Race - selected team & driver quotes 24 Jul 2011
Renaults Nick Heidfeld on his collisions with Force Indias Paul di Resta and Toro Rossos Sebastien Buemi; McLarens Jenson Button on how a hydraulics fault ended his race prematurely; Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel on not making the podium for the first time this season; and McLarens Lewis Hamilton on taking his first win since Aprils Chinese event. The drivers review their Sundays...
Lewis Hamilton (1st)
"Every win is special - but with all the emotion, effort and energy the team put into todays victory, this one feels even more special than usual. Coming into this weekend, I said Id take things one race at a time. So to win today is massively positive for us, but theres a long way to go and itll be about consistency as well as speed from here on in. Driving lap after lap within tenths of each other was about trying to do everything as perfectly as possible - yet, being aggressive yet controlled, I felt the moves I made today were some of the most precise Ive ever pulled off. Being able to drive with your head as well as your heart, and getting it just right, is massively satisfying. The fight for the world championship will be very, very, very hard now. Were back in the fight though, and I really hope we can carry this forward and keep the momentum going."
Jenson Button (DNF)
First, Id like to congratulate Lewis on a fantastic victory this afternoon. Hes done a great job all weekend and this result gives everyone in the team a massive boost ahead of next weekends race in Hungary. As for my race, I had a terrible opening lap. I got too much wheelspin away from the line and had to fight my way back from 10th place. I got stuck behind Vitaly [Petrov], who was very difficult to pass because he moved a lot in the braking areas. But once Id passed him, I enjoyed fighting back through the field. Id just overtaken Nico (Rosberg) for sixth when my power steering started to get heavy. Soon after, we retired the car on safety grounds because we had a hydraulic issue. It was a very disappointing end, but these things sometimes happen in motor racing and you just have to put it behind you and move on. Already Ive turned my attention to next weekends Hungarian Grand Prix, where I hope to have better luck. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes goes there on the back of a win and its my intention to be back on the podium for my 200th grand prix.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
What can I say? Lewis was perfect in qualifying, and perfect in the race, and the result was perfect too. He made a brilliant start from the front row, storming past Mark [Webber] into the lead, and then nailed the first few laps. After that, the team made all the right strategy calls, and the pitcrew executed the pitstops faultlessly, under extreme pressure. It was a gripping race, real edge-of-the-seat stuff, with all three teams involved operating at the top of their form. When that happens, the victory is particularly hard-won - and mighty satisfying too. Believe me, this success will be celebrated loud and long in Nürburgring and Woking tonight - and in Brixworth and Stuttgart too, homes of Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, whose home Grand Prix this is. As always, their engine was superb today. Jenson had a difficult weekend, however, and his race ended prematurely today as a result of a hydraulic failure. Hell be disappointed, inevitably, but hes a magnificent team player, and a fabulous driver, and Im sure hell bounce back in Budapest next weekend. As for Lewis, well, I reckon his 16th Grand Prix victory was one of his very best: a scintillatingly authoritative performance that all too clearly underlines what a fearsomely competitive individual he is.
Fernando Alonso (2nd)
After a second place like this, its easy to say that it could have been better, but I am pleased nevertheless. We must improve in qualifying, because we have a very strong race pace and I dont think theres any doubt about that. Everything went well today: the start, the pit stops and the strategy. We still lack something on Saturdays, because yesterday we were three or four tenths away, but I am confident we can also improve on this front. Today, Hamilton was quicker and so well done to him and his team: when I was behind him I was pushing as hard as I could, but I could not get very close. Even though I came out ahead of him at the second pit stop, I had absolutely no grip and he managed to pass me round the outside: immediately he then built up a few seconds lead. Today, we were clearly superior to the Red Bulls in terms of performance and this is important, given where we were at the start of the championship. That does not mean it will be the same in the coming races, but the situation is getting back to normal. The classification? Im not looking, but if theres a chance, it depends on always finishing on the podium hoping that Vettel does not do the same. Why did I park the car at the side of the track at the end? The team asked me to cut the engine as a precaution and luckily Mark was alongside me and stopped to give me a lift. I dont know how he knew I was shutting off the engine; maybe he has a radio link to my engineer!
Felipe Massa (5th)
It was a good race, in which I went head to head with Vettel for many laps. A shame about the time lost at the start behind Rosberg: the Mercedes is one of the hardest cars to overtake because it is very quick on the straights. The DRS was not a big help here, to such an extent that I passed him and Vettel under braking for Turn 1 where you cannot use the moveable wing. Sure, I would have preferred to have stayed ahead of the World Champion right to the end, but at the final pit stop there was a problem with the wheel nut on the left rear which cost me a few seconds: these things happen and recrimination achieves nothing. I got away well at the start, but then Vettel closed the line on the inside and I tried to go round the outside, because there was nowhere else to go if I wanted to make up some places. In fact I actually lost one to Rosberg. Now we go to Budapest: we will have the softest tyres there and, lets hope some more summer-like weather, which should help. We must continue down this road and we will get some satisfaction from it I am sure.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
A positive team result at the end of a great race, which was very exciting and in which both our drivers delivered a very good performance. The weather was the worst it could be for us and to have been in the fight for the win right to the end of the race is significant. We are working in the right direction and we have to continue like this, while realising we have to raise our performance level still further. I am sorry for Felipe, who lost a place at the very last pit stop: these things happen as we have seen so often this year down the length of the pit lane. Now, there are just a few hours to pause for breath before immediately turning our attention to the next round in Budapest, where we would like to confirm all the progress we have seen to date, while remaining well aware that we are up some very strong opposition. Its not by chance that Fernando has scored more points in the last three races than any other driver and the team has done best in the last two. It means we are pushing as hard as possible and we believe in what we are doing, without ever giving up in our efforts.
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
I think it was clear to see that even on a track like this one and with the worst possible weather for us, we confirmed the progress first seen in the races immediately preceding this one. We knew that, with the cold, and it definitely was cold today, we struggled a bit more than the others to get our tyres up to temperature, with both the Prime and the Option, as could also be seen yesterday in qualifying. Our race pace was very good, but we must consider that today, even with the DRS, overtaking was very difficult: its not by chance that it was actually easier to overtake at the first corner than in the zone where you could use the moveable wing. We must make a further step forward, but its a fact that the top three teams are much closer now than at the start of the season. Fernando and Felipe both drove great races. The Brazilian lost time at the start behind a Mercedes, which are very quick in a straight line and then he lost a well deserved fourth place at the final pit stop. A shame, but we know we must work a lot on certain aspects of the car like the wheel nut, which has given us problems this season. In Budapest, we can expect a tough race, but we will tackle it in the same spirit that has marked these last few weekends at the race track: we want to fight for the top places.
Mark Webber (3rd)
Im disappointed not to get the win today - but its another good result. At the end we needed to try and do something a bit different; we led the middle part of the race, but we couldnt get the tyre range around the pit stops to get the undercut on the second stop. I drove on the limit, but we were not quick enough and that was it. Lewis was able to cover us all the time and respond to my pace, so you couldnt get the gap. He got a good start and mine wasnt so good, but the starts arent key to the race finishes this year. I did pretty much everything I could today it was very intense racing between the three of us at the front (Lewis, Fernando and Mark), I was pushing to the limit, but there wasnt much more we could do to challenge for the victory. Were a strong unit though a good team and well push on. We know what we need to do
Sebastian Vettel (4th)
It was tough, a difficult race. In the beginning, it didnt feel so bad but I made a mistake, which bought me back to fifth and from there it was a tough recovery. I think fourth was the maximum we could achieve today - its not satisfying, but you have to accept that others were quicker today. I didnt feel good all weekend and didnt have the pace that Mark did in the car. The pit-stop at the end was fantastic. You come into the pit lane behind the other car and into your box and you cant wait to leave as soon as the boys have changed the wheels. As I came out it was nice to see the Ferrari still stationary - that was all down to the boys, they did a very good job. Both Felipe and I were battling for a lot of the race and we were both on the edge. We had a problem mid-race with the brakes, but we managed it well, so we can be happy with the recovery we had from that. Hungary is the next race, which is normally a good track for us, so well see, but we have homework to do. McLaren and Ferrari were very quick in the race and we need to come back to the pace they have.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
A fascinating race - obviously three and four from one and three on the grid isnt really the result we were looking for, but its still a lot of points for both drivers. We got Mark into the lead at the first pit-stop with the undercut, but unfortunately on the second stop the undercut didnt prove as powerful as we hoped and he dropped back to third. We looked at going longer on the last stint, but ultimately P3 was as much as we could achieve at the end. Sebastian had a spin early on and flat spotted the tyres quite badly, so we went as far as we dare with him and then he spent a lot of the race looking at Massas gearbox. It all came down to a race in the pit lane and our boys did a phenomenal job, nailed a fantastic pit stop and leap-frogged the Ferrari. There was a bit of excitement there and I think, as Sebastian said on the radio, he owns P4 to them today.
Adrian Sutil (6th)
It was a great race today and Im so pleased to get this result for the team because we really deserved it. We had a great car all weekend and everything just went perfectly. The tyres lasted well and we definitely made the right calls with the strategy, which helped me beat Nico (Rosberg) in the final stint. It was actually quite a lonely race for me because I spent most of the time running in clean air so I could really show the potential of the car. To get this result in my home race also makes it extra special and Id like to thank the fans for their support this weekend. But this is just the start because we still have lots of work to do in the coming races to score lots of points and catch up with the teams ahead of us.
Paul di Resta (13th)
Once again its a frustrating end to my weekend because I had a great chance to score some points today. I made a reasonable start, maintained my position and I was racing with Michael into the first corner. Then I got hit from behind, which must have been Nick (Heidfeld), and that spun me around and compromised my race. Its a shame because we came here with a great package and we had a good strategy for the race. I pushed hard to recover, but points were just out of reach today. The good news is that Adrian has brought in a lot of points and shown just how competitive the car is.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
Today has been a wonderful team performance and Im delighted to see Adrian finish in sixth place - a result that everybody has been working hard to achieve. We have been a bit unlucky in the last few races, but today we demonstrated the true pace of the car and delivered the result to match it. The only frustration is that Paul was the unfortunate victim of a first lap accident with Heidfeld. Without this, Im sure we could have had both Force Indias finish in the points. Even so, we welcome the eight points scored today - points that are important for our championship position and move us ahead of Toro Rosso.
Nico Rosberg (7th)
"I had a good start to the race today and made up one position on the first lap to be running in fifth place. However I didn't have a perfect set-up today and the car wasn't working quite as well as in qualifying. I had some good battles with Massa but despite pushing hard, it was impossible to keep him behind me. Seventh place is ok but we know that we have some work to do to maximise our latest upgrades in the race. I have a great team behind me, both the engineers and the boys in the garage, so I am confident that we will do this and we will see what happens next week in Hungary."
Michael Schumacher (8th)
"It was a pretty exciting race today with lots of action for both the spectators and the drivers. Hopefully everyone in the grandstands was entertained and it made up for the cold temperatures a little. My spin caught me by complete surprise, but that spot is known to be tricky in wet conditions, even if the conditions were not so wet today. Anyway, it obviously cost me some positions which was a shame. Towards the end, rain could have helped but the chances were low so I did not count on it. All in all, I am ok with the race. With the little improvements we have made, we can look forward to Hungary now."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"Things looked pretty good for us in the early stages of the race, with Nico running strongly in the top six, and he seemed set for a top six finish. However, the pace was not there in the third stint, which cost him a position. As for Michael, we believe that he braked on a damp patch on the way into turn 10, which caused him to spin. After that, he drove a strong recovery to finish less than ten seconds behind Nico. We saw some good racing all through the field today, with our drivers involved in plenty of it, and scored a few more important points for our Championship position."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"At least we scored points today with seventh and eighth positions for Nico and Michael. Our race speed was somewhat compromised as both Nico and Michael needed to save fuel for quite a long period of time. At the beginning of the race, our speed looked better relative to the pace of the top three teams than it did from one-third distance onwards."
Kamui Kobayashi (9th)
My start was good and then I was able to gain some positions in the first few corners of lap one. This was nice. I had been 17th on the grid and was in 12th after the first lap. But then it was difficult because our pace just wasnt good enough here. The fact that we have scored points is down to a very good pit stop strategy, I want to thank the team for an excellent job. I was able to overtake both Williams during the race, but it was impossible to get Michael (Schumacher). He was way too fast on the straights. However, Im happy we managed to score after a bad qualifying, and hope we will be performing better at the next race.
Sergio Perez (11th)
I am not at all happy. Given our grid positions we knew it would be difficult to get some points today, but, as Kamui, has shown it was possible. I am angry with myself because I made a mistake on lap eight. I went off and was on the grass. This was why I had to pit early and change tyres. This obviously was not what was planned in the strategy. We recovered a bit from there, but not enough for points, which were my aim. Now I just want to look forward to the next race which is only a few days away.
Peter Sauber, Sauber team principal
Looking at where we started from, we can be pleased with this result. Both drivers put in strong races, and the team was rewarded with two championship points.
James Key, Sauber technical director
It hasnt really been our weekend, but its great to salvage some points from the race. Kamui drove an excellent race, made the most of his tyres and quite tricky track conditions at the start, controlled it well and was able to defend his position against Vitaly Petrov. I think P9 was good. Sergio was pretty competitive as well. Unfortunately he had a spin in the opening laps of the race which put him behind. He did a lot of laps on the soft tyres and made them count, so he finished 11th just outside the points. Overall its good to salvage something, but we have a bit of work to do for the next events just to get back on top of our performance again.
Vitaly Petrov (10th)
Well, its another point gained today, but really we need to analyse exactly why we lost positions out there, and why we didnt come in to the pits earlier to fight with the group in front. The start was good and I had some decent battles, including with Jenson (Button) and Michael (Schumacher), but the main thing is we need to look at why the likes of Sauber and Force India are finishing higher than us, and correct it as soon as possible. We must now concentrate on Hungary and getting some good points there before the summer break.
Nick Heidfeld (DNF)
I was squeezed at the start and sandwiched in the second corner. Heading into the third corner Paul di Resta was on the outside. I locked up my front wheels and tried to avoid him but just slid into him as there was nowhere to go. After that I was trying very hard to make up positions and I overtook some cars before I was behind Sébastien Buemi. He blocked the left hand side, as he is allowed to do, but when I went to his right hand side he just moved over on me. He must have known I was there. I had a lot more speed than him and was on my way to pass. He just didnt give me any room and pushed me on to the grass and after that there was nothing I could do. It was an accident which couldnt be avoided. Its never nice being up in the air in one of these cars and it could have been dangerous.
Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
Obviously this is a disappointing day for us. We had a reasonable qualifying yesterday, which was definitely a step forward from Silverstone, and we were looking to launch a strong assault on the points today from P9 and P11. Firstly, Nick was unlucky; after falling back to 22nd position he was ploughing his way through the field and, by the time he moved into 16th place, he was trying to overtake Sebastien (Buemi) but ran out of room and went off-track which cut his race short. Vitaly also had a tough race but stuck it out with a determined drive to come home in P10. We are looking to finish much stronger than we did today but, having said that, one point is better than none and we must now look at how we improve in time for Budapest.
James Allison, Renault technical director
A disappointing race with Nick out early after a start which meant a very difficult race in any case and Vitaly scoring a point but achieving less than we thought possible and hoped for. It was not really where we hoped to be at the end of the weekend so we have to keep our noses to the grindstone and make the car quicker as thats what will bring the points. There are a couple of minor revisions to the R31 for Budapest but we have greater changes for the races which follow.
Jaime Alguersuari (12th)
That race was not bad and I feel we did a good job, given where we started on the grid. However, our pace was not as good as at Valencia or Silverstone and I was struggling a bit under braking. On the plus side, our strategy was good and the team worked well at the pit stops. At least we finished ahead of one of the Force India cars, so now all we can do is look forward to starting work again in a few days in Budapest, where I hope we can return to scoring points.
Sebastien Buemi (15th)
Unfortunately, I had rain settings and the rain never came, so it was not the best set-up for the race. I had quite a good start, passing several cars. Unfortunately after that, Heidfeld drove into me at the chicane and I got a puncture on my right rear. So I had to pit and change tyres, which compromised our strategy even more and with no rain, that was really it. It has been a disappointing weekend in which we cannot be satisfied with our performance, therefore all we can do is look ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix and at least we dont have long to wait for that.
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal
The Nurburgring does not seem to be a Toro Rosso track. Yesterday, we had a problem with Sebastien, when his post-qualifying fuel sample did not match the one supplied to the FIA, as it got contaminated when we changed the fuel pressure system after it caused problems on Friday. This meant he had to start from the back of the grid. However, he made a good start, moving up six places on the opening lap to be eighteenth. Then he had an incident with Heidfeld, which punctured his right rear tyre, so he had to pit, which forced us to change his strategy. From then on, he was always running around position 15 where he eventually finished the race. Adding to his difficulties, his car had been set up yesterday in anticipation of a wet race, but unfortunately for him it stayed dry. Jaime drove a good race, with a reasonable start, making up two places in the opening moments to lie fourteenth. He defended well, producing good lap times, even on the Prime tyre, moving up to twelfth at the flag, which was the best we could hope for.
Pastor Maldonado (14th)
It was a really tough race today. We were quite competitive in the second stint on a new set of Option tyres but then when we went onto the Prime tyres for the last stint we were losing time. Our pace wasnt as good and we lost a few places. We tried hard, but it wasnt to be today.
Rubens Barrichello (DNF)
We were doing quite well after making a good start and were looking comfortable for a two-stop strategy but then the team came on the radio and called me in with an oil leak. I wanted to continue but the team said there was no way and that was the right decision. It was slippery out there at the start but the main issue was the cold weather making it difficult to get the temperature into the tyres.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Unfortunately Rubens was out early with an engine oil leak today; we are still investigating the cause. On Pastors car we called an early first pitstop that moved him right up the order, however we then had too much tyre wear during the second stint, so it may have hurt the race outcome later on. Once we had that tyre wear we decided to risk doing a longer final stint on the prime tyre and that went against us today.
Heikki Kovalainen (16th)
I think that was a pretty good race. For me everything was working well in the car but honestly it was a bit lonely out there! Were not quite with the guys ahead, and were well clear of the teams behind, so I wanted to make sure I could push as hard as possible over the full race distance, not make any mistakes and get the car home in one piece. We are progressing in the right direction, and it will take time to be able to really fight with the guys in front, but well get there.
Karun Chandhok (20th)
Thats a full race distance completed and an awful lot of learning under my belt. Honestly, that probably wasnt the race I wanted - I had a couple of high speed spins and I think I need more time to get used to the tyres. When they start to go off theres very little give compared to last years rubber, but thats all part of the learning process and Im glad I got the car home and did the best job I could.
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
"The main aim today was to bring two cars home and to make sure Karun could learn as much as possible over a full race distance. It is good that he finished the full 60 laps and showed some reasonable pace and I am very pleased with Heikkis speed on the options - we obviously have a lot of work to do but this is another platform to build on, so overall I am pretty happy.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
Good to get both cars home over the line. Heikki had good pace, particularly on the options and he was able to keep up with the cars ahead throughout most of the race. Karun acquitted himself pretty well, despite having a couple of moments he got on with the job and has definitely learnt a lot from his time in the car here this weekend. The whole team has worked very hard to make sure we could have a two car finish, so well done to them and now we can move straight on to Hungary where the aim will be the same progress little by little and keep moving forward.
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 support leader for Lotus
From the engine perspective I think we are pretty pleased. The feedback we have had from the drivers has been good - we wanted to maximise the driveability of the engine, especially in the wet conditions, and according to the data we amassed we managed to achieve that. Karun did a good job in very tough conditions - it is not easy to jump straight into the car and be able to extract maximum performance, but he adapted well to the strategies we gave him and has definitely taken a lot on board."
Timo Glock (17th)
After a positive start to the day with the announcement about my future with the team, it was quite a difficult race today. I struggled with the braking system from the middle of the race onwards and I wasnt able to push late on in the race, so we have to look into the problem. Otherwise thanks to the team for a good weekend at my home Grand Prix. A shame it was so cold for everyone but we head to Hungary now for better weather and I hope we can have another good result there.
Jerome DAmbrosio (18th)
I'm happy about the weekend. I feel like I'm back on the right track and although there's definitely more improvements I can make, particularly in qualifying, Im going in the right direction. The last few weekends have been a bit tough and this is the one I'll be focusing on. I'd like to keep this momentum in Hungary before the break and stay as close as possible to Timo.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
This is a great way to end Timos home race weekend. After announcing a new long-term contract with him this morning, the day ended in a positive way as we achieved another double finish. We knew that the Option tyres would work better, which is why we completed most of the race with them and waited until the very end to use the Primes. Jérôme struggled at the start of the race but after the first pit-stop found his way when the fuel load lightened and came back at Ricciardo, overtaking him in the second stint. We had a small issue with Timos braking system towards the end of the race and this slowed his pace. Overall, a pleasing result with the team working well under pressure. We now complete a quick turnaround and travel over to Hungary for what we hope will be another good weekend.
Daniel Ricciardo (19th)
It was good to finish. I think weve made a good step from Silverstone but theres still quite a long way to go. Its quite a steep learning curve but I think Ive climbed a little bit of that this week. If I can keep this way then Im sure that in a few races time the progress will be more obvious by, hopefully, finishing a few positions further up. If I can make the same step from Silverstone for Hungary then its going to look more promising. Im quite happy with the progress.
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF)
It was a shame because, even though the penalisation for the gearbox meant we had to start from P23, we had a strong start where we passed a few cars on the first lap and had good pace. A few laps into the race we started to suffer some problems with the brake balance and we lost quite a bit of pace. After the pit stop, with the tyre change, we recovered our strong pace until an unfortunate electronic issue forced us to retire. Overall, theres been an improvement from Silverstone but we need to push harder and cannot relax for the next race. Luckily, the Hungarian GP is around the corner and we have to look ahead. It will be a difficult one because the track doesnt suit our car much but we will fight as usual.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
Of course I would have preferred a two car finish. Tonio had a good race despite brake problems at the start, but was able to maintain a good distance to Heikki Kovalainen. He retired just before two-thirds distance because of an electrical failure. It was a real pity because the team had taken all precautions during the weekend and had a good pace in the race. The pit stops went smoothly. On a positive note, Daniel has completed his second solid race in a row. He is making good progress.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
The whole race hinged on tyre strategy, as we saw Hamilton, Alonso and Webber all try to use pit stops to their advantage. Although some people were thinking that there would be a big time gap between the soft and the medium tyre, Lewis Hamilton was able to win the race in style after being the first of the front runners to change onto the P Zero White tyre. We saw a wide spread of strategies once more, with two drivers even delaying their final pit stop until the very last lap. Because of the cool temperatures and smooth surfaces we saw the tyres lasting for a very long time here, which makes an interesting contrast to the early part of the year when some people said that our tyres werent lasting long enough! This underlines not only how quickly all the teams and drivers get to grips with their equipment in Formula One, but also just how complex our brief is as the tyre supplier. Despite that, weve seen three pit stops per car, which is exactly what we were aiming for.
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