Turkish Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 07 Jun 2009
Williams Kazuki Nakajima on how a problem during his second pit stop ruined his chance of points; BMW Saubers Robert Kubica on earning his first points of the season; and Brawn GPs Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello on their varying fortunes. All 20 drivers and senior team personnel report back on the race...
Jenson Button (1st):
"I wish I could have had the whole team up there on the podium with me today! This was definitely a victory for us all, everyone at the track, back at the factory in Brackley and at Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines in Brixworth. Today we really showed what this car and engine can do and to beat our closest competitors fair and square is a great feeling. I had a good start from the dirty side of the grid and it was really important to maintain second position into the first corner. I took my opportunity on the first lap when Sebastian went wide and from there we controlled the race. Once we knew that Sebastian was going for a three-stop strategy, we filled the car up at my first stop and I just tried to be as consistent as possible to keep him behind me. It's not nice to see a car catching you so quickly, even when you know he is on low fuel, but once he pitted I was able to push harder. I had a smile on my face for pretty much every lap today, the car felt that good, and I was able to back off in the last stint to conserve the engine. This is the first time that the car has been absolutely perfect for me and it means so much to the team to see just how good this car is. To go to Silverstone for our home race leading the championships is a wonderful feeling but we know that we have to keep pushing to maintain our advantage."
Rubens Barrichello (DNF):
"It was a difficult and immensely frustrating day for me today. We had a problem with the clutch at the start which caused the car to go into anti-stall so I wasn't able to get off the line. That dropped me back into the pack and to complicate things further, I was hitting the limiter on the straights which meant that I couldn't overtake and had to take risks. So it was an eventful first half of the race as I tried to compensate for the problems and I had a couple of incidents with other cars. I was prepared to fight my way up the field but the damage caused to the gearbox by the problems at the start began to get worse so the team had to retire my car. It's difficult to have a day like this when you could see the pace of the car was fantastic but we will bounce back. Silverstone is one of my favourite circuits so I'll stay positive and look ahead to the British Grand Prix in two weeks time."
Ross Brawn, Brawn team principal:
"I'm beginning to run out of superlatives to describe our season! Jenson drove an outstanding race today and demonstrated the level of talent and composure that we have come to expect. Once again, the team here at the track, in Brackley and our close partners at Mercedes-Benz worked extremely hard this weekend to improve the car and achieve the perfect set-up that we had for the race today. My sincere thanks to them all for their commitment and enthusiasm. On Rubens' side, we had a problem with his clutch off the start line which was similar to that which we experienced at the opening race in Melbourne. In attempting to recover and get off the grid, the transmission was over-torqued. As his race progressed, it became increasingly evident that this had caused a serious problem with the gearbox and we retired the car whilst the damage was contained. It's extremely frustrating for all concerned when the car was balanced and working well for Rubens going into the race. We will look into the cause of the problem to ensure that this is rectified. We can now look ahead to Silverstone, just eight miles from our factory in Brackley, and take great pride to be leading the constructors' and drivers' championships going into our home race."
Mark Webber (2nd):
A good race. I knew I had to hang in there for as long as possible in the first stint. It worked out pretty well and I managed to go a lap longer and save fuel, which helped me gain some time. I knew Sebastians strategy and that I was in with a sniff of getting a podium finish. Both Sebastian and I knew that first place was gone and it was about who would finish behind Jenson - he was on another planet! The second stint was therefore crucial, I had to push really hard. When youre on a different strategy, the other guy is almost invisible until after the pit stops, but it turned out well for us and my engineer kept me updated with what was happening. I did enough in the middle stint to be able to jump Sebastian at the pit stops. Then, at the end we turned the engine down and brought the car home.
Sebastian Vettel (3rd):
The start worked out okay, I was ahead but then I nearly lost the car in Turn Nine and 10 on the first lap. It was my mistake, it was extremely difficult there and I nearly did the same on the second lap. It was quite tricky, but I think without that there wouldnt have a big difference, as Jenson was too quick today. After that I thought the strategy might swap to a two-stop plan, but it didnt. I got caught behind Jenson who was heavier in the second stint and that allowed Mark to get ahead. Nonetheless, a good result for the team and I think we can be satisfied with second and third.
Christian Horner, team principal:
A good team result today and second and third gives us more points for the constructors championship. Mark drove a very strong race today with not a single mistake and did a good job to finish second. Unfortunately for Sebastian, after a good start and having led on the first lap, he made a small mistake which allowed Jenson to pass. Our only chance to then have a go at Jenson was a three-stop strategy, which is what we elected to do. It relied on us overtaking Jenson in the second stint, but unfortunately Sebastian didnt manage that today and the time lost was the difference between second and third.
Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer, Track Support:
A mixed feeling again. Its a very good team result, we are second and third and have got fourteen points - which is four more than Brawn received today. It was a very strong race from Mark and a good race from Sebastian, but Jenson was just too quick for us. He deserved the win, he was quicker and he won - there is nothing more to add!
Jarno Trulli (4th):
"I am pleased with the race result and also with the car. We have worked really hard to find more performance and it's great to be back in the fight for a podium. The team deserve a lot of credit for the improvement this weekend, including the engineers who have made a good step with our starts. My start was incredible and I made up two places into the first corner, however I struggled a lot on the first lap with locking brakes so I dropped back to fourth. After that I got into a good rhythm and I was fighting hard with Nico Rosberg. He got ahead at the first pit stops but I bounced back and overtook at the second stops. I was really competitive towards the end when there was a lot of rubber down and it was enjoyable to be fighting at the front. I started the weekend with a positive feeling and we quickly found the right set-up so I am extremely happy to be back to a competitive level."
Timo Glock (8th):
"It was not easy to score points from 13th on the grid. At the start I was a bit unlucky; I got a good launch but I got caught at the exit of turn one and another car pushed me to the outside. I lost some positions so maybe the result could have been even better. But in the end I am happy to score a point because the car was spot on, really quick with race fuel. It's tricky to make up positions in Formula One but our strategy was right, the pit stops were great and the set-up worked really well so thanks to the team for a good job. Our target before the race was to get into the points so I am pleased to achieve that and I expect even more at the next race."
Tadashi Yamashina, Toyota team principal:
"It is very satisfying to have both drivers finish in the points here. We are back fighting at the front of the grid and that is where we want to be at every race. This was the best result we could achieve after qualifying which is a credit to the good work done by the team. However, we obviously want to be back on the podium so even though we showed very clear improvement, we will continue to push as hard as possible to find more performance. There is still a gap between us and the other top teams so we want to close that for the next race. I am optimistic for the British Grand Prix; we believe the Silverstone track should suit our car because it plays to our strengths therefore we want an even better result there."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (5th):
I am happy with fifth place and happy for the team as well because this is a good result. I had a great start, which I have to thank my engineers for as it went exactly as Id hoped it would, and by the end of the first lap Id managed to make up four positions. From there, I pushed hard to get past Trulli, and I thought I could because my pace was good, but he had a quicker car today. I hope we can keep up this momentum and score points at every race. At the moment, I would say we can consistently be in the top eight.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (12th):
I had a good start and a strong first lap. Everything was then going well until the second stop. What happened was a real shame as I think that was probably the best race of my career so far. Basewise, we were competitive today, so thanks to the team for a good car and a solid strategy which allowed me to beat Raikkonen and Alonso on the track. We will just have to learn from the mistake in the pitstop and hope for a better result next time.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director:
It was good to score four points. Nico had a fantastic start and drove a strong race to fifth. It was a shame that we had the problem during the pitstop on Kazukis car when the front left wheel nut became stuck. If not for that, he would have finished in a well deserved seventh place. To come away with four points though is a good day for the team.
Felipe Massa (6th):
A very difficult day for us. We have to accept the fact that sixth place was the best we could do, because we were not quick enough to fight against those in front of us. We must continue to push on the car development front to make up for what we lack in terms of performance, starting with the race at Silverstone. From Friday it was complicated to find a way to make the tyres work well: for example, today the softs seemed to go better than on previous days, but using them right from the start would have been a risk because the degradation, up to yesterday seemed to be pretty significant.
Kimi Raikkonen (9th):
It was definitely not the race we were expecting or the one we wanted. The first lap was decisive for me: I lost valuable places and then it wasnt possible to get them back because today we werent quick enough. Over recent weeks, we have improved our performance a lot, but we are not yet at the level of the best, especially at tracks like this one. It is never easy to catch up, because in the meantime, the others are not exactly stopping their own development. We must not be negative about this after a weekend like this one, but we should continue to concentrate and to push: I am sure we can soon return to fighting for the top places. It wont be easy but I have confidence in this team.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal:
We definitely expected more from this weekend, especially given what we had seen up to the end of Saturday morning, when our level of competitiveness was pretty good. We have to understand why the performance of our car evolved in a negative fashion over the course of the three days: the race pace we saw this afternoon was not only not up to the level of the best but it was also not as good as many of the others. We must continue to work on the development of the car to try and make up ground, by continuing to stay focused and without getting discouraged by this setback.
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer:
We are very disappointed because we expected to be in the fight for better places. We have to really understand why we lost so much speed from one day to another. Today we werent competitive, not just up against Brawn GP and Red Bull but also when compared with Toyota and Williams. On top of that, the way the first lap went cost us dear: its not by chance that the classification of our cars at the end of lap 1 was the same as they passed the chequered flag.
Robert Kubica (7th):
It is good to finally score points. I think I raced well today. My pace was good and I made no mistakes. The race was very hard, as nearly all the time I had someone very close behind me, and the smallest mistake would have cost a position. It was very hard to keep up the pace. However, finishing seventh was a clear step forward and we now have to keep up the speed of development.
Nick Heidfeld (11th):
For me todays race was disappointing because I lost all my chances in the beginning when I had a problem with the car. As early as the formation lap I realised the car pulled to one side and the front left tyre had no grip at all. It stood still when I tapped the brakes softly. The start itself was okay as I was ninth, but then I more or less went straight on in the first corners because of my problems, and quite a few cars went by me. It was better in the second and third stints, but it was way too late for points. Nevertheless it is positive that the car has generally improved and again we are able to score on our own merits.
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport director:
This was a thrilling race for us right from the start to the chequered flag. Coming from P10, Robert made it to seventh and therefore deserved the two championship points due to his great commitment. In the early stages our cars were not fast enough to make up ground compared to our competitors. Only after lap 40 were our drivers able to set the lap times which we expected. Nick lost a lot of ground and many positions right after the start and was therefore not in a position to fight for championship points. Conclusion of the weekend: Our car was fast enough today to score points thanks to our own performance. This is the basis from which we will prepare the next development steps.
Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber head of engineering:
For our team todays race was really exciting. Our strategy proved the right one and Robert was able to exploit the cars potential. We were rewarded with two world championship points. Nicks race was over immediately after the start. Despite our positive result there is no reason for slowing down now. We have to make more progress quickly to close the gap to the top teams. However, tonight we are happy about championship points."
Fernando Alonso (10th):
"Of course I feel frustrated that we didn't manage to finish in the points, but to be honest we couldn't expect much more today. We started in eighth position and having the lightest car on the grid penalised us because after the first pit-stop we just couldn't keep up with the pace with the top contenders. We therefore need to improve quickly. Hopefully the changes expected for the Silverstone race will be significant enough to see us score some good points and change our situation for the second part of the season."
Nelson Piquet (16th):
"It was quite a straightforward race today, but my fate had been decided yesterday with the problems that I had in qualifying and so it was difficult to make the strategy work. The car was good and I had some fun battles, including the one with Hamilton when I passed him, but our final result is disappointing. However, I remain confident we can improve in time for Silverstone."
Flavio Briatore, Renault managing director:
"Both drivers did the best they could in a difficult race and with a car that's just not competitive enough. Our priority is to keep working flat-out and to introduce constant and substantial updates and improvements to the car at each race for the remainder of the season."
Pat Symonds, Renault executive director of engineering:
"From the grid positions that we had and the current speed of the car it was difficult to see how to get points from this race. We tried to use the tyres in a slightly different manner to see if this would help us, but ultimately it wasn't enough to give us a positive result. As we have said so many times before, we must improve the basic pace of the car."
Remi Taffin, Renault head of engine operations:
"The race was difficult today. Our drivers performed well and gave their maximum, but with the way the weekend developed it was clear we couldn't finish in the points. We now head to Silverstone where we are determined to get a better result. We are all extremely motivated and will continue working at 250 percent."
Lewis Hamilton (13th):
It was quite an uneventful race but I actually enjoyed myself this afternoon. I was very heavy at the start but I just pushed and pushed. Thats why I can smile - because I think I drove to my full potential.The most important thing is for us to keep our heads up and to keep pushing. I see my role from now on as helping the team to cure the problems with this years car and to make next years car the best it can possibly be. When the team gives me a car to win, I will win.Now we look ahead to Silverstone - I really wish Jenson all the best: he did a fantastic job today. Personally, I hope I can come away from my home race with a great feeling from my home fans. I hope they wont give up supporting me.
Heikki Kovalainen (14th):
This was a character-building race for everybody in the team. At the start of the race, I really got the maximum out of the car and Im pleased about that. I had a good fight with Rubens too - it was great to be racing hard and fair and it was very satisfying to keep a faster car at bay with some good old-fashioned racing tactics and also our KERS hybrid. In the final stint, the engineers elected to turn down the revs to protect my engine. Still, we have to be realistic: we finished 14th and we all know we can do better. Weve had some great days in the past and well continue to push hard to enjoy some great days in the future.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:
In extremely frustrating circumstances, both Lewis and Heikki performed very impressively this afternoon. They both tried their hardest throughout the race, and we're grateful for their sterling efforts. Of course, it's frustrating that two such forceful drives went unrewarded in terms of world championship points, but the fact is that our car just isn't as quick as we'd like it to be. So, now, we'll go back to Woking and we'll work hard to rectify its deficiencies, but there's no magic cure. No, instead, the remedy will be found via hard work, and one thing our team isn't afraid of is hard work - which, it goes without saying, I'm also extremely grateful for. But, returning to the subject of today's race, the fact that Rubens, in an extremely competitive car, was unable to make anything of his afternoon once hed got bogged down at the start, demonstrates all too clearly that, in modern-day Formula One, as close-fought as it is, its more or less impossible to make useful progress from the back of the field. That may be frustrating, but its true nonetheless."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
We knew that this type of circuit would be difficult for us. Whereas the car works okay in sector three with its long straightaway and tight corners where we are as quick as anybody, we struggle massively on the quick parts of this racetrack. We have to make fundamental improvements and everybody in the team is aware of that. Thanks to Lewis and Heikki who both drove faultless races and extracted the maximum from their cars. The Brawn car and Jenson Button are in a league of their own - so none of their competitors can currently be satisfied and certainly we least. Congratulations for the sixth win from Jenson in the seventh race of the season and a big thank you to our engine guys who have put in a perfect effort so far.
Sebastien Buemi (15th):
It was a tough but a good race for me, as I attacked as hard as I could. We have to stay positive and today, we looked a bit more competitive than over the rest of the weekend. For me, after the last two races, it was a good experience to finish the Grand Prix today and get more mileage. Now we need to do two things: analyse exactly what went wrong in qualifying and get some updates for the car as soon as possible. We will have to make the best of the next two races, after which we are hoping to have some major improvements for Hungary. We need to continue to work hard."
Sebastien Bourdais (18th):
"Starting at the back was always going to be difficult. After the start, Fisichella seemed to be in trouble and was all over the place, so I couldn't take too many risks trying to get past and I lost between three and four seconds on the opening lap. Of course, I also had to deal with a very heavy fuel load and after that, I had a solitary race. Doing the long second stint on the Option tyre was also not easy. We opted for a one-stop strategy in the hope that circumstances or a Safety Car might help us move up the order. It's been clear all weekend we were off the pace, but we have to stay positive and think about how to improve for Silverstone, when we can expect to have a few minor upgrades on the car."
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal:
"After our problems in qualifying, we couldn't expect much from this race. However, the whole weekend was a useful learning process, regarding how to set up the car. Therefore, we come away from Istanbul with a lot of knowledge, which I hope we can now apply in Silverstone in a fortnight's time and put on a better performance there. Well done to Red Bull and to Vettel and Webber who did a good job today and have done their best to keep the championship fight alive."
Adrian Sutil (17th):
Perhaps we had hoped for more from 15th on the grid. I lost a couple of places at the start but was able to get them back quickly. The race pace was quite good though and I could have some exciting battles on track with a McLaren and a Brawn, which was great. It was not a real problem with Barrichello: he touched me once through a corner but I was just defending position. It was an interesting race, the car balance and the race pace were pretty good. Only the result was not as we would have liked, but it's been quite a positive weekend overall.
Giancarlo Fisichella (DNF):
I have had a few problems with the braking this weekend. We changed all the brake systems to see if it made any difference but it was actually worse today as the car was almost completely locked. I had a good start and in the beginning of the race I was quite competitive with the cars around me but then unfortunately the brake pedal was getting longer and longer and we decided to come back in to the pits. We tried to see if we could get back out again but in the end it was very risky and we had to retire. It's a shame as I enjoy this race but I've just had terrible luck at the track!
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal:
I think we hoped for slightly more from this race, but the overall weekend performance has consolidated the steps forward we took in Monaco. We've got through to Q2 for the second race in a row and Adrian drove a very competitive race, particularly on his first and second stints. Unfortunately Giancarlo retired very early on with a brake problem he had had during several of the earlier sessions. We can be encouraged by this team performance however and also in the knowledge that we have some significant upgrades coming through for Silverstone in a couple of weeks' time.