Race - selected team & driver quotes 13 Nov 2011
Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel on the first-lap puncture that ruled him out of the race; Williams Pastor Maldonado on falling foul of the blue flags; Toro Rossos Sebastien Buemi on his early exit; Fernando Alonso on finding some pace in the Ferrari to clinch a podium; and McLarens Lewis Hamilton on making amends for some tough races over recent weeks with victory in Abu Dhabi. The drivers review their Sundays at Yas Marina
Lewis Hamilton (1st)
This result is just fantastic. Im usually my own biggest critic - Im always hard on myself when I make mistakes - but I really felt like I maximised everything today. To be able to sustain that kind of pace, under constant pressure, and not make mistakes, is really satisfying. For most of the race I was concentrating on managing the gap to Fernando (Alonso). Hes such a strong driver. Hell never give you an inch, in fact. Into the closing laps I found myself beginning to think about victory, but I didnt want to do that really so I kept saying to myself: Dont even go there!. It worked: I stopped my mind from wandering and I didnt allow myself to think about the win until Id crossed the line. To have Jenson on the podium alongside me was great - great for me, great for him, great for the team, and a great boost as we move towards the end of the season. The team has been fantastic all weekend - the strategy, the pitstops, everything - really top-class. The whole package came together today and I owe everyone a big thank-you. This is so uplifting - for the team and for me. To be able to walk away with a smile feels just fantastic: victory is good for the soul.
Jenson Button (3rd)
It was a difficult race for me, as I had a KERS Hybrid issue, which is admittedly very rare for us. After about 15 laps it stopped working - and that doesnt just affect your power out of the corners, it affects engine braking too. Fortunately, my engineer came over the radio and told me theyd found a way to make it work again - but it meant pushing lots of buttons on the steering wheel every couple of laps because it only returned intermittently. So Id arrive at a corner and not know whether I had any engine braking because I had no warning. So selecting the right spot at which to brake was tough. Still, as I say, its extremely rare for us to encounter a problem with our KERS Hybrid. Mercedes-Benz has done a great job this year, and in fact Id say theirs is the best and most reliable unit in the pitlane: a fantastic system, in fact. So as I say it was a rare issue - and, although the problem made for a tricky drive for me, it also made it even more satisfying to manage to keep it together and end up on the podium. Last of all, I want to say: Fair play to Lewis. He did a great job today. Its very positive to move towards the end of the season on a high, because its the best possible way to build for the new season.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Lewis drove an utterly faultless race today, taking the lead at the second corner and controlling the gap back to Fernando with consummate skill over the remaining 54 laps. To put it simply, he was brilliant today. Jenson, too, drove a truly excellent race, managing KERS Hybrid problems throughout, and emerging with a hard-won third place and 15 valuable world championship points to consolidate his second position in the drivers world championship. While Im on the subject of KERS Hybrid, its worth paying tribute to the excellence of our Mercedes-Benz system. Its been fantastically reliable all season, and has delivered considerable performance benefits too; todays hiccup was therefore extremely rare. So I want to say a big Bravo! to all the guys at Brixworth [Northamptonshire, UK], where Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines is based, for a job very well done all year. Returning to the subject of todays race, its always a great feeling to see two Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers on the podium together, and today Im particularly delighted for Lewis, but also for Jenson, and of course for the entire team too. It was Lewiss 17th career grand prix victory, all of them scored for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, his third of the season, and the sixth time this year weve had occasion to pull on our famous Vodafone rocket-red victory T-shirts. But 2011 isnt done and dusted yet - from here well travel to Brazil, and the famous Interlagos circuit, over whose majestic twists and turns Lewis and Jenson will be trying their damnedest to score Vodafone McLaren Mercedes seventh victory of the year. Bring it on!
Fernando Alonso (2nd)
I am pleased with this result: finally my podium trophy collection is complete! I have seventy three top three finishes and I have managed to stand on the podium of all the circuits that have been on the Formula One calendar over the past ten years. Next year, we go to Austin and the year after to Russia, so there will always be new challenges to tackle and objectives to reach even if, obviously, the main one is always to win the title. Its clear what will be the objective for me and all the team next year: winning the title. Today we were fighting for the win all the way to the end. We got a good start and could match Hamiltons pace. The first pit stop went well, while I lost a couple of seconds at the second one, what with traffic on my in-lap and a problem changing the front left wheel, but I dont think thats where we lost the race, because I am convinced that, in the end, its the quickest car that wins and so it was. The opening lap was exciting: at the start I squeezed round the outside of Webber at the first corner because I knew there was more grip there then, once I saw Vettel was off, I got into Buttons slipstream, taking a bit of a risk but, in the end, I managed to pass him too. After that I expected to struggle more, but today was one of those where the car went much better than expected and you are kept busier fighting with those ahead of you than in looking in your mirrors. I hoped right to the end I could do it, because maybe Hamilton might also have had some problems with KERS like Button did. Even if we have not fought for the title it has still been a good season: we have improved a lot as a team and learned a lot.
Felipe Massa (6th)
I cannot be happy with this fifth place. Things were going reasonably well while I was on the Softs, but with the Mediums I was really struggling to keep the car on track because of the lack of grip. Thats why I ended up spinning on lap 49, losing any remaining hope of staying ahead of Webber. In the first stint I could fight with Button and the Australian, but I always had the thought in my mind that, in the final stint, Id be in trouble. The fact I could not use the new front wing was more of a penalty when running the Medium tyres than the Softs, because with the harder compound you could feel the lack of downforce more. Now we go to Brazil where I will have the support of my home crowd: I am sure that will help me try and finish well this season that has definitely not been a positive one for me. Even if its obvious, I want to state clearly that, despite everything, I am absolutely motivated for next year. Along with the team, I will work to have a more competitive car and then you will see everything will be different.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
We knew a podium was possible and that was confirmed this evening when, thanks to yet another extraordinary drive from Fernando, we were in the fight for the win right up until the final part of the race. The Spaniards first lap was exceptional, as was his race pace after that. Felipe also got off to a very good start, in contention for a podium place, but then, on the Medium tyres, he struggled and was unable to run at a pace good enough to stay ahead of Webber. Finally getting a driver onto the podium in this race is indeed cause for satisfaction. Now theres one race to go, in two weeks time in Brazil. Second place in the Drivers championship is still up for grabs. That will be hard to achieve but it is definitely not impossible and we will do all we can to give Fernando the tools to achieve this. Interlagos is also an important weekend for Felipe, whom I am sure will want to give his always enthusiastic fans something to cheer about.
Pat Fry, Ferrari deputy chassis director
A nice result thanks to Fernando driving an attacking race from start to finish, after producing a fantastic first lap. The pace on the Soft tyres was what it should have been, so we were always close to Hamilton. In the second stint of the race, Fernando got a bit caught up in backmarker traffic and lost at least a couple of precious seconds, but then, even if we had made a perfect pit stop (we lost around a second and a half at the second one) we would not have managed to get him out on track ahead of the McLaren man. Right from Friday, we realised our pace on the Mediums was not as good as that of our closest competitors, so after that we could not attack. From a strategic point of view, we tried to exploit our better tyre degradation but, unlike what happened in India in our duel with Webber, here, the move did not work out. Felipe drove a good first part of the race, but then he struggled more than his team-mate with our difficulty on the harder compound. In any case it would have been hard to stay ahead of Webber, but his spin robbed him of any remaining opportunity. Now we have three days of very important testing, the only ones we have between now and February: it presents a great opportunity to try out new ideas, to resolve some problems we still have and above all, to give a talented youngster like Jules Bianchi some more experience.
Mark Webber (4th)
On the second pit stop, we fitted the option tyre again to try and cut the race down to something different; it was certainly worth a bit of a punt. The two DRS zones are tricky here; in the first one it was easy to get the move done, but in the second one you couldn't, so if I passed Jenson there, he could just get you back again. I think it was a bit of a gimmick today the DRS, it was difficult to make the move stick and harder to get the move done, as I say in Turn 11. I had a pretty good pace on Jenson anyway at the end of the first stint, he went one lap shorter than us which was no problem, but then we had a bad first pit stop, so we lost a lot of time with that. It put us on the back foot. I got the car back onto the leaders, but we were out of position by then.
Sebastian Vettel (DNF)
On the exit of the first corner, everything seemed fine and then turning into the second corner I could feel that something was odd on the rear right. I had to catch the car surprisingly and then the second time, I couldnt do it anymore, as Id lost too much air in the rear right tyre. I had a puncture and spun off. When I got back to the pits, the resulting suspension damage meant we couldnt carry on. There wasnt anything we could have done better really this weekend; we just need to look at what had caused the puncture. I had a good start and I was very happy with the car up until that point. To lose the race there, so early on, it hurts for sure. There wasnt much we could do, so after that I took the opportunity to learn a little bit on the pit wall.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
After such a great qualifying yesterday, it was a really frustrating race. Sebastian made a perfect start and had a clear lead into the first corner and then an instantaneous loss of pressure in the tyre made him a complete passenger. The resulting suspension damage from that meant there was no alternative but to retire the car today. For Mark, he was in a close scrap with Jenson. On the first pit stop we had a wheel nut issue and thereafter it dropped him behind Felipe Massa, so at that point we opted for a different strategic route and a three stop race, which was the only opportunity to take on and beat Massa and to have a go at Jenson. Unfortunately there just werent enough laps to pull out a big enough gap, but it was worth a go and Mark drove well. Fourth was ultimately the best we could achieve today. So, at a track thats been so good to us for the last two years, its frustrating to have our first DNF of the year due to a tyre issue. Congratulations to Lewis on a strong drive today.
Cyril Dumont, Renaults principal track support engineer to Red Bull
A disappointing day. Its a shame that we finished the race with Seb out of Turn One already with a puncture. Looking at Marks race, I think it was pretty solid. We decided to swap to a three stop strategy to undercut Massa and it worked pretty well. Its the first time that we are not on the podium this year and well come back stronger in Brazil.
Nico Rosberg (6th)
"It was an interesting race for me today. The start didn't work out very well as I tried to overtake Felipe but suddenly there was no space left. Michael was able to overtake me, and we had a fun battle before I took the place back. From then, I was able to handle my tyre situation very well. I stayed out a bit longer before the second stop as there was some grip left, and it was better to stay out with the softer tyres. With the prime tyres, I had some understeer which made it impossible to overtake Felipe towards the end. Thanks to my engineering team who did a brilliant job here and I was quite happy with my car all weekend. Our pit stop guys were also great again, and that's why we achieved a good result today. It makes me look forward to Brazil and hopefully we can achieve another good result there."
Michael Schumacher (7th)
"A reasonable race today and some reasonable points I would say. Considering that we did not manage to find the perfect balance yesterday, we managed to get the maximum out of our situation today. But then, I did lose some small parts of the car which cost us some balance, and towards the end I had a slow puncture, which is why I had to park my car at turn two. The tyres gave up rather early in the first stint but that was due to our tyre strategy yesterday when we wanted to save a fresh set for the race. I therefore had quite used tyres for the start. We now have to look into the data and make sure we are well prepared for the last race of the season which we want to finish as well as possible."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"A very lively first lap between our drivers today which was highly entertaining. We've often said that they are free to race as long as they keep it sensible, and it was good to see today. Nico had the stronger pace this evening, and his lap times during the race were quite encouraging. Our performance today reminds us of the little bit that we have to close down to become truly competitive, but it is within reach. Both Nico and Michael drove extremely well, and with good pit stops and a sound strategy, we achieved possibly the best results that we can at the moment."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Sixth and seventh places for Nico and Michael are the best possible results with our current technical package, and our team has now finished in the top six rankings for the fifth time in the last seven races. These positions are certainly not our ultimate target but during the building-up time of our team, it is nevertheless positive to get the best possible results. A big thank you to the organisers of the spectacular race here in Abu Dhabi which creates a great atmosphere and fantastic television images. In this 'home' race for our team, we have achieved the results that we are currently capable of, and we want to come back next year with a quicker car and a better performance for our partner and co-owner Aabar. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and McLaren Mercedes for their victory today, which is the 71st Grand Prix win for McLaren Mercedes since 1997. Compliments also to everybody at Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines for having six Mercedes-powered cars between P1 and P9 today."
Adrian Sutil (8th)
Todays result is great for the team and just what we needed. Initially we were planning to do a one-stop race, but the team took the decision to switch to a two-stop strategy because the soft tyre did not last as long as we thought it would. So it was a good call by the team to make the change. I spent a lot of the race fighting with Schumacher and managed to get ahead of him for the middle stint. But I probably went one lap too long in the middle stint and he got ahead of me when we were both on the medium tyre at the end of the race. I was close behind him, but we had similar pace and I couldnt get back ahead. Still, we came here to pick up points with both cars, and thats what weve done. It puts us in a very strong position for the final race.
Paul di Resta (9th)
I think as a team we can be pleased to have come away with a double points finish having run different strategies with both cars. With hindsight my one-stop race was not the optimum strategy, but we felt it was worth a try. As it turned out the performance of the medium was not great to begin with so the first 30 laps were quite hard work. I had a good fight with Buemi in the early laps and I think we were quite lucky that he retired, which made my race a bit easier. When I switched to the softs the speed of the car was very strong. To do a one-stop race and come away with two points is as much as we could really hope for. Its what we need for our fight in the championship and hopefully we can arrive in Brazil and carry on where we left off.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
We came here determined to deliver a strong result and weve come away with six important points to consolidate our sixth place in the constructors championship. Both drivers drove faultless races, splitting the strategies and covering all the options. So Im very pleased with our performance as a team, which puts us in a much stronger position with 15 points advantage over our nearest competitor. I feel confident that we can go to Brazil to finish the job and confirm our sixth place in the championship.
Kamui Kobayashi (10th)
I am happy to having scored a point today, I have had a pretty long period without scoring and for me it was important to put an end to this. I had a really good start and was able to make up five positions on lap one. Actually the performance of the tyres during and after the start was better than expected. I started on the medium compound as I was only 16th on the grid, and this is obviously a situation in which you have to take chances. But we knew it would be a difficult first stint, and it was not really clear how long those tyres would last. They dropped off after a few laps and then I lost three positions before I pitted after lap five for soft tyres. I think overall it was a good race by us.
Sergio Perez (11th)
I had higher hopes for the race today. It is a shame what happened on lap one. There was a queue into turn seven and I couldnt avoid hitting Adrian Sutils car. It wasnt immediately clear how big the damage was, but then the team told me my front wing was broken and I had to pit after lap two. We then decided to go for the medium compound when we did the nose change. On my third stint, again on soft tyres, I was driving in tenth for a while, but then I struggled with the tyres and also for the last 12 laps my KERS wasnt working.
Peter Sauber, Sauber team principal
Both drivers showed a lot of fighting spirit and set very good lap times for most of the race. It was good to score a point today, but we didnt achieve the maximum we could. Sergios race was hampered by his early pit stop to replace the front wing, and for Kamui the team didnt handle his second stop perfectly. However, our race pace was encouraging today.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
The early part of the race wasnt easy for us because Sergio made contact with a Force India and had to pit after two laps because the pylon at the front wing was broken. As a result of the early stop we had to change the strategy. Our plan was to do two stints on soft tyres and the final one on medium, but under the circumstances we fitted the medium at the first pit stop. This worked okay. Sergio was able to get back in the points, but he then suffered a KERS problem and let Kamui by. With Kamui we were a bit too optimistic at the beginning of the race. He was on the medium compound. Once we realised that he was struggling to find grip we decided on an earlier stop than we had planned. This was good tyre-wise, but put him in a lot of traffic. However, he drove a good race, overtaking aggressively, and he finally scored a well-deserved point, which is good for the morale of the whole team.
Rubens Barrichello (12th)
It was a very good race, and a well considered one by the team. We started from the back but I fought all the way through and we almost ended up fighting for points. We did well to finish where we did today.
Pastor Maldonado (14th)
Our pace was a bit slow at the beginning of the race but improved when we switched onto the soft tyre. Unfortunately, my drive through penalty cost us a lot of time and potentially a better result. Our overall pace was better than it has been recently and I was happy with the car today.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
Rubens started from the back and raced on a two stop, soft-biased strategy starting on the medium tyre. Pastor completed a one stop strategy, also starting on the medium tyre. Both drivers made strong progress through the field and by lap 13 Rubens and Pastor were P14 and P15, respectively. Rubens lost a bit of time on his first stop with a slow rear tyre change but continued to push hard to the end of the race finishing a credible 12th - almost catching Perez at the end for 11th. Pastor was given a drive through penalty for a blue flag infringement and a subsequent 30 second end-of-race penalty for another infringement finishing 14th.
Vitaly Petrov (13th)
It was quite a frustrating afternoon because my DRS was not working. We thought we could have a good fight with the cars in front, but we were pretty helpless, so we decided to change the strategy. When I first stopped, we put fresh medium tyres on but unfortunately these did not last long enough so we returned to the pits on lap 38 to change to the soft. Unfortunately that ended up being too slow. The pace was not good enough to score points and thats the reality.
Bruno Senna (16th)
Lets be honest here - theres not a crumb of comfort to take from that performance. We suffered from a KERS failure, drive through penalty and a car which was not on the money at this particular track. Put those together and you see why I finished where I did. There was lots of lost time to make up and, strategically, we took a gamble that didnt pay off. I certainly think that overall this weekend my pace was as good as it could have been. Maybe for Brazil we will have a better baseline, and lets hope we have a better race weekend.
Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
That was not what we were looking for today. We knew that this weekend would not be our finest of the season; the trend of slower tracks not clicking with the R31 has repeated itself over the past three days. We had differing strategies today, but neither one was fruitful. Also, our reliability problems did not help. The boys have put in a big effort this week to try and give us something to smile about at this fantastic venue. Unfortunately it was not to be and it will be all eyes to Brazil to try and finish the season on a high.
Alan Permane, Renault trackside operations director
A disappointing day for us with neither car scoring any points. We had a few problems with Vitalys car early on with the DRS failing, so we knew we wouldnt be able to overtake anyone. This led us to try a one stop race but the hard tyre didnt last long enough so we had to stop for the soft. Bruno had a problem with his KERS which really cost him, and put him back around half a second each lap. Theres no real positives to take from today.
Jaime Alguersuari (15th)
I am very disappointed with the outcome of this weekend, because we had opted for a strategy in terms of aerodynamics that appeared to be the best in terms of ease of overtaking in the race. However, after the first four or five laps, I seemed to pick up some tyre degradation and I was losing the rear end. Then came the key moment in my race, when there was a mistake in the pit stop, which cost me a lot of time and dropped me down the order, from which I could not recover. Today, P10 was possible, because I had a good pace on the new Options, even if I am not sure that we could have caught the Force Indias. I am sure Brazil will suit us better, so I am looking forward to that and the chance for all of us to do a better job.
Sebastien Buemi (DNF)
I had to retire because of a loss of fluid from the hydraulic system, which I first felt through the lack of power steering, as this is what makes the most demand on the hydraulics. After that, I could not change gear so there was nothing to do but bring the car into the pits and retire. It is such a shame, because I was having a good race up to that point. Just before it happened, I had passed Di Resta in the Force India and was hoping to start fighting Schumacher and Sutil, which means that a finish somewhere between seventh and ninth should have been possible tonight. Now we have just one more opportunity to try and score some more points, so I cant wait to get to Brazil to try and end the season with a good result."
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal
This was a night of missed opportunities. As we had expected, we were not as competitive in qualifying here as we had been in India, but felt we would show better in the race. In the early stages, this proved to be the case, with Sebastien running as high as seventh at one point. However, he had to bring the car into the pits and retire with an hydraulic failure caused by a leak from the system. Jaime was running a couple of places behind his team-mate, but there was a mistake at his first pit stop, which cost him a lot of time and therefore he dropped down the order. From then on, he drove well, putting in some competitive lap times, but the points positions were no longer within his sights. With Sauber scoring one point today, our battle with them for seventh in the championship must now go down to the wire in Brazil at a track that should suit our car characteristics better than this one.
Heikki Kovalainen (17th)
Another pretty good start and from there the whole race was straightforward. I didnt have any issues for the whole race, the pitstops were good and the strategy worked out exactly was wed planned, so across the whole weekend this has been another strong event for us. What seems to be happening is that in the first couple of stints, as the race sort of settles down, we are able to keep up with the cars ahead, and thats obviously a sign of how we have progressed, and thats again what happened here. When we went onto the primes for the last stint the pace obviously dropped a bit but we had another strong push to the end, with Senna losing time on his final set of tyres, and that points to us being able to fight much more closely next year. For now we have one race left, so well shift the focus now to Brazil and make sure we finish the season as strongly as we have been doing since Singapore.
Jarno Trulli (18th)
I lost a few places at the start with clutch slip, but within a few laps I had got passed the cars we needed to fight and then focused on making sure I got the car to the end of the race. The second stint was pretty strong, but then on the last stint on the hard tyres I was struggling to get them up to temperature so I couldnt really push any more. This has been a bit of a tough weekend. I came here with a bit of a fever and then losing time in FP3 obviously set me back as well, but now I want to make sure I have as good a race as possible in Brazil and help the team secure tenth place.
Riad Asmat, Lotus CEO
We leave Abu Dhabi feeling pretty good about the way the weekend went for the whole team, particularly seeing Heikki having another storming race and mixing it in the midfield for a good part of the afternoon. We keep edging closer to tenth place, and while that is not a step forward for us in championship terms, compared to last year, it is vital for our long-term growth, and when we can carry over the step-up we have made this year in the pit stops, in the factory and in our race pace, we are putting ourselves in the right place for next season and beyond. One more race to go and we will make sure we keep up this level or performance in Brazil before the race team takes a well-earned break.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
A solid race for us and good to see both cars across the finish line with no problems all afternoon. We opted for the same strategy on both cars, running the first two stints on the soft tyres and switching to the mediums at the end and it worked out how we had planned it would. Jarno lost some time at the start but he pulled some of that back with a strong middle stint but was then hit by the number of blue flags that he had to slow down for. At the end of the race Heikki was once again chasing down the Renault but just was not able to get past him with the laps he had left. Now we move on to the last race of the season in Brazil where we will be focusing on the seasons number on goal - securing tenth place and giving ourselves the platform we need to keep building for the future.
Timo Glock (19th)
Overall it was quite a good race today. I had a strong start, the speed was not too bad and I was in front of a couple of quicker guys, even though in the end they caught us up. I just drove my race and my engineer kept me updated about the gap to the guys behind, which was quite easy to manage. In the second pit-stop I think Ricciardo pushed a bit more, but I still managed to stay in front of him as well as keeping an eye on the rear tyres. In the end I got the best out of the car even though I have to say it was a bit difficult with the last set of tyres because the Medium compound combined with all the blue flags made it difficult to get them up to temperature. But it was a good race and the team did a good job.
Jerome DAmbrosio (DNF)
What a shame! I had a good start and was fighting hard against the HRTs, but I had a problem with the brakes and that was my race over. But we will work hard and continue to be motivated to finish the season in Brazil on a high.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
A good start to the race saw Timo running as high as 16th in the opening laps. Unfortunately, Jérôme was left behind both of the HRTs, however he was pushing them hard during the early laps. Then on lap 17, Jérôme reported some difficulty with the brakes and also that there was some debris coming out of the left front wheel. We immediately pitted him, instigating a pit stop with inspection of the front braking system. It was clear though that it was not possible to continue and we retired him. Meanwhile on track, Timo was having a good opening stint, pulling a comfortable gap out over Liuzzi and Ricciardo, who had stopped very early. A small issue at his first stop lost him a bit of time, however he still came out in front of Ricciardo. For the second stint Timo managed his tyres to ensure that he could get as far as possible. It was a little like India in that by staying on the Soft tyre, he would be quicker than the HRTs, which again had stopped early for the Medium tyre. However, we came up against Trulli - again on the Medium tyre - so we had to stop earlier than we would have liked. At this point with the HRTs clearly behind, we opted to save gearbox and engine, turning everything down for the last five laps. Given our record of reliability it is disappointing that we havent achieved a two-car finish in the last two races, however this will be our strong focus for Brazil.
Vitantonio Liuzzi (20th)
The car was suffering from the same balance problems as yesterday. The team worked on the issue all night to try and fix it but, unfortunately, the car wasnt perfectly balanced today. There was understeer on left turns and oversteer on right turns which meant that it was hard to achieve a good race pace. We got off to a good start and made up a few positions but it was a difficult challenge. Still, I pushed until the very end and got the car past the checkered flag which is a positive thing. It was a difficult race but we got a decent result.
Daniel Ricciardo (DNF)
I had a pretty good take off at the start, passing Glock and getting right behind Trulli, and then I stayed on the inside for turn one, which was probably a mistake as Glock overtook me on the outside. There were a few moves that I should have maybe committed to a bit stronger. The pace was good but I lost a few places at the start and had to play catch up. I closed the gap with Tonio but then I couldnt get past him. For the second stint I was able to keep up with Glock. I was then caught in traffic and, three laps from the end, my car stopped. It was a shame to end the race prematurely but, overall, the pace was good and I was setting some good times so thats something to take into the next race.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
"Clearly, this is not the result we were hoping for at all after the performance level we've had over the past races but the drivers did everything they could. We had a good pace. Tonio went for a one stop strategy, which proved not to be the best one in the end. Daniel, instead, was going for two stops and carried a really consistent pace racing Glock throughout the race. Unfortunately, he couldn't finish the race three laps from the end because of an electrical problem. It is a real shame because he was doing a fantastic race. Now we have to look ahead to Brazil and expect not to have any of these problems again.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Together with Red Bull Racing, were still examining the remains of Sebastian Vettels tyre in order to try and piece together what happened. It certainly seems to be a very unusual incident and weve already been to look at the place with Sebastian: there seems to be no reason that is immediately obvious and the set of tyres was one that he had already used for qualifying. But until we know for sure, theres no point in speculating. With the dropping temperatures, our soft and medium tyres were faced with slightly different track conditions to normal, with different teams trying a very wide variety of strategies, from one to three stops. Ive been told that last year there were just 11 overtaking manoeuvres here, so this year certainly presented quite a contrast. Normally at this point we would be packing up to go home, but now we look forward to the young driver test later this week, where we will try out some of our 2012 range of tyres for the first time.
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