Button and Brawn Grand Prix for such well deserved wins."