Italian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 13 Sep 2009
Red Bulls Mark Webber on his early exit; Toyotas Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli on their team mate tussles for position; McLarens Lewis Hamilton on his last lap mistake; and Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button on taking Brawn GP back to the top. All 20 drivers and senior team personnel report back on Sundays race action
Rubens Barrichello (1st):
Monza has always been a great track for me and it feels just wonderful to win here again. We made some great decisions this weekend and the work that we achieved on Friday was the key to setting up the result today. We had to think strategically in qualifying because of the KERS cars and our one-stop strategy really paid off. I had a great start to get ahead of Heikki and from there I had the pace that we needed to beat the two-stopping cars who started ahead of us. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone at the factory, here at the track and at Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines in Brixworth for designing, building and developing such a great car and engine. Im driving a fantastic car with a fantastic Mercedes-Benz engine and the team is doing a fantastic job! Its going to be a good and healthy fight for the championship over the next few races and Im really looking forward to that. Two wins in three races is pretty good going and Ill be giving it my all. And finally I would like to dedicate this win to my two sons Eduardo and Fernando who both had their birthdays this month.
Jenson Button (2nd):
I had a really good race today and its a fantastic feeling to be up on the podium again. The team and Rubens did a great job this weekend and congratulations to Rubens for his second win of the season. The car worked very well all weekend and the balance was good throughout the race which meant I could set consistently quick lap times when it really mattered. The strategy that we chose on Saturday for qualifying was the perfect one for us and I was able to get ahead of Heikki on the first lap which was absolutely crucial for my race. Lewis was pushing hard behind me for the final part of the race but I was confident that I had him covered and its a very difficult circuit to overtake here even with KERS. We have shown that the Brawn-Mercedes is a very good car and credit to the team for the efforts that have gone into improving it over the past couple of months. Its going to be a very exciting end of the season and a challenge that we are all looking forward to.
Ross Brawn, Brawn team principal:
We are all delighted with our result this weekend after two very strong drives from Rubens and Jenson to achieve our fourth one-two finish of the season. We have a lot of very talented people at the team who have made this result possible and I am very pleased with how our race weekend here in Monza was planned and operated. The car worked well in low-downforce and the Mercedes-Benz engine gave us the power required for this high-speed circuit. This weekend has been a great result for Brawn GP but the hard work is far from over. There are four crucial races coming up which will decide the championship battle and we will be back at the factory in Brackley tomorrow and looking ahead to the next challenge in Singapore.
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd):
"I am happy to have made it to the podium once again, even if this time I needed a heavy dose of luck. It's a nice result, for the championship, for us and for our fans here at Monza. I got a great start and I almost managed to also get past Hamilton, but even if I'd managed it, the result would have been the same in the end. I'm disappointed I couldn't fight for the win, but we did not have enough speed. All in all, the strategy we chose prior to the race was the best one for us. In my battle with Sutil, I was never really in difficulty: I knew I only had to avoid making any mistakes and drive in such a way as to get the best out of the car. The tyres? The softer ones suited us better, as we struggled a bit on the harder ones, especially at the start of the stint. In the upcoming races, we will try and do our best: maybe in some of them we could even try and fight for the win."
Giancarlo Fisichella (9th):
"I am happy with the way things went in my first race weekend with Ferrari. At the start, I managed to make up a few places, then I had a difficult moment with Vettel, who closed the door on me going into Ascari in a way that was, let's say, very decisive. In the first part of the race, I felt comfortable on the softer tyre, while I struggled a bit more on the harder one, especially after the pit stop. It's a shame I only just missed out on a points finish, but this afternoon, I did the best I could. I am upset that I went off the track in FP3, which prevented me from being as well prepared as possible for qualifying: starting a bit further forward might have seen me finish in the top eight. Right from tomorrow morning, I will be concentrating totally on preparing for the race in Singapore, a track that I like a lot."
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal:
"A podium again, the fifth in a row, this time courtesy of a hefty dose of luck, which maybe hasn't always been with us at other times. Once again, in this second half of the season, Kimi drove a fantastic race - in fact I'd say he was fantastic all weekend. He did not make any mistakes, giving his all and, along with the team, was able to get the best out of the car. Giancarlo had a good race, just missing out on a points finish: his weekend built up and up and I am sure that, as from the next race, he will be able to give the team what it needs in terms of points. Today, we were not quick enough, but we still managed to get one driver to the podium, a result which is good for morale and I believe, pleased all our fans. The European part of the season is over and there are still four races to go to try and finish this unusual season in the best way possible."
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer:
"We were expecting a bit more in terms of performance, but we are pleased with yet another podium finish from Raikkonen, even if it owed something to luck. Kimi again drove an impeccable race, as he has always done in this part of the season. Giancarlo ended up just outside the points, but this was nevertheless a positive weekend for him and we are confident that he is capable of making an important contribution to the team in the final part of the season. We went for a two stop strategy for Kimi and it was the right decision, given the pace we had. Also in terms of our tyre useage, we feel we made the best choice: our car struggled more than others to get the best out of the harder compound, especially in the first few laps."
Adrian Sutil (4th):
It was a great race and the car was performing really well. At the start we knew it would be really difficult to defend our position against Kimi and his KERS button and then I was stuck behind him the whole race. I was really quick but I just couldn't find a way past him as the KERS had such a big effect on the circuit. Going into my second stop we had a chance to overtake him in the pit lane and I was pushing really hard but I was a bit late on the brakes into the box. I think I have to say sorry to the mechanics for going a bit wide! But still they did a great job there. The race pace overall was very good but finally the one-stop strategy worked better than the two stop. All the same we scored a lot of points and I am really, really happy for myself and all of the team at the track and back in the factory and wind tunnel.
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF):
Finally, I am racing again and I gave it 100%. We didn't make any mistakes and everything was perfect until we were in a great position, but that's racing unfortunately. I had an unusual problem, the transmission started making a strange noise and then I lost drive and couldn't push. That's racing it was just a shame as we didn't have a reliability problem until now, but that's how it is. We won't give up though until the end of the season, we want to get lots of points and I am sure we will make it.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal:
It's been another great weekend for Force India. We thought the podium would be a dream here going into the weekend and at the end of the race we were less than half a second away. Adrian drove a fantastic race and richly deserved those points. Tonio too almost had a perfect start to his Force India race career, but unfortunately we couldn't give him the reliability he deserved. Nevetheless he has marked himself out as a real star and I am sure that he will get his own points opportunities further down the line. We can go to Singapore on a real high now. We know the car is good and with more to come development-wise for this race we can be very confident of continuing this form.
Fernando Alonso (5th):
Im very happy with the result today, although at the start the KERS did not meet my expectations. In the race I had good pace, the car behaved perfectly and our strategy worked well. Finishing in fifth position is a good result, but the objective for the rest of the season is a podium or even a victory.
Romain Grosjean (15th):
Im very disappointed with todays race. My start was very poor and I need to try and understand why. I had some contact in the first chicane and so the car was damaged for the rest of my race, which made things difficult and impossible to score any points. The challenge now is to continue to progress and try to get closer to Fernando in qualifying.
Flavio Briatore, Renault managing director:
Today we had a competitive car and the four points scored by Fernando are the result of a perfect drive. Romain has gained some more experience and continues to learn.
Pat Symonds, Renault executive director of engineering:
Both our cars had quite lonely races today as is so often the case in Monza, particularly with single-stop strategies where there are really not many options available. Fernandos race was steady; he ran at the pace he needed to and fifth place is a just reward for the level of performance that we have. Romain suffered damage to his car at the first corner and the tyre was badly cut, which severely compromised the performance of the car and left him with a very difficult job all afternoon.
Remi Taffin, Renault head of engine operations:
Todays result is quite positive as we have scored four points. Our starts were not fantastic and that meant that we couldnt get ahead of some cars and fight further up. However, the performance of the car was where we expected it to be. This weekend we used the same engines as in Spa and we might also use them again in Singapore. Overall we have no concerns over the engine situation for the rest of the year and so we could use new or used engines for the upcoming races. We hope that the races to come will allow us to complete the season strongly and get on to the podium.
Heikki Kovalainen (6th):
Im rather disappointed with today. My race began with a difficult start and that cost me several places on the first lap. Then I couldn't really push hard in the first stint because my prime tyres didn't have the grip to allow me to attack. Things were better in the second stint on the options, but, by then, it was too late to regain the time Id lost in the first stint.
Lewis Hamilton (12th):
I wasnt on the optimal strategy so I really had to push to make my two-stopper work. I got every tenth out of the car that I could possibly get and I didnt make any mistakes - until the last lap. Its unfortunate - but these things happen, its a racing incident. I was pushing incredibly hard on that lap to try to get close to Jenson and use KERS to pass him, then I exited the first Lesmo and the back-end got away from me and I went backwards into the wall. I can only say sorry to the team - they did a great job and, although we werent quite as quick as the Brawns today, I pushed harder than ever, so I can feel happy about that.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:
A disappointing result - theres no point my denying that wed expected to achieve a lot more here at Monza than a sixth place and a DNF. Looking at the positives, though, thankfully, Lewis walked away unharmed from what was a pretty big shunt - simply the result of his never-give-up attitude, his unquenchable desire to fight until the very last metre of the very last lap. Throughout the final stint hed been pushing as hard as he possibly could, driving beautifully, right on the limit, in an effort to catch Jenson for second place, and he pushed just a fraction too hard - and the result was that he lost it on the exit of the first Lesmo on that final lap. Hed just gone purple in the first sector of that final lap, in fact. But thats the nature of a driver like Lewis, and there arent many like him: if you give it 100 per cent on every single lap, every so often youll give it 101 per cent and then the result will be an off. But thats racing, and Lewis is very definitely a racer, and we wouldnt want him any other way. So, yes, were disappointed with our points haul today, of course we are, but were also pleased that our race pace was almost on a par with that of the Brawns and as quick or quicker than that of anyone else. Now, though, were already focusing on Singapore, where we intend to be every bit as competitive as weve been here at Monza this weekend.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
Thats how it goes sometimes in motor racing. Lewis drove an excellent race and had the speed to finish on the podium. Lewis was in third place, five seconds behind the leader and catching up consistently when he crashed on the last lap - about three kilometres from the finish line. Heikki, starting fourth, came home sixth but three points is obviously not the reward Vodafone McLaren Mercedes would have wished for today. The positive side: as in Hungary and Valencia, during two of the last three races Lewis had the speed to fight for a victory and well build on this performance during the final four races of the season. Well done to Adrian Sutil for scoring his first points of the season with a strong drive to fourth position - both he and his Force India team did an excellent job.
Nick Heidfeld (7th):
Im totally happy, as for me it was a great race. Coming seventh may not sound fantastic, but from 15th on the grid that really was the best I could do today. The start itself wasnt good at all, I almost lost positions. But then in the first corner I managed to overtake one car on the outside and then in the chicane I went to the inside to overtake Jarno Trulli. On lap three I overtook Giancarlo Fisichella, which I thought would be impossible because he has KERS on his car. Then when I was behind Sebastian Vettel I started to save fuel. After our pit stops he was behind me, and I was eighth before Lewis Hamilton crashed on the last lap and I benefited by scoring one more point.
Robert Kubica (DNF):
I made a very good start and was in quite a good position before the first braking point. I was on the left hand side of Mark Webber. I guess he did not see me at all. Mark pushed me on the grass while I was on the brakes. Although I managed to come back on the track, we touched in corner one. In Roggia he was on the outside and slightly in front of me. When we were going into the first apex unfortunately again I was not able to avoid him. I ended up with a damaged front wing, but am not sure how this happened as it could have been with my fight with Mark or I could have hit a kerb. However, I was able to continue and managed to overtake Sebastian Vettel, despite having the front wing problem. For safety reasons we had to change the wing a couple of laps later. Finally an oil leak forced me to retire.
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport director:
It was a hard race which had a dramatic end because of Lewis Hamiltons crash. After having bad luck in qualifying, Nick achieved the best possible race result when he managed to climb from 15th on the grid to seventh. In the beginning Robert was even two places ahead of Nick, but then damaged his front wing and was called in for a stop by the race director. Shortly after that he had to retire due to an oil leak in the gearbox. For us the engine situation for the rest of the season is difficult. However we are looking forward to the next race in Singapore before which we will have a huge development programme.
Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber head of engineering:
Both Nick and Robert started the race from quite hopeless positions but were able to gain a couple of places at the start. Robert damaged his front wing. For safety reasons we had to call him into the pits and change his front wing. A couple of laps later we diagnosed a gearbox oil leak and Robert had to retire. Nick drove consistently good lap times and was able to move up the grid continuously to eighth. Of course at the end of the day we are happy to score two points."
Sebastian Vettel (8th):
I think we had a good start and a good first lap, but then I was struggling to stay with the cars in front. The biggest issue today was the first five to ten laps when I was struggling with low grip, I was sliding a lot and lost a lot of time. Overall, we didnt have the speed and perhaps this wasnt the best track for our car. For the next race we will put more downforce in again and maybe well be better, we will see. The championship isnt over - our target is to do our best, were here to win races and the championship, so we have to focus on that, all the rest is out of our hands.
Mark Webber (DNF):
I had a reasonable start, I was trying to find a good line through the chicane. I had Sebastian in front, so I was pretty clean as I didnt want to get tangled up with him. Both of us got through the first chicane, I was following Sebastian into the next, but then had a racing incident with Robert Kubica. It seems like his front wheel was inside my rear left at the second chicane, it was difficult to know he was there. We had contact which flicked the car into the air a little bit, then nosed it into the guard rail. The car was undamaged, but I couldnt get it out and back onto the track. I couldnt have done anything differently. Its frustrating to retire through such a small incident, especially when all the guys have put so much effort into preparing the car. Its not great for the drivers championship, but this is my first DNF of the year. We will bounce back from this and do what we can in the final races.
Christian Horner, team principal:
A disappointing start to the race when Mark was tipped out by one of the BMWs and Sebastian lost quite a bit of time in the first stint behind Kubica, who then had a damaged front wing. Thereafter we were lucky to pick up one point following Hamiltons accident. Unfortunately we just werent quick enough today - its been our worst performance of the year at a track which has exposed some of our weaknesses. Hopefully the remaining circuits will come back more in our favour.
Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer, Track Support:
What a disappointing result. To get only one point and have a retirement is very bad for us. Brawn scored a one-two finish, so congratulations to them - but our result is hard to swallow. Its going to be very difficult in both titles for us, but we wont give up - we still have four races in which we can fight.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (10th):
We finished in a good position today considering our qualifying performance. I managed to gain a couple of positions in the first few corners and that made a big difference. The race pace wasnt enough but we managed to have a good couple of laps and I think it was positive to keep Glock behind me even though he was going longer than me. I think we need to find more speed from the car but Singapore should be a good race for us.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (16th):
This was a bad weekend for the team. To begin with, we have lacked pace since the start of practice, and we then had a number of issues in the race too. I had a good first lap and I made up four positions overtaking on the left and the right. Then I was hit on the front left by some debris and the car felt suddenly very different, with lots of understeer, so I assumed I had punctured my tyre and requested to pit. In fact the aero balance had been massively compromised and destroyed the grip, and this was just the beginning of a difficult afternoon. Today is one to put behind us, I think, and look ahead to next race where we should be fine.
Patrick Head, Williams director of engineering:
Kazuki did a good days work today, starting in 17th and finishing in tenth, especially as he not only had bodywork damage but was also suffered a fuel pressure problem, losing him a little top end power. Nico had several problems today causing a number of unscheduled pit stops. Although Kazuki drove well, it is not lost on us that we are too far from the points and where we want to be.
Timo Glock (11th):
"It wasn't the result we wanted but at least it was good entertainment. I had already been fighting with Jarno when I came out of the pits; it was quite tight but he got ahead. Then towards the end I could see him try to overtake Kazuki Nakajima but he hit the kerbs and bounced wide. We had a nice battle and made sure we kept it clean. In the end I was on the inside so I won the fight. Overall it was never going to be easy to get much out of this race but Singapore is a different track and we will have some new bits on the car so we should have a decent chance."
Jarno Trulli (14th):
"We expected a difficult race and that's what we got. I was behind Nakajima for much of the race and I felt I was able to go faster but it was difficult to overtake. Towards the end I was getting a bit bored to be honest and I tried really hard to find an opportunity. As soon as I saw a little space I just dived in and braked very late. The move was almost okay but there wasn't quite enough space and unfortunately I hit the kerb and then I had a bit of a fight with Timo. That was good fun and I enjoyed it. I was always on the outside line but I kept fighting because it is better to have a bit of action and in the end it doesn't make much different if I am 11th or 14th. At least I tried because it wasn't an exciting race for me otherwise."
Tadashi Yamashina, Toyota team principal:
"It was a disappointing race result for us after a frustrating qualifying but we knew it was likely to be hard for us here. At least we provided some exciting action for the fans with Jarno and Timo battling towards the end of the race; they showed their fighting spirit. Monza is a unique circuit which places unique demands on the car so I am convinced we will improve for the next race in Singapore. It is a completely different kind of track and we will work hard to get a better result there."
Sebastien Buemi (DNF):
Starting from the back, the race is never easy, but I feel my lap times were good and consistent, especially in the second stint, so I am reasonably happy. From now on, we go to tracks that are a bit slower and more technical than here, running with more downforce. Lets see if that works better for us. Some teams have made good progress recently, so we must see if we can manage to close the gap.
Jaime Alguersuari (DNF):
I started from the pits, so at least I kept out of the trouble on the opening lap. After that my race was going okay and I was up behind Buemi. But then I had a gearbox problem which caused my retirement. Id also had some other troubles on Friday and when a weekend starts badly it often ends badly. Im very disappointed not to finish, as it is very important for me to do as many kilometres in the car as possible.
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal:
The race was a good lesson for Buemi, as he finished the race, pulled off a good overtaking move on Fisichella and, especially in his second stint on Option tyres, his performance level was good. Alguersuari had a gearbox problem, so we called him in to retire. The positive aspect of this weekend is that both drivers are learning and improving.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone Motorsport:
"Congratulations to Rubens for his second win of the season and Brawn GP for their fourth one-two finish this year. We saw an exciting race today and it was interesting to see how the different strategies worked. It is also always good to see a Ferrari driver on the podium on a glorious day in Italy. For Bridgestone, we were pleased that our Chairman of the Board, CEO and President, Mr Arakawa, and our other important guests were here to enjoy this great display from Formula One."
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development:
"This was a thrilling race with a fantastic strategic battle. Even though it was a one stop strategy that won the race, it is difficult to say whether a one or a two stop was better. Both Bridgestone Potenza compounds gave very similar overall performance so there was a good variety of different strategy uses. For Brawn GP in their championship battle this was a good day. We must also mention the fighting spirit of reigning champion Lewis Hamilton who pushed very hard right to the final lap where he was unfortunate not to finish."