German Grand Prix - selected team and driver quotes 12 Jul 2009
McLarens Lewis Hamilton on the first-lap puncture that ruined his race; Ferraris Felipe Massa on scoring his first podium of the year; Force Indias Adrian Sutil and Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen on their collision; and Red Bulls Mark Webber on taking his maiden Formula One victory after 130 Grand Prix starts. All 20 drivers and senior team personnel report back on Sundays race action
Mark Webber (1st):
Its an incredible day. I wanted to win so badly after Silverstone, as I thought I had a good chance there, then after yesterdays pole I knew I was in a good position to try and win the race today. The only thing that I thought was going to test me was the rain, but even that held off. It was testing to get the victory today, I lost Rubens completely at the start; I thought he was gone a little bit to the left so I went to the right and banged into him. Thats not normally my style and I got a drive-through penalty for that, so had to recover. My engineer kept me calm and I pushed as hard as I could when I needed to, so its a great day. It was a difficult winter, Sebastian showed in winter testing what the car could do, so that kept my motivation very high when I was hurting a lot with all the rehab. I had great people around me to recover from all the injuries I had and the team have been incredibly patient with me as well. I want to thank Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull and everyone at Red Bull Racing for what they did for me over the winter, everyone in Australia who has supported me on the way through my career - and there are a few people that doubted me too, so hello to them as well. Its just an incredible day for all the people who have helped me get to where I am today.
Sebastian Vettel (2nd):
Congratulations to Mark, he was unbeatable today - he was quicker than all of us, so he totally deserved to win. Im very happy with the result and in the end it was a good recovery. It was quite a bad start and I had all the KERS cars around me - I got passed by both the McLarens and even Felipe (Massa). It was quite difficult to start fourth and go into the first corner in eighth or something. I then struggled a lot with the soft tyre in the first stint and was in a lot of traffic. I could have gone quicker, but there was no way to pass Felipe, as he always used the special button when I was quite close. Therefore I was lucky to have the right strategy, as that pulled us back to second position but Felipe didnt stop pushing, so it was hard until the end of the race. We had to fight, but its another one-two finish for the team and Im happy. Id be lying if I said Im very pleased with second, as of course I wanted to win, but yesterday Mark did a better job and thats why today he totally deserves the win - its a good fight between us, so Im looking forward to the next races.
Christian Horner, team principal:
A brilliant team performance. A fantastic drive from Mark - hes been on it all weekend and, after all the difficulties that hes been through over the winter, Im absolutely delighted thats hes managed to get his first win. He thoroughly deserves it. Sebastian recovered from a difficult first lap and put in an excellent performance to back up Marks win with a second place. A one-two is a brilliant team result and puts us back in the hunt in both championships. It was an important result for the team, but today belongs to Mark Webber, who is a deserved victor.
Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer, Track Support:
Im so, so, so happy. What a race! It was a difficult beginning with a drive-through penalty and starts that were not great, but our car and engine package is so good that we recovered from there to finish first and second - for the second time in a row - its just magic. Im so happy for Mark, he deserves his first win. We cannot stop thinking about Pierre-Emeric and I want to dedicate Marks first victory to him - Im sure he is watching us from above and he would be very happy about what happened today. Im happy for the team and now lets push for the title.
Felipe Massa (3rd):
Its been such a long time since I made it to the podium! I really wanted it after a very difficult first half of the season. Little bit little, we are improving and we will do all we can to get back to winning ways this season: I want to start hearing the Italian and Brazilian national anthems as soon as possible! A great start and the strategy were the keys to this result. In the first fifteen laps I was struggling to keep Vettel behind me, but than I think he too was also struggling a bit with the tyres. Maybe I could have managed to get one place higher, if we had brought the pit stop forward a bit, because I too was struggling with my tyres, but it's easy to say these things with hindsight. Before the race however, I didnt think Id end up on the podium as a place in the top five already seemed a lot to ask. But then we saw that cars that in theory are quicker than us ended up behind us and so we realized we had a good chance. We have to continue in this direction.
Kimi Raikkonen (DNF):
Germany definitely doesnt seem to bring me luck. I dont know how many times a problem beyond my control has forced me to retire and this time it was down to debris. A shame, as I think I could have got a good result. The car was a bit difficult to drive at the start, but I think it was the same for everyone. Around lap 14, we began to see that something wasnt right and we tried to manage the situation. Then I started to lose a lot of power and the team asked me to pit because there was nothing that could be done anymore. The incident with Sutil? These things happen in racing, we spoke to one another and I think that he also sees it that way, as indeed did the stewards.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal:
Its a nice feeling to be back on the podium and this result for Felipe is a good reward for all the effort put in by him in producing a perfect race and by all the team, at the track and in Maranello. A shame for Kimi who could have secured a good finish: it was really unlucky. Our aim, as weve already said is to finish third in the constructors championship and todays result has helped us make up some ground on the squad ahead of us. However, we have to work very hard to succeed, because this season is still very hard to interpret: once again this weekend we have seen an incredible see-sawing in performance between some of the teams compared to the previous race and within this Grand Prix itself. There are many variables, especially those linked to the behaviour of the tyres which does not seem to be completely under control: getting to grips with this could be very important for the rest of the championship.
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer:
This podium from Felipe is a really great reward for the whole team, who did a great job this weekend and in preparing for this race. However, we are also very disappointed about what happened to Kimi, who could have brought home some important points. This result is a great motivation for the rest of the season. We must continue to work with the same intensity to get back to where we want to be. The choice to stick with the softer tyre for the second stint of the race was based on what we had seen in the first stint, where its true that Felipe had suffered a bit, while Kimi had no problems. We were also concerned about how the harder compound would work in these temperatures.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (4th):
It was a fantastic result for us today. As I started 15th, I honestly wasnt expecting too much but I took a few chances on the opening lap and finished it in ninth place! Although I had more fuel than anyone else, I kept pushing hard and that, together with a little luck that Heikki Kovalanien had created a bit of traffic jam behind him, helped for sure. I was also carrying a problem with the fuel system, so it was quite eventful and makes the race outcome even better. We are continually progressing with our car, our development is looking good and because of this our pace is right up there. I am looking forward to Hungary now, because I think it will be another race where we can have a good result.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (12th):
My race was really defined by my first lap. I was hit by Jarno and almost went off, but in the process I dropped right to the back of the field. It was a shame because my race was ruined from there. However I think our pace was good today, certainly a pace that would have got us close to the points. Our strategy would have worked well too, but all of this is unimportant now.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director:
It was a good day for the team today, the best result so far this year. Nico had a great first lap and did what he needed to do to make his race work. We had a fuel system problem on his car which meant that he had to come in early for both stops and carry 15 kilos of extra fuel from the first stop to the end of the race, which is worth half a second a lap. However, fourth is a great result and what we deserved for our efforts today. Kazuki was quick today too, but just wasnt in the right place at the right time with the traffic. Having started in 13th and 15th, it is good to have finished fourth and consolidate our place in the championship. Well done to Mark and it was great to hear the Australian national anthem in the paddock.
Jenson Button (5th):
"All points are valuable but my race started badly and didn't get much better today. I had a poor start to drop back to fifth after the first turn and was able to get ahead of Massa at the start of the second lap but just couldn't get past Kovalainen. His pace was way off what we could have achieved at that point of the race but there was just no way through. We struggled with graining and tyre degradation throughout with both tyres not working well for us. The problem with the fuel rig at Rubens' second stop also affected my race as we were so close on the track and he was struggling with the prime tyre. So overall it has been a tough and disappointing day for the team. Congratulations to Mark on his first win and I'm really pleased for him as I know how good that feels. I just can't wait to get to Hungary in two weeks where we will have new parts and hopefully warmer weather to take the fight to the Red Bulls."
Rubens Barrichello (6th):
"I had a great start today and was really pleased to have got ahead of Markdown into the first corner despite our collision. After leading on the first lap, it is of course hugely disappointing to have finished in sixth position. It was a combination of things really which are now very clear to me having spoken to the team. We didn't have enough pace compared to the Red Bulls to win but the fuel rig problem at my second stop where we had to switch rigs probably cost me a place on the podium. That dropped me out behind Rosberg and the extra lap which Jenson had at our final stops was enough for him to get ahead of me. We'll put this race behind and work really hard ahead to Hungary to try and catch up to the Red Bulls. Congratulations to Mark for his first win."
Ross Brawn, Brawn team principal:
"Without doubt it was a very disappointing race for the team today although we were able to score some points to minimise the damage to our championship challenge. Quite simply, we didn't have the pace to match the Red Bulls. We opted for a three-stop strategy for both cars to give ourselves the best possible chance of achieving a podium position. Both drivers were battling with the tyres throughout the race and trying very hard to keep them in the operating window whilst managing their graining issues. The problem with the fuel rig at Rubens' second stop dropped him out behind Rosberg which compromised his race strategy and possibly prevented him from achieving third position. Jenson had a difficult start which dropped him down to fifth and he was also affected by Rubens' problems at the second stop which resulted in the two cars being so close on the track. We will take a close look at the lessons to be learned from this weekend before Hungary and hope to come back fighting there with some performance developments which should help us close the gap to Red Bull. Finally our congratulations to Mark Webber on a very well-deserved first win today."
Fernando Alonso (7th):
"It was a difficult race because my start was very poor and we lost quite a few positions before the first corner. After that, the race was tough and we were stuck in traffic, but the car has clearly improved as I set the fastest lap and scored some points. The most important thing I take from the weekend is that we are competitive and we can be optimistic for the races to come."
Nelson Piquet (13th):
"It wasn't an easy race for me today and I'm disappointed not to get a better result. I lost ground at the start as I had some problems warming up the tyres. After that I got held up in traffic, which made it very difficult to make any progress in the second half of the race. I pushed really hard all afternoon, but I just couldn't match the pace of Fernando who had the new updates on his car."
Flavio Briatore, Renault managing director:
Although we have come away with just two points, it has been a positive weekend for the team. Fernando had great pace, setting the fastest lap of the race and making good progress through the field. It's just a shame that we were penalised by our qualifying position yesterday, where we lost out in the difficult weather conditions. We now need to build on this performance and continue making progress as we enter the second part of the season, just as we did last year."
Pat Symonds, Renault executive director of engineering:
"The car looked a lot more competitive this weekend. Fernando's problem in qualifying coupled with the team's problem with the start made it a difficult race, but when he was out of the traffic he was able to show the exceptional pace of the car with the developments that have been made to it. With Nelson, we decided to go for a long first stint and, as the temperature came up on the grid, we decided to start on prime tyres. Again, he had a problem with the start and the warm-up of the tyres, which left him with too much to do to be able to capitalise on his grid position."
Remi Taffin, Renault head of engine operations:
"Overall we have to be disappointed with the weekend. Despite bringing lots of developments here, we haven't made the most of them. The car has clearly improved, but we didn't have a good qualifying session or a good start today and it was only in the second half of the race that we could show the true potential of the car. So although we are disappointed with the result, we can take a lot of positives from the performance of the car for the rest of the season."
Heikki Kovalainen (8th):
If youd told me on Friday that I would score points today, I wouldnt have believed it. This weekend has been difficult - its been hard to get the tyres working and to find grip, but we kept pushing throughout every session and things started to turn around. Qualifying went well and our KERS hybrid helped me to move from sixth to third at the start. From that point on, it was all about defending: I pushed the whole time and it was a hard way to earn points but we can be satisfied about it. KERS made my race today, no doubt about it, and Im now really looking forward to the Hungarian Grand Prix, when Ill get my hands on the full aero upgrade package for the first time. Its good for the whole team that we now seem to be moving forwards again.
Lewis Hamilton (18th):
My race was effectively over at Turn One. I had quite a good launch down to Turn One, and I was braking when I felt a tap from the rear and went straight on. I think the flat tyre had damaged the rear floor and it felt like I was out there driving on ice. I suggested to the team that we save the engine and gearbox for the future because theres a lot more potential ahead of us than wed anticipated before this weekend. But thats racing and well move on. The best thing about this weekend was that our updates were successful. The team has done a fantastic job over the last few weeks and Im already looking forward to the next race.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:
Lewis and Heikki both made great starts, assisted by KERS hybrid. In fact, Lewis could have taken the lead at the first corner if he hadnt been hit by Mark, which collision resulted in a puncture. That was a great shame, because his car was competitive here and Im therefore sure he would have been able to score well with it. More frustratingly still, after having to make an unscheduled pit stop as a result of that puncture, he emerged in the worst possible track position: at the front of the field. He therefore had to observe the blue flags and allow all the front-runners past, causing him to lose further time. Heikki showed great spirit throughout the weekend, performing consistently well despite not having access to all the aero upgrades enjoyed by Lewis, and ending up with a solid eighth-place finish and a useful world championship point. Now, though, were already looking forward to going to Budapest, where both our drivers will have the aero upgrades and we ought therefore to be able to put in a competitive showing with both cars.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
The first few hundred metres looked promising when Lewis put his nose in front for the fraction of a second after starting from fifth place. He ran wide after being hit before the corner and got a puncture. Heikki showed a solid performance with the old-spec underfloor and brought home a point at least. We have to further improve - but this was a good first step.
Timo Glock (9th):
"In general I am reasonably satisfied with my performance today because I started from the pit lane and finished ninth on a track where overtaking is very difficult. We had a good strategy after what happened in qualifying yesterday but unfortunately I had some traffic in the first stint which cost me time. I only had around four laps without traffic all day but when I had a clear track I was quick. If it wasn't for the traffic I would have had a better chance at scoring points. On the last stint I was quicker than Kovalainen but I just couldn't get past. I pushed really hard and tried to overtake twice but I couldn't manage. But we need to qualify higher so we can fight at the front in the race and we will work on this for the next Grand Prix."
Jarno Trulli (17th):
"The race was over for me at the first corner. There were several cars fighting for position but I suddenly saw another car go past me and jump over my front wing because there was no space. I couldn't see that part of my wing but I could feel there was something wrong so I came in and the team changed it. After that the car felt good but unfortunately as soon as I caught up with the field I was always stuck in traffic and couldn't do anything. When I had a clear track ahead of me later in the race I put in some quick laps and was second fastest overall but it was too late."
Tadashi Yamashina, Toyota team principal:
"Unfortunately we couldn't make the most of the race today, despite having the potential in the car to get a much better result. The race was decided for us in qualifying; starting from where we did made it extremely difficult to finish in the points even though the car had quite good performance, as you can see from Jarno's second-fastest race lap. Now we have to work towards the Hungarian Grand Prix, where we will fight to achieve a significantly better result. The Hungaroring is a track which could suit our cars, and we have a good record there historically, so we will do our very best to get back among the leading teams."
Nick Heidfeld (10th):
I am very disappointed because today we had the speed to score points, which obviously hasnt always been the case this year, but several things just went wrong. The start was good for the first few metres and I tried to improve my position, but Adrian Sutils defending was very tough. Then the first stint wasnt easy with the heavy fuel load. But during the middle stint I was able to catch up until I lost some time behind slower cars, including that of Robert. Then I had bad luck at the pit stop, as we were ready to leave the pit, but then a Renault came in and I had to wait. It felt as if it took ages before the lollipop went up.
Robert Kubica (14th):
I had a very good start and gained a lot of positions on the first lap. Although I had a lot of tyre degradation, the first stint was quite good. Nico Rosberg was on primes in front of me and he was really quick. I changed to primes for the second stint and after a couple of laps I noticed that the tyre pressures were not right. Unfortunately this cost me a lot of lap time and I still had around 20 laps to go. Everybody in the team is working very hard and we are getting slightly better each weekend, but there is still a big gap to the front runners.
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport director:
The race result reflects our performance throughout the whole weekend. For us it was a race without anything special happening apart from Nicks second pit stop. This was because after taking on fuel and fitting new tyres he had to let Nelsinho Piquet pass. Because of this he lost valuable time, and his chance for P8 and a point. However, we had no technical problems.
Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber head of engineering:
We started the race from 11th and 16th so, as nothing extraordinary happened, we could not expect more. Robert was able to move up a couple of positions on the first lap. We could not take advantage of this as Roberts prime tyres lacked of grip during his second stint. Nick lost a couple of positions at the start, but fought back during the second half of the race. One point would have been possible for Nick, but during his second pit stop he had to wait for Nelsinho Piquet who was coming in. Subsequently because of this we lost decisive time on Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock."
Giancarlo Fisichella (11th):
After the qualifying I had yesterday, I thought it would be a difficult race but I really enjoyed it and again got close to the points. I had a good start and overtook a lot of cars in the opening laps. I could catch and pass people quite easily, although I started to get a lot of graining on the softer tyres near the end of the first stint. On the second stint it was again quite good and then right at the end of the race I was really catching the group in front. Perhaps with a few extra laps I could have found a way past a couple more to try and challenge Kovalainen for eighth. I think we can be quite happy with this weekend, even if again we didn't get any points. We've taken a step forward and with some more developments coming through I think we could really have some more great races.
Adrian Sutil (15th):
We shouldn't be that disappointed with this result as we have had a good weekend and the next one will come very soon. All our development shows we are on the right track and that we are much more competitive. It was a good race for me: the start was a bit difficult but I lost just one position. In the first stint I did really well and it was looking very promising as I was up to second by my first stop. When I went out of the pit lane I saw Kimi coming on the outside of the corner and I just tried to hold my line but he went to the outside and I touched him and lost part of my front wing. That's really when I thought the race was over for the points as I had to come back in. I kept pushing hard though as you never know what will happen. Overall I think we've learnt a lot; it's the first time starting in the top 10 and it's a different race up there! It's been a good push for everyone in the team to get some more development so we can finally get some points.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal:
It's been largely all good this weekend and again I am very proud of the team and both our drivers. From free practice onwards we have shown a big step forward and our performance has been very competitive. It's just a shame that after such a great weekend performance that we don't have any points to show for it. But that's motorsport - these incidents happen. The next race is only in a couple of weeks so we'll refocus on this and try to finish the job in Hungary.
Sebastien Buemi (16th):
It was a difficult race, although I had a good start and the opening laps went well. When we put on the soft tyres at the pit stop, I suffered with a loss of grip and kept sliding as I struggled to get them up to temperature. In the final stint it was the same story. It was not a positive outcome, but we will have new updates at the next race and we should be more competitive.
Sebastien Bourdais (DNF):
On the warm up laps we werent so happy with the option tyre so we decided to start on the prime, which I think was a good call. But then I began to lose hydraulic pressure and so I lost the power steering, clutch and eventually everything else and so I had to pull in. Its a shame of course, because although we were at the back at the time, I think we had a good strategy, with a heavy fuel load and, even running on primes we could manage the gap to those ahead of us, staying in touch with them.
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal:
Once again, well done to Red Bull Racing for a fantastic performance. As for our race, we unfortunately suffered a hydraulic failure on Bourdais car. With Buemi, after a good start where he moved up four places, he complained of lacking grip and he kept locking the rears. Now, we must hope that with the new aerodynamic package we will have in Hungary, we can begin to close the gap and move up the order.