British Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 21 Jun 2009
Toro Rossos Sebastien Bourdais and McLarens Heikki Kovalainen on the collision that ended both their races; Brawn GPs Jenson Button on failing to make it on to the podium for the first time this season; and Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel on taking his second 2009 victory. All 20 drivers and senior team personnel report back on Sundays race action
Sebastian Vettel (1st):
"This is such a fantastic circuit. I think all the drivers enjoy it with its fast corners, it's a dream really - so to stay focused and keep your eyes open all the time during the race is not easy! The start was very important, then in the first stint I tried to pull away and make a gap, as I knew it would be crucial for the whole race. The car was fantastic, just unbelievable. I was able to push more and more and the tyres were very consistent. The second stint wasn't so easy; there were a lot of lapped cars that were battling with each other, so the team told me to be careful. From the last pit stop I was in clean air and from then on I was just counting down each lap. I had quite a big gap to Mark and was controlling the race from that point on. Everyone in the team has been working so hard, both in the factory and at the track. The way the team has brought the car to where it is now is fantastic - and we've proven it's a step in the right direction, so I'm very pleased. I also want to thank Silverstone. I enjoyed this race so much - when I looked in the grandstands everyone was standing up and clapping and when I took the chequered flag the atmosphere was so great. This is what I was dreaming of when I watched British grands prix when I was younger when Mansell was driving. It's almost unreal now to think that I'm here and I've made it. I've won this grand prix and I'm very happy."
Mark Webber (2nd):
"It's a great day for the team. I'm disappointed not to take the win, but I think I lost my chance for victory yesterday during qualifying. I should have been on the front row and, if so, I would have tried to make Sebastian work a bit harder in the first stint when I was behind Rubens. I saved a lot of fuel in the first stint, which meant we were able to jump Rubens at the first pit stop. I don't think I could have done much more today and congratulations to Sebastian, he did a good first stint, which is what laid the foundations for his win. And the team? Well, the guys have buried themselves recently with night shifts and the attention to detail that they go to is a credit to them. They're being led very well and they're responding to that. Results help and it's an incredible injection for them to get the top result, a one-two on local turf. I enjoyed it today. Silverstone is an amazing track and it's incredible to go through that first sector, lap after lap. It's a great place to drive a Formula One car and the British fans are always fantastic, so it was great today."
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal:
"What a fantastic team result, a one-two, with both guys totally dominating the race. There were so many members of the team here today and, for them to see what their cars can do, when they have put in so much effort, is just incredible. I'm thrilled for everyone at Red Bull, they've done a brilliant job. This track suits our car and the drivers have been in fantastic form all weekend. Sebastian was outstanding today and Mark also did a brilliant job - he was very patient when he needed to be behind Rubens in the first stint. It was a great team result. We've still got a long way to go to catch Brawn GP, but we're definitely moving in the right direction."
Fabrice Lom, Renault, principal engineer, track support:
"Wow, a magic result - first and second at the British Grand Prix. The team is so happy and, for the guys in Milton Keynes, this victory is so deserved they worked like hell to prepare this new package. It's a great result for them. For us as the engine partner to be part of this adventure is a great pleasure - so congratulations to everyone back in the factories and let's enjoy this fantastic result."
Rubens Barrichello (3rd):
"I'm really proud of the third place that we achieved at Silverstone today. It's been a tough weekend for the team and we knew that if the track temperatures didn't increase, then it would be incredibly difficult to beat the Red Bulls. The car has been well balanced and we certainly haven't lost performance since the last race, it's just that we have suffered badly in the cool conditions with our tyre temperatures. I had a good start to maintain second but Sebastian then disappeared in front of me and we knew that we were competing for third. There's been very little difference between the two tyre compounds this weekend but the softer tyre was definitely better in the race so it was tough for us to do the long middle stint on the harder tyre. Still to come away with third and the best position that the team could have achieved this weekend is very satisfying and I'm happy to have taken some points out of Jenson's lead."
Jenson Button (6th):
"All points are important at this stage of the season and to come away with three from this weekend is therefore ok but it's been a very frustrating home Grand Prix for us. I had a bad start as Trulli was slow off the line in front of me which left nowhere to go. I tried the inside and then the outside but everyone shot by me. From ninth place it was never going to be an easy race. I was stuck behind Trulli for the first stint which was really frustrating as the car felt good on the softer tyre and I was much quicker than him but couldn't overtake. We then had a long middle stint on the harder tyre and both Rubens and I struggled to get the tyres into their working range in the cool conditions with a heavy fuel load. On the softer rubber at the end of the race, I was able to close right up to Rosberg and Massa very easily so the pace of the car was actually pretty good but it is so difficult to overtake that I couldn't make any improvement on sixth position with only a few laps left. We need to understand why our car doesn't work so well at low temperatures and hope for warmer races to come."
Ross Brawn, Brawn team principal:
"Today's result was a pleasing outcome to what has been a challenging home race for the team this weekend. Rubens drove a very composed race to achieve his second consecutive podium finish at Silverstone whilst Jenson recovered well from a poor start to score valuable points for our championship challenge. We knew from the outset that our car does not work particularly well with the tyres at lower track temperatures and this was clearly evident at Shanghai earlier in the season. The balance of the car and the pace shown by Jenson in the last few laps of the race are however encouraging and we will be taking a close look at the issues that we experienced with the tyres to see what countermeasures can be taken. Congratulations to Red Bull for a superb one-two finish today and we look forward to taking the fight to them in Germany."
Felipe Massa (4th):
I almost feel as though I won the race! To start 11th and finish fourth is a really great result. We werent expecting it and so we are doubly happy. We had a good strategy and I pushed to the maximum at the key moments. Today, the KERS was a great help, especially at the start, but the whole car was also working well. The team did a great job and the results speak for themselves. We have to continue down this route. It will be interesting to understand how the cars performance improved from one day to the next. Maybe it just needed those few extra degrees of track temperature to get the tyres working better.
Kimi Raikkonen (8th):
I got a good start, but then I was unable to push as much as I could have done because I was always in traffic. Obviously, my grid position, given my fuel load, penalised me in terms of strategy. After the first run of pit stops, I found myself right behind Trulli and from then on, my race was pretty much over. I tried to pass him getting very close sometimes, but it wasnt really on as overtaking is still very difficult. I ended up fighting with Glock but I could defend my position comfortably, both thanks to the KERS and to the fact that I actually had quite a good pace. Its a shame, because given where I was at the end of the first lap, I could have got a better result. A single point is definitely nothing to get excited about, but its better than nothing. The car wasnt bad today, much better than it had been in qualifying yesterday.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal:
After the less than brilliant qualifying yesterday, our aim was to get both cars home in the points and we did it. Felipe drove a fantastic race: starting eleventh and finishing fourth with no one in front of him on the grid retiring is a great performance. Kimi got a great start, making the most of the KERS, but after that he was unable to make the most of having moved up the order, because of traffic. Today, we saw one team clearly ahead of the rest, but we showed we could match the pace of all the others, including those who only two weeks ago, were clearly better. We will have to study in depth everything that happened this weekend to understand how the performance level can change so suddenly, one way or the other, without there having been any changes made to the cars.
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer:
We got the most out of a weekend that was definitely not brilliant in terms of performance. Both our drivers had great starts, getting the most of out the KERS. Then Felipe picked up a good pace that, along with the strategy, allowed him to move up quite a few places. As for Kimi, he was slowed by traffic and the key moment in his race was when Trulli came out on track ahead of him when he made his first pit stop. He was unable to pass him on the track and then, during the run of pit stops, other drivers were able to get ahead of him. Yesterday, we were rather disappointed both with our result and with our performance, but today things were definitely better: however, we have to admit there is still a great deal of work to do to be competitive at the highest level, which is where we want to be.
Nico Rosberg (5th):
I am very pleased for the whole team, and for myself, that we had another good race. We still didnt get the result that we are capable of today, but Barrichello was slow in the middle stint and I was stuck behind him and that cost me the place to Massa. If that hadnt happened, we would have had a solid fourth place. I have to say a big well done to the team because everyone is doing a really great job and we are moving ahead in terms of development. We are consistent on every track so Im looking forward to the races to come.
Kazuki Nakajima (11th):
That result was not ideal for me. There werent any particular reasons for it. I was pleased with my start and I thought it was going to be a good race for me, but I was held up by the car in front before my first stop and then it was difficult to keep up with the cars ahead of me for the rest of the race.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director:
It was great for the team to pick up more points today with Nicos fifth place and it shows were still heading in the right direction with development. Nico drove well, it was just a shame he was caught up in traffic for the majority of the race as I think he could have done more. He showed that he was quick by setting the third fastest laptime in the race, only behind the two Red Bulls. With his strategy, it was always going to be difficult for Kazuki to score points, but he is definitely improving, and he really helped the team with set-up direction this weekend.
Jarno Trulli (7th):
"It was a very hard race for me. I had a difficult start because the car didn't pull away as fast as normal, so I lost a couple of positions. I was trying to fight back all through the race but it was not easy and the car was sliding around quite a lot; maybe this was because of the aero set-up I chose yesterday. I expected the weather today to be a little warmer than it was and I was struggling a bit with my set-up, especially on long runs. Our strategy was okay but we expected more from this race so I am determined to make up for it in Germany."
Timo Glock (9th):
"It's a pity to miss out on the points, especially as I was really quick out of traffic and at the end I was able to catch Kimi (Raikkonen) quite easily. The problem was at the first corner when I lost a few positions; that left me in traffic and compromised my race. Still, I didn't give up and I was fighting with Fisichella in the middle stint when there was a chance to get in the points. On the hard tyres at the end the car felt good and I very quickly caught Kimi but I had no chance to overtake. I tried into the final corner on the last lap but it didn't work out. Now I am looking to the next Grand Prix, which is a home race for me and the team. I hope it will be a bit warmer there which would suit our car more than the low temperatures today."
John Howett, Toyota team president:
"We expected a better result than this but the race didn't turn out as we hoped. Qualifying was very promising and we genuinely expected to fight for the podium but Jarno lost positions at the start and Timo was squeezed going into the first corner. Two points is far less than we expected after the qualifying result but this will motivate us to develop further and come back stronger for one of our home Grands Prix.
Giancarlo Fisichella (10th):
A top 10 finish was our target this weekend. We thought it would be difficult but actually today was a very good race for me and we achieved the maximum we could do. It was a fun race. I had a good start and then on the first lap I overtook many drivers and even on the second lap I overtook Kubica and the two Renaults, so I was very focussed at the beginning. It was very important with my strategy to do this as we didn't have such a great starting position because of the red flag yesterday in qualifying. Perhaps we could have scored points if we'd started higher as eighth was just in front of me and at the end I was quicker than Kimi and Timo. It's a great step forward and I'm really looking forward to the next races now. The team did a fantastic job so we need to continue this.
Adrian Sutil (17th):
We rebuilt the spare car after the crash yesterday caused too much damage to my race car, but then we had a problem on the formation lap with the fuel pressure. We could fix it and at least start but it was really disappointing today. We missed a big opportunity to qualify well because of the crash and the race was not spectacular as a result. I was really just driving around without much chance of overtaking anyone so it was a little boring, but it's another finish at least. Let's move onto Germany where I hope I can really take advantage of the new parts we had this weekend.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal:
It was a very impressive race performance today from Force India. We had our fair share of bad luck in qualifying yesterday with Adrian's shunt, which unfortunately ruined Fisi's lap as well. Who knows, if we had started further up the grid as we had hoped maybe points would have been in reach today. Nevertheless I am very happy both cars finished: reliability is good, we're competitive and keeping pace with all the others and we beat some top teams as well. Obviously I am delighted that we are getting there, slowly but steadily. I'm very hopeful for the next few races.
Nelson Piquet (12th):
The overall result is disappointing today, but I think I had a solid race. Its clear that we must continue to work hard and hopefully introduce some new upgrades in time for the next race in a few weeks time. I know that I can be competitive if the car is good, however its down to me to improve my performance in qualifying.
Fernando Alonso (14th):
Our chance to score points today was over at the start as we lost two positions and I was stuck behind Heidfeld who was heavy on fuel, which cost us a lot of time. Although I had some good fights around the track, Im obviously frustrated with the poor result and its clear we need to improve on all fronts before Germany.
Flavio Briatore, Renault managing director:
Fernandos poor start put him in a position that was hard to recover from and equally Nelson was caught in traffic, which made it difficult to see his true pace. The team switched Nelson to a one-stop strategy, which gained him four places, nevertheless we must improve the pace of the car very rapidly.
Pat Symonds, Renault executive director of engineering:
Our performance today did not meet the expectations that we had after qualifying and so we leave Silverstone disappointed. The poor start for Fernando compromised his race and losing so much time in his first stint made it impossible to score points. Nelsons one-stop strategy worked well, but its clear that we werent quick enough today. We need to regroup and improve before Germany.
Remi Taffin, Renault head of engine operations:
Unfortunately we just werent fast enough today. We didnt have a great start to the race, which meant we were caught in traffic, and with the strategies we were running that made it difficult to move forward. Both drivers drove well and gave their maximum. We must now concentrate on the next race in Germany.
Robert Kubica (13th):
"This was a very difficult race for me. Starting from P12 it was clear under normal circumstances we couldn't achieve much, therefore we decided to take a risk and start the race with a high fuel load and on the prime tyres. But it didn't pay off, because I had big problems heating up the tyres at the start, and I lost ground. We have to accept that 13th is just what was possible today."
Nick Heidfeld (15th):
"I'd say given our poor qualifying results the race result was what we expected. There wasn't much we could come away with. At the start I risked a lot when I went for a rather small gap. I damaged my front wing but I was happy it wasn't worse than that. Of course it significantly affected the aerodynamics, but we decided to wait until the scheduled pit stop so not to lose even more time. For the second stint I had to use the harder tyre compound, but the softer ones were clearly the better ones."
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport director:
"For us the race reflects the performance we showed in yesterday's qualifying. Overall it was a disappointing weekend for our team. We will speed up our development programme. The only out of the ordinary situation from our point of view today was when Nick touched another car on the first lap and damaged his front wing. Although he was able to continue until the scheduled pit stop he lost a lot of time."
Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber head of engineering:
"We are obviously not happy with this result, but unfortunately it reflects our qualifying performance. In the race we were struggling to get the tyres into the window when they were working at their best. Both drivers complained about lack of grip on the hard compound. With the softer tyre, the pace was acceptable. But at the end of the day here the car was just not competitive. At the Nurburgring we will introduce the next aerodynamic update."
Lewis Hamilton (16th):
I gave it my all today.Despite fighting for the lower positions, I was absolutely on the limit for the whole race. We knew it would be difficult, and I enjoyed my battle with Fernando, but we didnt have the pace today to get into the points. The best thing about this weekend has been the fans: they really gave me some consolation by cheering me on throughout the race. I would love to have given them a result to make them happy and my country proud, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us before that will be realistic.
Heikki Kovalainen (DNF):
Of course, its disappointing not to finish the teams home race.Until my retirement, the car had been working fine and the strategy was working for me too: we were on target. Then Bourdais just ran into the back of me and damaged the left-rear corner. I had to stop because the damage had made the car undriveable: we decided to retire for safety reasons.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:
This weekend has been a very difficult one for everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. No-one in our team likes not winning, and it goes without saying that we all remain utterly determined to return to our winning ways. That may not be a realistic prospect for this season - although significant improvements are in the pipeline - but the team is doing a huge amount of work in an effort to gain a full understanding of the performance issues our car is currently facing, with a view to developing next years car as well as improving this years car. Sometimes you have to go backwards before you can begin going forwards - and, painful as it was for all of us, this weekend was an example of that.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
A race to forget. Our performance was by far not where it has to be and where it was when we won five of the last 10 races here on this classic racetrack. We should not talk a lot now but rather work a lot. Congratulations to our German friend Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing and Mark Webber for a very impressive performance and a clearly very dominant one-two today. This was the most impressive performance of the season so far.
Sebastien Buemi (18th)
It was a very tough race and we struggled to be on the pace and now we must try and work out why, as we have been quicker than this earlier in the weekend. On worn tyres especially, the car was very difficult to drive. Nurburgring will be another difficult weekend, but we are due to get some updates for Hungary, which will allow us to be more competitive and perform much better."
Sebastien Bourdais (DNF):
"Regarding my collision with Kovalainen, he changed line twice. At the exit to Stowe, I was on the normal line and he went to the inside, I moved to the outside, then he moved over so I moved across to the other side and he changed again. He braked early, because he had only just left the pits on full tanks and cold tyres. I was trying to out-brake him, but he should not have changed line like that. It was frustrating and then at the end I lost water pressure and had to stop in the garage."
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal:
"First of all, well done to Red Bull for a fantastic job, especially the drivers. Vettel showing incredible pace in the early stages, with he and Webber easily controlling the race. For our part, we were off the pace this weekend and apart from some small technical problems, we were not at the level at which we expected to be. One of the reasons is that we suffer from the lack of new specification aero parts. We will have these for Hungary, when I expect and hope that this will bring us back to the front end of the midfield."