Hungarian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 26 Jul 2009
Force Indias Adrian Sutil on his early exit; Renaults Fernando Alonso on the dramatic wheel problem that ended his race; and McLarens Lewis Hamilton on finding his way back to the top step of the podium for the first time since China 2008. The drivers and senior team personnel report back on Sundays race action
Lewis Hamilton (1st):
Its an incredible feeling to be back on the top spot after what feels like such a long time and such a struggle. This was one of my best races - I never gave up and, more importantly, neither did anyone in this team. Im so proud of all the guys. We didnt expect to win today - we didnt think we quite had the overall pace - but the car was just perfect to drive, it felt fantastic for the entire race. We need to take as much as we can from this weekend. Well continue to push because thats the only way this team knows. Now we want to be winners on a regular basis. Finally, my thoughts are with Felipe today. Despite our celebrations, its important to remember that theres a guy lying in a hospital bed tonight, and I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that we all had Felipe in our hearts and minds today and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Heikki Kovalainen (5th):
This was a great race for the whole team and particularly for Lewis. Hopefully next time it will be me! This victory proves just how much the team has improved the performance of our car during the past few months: this is the result of the hard work of every single man and woman in our team - and this victory must be especially sweet for all of them. Our thoughts are also with Felipe - I want to wish him all the best and hope hell be back in Formula One soon.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:
Even as recently as four weeks ago, I dont think many people would have believed you if youd told them that wed win the Hungarian Grand Prix in dominant fashion, but thats exactly what we did today. And the fact that we did just that is a fantastic testimony to what can only be described as a superhuman team effort. Yes, 2009 has been a very hard year for us, but no-one at Woking, Brixworth or Stuttgart ever gave up; we all kept pulling together, we all kept our spirits up, and above all we all kept working. Im immensely proud of every single one of them. And, today, Lewis, who has also never stopped pushing all year, was simply magnificent: theres no other word. He was in the groove all afternoon, he delivered breathtaking speed where it mattered, and he controlled the race like the winner he is. So, going forward, what can I say? We had the strongest car at the Hungaroring this afternoon - and, although its an idiosyncratic circuit, were confident that well have a reasonable package for Valencia, too. But motor racing is an unpredictable business and the only thing you can bet your house on is that well never stop working. And, more than that, well grow stronger as a result of the difficulties weve faced: weve learned lessons this year, and for next season were aiming to build a car thats capable of challenging for the world championship from the start of the season, not halfway through it!
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
A sensation! Lewis was a class of his own - a historic win, the first with the KERS Hybrid in Formula One - the Silver Arrows are flying again! Unfortunately, Heikki got stuck in traffic, but he was fast and with his fifth place we scored as many points today as in the previous nine races together. We think of Felipe - he would have been capable of being among the best or even to fight for a victory today, as Kimi showed. We wish him a good recovery. Thank you to all our team members who worked so incredibly hard for this success. Now is the summer break and you deserve it.
Kimi Raikkonen (2nd):
Todays result is very important for the team in such a difficult weekend because of what happened to Felipe yesterday. I am pleased with second place, even if it is not completely satisfying as I always race to win. On this type of track, we are certainly closer to the best than at other circuits and today, honestly we were actually even closer than we had expected to be. I got a good start, ending up fourth after the first few corners. We knew it would be crucial to make up places at the start to be in with a chance of fighting for the podium. After the first pit stop we began to have problems with the right hand exhaust and so, at the second stop, the team asked to leave using a different procedure to usual. It lost me a bit of time but I still had a reasonable advantage over Webber so I could manage the situation. Today, the car wasnt bad, but it was not quick enough to go for the win.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal:
We dedicate this result to Felipe: at this time, all our thoughts are with him and his family and I think this sentiment also applies to those who are close to him and to fans all over the world. Kimi drove a great race and the team worked in impeccable fashion, concentrating on the job despite what happened yesterday. We got the best result we were capable of. Please allow me on behalf of everyone at Ferrari to send our best wishes to Felipe. We love you and we are all thinking of you.
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer:
A super result on a difficult weekend for the whole team. Kimi drove a great race, starting with a really fantastic opening lap, followed by a very good second stint on the softer tyres. In between those phases, the team pulled off a great pit stop to put Kimi ahead of Webber. We were a bit worried about a problem with an exhaust and so we told the driver to be very careful at the second pit stop. We lost a bit of time and then in the final part, we had to deal with a fast closing Webber, who was very quick, but all the same, we managed to respond well enough to comfortably manage the situation to the finish.
Mark Webber (3rd):
I expected us to be a little bit quicker after our running on Friday, but to be honest we expected these guys (McLaren and Ferrari) to be around us. We knew it would be a more difficult venue for us and that we wouldnt have the advantage that we maybe had at the last two events so, all-in-all, Im happy to get the result we did today. I think we would have had a better chance to fight with Kimi (Raikkonen) if wed made a slightly different pit stop and chose a different tyre for the middle stint, but that was my call. I was worried about how long the middle stint was, so it was quite difficult to know which tyre to put on. Overall we still have a lot of positives to take away from here - were still up there, were in the hunt and know that we can take our car to a lot of venues and be competitive. Red Bull and Renault have a lot to be proud of, were still a strong force and its a positive day.
Sebastian Vettel (DNF):
I had a collision on the first corner with Kimi. I was on the inside and had a clear run to accelerate, his car came sideways and we touched - he crashed into my car, it can happen. This was why my first pit stop was bad and, at some point, the front-left suspension gave up and we had to retire the car. We knew it would be close with the other teams here, but at the start of the race theres nothing you can do other than putting your foot down. We have a button on our steering wheel, which is similar to the other teams, but nothing happens if you press it. You go into the first corner and you have five or six cars next to each other instead of three or four, so its a different situation. There are still a few races left this season and the race is still on, so we will see what we can do.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal:
A good drive from Mark today for third. Unfortunately, we perhaps gave away too much time in the middle stint on the harder tyre and a small issue at Marks pit stop allowed Kimi (Raikkonen) to jump ahead, but I think Lewis was out of reach today. Nonetheless, a good result for Mark in both the drivers and constructors championships. For Sebastian, things just didnt go his way today - unfortunately a knock on the first lap looks as though it caused suspension damage that resulted in his retirement. Going into the break, weve closed the gap in the constructors and were looking forward to the next race in four weeks time in Valencia.
Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer Track Support:
A difficult race. Our cars made very good starts, but the long run to the first corner meant the KERS cars were stronger and unfortunately we lost some places. Sebastian had an accident, which caused damage that forced him to retire. Mark had a solid race, in which tyres played a big role. We finished third and scored more points than Brawn, so in the end a good result for the team, but a disappointing result for Sebastian.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (4th):
"I am quite pleased with the outcome today as it was quite tricky, especially at the start against the KERS cars. Initially I had no chance off the line, but the first corner was quite a big mess and I managed to profit from this and climb back to fifth place, which was important. As the race settled down, I had to manage the tyres cautiously because of graining in both the first and second stint. Given all of these issues, we have to be very happy with fourth place and I am now up to fifth in the championship, although of course this was in part due to the fact that Felipe (Massa) wasnt able to start today. Anyway, I am enjoying working with the team and everyone is pushing on really well, so we'll continue to improve if we keep moving in this direction.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (9th):
After the first lap when I got past Jenson, I couldnt hold the position and once he had got back past me, it dictated my race. It was a big moment for me and made it very difficult to improve for the rest of the day despite good car pace as I was running in traffic. We just need to keep pushing and one race soon we are going to get the result.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director:
It was good to score some points from another fourth place for Nico, although our expectations are going up and we really want to get onto the podium. It was a shame to miss out on a point for Kazuki. Both drivers had good starts and race pace was underlined by Nicos third fastest lap, so everything is going in the right direction, we just need to start putting away some more points.
Timo Glock (6th):
"I thoroughly enjoyed my race and to finish inside the top six after starting from 13th is a very good result. I have to say thanks to the team for their good work this weekend, especially to my car crew who have done such a great job. Our strategy was really strong today and the car felt spot on, so it was a nice race for me. In the first stint, on such a heavy fuel load, I struggled a little to start with but then I found a good rhythm and made up a lot of time, especially in the second stint. I had a really good feeling for the car and the tyres performed very well; really consistent. This result is better than I expected today so I am happy and it's nice to be back in the points again."
Jarno Trulli (8th):
"I said yesterday that I never give up and I think today's result shows that because I made up several positions and finished in the points again. The car felt strong early in the race and I think I had good pace but I was also stuck in traffic and that made things a little tricky. Later on I started to lose a bit of grip but I kept fighting because I knew we could get in the points. It's a pity we qualified outside the top 10 because who knows what could have been possible but I am happy to be in the points again and this is a positive result for the team. Now I am looking forward to the European Grand Prix in Valencia where I hope we will be even stronger."
John Howett, Toyota team president:
"That was a strong team effort and I am pleased with our performance today, especially after the difficult qualifying. The drivers performed exceptionally well to make up so many places; we had a strong strategy and the pit crew did a great job, all of which is very encouraging. We have to understand why we did not show this performance in qualifying but we will be working hard to remedy that for the next race so we can get both cars into the top six. Our factory closes for two weeks at the start of August and that gives us time to gather our strength and come back with renewed vigour in Valencia, where we performed well last year and aim to do so again this time."
Jenson Button (7th):
"We felt positive that we could get a good result today but unfortunately it turned into damage limitation for our championship challenge. I was heavily fuelled after qualifying and our plan was to get a good start, stay with the cars in front and then I was going longer at the first stop. My rear tyres grained massively in the first few laps which took away any chance that I had of keeping pace with the front-runners. We don't know what the problem is right now as our pace on the option tyre on Friday was pretty good and we were able to manage the rear end much better than some of the others. The car just doesn't feel like it did a few races ago but we'll work hard to identify the problems before Valencia. It's disappointing as we had high hopes for this race but we were fortunate to come away with two points."
Rubens Barrichello (10th):
"There was some good action out there but my race was really compromised from the start which is a shame as the potential was definitely there for a points finish. I had some contact from another car when I turned into the second corner which dropped me to the back of the field. It was always going to be difficult to make progress from there but there were flashes of pace, particularly during the last stint when I was able to close up to the cars ahead. It's been a very difficult weekend and one to forget really. We know that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us to find out what is affecting our performance."
Ross Brawn, Brawn GP team principal:
"Hungary has proved to be a very challenging weekend for the team which has left us with a number of questions to answer regarding the performance of the car. After a positive start on Friday where we felt that we had a good understanding of the tyres, they proved to be our main area of concern in the race today. Both drivers tried different strategies with their tyre choices but we were unable to prevent the graining which affected their pace at crucial stages of the race. We have four weeks until the next race and after our factory shutdown we will be working extremely hard to identify the cause of our recent issues and make the improvements required to return to our early season form. Finally congratulations to Mercedes-Benz on a very well-deserved win today for what is their seventh victory of the season."
Nick Heidfeld (11th):
"From 15th on the grid, finishing 11th was the best I could achieve today. Over the first few metres my start was good and I immediately made up some places, but then later on the first lap I lost them again. First somebody hit me from behind and later I went wide in Turn 11. Then it took a while before I was able to overtake Sebastien Buemi, and after that I got stuck in traffic again. Thats why we decided to make my first pit stop a couple of laps earlier than planned. This is, of course, a disadvantage, but due to the traffic situation it still paid off. Despite the rather heavy car, the pace wasnt too bad. But overall looking at the situation we found ourselves in, I would say the car has been quicker this weekend and it is a shame we didnt convert this progress into points.
Robert Kubica (13th):
"I had a good start and a good first lap, and managed to make up a lot of positions then. At least this is something positive. Unfortunately, I had massive understeer and a lot of front tyre wear during the entire race. About ten laps into each stint my front tyres degraded a lot and I was very slow.
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport director:
"For our team this was a race without anything significant happening. Both drivers were able to make up places at the start and keep themselves in the racing action. Our cars ran trouble-free, but after the difficult qualifying there was nothing more we could do on this track. With better starting positions we would have been able to fight for points today. Congratulations to the McLaren Mercedes team for a very convincing victory. It is remarkable how quickly the balance of power is constantly changing this season.
Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber head of engineering:
Starting from 15th and 18th, any prospects for the race are obviously limited. Therefore we tried to make up lost ground with our strategy. This worked well at the start when both drivers gained places. But then, from Lap 18 onwards, Nick got stuck in traffic and lost too much time. We therefore decided to make an earlier pit stop for him. At the end of the day it didnt help much. Based on our grid positions, there was nothing else we could achieve."
Nelson Piquet (12th):
I made a very good start and managed to overtake several cars, but then I was always stuck behind somebody, which didnt help my race. I was also a bit unlucky with the strategy and I think my race would have worked out a lot better if I had been in some clean air. The car was good today and Im glad that I benefited from the new updates this weekend.
Fernando Alonso (DNF):
Today we missed an opportunity to finish on the podium. I made a good start and the car was quick during my first stint, but then we had a problem at my first stop fitting the right front wheel to the car. When I left the pits there was a lot of vibration and it felt like I had a puncture, but then a few corners later the wheel flew off my car. I made it back to the pits to replace it, but then the problem Id had with my fuel pump since lap two returned and started to get worse so we had to retire the car. Its a shame that we missed this chance, but these things happen in racing and Im trying to look on the bright side because we saw this weekend that the car is very competitive. Im now looking ahead to the next race in Valencia, where I hope we can build on the promise we have shown.
Pat Symonds, Renault executive director of engineering:
Its a very disappointing end to a weekend that started with a lot of promise. From around lap two, Fernando had a failure on the fuel pump and we had to try and control the problem manually, which cost us a lot of time. We stopped early because of that and then unfortunately we had a problem with the wheel fitting. Ultimately we retired the car because of the fuel pump problem. Nelson was always going to have a difficult afternoon and he pushed through to finish the race, but he wasnt in a position to score any points.
Remi Taffin, Renault head of engine operations:
Fernando made a good start, probably his best of the year and he had good pace in the early laps so we were hopeful of a good result and aiming for a podium. Unfortunately a technical problem ended his race. Its frustrating, but once again we have demonstrated the progress that we have made recently as this is only the second race where we have benefited from the new developments. Our attention now turns towards the European Grand Prix where we hope to convert our potential into a good result.
Giancarlo Fisichella (14th):
The race was quite tough for us. The grid position wasn't great and in the beginning we struggled a little bit with the grip. On the second and third stints though the car balance was actually pretty good and I was quicker than Barrichello and Kubica so I could push quite hard. Unfortunately here you just can't find a way past so we had to settle for 14th. Now we can really start to look forward to the next Grand Prix in Valencia.
Adrian Sutil (DNF):
We had a problem with the water temperature so after one lap it had climbed to the maximum so the engine was running very hot. We had our first suspicions on the way to the grid and after a few corners it was clear that there was no way we could do the race. I had to retire to save the engine. It's been a difficult weekend overall but I'm looking forward to Valencia now where we have a big upgrade package coming through.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal:
Obviously today's race was overshadowed by Felipe's accident yesterday and our thoughts are with him and his family. We wish him all the best for a speedy recovery. For us personally, the weekend has been one of mixed fortunes. Qualifying was not as we would have hoped, but Giancarlo had a strong outing with some very fast times in the mid point of the race and we again raced in the midfield. We're now very much looking forward to Valencia where the new upgrades should give us yet another advance on the field.
Jaime Alguersuari (15th):
I am very happy to have finished, but the last five laps were very difficult from the physical point of view. I found it hard to keep the car on the pace, but I am very satisfied. P15 is not so bad, but the main objective was to complete the 70 laps, with no mistakes, maintaining my pace. I have learned a lot but I have to say there are some aspects of F1 which made me think, this is tough.
Sebastien Buemi (16th):
I am very disappointed with this race, as I made a lot of mistakes and I am not at all happy with my performance. I dont think starting on the harder tyres was the right decision. I lost several places at the start and got stuck in traffic. Just a bad race. The car was good, as we showed in qualifying but today I was the one who made the mistakes. The only positive thing is that the car is definitely improved with this new package.
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal:
Well done to Jaime on finishing his first race, which means hes learned a lot this weekend. That was our main target with him. He will need another two races, after which I expect to see him make it through to Q2. Unfortunately, Sebastien caught some debris on the right side of the front wing, damaging it, thus losing performance. We will now focus on Valencia, where we will have a new front wing which should help us to improve our overall performance.