Spanish Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 10 May 2009
Brawns Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello on a dominant one-two; Toro Rossos Sebastien Buemi and Sebastien Bourdais, and Toyotas Jarno Trulli and Force Indias Adrian Sutil on their first-corner clashes; and Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen on his early exit. All 20 drivers and team personnel report back on Sundays action
Jenson Button (1st):
"We thought that three-stops would be the quicker strategy here and that was what we fuelled for in Q3 yesterday. I had a good start from pole but Rubens had an absolute flier and I couldn't hold him off. Having lost the lead and with the prospect of being caught behind Rosberg, we made the decision to switch to a two-stop strategy. The car felt so heavy with the fuel on board after my first stop but I worked really hard on my final two stints to make the strategy work for me. To come away with the win is a little unexpected but it means so much to continue our run of success. Obviously Rubens is disappointed not to have got the win today and he has been a huge help over the weekend in helping me overcome the issues that I faced on Friday. His turn will certainly come. There's a great feeling within our team and I am very proud of them for producing such a great car. A special thanks to all the guys back at the factory in Brackley and to Norbert Haug and Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines. They supported our team through the difficult times and we couldn't have achieved this without them."
Rubens Barrichello (2nd):
"The race began really well for me and I had a great start overtaking Sebastian (Vettel) and Jenson to be leading the race coming out of turn one and through the safety car period. The car was feeling really good during the first stint and getting out from my first stop ahead of Nico on track set the race up nicely for me. I was quite surprised when Jenson's strategy was switched and from then I knew that I had to go flat out to make my strategy work. However I suffered on my third set of tyres and was not able to get the lap times which would have kept me ahead of Jenson. It was a great result for Jenson and the team today but I am disappointed not to have won the race after having such a good weekend. I am a positive person however and I am confident that my victory will come soon."
Ross Brawn, Brawn GP team principal:
"A fantastic result for the team today after a great deal of hard work to maximise the performance of our new developments this weekend. Rubens had a great start to be leading the race from lap one and we asked both drivers to push as hard as possible to build a lead over the chasing pack. As we approached the window for the first pit stops, it became apparent that Jenson would come out directly behind Nico Rosberg if we went with his planned three-stop strategy. We therefore made the decision to switch Jenson onto a two-stop strategy to ensure that he could run in clean air. Rubens was going extremely quickly at the front at that time and his three-stop strategy was clearly the quickest option for him. Unfortunately his tyres did not perform well after his second stop which compromised his pace and ultimately cost him the race. Rubens has performed extremely well throughout this weekend and it has been largely thanks to his input that we have been able to maximise our pace and achieve the successes of today. Our second one-two finish is a fantastic way to start the European season and I am extremely proud of Jenson, Rubens and the team. Our thanks as always to Mercedes-Benz and all of our team partners for their continued support."
Mark Webber (3rd):
"Its good to be back on the podium. Its interesting how the teams mentality has changed - last year we would have been happy to score points and now we want podiums at every race! Were working incredibly hard and the guys eyes are falling out of their heads with all the late nights and long hours. Sebastian had more trouble with traffic today, but the team got us both home with a lot of points, which is fantastic. I had a very long second stint and was much happier with the car than in the first, although the tyres had nothing left for the last ten laps. We planned to be long in the second, as we knew Felipe (Massa) would be one lap longer and his drive would be the key to my race. We had to unlock ourselves from him and that second stint was the key. I was very happy with the way I drove and the car was fantastic. I expect Monaco will be closer than this, but the way the car performed here, on a circuit that is a tough test on a car, is a good sign for places like Turkey and Silverstone. Red Bull has done a great job and so have Renault.
Sebastian Vettel (4th):
My start wasnt the best - by the first corner Rubens was first and I was fourth, so obviously we lost some positions - most importantly to Massa. I was then stuck behind him for almost all of the race. He was impossible to pass, he did a very good job with no mistakes. Its obviously disappointing as my car was quick today, but I couldnt finish on the podium. Still, its a strong result for the team and we take away some good points.
Christian Horner, team principal:
A very good drive from Mark, who claimed his second podium of the season. His strategy worked very well and he put Rubens under a lot of pressure at the end of the race. It was frustrating for Sebastian as, unfortunately it was the second race in a row where a KERS car has cost him dearly. Massa stopped on the same lap as Sebastian for his first stop and then, despite us bringing his middle stint very short, they picked the same lap for Massa as well, so he spent 63 laps looking at the back of a Ferrari! As soon as he was released from him, his pace was obvious. We showed again that we have a car that is quick enough to win races, but third and fourth is still a very strong result.
Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer, Track Support:
A difficult race and one that, once again, we could have won. We are tested hard by these KERS cars! Massa got in front of Sebastian at the first corner and it ruined his race. Mark had a very solid race and was very quick, he had some free air and finished very close to the Brawns. Its a good overall result for us, with eleven more points, but its still frustrating and we need to focus on a win for the next races.
Fernando Alonso (5th):
"It was a great race for us. We were not too optimistic before the start and our simulations suggested we would finish in ninth or 10th place. But I had a good start and I was up to sixth after the first corner. The car worked really well during the race and then I was able to overtake Massa on the final lap. It was also an interesting race for the fans."
Nelson Piquet (12th):
"I was lucky not to get caught in the accident at the start of the race. The performance of the car was disappointing and the balance wasn't good. I don't have a fully updated car yet so I hope that we can make some improvements for the next race."
Flavio Briatore, Renault managing director:
"Today's result and our pace in the race showed the potential and the improvements made to the car as Fernando's times were very close to those of the front runners. Now we must work hard and keep improving in order to secure strong points for both cars in the races to come."
Pat Symonds, Renault executive director of engineering:
"Barcelona is not renowned for producing exciting racing, but that certainly wasn't true today. It was a fight all the way through to end and a great result from Fernando. Nelson was extremely lucky not to have been taken out in the first corner accident, which seemed to have happened all around him. From then on the car didn't have the pace we expected and we feel that there is probably unseen damage to it."
Remi Taffin, Renault head of engine operations:
"Overall it was a weekend that brought us more than we expected. We came here with hopes of taking a step forward, but unfortunately everybody brought lots of developments and the order of the teams remained pretty much the same. But thanks to the work that we have done throughout the weekend, we've come away with a great result. Fernando was pushing flat out for the whole race and fifth place is a nice reward. This result puts us in a good frame of mind for the upcoming races, but we will continue working hard."
Felipe Massa (6th):
"It's a real shame to have lost two places in the final stages, even if we've finally made it to the scoreboard. We knew we couldn't match the pace of the Brawns but we had managed to get ahead of the Red Bulls and, but for the fuel problem, I could have certainly stayed ahead of Vettel and Alonso. The final part of the race was a pain. I was already struggling on the harder tyres and then I had to try and save fuel as much as possible, while at the same time staying ahead of Vettel. Then the team told that if I wanted to make it to the finish, I would have to let Vettel by and slow down a lot: if I had made another pit stop I would have finished out of the points. Today, the car's pace on the softer tyre was reasonably good, even if we're still lacking a few tenths, but at least we are back to fighting for the top places."
Kimi Raikkonen (DNF):
"I am very unhappy because I could have finished in the points. Unfortunately, I had a hydraulic problem linked to the control of the accelerator which meant I had to retire. At the start I managed to make up a few places but then, I found myself behind Heidfeld's BMW. The car is better, but we must fix these reliability problems. Obviously, when you have to make up ground you can end up making avoidable errors, as has happened to us in this first part of the season, but that doesn't mean to say the team has lost its way. We are the same people who over the past two years have won three world titles out of the four available."
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal:
"We can take some satisfaction from this weekend, but at the same time, it has thrown up further concerns. On the one hand we saw that the effort expended in recent weeks has born fruit in terms of improving the performance level of the car. Both in yesterday's qualifying and today, Felipe was competitive at the highest level, as was confirmed on the clock: it's not by luck that we got the third fastest time in the race, which would have been far out of our reach in previous races this year. Once again, the downside comes from the reliability side. Again today, we had problems which forced Kimi to retire and cost Felipe two places in the final stages, having also robbed him of the chance of getting to the podium, which would have been well deserved. This is unacceptable for a team like Ferrari: we must all react to get back to our usual standard, as indeed we have partially managed on the performance side. There is much to do on all fronts and we will tackle it with our usual absolute determination."
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer:
"The most important thing this weekend is that the car performance is much improved compared to the previous races. Today we were capable of fighting with the best and we had a great chance of finishing on the podium. On the downside, we can only be disappointed about our reliability and the running of our on-track operation. After what happened in qualifying yesterday, Kimi had to retire because of a problem with the hydraulics used to control the accelerator. On Felipe's car, the front left wheel fairing broke and at both pit stops we had a refueling problem, the cause of which we have yet to find out. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do. We are all very unhappy for what happened and lament the fact that so much work from the team to improve car performance was not adequately rewarded in the final result."
Nick Heidfeld (7th):
It was a tough race but I think it was one of my better ones. I had hoped for points as a birthday present, but honestly didnt really believe in this as I was starting from 13th. The start was the decisive time when I gained four positions. In the first corner I was hit from behind but luckily my car wasnt damaged. It was not easy to defend my position against Kimi Raikkonen later on in the race, and our fight slowed me down, so I lost the contact with the front runners. Our pit crew did a fantastic job and got me in front of Nico Rosberg at my second pit stop. It is a great result for us and the race pace proved the new aero package is a clear improvement, which is very good news for the rest of the season.
Robert Kubica (11th):
At the start I lost several places due to a clutch problem. But that was only the beginning of a very difficult race. After the safety car period, my car had no grip at all. I just couldnt push and the car was sliding all over the place. I really dont understand what happened. Up to Q3 yesterday everything was going well, and the performance of the car was good, but today there was nothing I could do. We have to analyse what happened.
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport director:
We made a come back for the start of the European season, although our situation after the first lap wasnt that good. Robert got stuck in traffic at the start, lost five positions and was just able to avoid the early accident. Whereas Nick on the outside was able to gain some places. During the race it was our pit crew that did a great job and enabled Nick to get by another car with every pit stop. Two points for seventh place is not a big result, but it demonstrates the improved performance of the car with the new aero update. We can build on this.
Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber head of engineering:
The significant modifications we made to the F1.09 obviously brought us one step forward. After the accident at the start Nick moved up from P13 to P9, and later he was able to gain another two positions. This was also thanks to the fantastic work by the pit crew with two excellent pit stops. Robert was unlucky as he was squeezed in at the start and lost a lot of positions. During the race he wasnt able to drive at his true pace for most of the time because he was stuck in traffic. Now its all about bringing the next development steps onto the car as quickly as possible."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (8th):
I really believe we could have taken fifth place today but things didnt go too well. I had a very good first few laps but, after 10 laps or so, I started to experience a problem at the rear of the car which Ive had all weekend. Something inexplicable would just happen and affect the balance which caused a lot of oversteer. Oddly enough, it would then be ok again. As this was happening throughout much of the race, I couldnt really push and that really hurt me. Going home with one point is always positive though and we should have a good car in Monaco so I think well have the chance to get a good result there.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (13th):
Another difficult race for me. I didnt have anywhere to go off the line and ended up damaging my front wing as I was caught in the middle of the first lap incident. Fortunately, I didnt lose a massive amount of time because the safety car was deployed, but my race was really over from there. Our race pace was quite good, and that allowed me to get ahead of Fisichella, but this is just a disappointing end to the weekend.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director:
Although we were in the points today, it was frustrating not to get more out of the race, particularly as the safety car on the first lap gave our strategy a good advantage over the cars in front. Kazuki was out of points contention early on due to a pitstop to change the front wing. Nico's pace in the first stint was initially good but we then struggled to maintain consistency so we'll have to investigate that. Both cars were reliable.
Lewis Hamilton (9th):
Today was a difficult race for me because we lack the downforce of the top cars. I was a bit worried about my tyres after driving over so much debris at the first corner but I came out of it okay. It was a tough, long race and it was incredibly hard to keep the car on the road - it felt like driving on ice at times, especially at the end of the second stint, when the tyres were finished, and in the final stint, when there was very little grip on the prime. I gave it 100 percent for the entire race so ninth place doesnt feel like the proper reward for the team, who worked hard all weekend. Still, were all hopeful that Monaco will be a better race for us because the absence of fast corners shouldnt hurt us as much as it did here. In fact, Im already looking forward to it.
Heikki Kovalainen (DNF):
Luck just doesnt seem to be going my way right now. Its been a difficult weekend - the cars performance is not where we want it to be and this was tough for us all - but thats life. But we shouldnt forget that weve improved our car massively since we last tested here in the winter and eventually well be fighting with Jenson and the other guys at the front. Im already looking ahead to Monaco where Ill be fighting harder than ever. Im not going to let this get me down.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:
Lewis made a great start off the line - but, after having been obstructed by another car, through no fault of his own he lost time avoiding an accident and ended up at the back of the field at the end of lap one. After that, his task was always going to be a tough one, because the Barcelona circuit is not an easy one on which to overtake. Furthermore, his tyres went off during his second stint, and then he got pipped by Fernando when they made their second pit stops. But he kept pushing as hard as he could, in ninth place, in the hope that one of the cars ahead of him would drop out and thereby allow him to score one hard-earned championship point. It didn't happen, unfortunately, but the fact that Lewis never gave up demonstrates just what a competitive individual he is. Heikki made a decent start, but his race was ended disappointingly - and unluckily - by a gearbox failure. We predicted that this race would be a low point of our season, and we've been proved right. In two weeks time, at Monaco, which is a very different kind of circuit from Barcelona, things ought to be significantly better for us. But we know we aren't yet where we want to be, and we'll continue to work flat-out to get there.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
We knew since testing here what to expect from our car on this race track. Being lapped here is not what Lewis deserves: he delivered everything that was possible with his car today - we just cannot handle the high-speed corners and need to dramatically improve over the next weeks and months. Thank God the Brawn guys saved our bacon again with our engine in the back. Congratulations Jenson, Rubens, Ross and the whole team, you guys have been the benchmark since the season started.
Timo Glock (10th):
"I had a tough race. At the start the car didn't pull away; I don't know why but we have to analyse it because Jarno (Trulli) didn't have a great start either. He was in front of me into turn one and then I saw him spinning. I got through the incident but then I was behind Nico (Rosberg) and I couldn't get close enough to him in the slipstream; every time I was close my tyres started to go off. Even when I was in clear air today the car was not perfect so we have to look at what happened and try to come back stronger for the next races."
Jarno Trulli (DNF):
"It was a very frustrating day for me because I was optimistic our strategy was good and I would be able to score a lot of points. Unfortunately my race did not last very long. I had a poor start because the engine didn't pull exactly as it should have done so I lost some positions and was right behind Alonso and Rosberg going into the first corner. Rosberg went off then during the next corner he came back on to the track right next to me. I had to avoid him because he came back on really quickly. I had to steer off the track and lost control of the car over the grass, so I spun and someone hit me. But there is no point in looking back; now we have to focus on the next race when hopefully we can achieve a much better result."
Tadashi Yamashina, Toyota team principal:
"That was a disappointing race because we were very hopeful of scoring points and it did not happen. We expected a better performance this weekend but things have not worked out as we wanted. The whole team put in a big effort to bring a package of aerodynamic upgrades to this race but ultimately it has been a frustrating weekend so we have to look at the data when we get back to Cologne and understand how to improve. Also, it seemed both Jarno and Timo had some trouble at the start so we have to analyse this too. But we will not be disheartened; we will push really hard in the coming days and we will fight for a better result in Monaco."
Giancarlo Fisichella (14th):
The first corner was quite messy as Trulli spun in front of me and there was a lot of debris around the circuit. I was a little worried about having picked up some damage but in the end I was out of trouble and didn't pick up anything. We decided to change the tyres under the safety car though and change the strategy, which was a good choice in the end. At the beginning the car was quite heavy and I tried to keep my pace. It wasn't easy but then the car was getting better and in the last 10 laps I was one of the quickest on the circuit. Unfortunately in the last pit stop we had a problem with the refuelling so I had to come in and do another extra pit stop, which cost me the chance to go back ahead of Nakajima. Overall the car balance and grip were good so it's encouraging for future races.
Adrian Sutil (DNF):
I had a good start but then as I accelerated away from turn three I saw a car flying into me. Jarno had spun on the inside of the corner and he was just in front of me and I couldn't do anything. It went so quickly and my car was damaged and I had to stop straight away. I wasn't injured, just disappointed I couldn't get to the end. I will have a good look at the accident after the race, but it was just one of those incidents that can happen at the start.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal:
Although the result was a fairly average one for us, I think there are positives we can take away. We've kept the upgrades coming through and, while we haven't moved up the order, we certainly are closer than ever. Giancarlo's times in the latter stages of the race also demonstrate a strong race performance and that we've got potential to achieve more. I think we can now look forward to Monaco with some confidence: we have further development coming through and it's also been a good track for us in the past.
Sebastien Bourdais (DNF):
I became aware everything was slowing down in front and I didnt even have the time to brake before I was flying over the back of my team-mates car and I thought I was going to roll over. Im not sure how it happened although I saw that Trulli had spun and came back on the track. Its very frustrating.
Sebastien Buemi (DNF):
Im not really sure what happened. I do know that I didnt get a very good start, so that Raikkonen and Kovalainen overtook me before the first corner. Then, at the exit of the second corner, Trulli spun and I had to brake to avoid him. My team mate did not see I was slowing down and could not avoid me. His car went over mine, I saw his tyre go over my head and that was it.
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal:
When you start at the back end of the grid, there is always a bigger risk of getting involved in an accident. Unfortunately today, Trulli went off and spun back on again, forcing Buemi to lift and Bourdais just crashed into the back of him. On a more positive note, the new package we introduced here does seem to be a step forward in terms of car performance. Now we must try and make better use of it in the next few races.