Race - selected team and driver quotes 18 Nov 2012
Toro Rossos Jean-Eric Vergne and Red Bulls Mark Webber on their early retirements; Ferraris Felipe Massa on bouncing back from his gearbox penalty to finish in fourth; Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel and Ferraris Fernando Alonso on taking their title battle to Brazil; and McLarens Lewis Hamilton on claiming the first-ever victory at the Circuit of The Americas. All the drivers and senior team personnel report back on Sundays action
Lewis Hamilton (1st)
Im massively proud and extremely happy. I nearly lost my voice because I was screaming so much on the in-lap - not cool at all! To overtake both Red Bulls in the race was the coolest thing for me. The backmarkers really came into play today - and, finally, they worked in my favour. Ive often been caught out when Ive been trying to get through traffic, but things finally went my way today. When Seb (Vettel) was delayed by a backmarker, I knew I had to grab my chance, so I turned the engine up to maximum revs and pushed like crazy. Along the back-straight I went to the to the outside, but Seb closed the door, so I moved to the inside, and he came back towards me. I was very lucky. It was very close. What made the difference today between Seb and me? I wanted it more, thats what! I won the last United States Grand Prix, in 2007, so, to come back and win it again - in front of such a great crowd - feels very special indeed. There are a couple of Grands Prix that are somehow out on their own: theres Monaco, Silverstone, Montreal, Spa and Monza. Now you can this circuit to that list - its already one of the best racetracks in the world, maybe even right up there in the top three. Its a brilliant feeling to be finishing the season on a high. Hopefully, well go to Brazil next week with the same level of performance - Id love to win my final two races for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
Jenson Button (5th)
Starting on the dirty side of the racetrack was very tough - I ended up 15th by the end of the first lap. So fifth was probably the best result I could have had. I had a lot of fun this afternoon, and fought a lot of good battles on my way through. There was lots of action and lots of overtaking - and most of it was very clean, which was good to see. Obviously, however, fifth place wasnt the result Id have ideally liked, but the car was working really well, and, with a better grid position, I could definitely have been right up there. Still, big congratulations to Lewis and the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. It was great to race in front of so many fantastically enthusiastic American fans - they looked like they really enjoyed themselves. Before we arrived here, we knew we were going to have to put on a good show, and I think we did just that. There was action and suspense all the way through, which is exactly what you need to create a great sporting spectacle. I really hope the US will now embrace Formula One at last.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Today was a brilliant day for Lewis Hamilton, a brilliant day for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and a brilliant day for Formula One. From the dirty side of the track, Lewis made a very good start but was nonetheless unsurprisingly passed by Mark (Webber), whose P3 grid slot had afforded him appreciably better traction off the line than Lewis had enjoyed from P2. But Lewis quickly caught and passed Mark, and then set about closing the gap to Seb. Their battle was long and intense, two great drivers at the top of their form, their cars never more than a few metres apart and often almost nose to tail, but, when Lewis made his move, he made it beautifully. From that moment onwards, try as Seb might to mount a counter-attack, Lewis was in supreme command: right on the limit yet in total control, the man of the match at his brilliant best. As for Jenson, he drove an excellent recovery race, handicapped as he had been by a throttle pedal problem in yesterdays qualifying session that had prevented him from qualifying better than 12th. And worse was to come: at the start of the race he was boxed in by several other cars, dropping further places immediately. Thereafter, however, he drove hard and well, climbing all the way up to fifth position at the chequered flag, having managed his tyre wear superbly at the same time as pulling off some extremely gutsy overtaking moves: 10 world championship points extremely well earned. Lewiss victory was Vodafone McLaren Mercedes sixth Grand Prix win of the 2012 season and McLarens 12th Grand Prix win on United States soil. It goes without saying that were utterly thrilled to have won in Austin here today - just as we were absolutely delighted when we won the last United States Grand Prix, in 2007, at Indianapolis. Ive already said that today was a brilliant day for Lewis Hamilton, a brilliant day for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and a brilliant day for Formula One. But, just as important as any of that, I believe its fair to say that it was also a brilliant day for motorsport in the United States. The Austin racetrack is a magnificent one, and today it staged a wonderful motor race. The city of Austin has welcomed us and our sport, and on behalf of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes I want to extend our friendship and gratitude in return. Next weekend well be in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and you may be well sure that Lewis and Jenson will be doing their utmost to record Vodafone McLaren Mercedes seventh win of the 2012 season over the daunting bumps and turns of the famously serpentine Interlagos circuit. But were already looking forward to coming back to Austin next year, and putting on another truly great show, on a truly great racetrack, in a truly great city, in a truly great country. Until next year, then, thats all folks!
Sebastian Vettel (2nd)
Im very, very happy for the team to win a third constructors. Its been a tough year so far and they have been pushing incredibly hard; they deserve to win, as we have been the best team. Obviously Mark and I were pushing throughout the year. It was a shame for Mark not to finish today. It was a very good race and we did everything we could, but unfortunately we ran into traffic at the wrong time and lost the gap to Lewis. He used his chance well, I tried to cover the inside but he had more speed down the straight. I respect the positions; Lewis beat us fair and square. We showed we had the pace today and now its full steam ahead to the next race.
Mark Webber (DNF)
A third constructors for the team is an incredible achievement. Three years in a row is something that I think all of us would never have envisaged when we first started to be successful, so the results that weve had over the years is really astonishing. This championship was probably the toughest one so far, for lots of different reasons and - its a cliché - but its been a real team effort. Looking to today, I had to stop with an alternator problem. We had low battery voltage for a few laps before and then I lost gearbox sync and KERS, something was happening on the battery side. Its frustrating; as we had a reasonable start to the race and a good fight with Lewis. We had issues to manage, but even when I knew we had them we tried to keep going and get something out of it, but we had to stop.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
Its incredible for the whole team to have won a third consecutive world championship. The constructors is what we use to measure ourselves against our competitors and, for every member of the team, its how we gauge our performance. The drivers obviously has the prestige and public following but within the team they carry equal importance. So, to have achieved a consecutive third world championship, which only three other teams in the history of the sport have achieved, puts us into a very elite group and having done it in such a short space of time is testimony to all the members of the team. Thats all the hard work, the long hours and dedication from every department. Its a very proud moment for every single member of the team and Red Bull.
Adrian Newey, Red Bull chief technical officer
Its been an amazing year. To achieve the hat trick is a tremendous tribute to the whole team. It shows weve managed to keep our standards up and keep consistency. The hard work, the dedication, the talent of the people back in Milton Keynes - thats what this is all about. I hope they are celebrating and having a drink tonight. We are always thinking how we can improve the car and what we can do in the coming races. Its been a difficult year and unfortunately my pre-season concerns proved to be right. Having developed the car around side exhaust technology for the last two years, losing that was a bigger step back for us than our competitors and its been quite a difficult evolution to get the car back to where we wanted. Getting a third title shows were not a flash in the pan; weve managed to stay at the top, to understand the car and maintain consistency which is not easy at all. The first title was amazing because when I left McLaren for Red Bull, it was a bit of a career gamble, I was joining with a dream of perhaps trying to win races in the future with the team that Id been involved with more or less from the start. To actually fulfil that dream and to achieve three titles has been amazing. We can all have dreams, but to do it is something special. Its not just me personally but its the whole team and this is a tribute to everyone within it.
Fernando Alonso (3rd)
It was an unexpected podium which came at the end of a particularly difficult weekend. We did not have the pace to match Red Bull and McLaren, so to only lose three points to Vettel is in fact a nice present. It could have been much worse, but now we will arrive in Sao Paolo in Brazil in with a chance right to the last. Maybe on paper that chance is not so big, maybe 25 percent, but deep down, I feel its much more than that. Anything can happen at Interlagos and we saw again how important reliability can be, didnt we? Then, theres the chance of rain and a race in the wet can be very risky and we definitely have nothing to lose. Clearly, if its dry and we have a normal race, one can expect Red Bull to be in front of everyone and us on the third or fourth row, so the more unknown factors there are, the better it is for us. The decision regarding Felipes gearbox? It was a team decision of which I am proud, especially as it proved to be the right one: I dont think everyone in this environment can say the same thing The start was very good as was the first corner: in this second part of the season, we have made up a lot of places actually in the first few hundred metres. Then I had a good enough pace to get on the podium but not to fight with the two in front. The pit stop wasnt perfect, maybe for the first time this season: which means well be looking for perfection in the pit stops next Sunday, and in fact for the whole race! Felipe was fantastic all weekend, quicker than me in all three qualifying sessions: we need him to be on this good form in Interlagos too, because we will be up against very strong opposition. We need to be a united team if we want to win!
Felipe Massa (4th)
For me, this result is a bit like a win, definitely the best race of my season: now I can say Im happy to have started eleventh! This morning, when I was told I was dropping five places, I cant say I was jumping for joy, but I accepted it to help the team and my team mate: I dont think many drivers would have done the same, but I am an honest person and will always do my utmost for my team. At the start, I made up three places, but then I ran wide and lost a few. After that, I had a strong pace and also pulled off some passing moves at various points on the track: once I even got two cars at the same time. We did the best we could have done today: I dont think I could have fought Vettel or Hamilton. I really enjoyed driving on this track: it is great fun and the atmosphere is very nice. Its probably not going to be my favourite circuit of all, but it is one of the ones I like. Now we go to Interlagos, my home race. It would be nice to end the season on the podium, or even with a win. Whats certain is that I will do everything I can to help the team reach its targets: today, maybe I could have finished ahead of Fernando, but Im well aware of the championship situation and I do what is right for Ferrari, as Ive done throughout my career.
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
We achieved our objective, which means keeping the drivers championship alive to the end. This morning we decided to take a penalty that goes with changing a gearbox, which resulted in Felipe dropping five places on the grid, but meant both drivers started from the clean side of the track, an important factor, given Fernando is fighting for the drivers title. We expected this to produce an advantage for the Spaniard and a more or less similar outcome for the Brazilian and as things turned out, if you look at the order after the first corner, we were right. Once again, Fernando covered the first few hundred metres of the race in extraordinary fashion and from then on, he produced a great performance, profiting from Webbers retirement to make it to the podium for the umpteenth time in this amazing season. He did not have a car capable of fighting for the win, so to be third is the most we could aspire to in these conditions. Once again, Felipe showed great team spirit when it came to the decision that penalised him. He then drove a great race, climbing up from eleventh to fourth, pulling off some nice passing moves on the way. The main problem this weekend was definitely managing the tyre temperatures: once again today we suffered in the early laps after the pit stop much more than our competitors. We must study the data carefully to understand exactly what are the reasons for this, also because in Brazil, in less than a week, we will once again be running these compounds. Its true the Interlagos circuit is very different and that so too will be the ambient temperatures, but we must arrive in Sao Paolo as well prepared as possible. The
drivers title and second place in the constructors classification will be fought out to the very last corner thats for sure.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
Given how things looked yesterday afternoon after qualifying, this result can be seen as positive. Sure, Fernando has lost a few points to the championship leader, but the important thing was to limit the damage so as to arrive at the last race with everything to play for and that is now the case. First and foremost, I want to congratulate Felipe, not just for his great drive in the race, but above for all for the way he went along with our decision to knowingly take a penalty so as to maximize our potential at the start, especially for his team mate. It was definitely a tough decision, but he took it with the same spirit he has always demonstrated, in that the interests of the team come before those of the individual. Not only did events show it was the right decision, but furthermore we had further confirmation, if it was ever needed, that Felipe is a team player, sincere and honest, who fully shares our values and for that, I want to thank him publicly. Fernando did the most with what he had today, in other words a car that was not capable of fighting for the win. Once again, he produced a stunning opening lap which lined him up for a podium finish. Now we go to Brazil, knowing that everything is still possible. We get there in a completely opposite situation to the one we were in on arrival in Abu Dhabi two years ago ! When you end up fighting for the title at the last race, you have already achieved something important: it has happened to Ferrari many times before - with only three exceptions - since 1997 and no other team can boast of a similar regularity at the top of Formula One. Today, we congratulate Red Bull on winning the constructors title. Now we will try and stop them doing the double in a weeks time in Interlagos!
Kimi Raikkonen (6th)
"It was an okay day, but not a very easy one for us. I got a bad start and then I touched with a Force India at the second corner so I lost a few more places. After that the car was okay and I could get past some of the others. Unfortunately, when it got cloudy it got too cold so the tyres stopped working and thats where we saw Jenson [Button] get past. Basically, it was a race where we were just depending on the tyres to be in their window. Im still third in the championship and well do everything we can to maintain this position until the end."
Romain Grosjean (7th)
"Not a bad race but the spin on lap seven was frustrating. The start was good, the first lap was good and the pace was definitely there. I recovered pretty well from where I was to finish P7 and was fighting Kimi at the end which is a positive sign. I pushed as hard as I could, so I was happy to bring home some more points for the team."
James Allison, Lotus technical director
"Although there were elements of todays race that were quite positive, overall I have to admit it was a pretty joyless experience. Romains off-track excursion during the early stages put a sizeable flat spot on his tyres which proved to be too much to live with past a few extra laps. This was a real shame as he clearly had good pace and put in a very spirited drive to recover from there. After a tricky start from the dirty side of the track, Kimi did a good job of clawing his way forwards and was on course to jump Fernando in the pit-stop battle, but unfortunately we had a bit of a drama with our tyre change which put paid to that. On a more positive note, our qualifying pace has certainly improved so with a trouble free race in Brazil we can hopefully wrap up the season with another podium."
Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
"Today wasnt as good as Abu Dhabi obviously, but with both cars in the points were quite satisfied. The first part of the race created some expectations that we could have been in a position to fight for a better result, however the race didnt play out that way. We had a small problem in Kimis pit stop and lost time there. Romain made a mistake behind Nico Hulkenberg and lost the opportunity to do a better job, but he had a very strong race from there and came back well. In the end, Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari were faster and there wasnt anything we could do. Its good to gain some points, plus we know we have better performance still to come from the car and the ability to achieve better results, so were looking forward to Brazil."
Nico Hulkenberg (8th)
Another tough race but very satisfying to have so many good battles and score another four points. I think we squeezed the maximum from the car and should be pleased with what we achieved. For the first few laps we looked very strong, but after lap ten the tyres started to fade away. When we switched to the hard tyres we were not so competitive so it was just a case of pushing hard to stay in the points. The last few laps were not easy because I was getting massive pressure from the Williams pair, who were very quick through sector one. They had the advantage of DRS and it was not easy to keep them behind me. There was quite a bit of fighting but I managed to stay ahead.
Paul di Resta (15th)
I made a good start and for the first few laps we were in quite a strong position and moving forward with good lap times. Maybe we waited too long before pitting because I became vulnerable to Senna after my stop and was struggling on cold tyres with tyre warm-up. I couldnt keep Senna behind me and then I had the same situation with Maldonado. I was fighting a lot of oversteer in the car and made an error in Turn 19, lost the rear, and spun. I was just trying a bit too hard to keep the cars behind me. That gave me some flat spots on my tyres so I had to pit for a second time. From there it was difficult to fight back because it was a clear one-stop race.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director
Todays race was a brilliant showcase for Formula One and the perfect way to kick off the sports return to America. We saw some great racing and the track looked spectacular. Nico was back in the points again and drove very well to finish eighth. For the final part of the race he came under heavy pressure from Senna and Maldonado, but he didnt make any mistakes and kept them at bay. Williams are close competitors in the championship so it was important to outscore them here. Pauls race looked promising in the early stages, but tyre issues and a spin cost him dearly and ruled out any chance of points. With the season coming to a close we will look to continue our run of points-scoring finishes in Sao Paulo and hopefully end the season on a high note next weekend.
Pastor Maldonado (9th)
After today's race I'm happy for the team, for the Venezuelan fans and for myself. I hope that this will be one of the best racing venues for Formula One. On the first lap I ran wide which meant I had to fight for places throughout but I enjoyed it because it was a good race and we were competitive. At the beginning I lost many places but I managed to recover quite well. On the last lap I was fighting with Hulkenburg but there wasn't enough time to get the place. I am looking forward to the last round in Brazil and we are ready to fight again there.
Bruno Senna (10th)
Unfortunately starting on the dirty side of the grid hurt my race in the early stages as it was quite messy into the first corner. We had good pace though and were overtaking when we needed to. Unfortunately we came out of the pits behind Hulkenberg which was frustrating as he was just quick enough exiting Turn 11 each lap and we couldnt overtake him which damaged my tyres allowing Pastor to catch us both. I knew Pastor would make a move and I wasnt going to close the door as we needed the points for the team. Overall, it was a pretty difficult race but it was good to end with both cars in the points which is what we are aiming for.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
Both drivers didn't have the best of starts. Whilst Pastor managed to maintain position on the clean side of the grid he was eventually pushed wide by Massa at Turn 2, which meant that he picked up a lot of dirt on his option tyres which subsequently took a long time to clean up. Both drivers drove very good races but unfortunately we were not able to clear Hulkenberg. Its good to have both cars in the points but ultimately we wanted more. We now concentrate all our efforts on the final race of the season.
Laurent Debout, Renault track support to Williams
We started ninth and tenth and finished in ninth and tenth so we can consider that a good result. After a difficult first lap both drivers drove very well, having a very clean fight and the pace of the car when in clear air was good. A double points finish for the second consecutive race is very positive and we look forward to extending this run further in Brazil.
Sergio Perez (11th)
My start worked really well and the first laps were good too. I had a good pace, and the car was really quick, but then around lap ten I had a problem with the brakes. The pedal became very long and I had big difficulties before every corner. This cost a lot of time and so we didnt manage to get any points here. Regardless of the result it was a great experience to race here in front of so many Mexicans. The COTA is a great track and I hope we can have this Grand Prix on the calendar for many years. Now we will get ourselves together for the final attempt to improve to fifth place in the constructors world championship next week.
Kamui Kobayashi (14th)
For the entire weekend here I had warm up problems and didnt get the tyres to work. We have to find out why this was. The grip level only increased in the last laps of the race at the end of a very long stint with the hard tyres. This was crazy and I do hope very much we are stronger in Sao Paulo to finish the season on a high.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
This was a fairly difficult weekend for us. For some reason we were not able to exploit the potential which was there. Our main problem was to get the tyres to work, which was reflected in our qualifying performance. With Kamui we opted for an early pit stop, but we didnt benefit from that. Sergio had a very good first lap and therefore we went for a more standard strategy, but then he reported a long brake pedal. We spotted a problem, but we were confident on the safety side, because the travel soon stabilised. However, on the performance side we had to pay the price, particularly around the pit stop where we lost two positions to the Williams. We couldnt regain these positions.
Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber chief executive
For our team it was a weekend with ups and downs, which was also reflected in the race. Sergio made a very good start and was 11th after lap one, with a chance to fight for points, but later he reported a brake problem and, as a result, lost positions. Kamui was never able to recover from his grid position. We have not given up the fight for P5 in the constructors championship, but we will have a lot of pressure in Interlagos. However, we are taking this as an extra motivation. Congratulations to the people responsible at the COTA for building a great track and organising a great event for the many fans who were present today.
Daniel Ricciardo (12th)
I think I overtook more people in this race than in any other in my whole career! It was particularly fun at Turn One, which became a favourite passing spot for me, especially one lap when I managed to pass two cars at once. Until today, the whole weekend had not gone that smoothly and of course, I was particularly disappointed with how qualifying went yesterday. Because of that, I was even more determined to go well today. I gave it everything Ive got this afternoon, although it was not enough to finish in the points, but twelfth was probably the best result we could have got today. At the start, the dirty side was indeed very slippery and the two Marussias got ahead and I touched with one of them. I thought Id damaged the front wing, but I managed to keep going as the car was okay and after that I think we got the maximum out of the car. It was very competitive on the option, but once I switched to the prime it seemed that tyre also worked better than expected, which meant I lost some of the advantage we had hoped to have by running a very long first stint. Deep down, I know I did my best.
Jean-Eric Vergne (DNF)
I got a really good start and I had about a tenth of a second to decide whether to go to the left or the right going into the first corner. Everyone seemed to be going right, so I went left aiming for the inside of the hairpin, as I was much quicker. But it didnt pay off, because I lost many positions and got stuck behind other cars and therefore could not warm up my tyres properly. Despite this, I was able to fight and make up some positions. Unfortunately, the suspension broke and the team told me to park the car rather than risk bringing it back. A shame, as this new circuit is fun to race on.
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal
First of all congratulations to Red Bull Racing on securing the Constructors championship this afternoon. It leaves the way clear for a thrilling final battle for the drivers title in a few days time in Brazil. As for our race, Daniel produced a good performance, given that after his qualifying was compromised by yellow flags, he came from eighteenth on the grid to twelfth at the chequered flag. It was very tight in terms of pace between ourselves, Sauber, Force India and Williams. We chose to run long on the Options as the car was running competitively on these tyres. Daniel did everything he could to close the gap to those ahead when he was on the Prime and managed to get near to Perez in the final stages, but there were not enough laps for him to pass. With Jev, we had a suspension problem and told him to park the car. We still need to investigate its cause. We have one more opportunity to pick up points this season as we head for Sao Paolo and what is often an exciting and unpredictable race.
Nico Rosberg (13th)
It was a difficult weekend for us and unfortunately we weren't able to score any points today. However we have learned some important lessons for next year and that's what counts at the moment. I hope we can be more successful next year here in Austin as I have enjoyed our visit. The track, the people and the city are absolutely fantastic. So I look forward to coming back here in 2013 and we will work hard next weekend to finish the season on a positive note.
Michael Schumacher (16th)
I can't find any words other than ironic ones for the race today - there was a lot of action around me but unfortunately in the wrong direction. To say that the race was a real struggle would be an understatement. I couldn't get any grip from my first set of tyres, and there must have been some kind of damage for them to perform so badly. We had to change our strategy to two stops which then compromised our race even further. All in all, it was much worse than expected today, especially considering that things did not look that bad yesterday and Friday.
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
After a good qualifying result, Michael's first set of tyres performed very badly today and we decided to convert his strategy to a two-stop race. Once we got onto another set, the lap times came back up to what we expected but having such a poor first stint made it very difficult for him. Nico started a long way back and conserved his tyres well as we knew that we wanted to make a one-stop strategy work. He actually had a pretty good race with respectable lap times, and if we had managed to qualify better, he would have been in a reasonable place. Whilst it is disappointing not to score any points, we have learnt a lot about the car and tyres this weekend which will be useful for the future. Despite our result, this has been a great weekend for Formula One in the United States, and it was very pleasing to see so many fans here for the first race in Austin. Our thanks for the organisers for putting on such a good show.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
Nico's speed was not too bad but from 17th on the grid, he could not improve further. His one-stop strategy worked as planned which was not the case for Michael who, after a respectable place on the grid, did not have the speed in his car to defend his position after the start of the race. The team brought him in early and switched to a two-stop strategy. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for winning the inaugural Grand Prix here at this great race track, after having won the last United States Grand Prix in 2007. Thank you to the organisers for making this race happen here in Austin. We will come back stronger next year. Congratulations to Red Bull Racing for securing the constructors' world championship today.
Vitaly Petrov (17th)
"For me that was just about as much as I could get out of the car today so I'm pleased with how it went. The start was pretty crazy, everyone on cold tyres going into turn one with a load of cars going off track, but I got through cleanly and as soon as my tyres came up to temperature I pulled away from the cars behind pretty comfortably. We'd planned to do just one stop and it was timed perfect, the boys got me out quickly when we switched to the hard compound so it all went as we wanted. The tyre degradation was also pretty low - we'd seen from the long runs on Friday that it wouldn't really be a problem, but apart from a small vibration I had from the brakes for the last third of the race, it was a good afternoon without any issues."
Heikki Kovalainen (18th)
"That was one of those races where we probably couldn't have got much more out of the car. I've had issues all weekend with getting heat into the front tyres and it was the same again today for the first few laps. At the start I made up one place and then passed Glock pretty quickly and from there it was relatively easy to control my pace for the rest of the race. The stop went fine, the pitcrew did a very good job today, and apart from the tyre issue, it was about as much as we could have hoped for."
Timo Glock (19th)
Overall it was a strong race for us, even though we had been hoping for something more. The first lap was a bit all over the place; I lost the car twice. Vitaly was able to overtake me because of that and at first it was a struggle to stay with him because of the KERS advantage. Then Heikki got past and it was the same story; struggling at first, but then closing back up to him. I stayed with him from there and we decided to pit a little early to see if we could find a way past, but they pitted at the same time unfortunately. Late in the race I was able to get past Heikki in Turn 12 but in Turn 15 he dived in again and retook position, pushing me off the track a bit. Our race pace was very strong and this is just one of a few positives we take away from here, where we have made big steps again and of course we leave holding onto 10th place in the constructors championship. Our big picture remains very positive for us and we look forward to continuing to push hard in Brazil next weekend. Finally I have to say we have had a great week here in Austin and the race teams efforts have matched those back at the factory in enabling us to keep improving at this late stage of the season.
Charles Pic (20th)
It was a tough race today, I have to say. I had some contact into Turn 1 and after that I suffered with understeer throughout the whole race. We know now that the front wing was damaged. It was very difficult to keep the temperature in the tyre in the second stint, with all the blue flags, and we lost some time because of that. It is a little disappointing after the progress we have made here; after yesterdays qualifying performance we were looking good for a strong race. However, towards the end at least, I was able to recover a little bit and found enough pace for our fastest lap time, so this was a positive way to bring the race to a conclusion. We will focus on the final Grand Prix of the season in Brazil now, but we have enjoyed the United States Grand Prix experience and the positive steps we have taken here. Well done to the team.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
Although this was not necessarily the result we had hoped for today, ultimately we do have to be realistic in that, although our pace particularly towards the end of the race was good, the disadvantage that the lack of KERS brings meant that we were not in a position to make the most of our overtaking opportunities. Timo drove a race worthy of his experience; he really piled the pressure on Kovalainan particularly during the last third of the race, overtaking him at one point in a good move in Turn 12, only to be pushed wide when Heikki tried to claim the position back in Turn 15. Charles struggled a little on the Hard tyre, mainly because of the unfortunate position he was in with blue flags in his second stint. However, once free at the end, he was able to demonstrate good pace. Onto Brazil now, where we will aim to maintain the momentum with our qualifying pace. Hopefully with a little more race pace we can keep ourselves ahead of the competition next time. On behalf of the whole team, our congratulations to everyone who played a part in producing such a superb event here this weekend. We have received an exceptionally warm welcome from the Texans, the track has produced some fascinating racing and the on- and off-track organisation has been second to none. We are already looking forward to returning next season.
Pedro de la Rosa (21st)
"It has been a positive race overall. The car has performed well and the tyres worked better than we expected after the first day of testing. The start was good and I managed to push with the first set of tyres but I may have gone a bit too far and half way through the race I had front graining. But we changed to the hard compound half way through the race and everything worked well again. Five laps to the end, part of the carbon seat broke and I was afraid that I might have to retire but I managed to adapt to the new driving position and we were able to get to the chequered flag, which was not only important for me but for the whole team. Now it is time to look ahead and get ready for Brazil.
Narain Karthikeyan (22nd)
"The atmosphere here was amazing and it has been a good race after all. Temperatures were our weak point on the first day but yesterday already improved and today we didnt have any problems during the race. The start was clean and our main target was to finish the race. And we have done it without any problems and keeping a good pace on both sets of tyres. We are now looking forward to the race in Brazil where we hope to do a good job and finish the season on a good note.
Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"First of all I want to thank every single team member for their outstanding professionalism and attitude during this Grand Prix. It hasnt been easy but everyone has done a fantastic job and I am very proud of this team and its members. After a few races with one or the other car not being able to finish, it has been really good to see both Pedro and Narain getting to the end. Moreover, this two-car finish result has been particularly important for everyones morale and to face the last race of the season with confidence and high spirits.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Wed like to thank all the fans who came in their hundreds of thousands to Austin this weekend: the level of support and the welcome we received has been unbelievable and we cant wait to come back. Both the championship protagonists, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, drove magnificently today and the result is going to be a thrilling championship showdown in Brazil next weekend. Although in retrospect we could have come here with even the soft and the supersoft compounds, the fact that the title battle is now going down to the final round reinforces our decision not to introduce any unknown factors at a brand new circuit, where the title battle was so finely balanced. Levels of degradation were extremely low throughout the weekend, although this was also affected by ambient and track temperatures that were generally lower than expected. Performance and durability were extremely good on both compounds, allowing Vettel and Hamilton to race each other all the way to the flag.
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