Race - selected team and driver quotes 09 Sep 2012
McLarens Jenson Button and Toro Rossos Jean-Eric Vergne on their early exits; Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber on their double DNF; Ferraris Felipe Massa on just missing out on his first podium finish since 2010; Saubers Sergio Perez on converting 12th on the grid into second place; and McLarens Lewis Hamilton on clinching his first win at Monza. All the drivers and senior team personnel report back on Sundays action...
Lewis Hamilton (1st)
Winning at Monza is one of the greatest experiences of my Formula One career. I absolutely love this place: Ive been coming to Italy to race since I was 13 years-old and I just love the culture, the food and the people. Since I started in Formula One, Monza has been one of the races I always wanted to win at - its such an incredible, historic circuit and all the great racing drivers have won here. To finally put my name on that list makes me feel extremely proud, but also very humble. Our car has been fantastic all weekend, and it was nice to have a relaxed grand prix with no troubles. I was out on my own for most of the race and just tried to manage the gap behind me. I was cruising at the end, but, once I heard that Sergio Perez had got past Fernando Alonso, I had to push a little to keep the cushion over second place. The race was very unfortunate for Jenson - we were running first and second at the time and it would have been great for the team if we could have finished like that. This championship is proving to be so unpredictable - and Im so grateful that weve got a good car and that were in the fight. Weve got seven more races on the calendar. We should enjoy today, but this victory is just one step. Tomorrow, well start all over again, for Singapore.
Jenson Button (DNF)
I had too much wheelspin at the start, and that dropped me to third and caused me to lose a lot of time behind Felipe Massa. But it was nice to get past him, put some clear air between us, and then start chasing down Lewis. I was never going to challenge him for the win, but it would have been great for the team if we could have finished first and second. But it wasnt to be. I dont entirely know what caused my car to stop - Im told it was a fuel system problem that were still investigating. The engine cut out and I had to coast to a stop. These things happen. But, looking for the positives, I want to offer my congratulations to the whole team. Weve proven over the past few races that were very strong in both qualifying trim and race trim. That consistency is really key, and we havent seen that form from any team all season, so thats very encouraging indeed.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Lewis drove a perfect race here at Monza today, and duly took a well-deserved victory - his 20th grand prix win and McLarens 180th. In truth, he was in total control throughout all 53 laps, and was never really threatened. We should have scored a one-two finish, but Jenson was deprived of an easy second place by a fuel system problem. Thats frustrating for him and frustrating for us, but the important thing is that our car is a winner. Weve now won three Grands Prix in a row, and both our drivers are on top form. Lewis has now closed up to second place in the drivers world championship, with seven Grands Prix still to run. It was his third victory of the season, and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes fifth. The momentum is with us, and the drivers world championship crown is well within Lewiss grasp. In the constructors championship, too, were in good shape. Winning is what Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is all about. In Singapore in two weeks time, were planning to do some more of it.
Sergio Perez (2nd)
This was a very enjoyable race for me. It was one of those where you have the pace and are the one to attack. I am very happy for the team which is working very hard. It is a really good team, I am proud of it. I didnt have an easy first stint with the hard tyres but it was certainly the right strategy. I was frequently in contact with the team on the radio because I was worried the tyres would suddenly drop and we would have to change our strategy. Also we were not quite sure how quickly they would warm up. However, it worked out fine, I could stay out as long as I needed to for our strategy. The second stint was then really maximum attack and I must say all of the drivers I overtook have been fair. They didnt leave me more room than they had to, but it was always enough. This is the way it should be. I am very pleased at having achieved my first European podium in Monza.
Kamui Kobayashi (9th)
First of all congratulations to Sergio - well done, mate! It is a great day for our team. I have nothing to complain about with my race, but for some reason I just didnt have the pace. Obviously I raced on a different strategy as I had to start on the tyres I qualified with. For both compounds I admit I had a lack of experience as we hadnt managed to do long runs on Friday. I just had a normal race, so there wasnt really anything special.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
Both cars got away quite well from the start. Our drivers were on different strategies: Kamui was on used medium tyres from Q3, while Sergio started on new hard tyres. We targeted one stop for both drivers. But Kamui lost some time, and we have to investigate why his car was not as quick as the other one. Something went wrong there. Sergio had to be patient in the beginning in order to do a longer first stint, and then on the new medium tyres his pace was outstanding, this explains his great performance. As a team we are very happy. The performance of the car was there, which was the basis for this great result.
Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber chief executive
What a day and what a result! I have to say this comes as somewhat of a surprise on a track which we thought would be quite challenging for our car. But once again we proved our strong race performance. For quite some time Sergio was the fastest driver out there. Its fantastic that the team back at our home base prepared such a competitive car. The race team made the right decisions for the set-up and the strategy and the drivers delivered on the track. These 20 points are very important for our goal to move up in the championship.
Fernando Alonso (3rd)
"This Sunday was perfect for the championship, almost like a film with a happy ending: another podium finish, three of my closest rivals with no points and an increased lead over my closest pursuer. I remain convinced that, but for the problem in qualifying yesterday, we could definitely have had every chance of starting from pole and if we can be equally competitive on Saturdays at the tracks that are coming up, it will be very important for the end of the season. We must try to win some more races and to manage the lead we have in the classification. Here we had to mark Vettel, but in Singapore it will be important to keep an eye on Hamilton, who is now second. When I found myself fighting with Vettel I went off the track and, from then on, the car was not right. It wasn't nice bouncing through the gravel but, afterwards, I was able to overtake him anyway a few laps later. I don't want to comment on the penalty he received, but what he did was definitely on the limit. The opening laps were the key to my race. I passed a few cars - Kimi, Di Resta and Michael - and finding myself sixth almost immediately put my race on a more even course. Racing for Ferrari at Monza and standing on the podium is something special: driving a red car is different because the fans are exceptional. If they were told not to eat for days to have the chance to drive a car from Maranello, they would do it and this is what makes the passion for Ferrari unique around the world."
Felipe Massa (4th)
"I'm pleased with this result, even if I'd been hoping to make it to the podium. We faced higher tyre degradation than we expected, very different to what we had seen on Friday in free practice. A shame, because while the tyres were still working, I could match the pace of the McLarens, but then I began to lose the rear end earlier than they did. It was not an easy race: towards the end, Perez came back at me very strongly and there was nothing I could do to fend him off. I worked for the team, trying to help Fernando, which is as it should be. I have always done it and will do it whenever it's necessary. I don't think a two stop strategy would have worked: looking at the data, for us it was definitely slower than a single stop. When the team had no telemetry, we spoke for a long time on the radio and, all in all, we were able to manage the situation in the best way possible. I don't know if this race changes anything regarding my future, but definitely the most important thing for now is to keep going like this, working with great concentration and trying to do my best for the team."
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
"Saying this has been an intense weekend would be something of a euphemism. We had various reliability problems on the cars in the past days and today we had one with the garage equipment which meant we were practically in the dark, in that we had neither telemetry nor television pictures on the pit wall, nor the link to the remote garage at Maranello, at what was a one of the crucial phases of the race, in other words as we were coming up to the pit stops. We had a bit of a communication problem and it was rather like taking a step back in time to the days when we didn't have all this equipment available: at one point we had to make do with the telephone to speak to Maranello and decide if it was the right time for the pit stop! We were able to manage the situation, but believe me, it was not a walk in the park. Then there was the incident when Fernando went off the track in his duel with Vettel: once the telemetry was working again, we spotted there was something not quite right at the rear, so in the final laps, we asked him to be cautious, avoiding the kerbs. When the car was in parc ferme, I have to say we could see the damage was quite bad, also affecting the aerodynamics. From a technical point of view, this afternoon, the tyre degradation was greater than we had expected going into the race: we must analyse the data carefully to understand why. We managed to recover almost completely from the situation we were in after yesterday's problems, but looking at the weekend as a whole, I have to say what happened over these days should ring some alarm bells for all of us: we have to do the maximum in every area if we want to win."
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
"We often say it on Saturday after qualifying: the points are only given out on Sunday afternoon and today we saw that confirmed yet again. There was another confirmation, if indeed one was needed, that reliability has to be the absolute priority. After all the problems we had over this weekend, for us to be able to leave Monza with Fernando increasing his lead in the drivers' championship, bringing it back to the level it had reached after Hungary and with enough points to consider the constructors' championship open again, is very important for us. Fernando produced a great drive, as did Felipe. Sure, the regret relating to the pole that was within our grasp is still present, because starting from the first row rather than the fifth, the Spanish driver could have definitely been in the fight for the victory. Felipe proved to everyone, not to us, because we knew already, that he is a driver who can fight for the very top spot and that at Ferrari, we work as a team, united in our efforts to reach the targets we set ourselves. The European part of the Formula One season has come to a close and now the final leg begins, with seven races in a little over two months. Those seven will be very tough for everyone and all of us, back in Maranello and at the race tracks, will tackle them doing our very best, paying great attention to every little detail. That's the only way we will be able to achieve our goals, which, I repeat, are within our capabilities."
Kimi Raikkonen (5th)
"Its good to go into third position in the Drivers Championship but we lost some points to Fernando which is not ideal. It was a difficult weekend as we were too slow in a straight line, making it very difficult to hold off anyone and even with the DRS it was difficult to overtake the cars in front. We did the one stop strategy and the tyres were fine. We came into the race looking for sixth or seventh so fifth is the maximum we could have done here this weekend.
Jerome DAmbrosio (13th)
It was a pretty long and difficult race for me today. After losing my KERS on lap 6 it was always going to be tough as thats worth about half a second per lap around here. I got a good start and was up fighting with Daniel (Ricciardo) and Nico (Rosberg), but once I lost that extra boost it was impossible to keep up and I dropped back. My last stint on the medium tyres in clean air was pretty good and I didnt make many mistakes, so maybe with a bit more luck we could have had a slightly better result. My main aim was to finish the race and Ive achieved that so its not so bad overall. It was great to be back in the car and especially with such a fantastic team; Ive learnt a lot this weekend.
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
We werent looking forward to coming to Monza as it doesnt play to the strengths of our car so were very happy to come away with fifth place from Kimi. He drove exceptionally well at a circuit where we knew we werent going to be super competitive. Its fantastic that he has moved up into third place in the Drivers Championship, and is now just one point off second. Jérôme had one arm tied behind his back with a KERS failure very early in the race and KERS is worth a significant amount of time here. He did a very credible job despite this, and his pace on the medium compound tyre in the second part of the race was pretty good. We now move to a circuit which we feel should really suit our car so were looking forward to the flyaways.
Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
"From this weekend I dont think we could have expected better. The key to a good championship position at the end of the season is always scoring points, even when it is a difficult weekend. Kimi delivered exactly as we wanted from him today and moving to third in the standings is a just reward. We are still in contact with those ahead of us in both Championships with seven races to go. Jerome did an amazing job after being thrown in at the deep end. Without his KERS issue Im pretty sure he could have achieved a points finish. We are optimistic that from Singapore onwards we will be much more competitive due to the circuit layout and updates we have coming, meaning we will be able to score more points in every race.
Michael Schumacher (6th)
"It was a fun race today - although I must admit that, following our performance on Friday, I had secretly hoped we would be able to move up the field. But we had a tricky first stint. After that, everything went really well, we were on the pace and I think we showed a clear upwards trend today. I kind of ran out of laps this afternoon and, if the race had been a bit longer, I'd have been able to battle even further forward. Overall, though, we got everything out of it today. Now we need to keep this trend going - and everybody in the team is working hard on it."
Nico Rosberg (7th)
"Seventh place is an improvement on my recent finishes so I'm satisfied with that today, although there may have been potential for more. I had no grip on my option tyres in the first stint, which were the same set that gave me problems in Q3. After the first stop, I had very good pace and was able to set a few fastest race laps and move up the field with some nice overtakes. It's nice to have had a better finish to a race weekend and I'm looking forward to more of the same in Singapore in a couple of weeks."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"Both our drivers put in strong, aggressive and controlled performances today. We knew that a one-stop strategy was not feasible for us this afternoon, so we went into the race planning to make two stops and knew the drivers would have to race hard to make it work against other cars who were one-stopping. The disappointment today was that both drivers really struggled on their first set of tyres - perhaps because of how we used them in qualifying, running more than one timed lap in Q3, or perhaps another factor, which is something we will have to analyse. We lost all our time in this phase of the race but, thereafter, the performance of both cars looked good. Nico's fastest lap shows that our level of performance today was reasonable and both he and Michael were consistently among the fastest in the second half of the race. Sixth and seventh places are far from perfect but we can be positive about an exciting race, running the right strategy for our current situation and two great drives from Michael and Nico."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Fighting drives from Michael and Nico this afternoon with lots of nice overtaking moves. We didn't have great pace in the opening stint, running the option tyres we had used in qualifying like everybody in the top ten, but it looked much better after the first stops. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and McLaren Mercedes on three wins in a row - two for Lewis, one for Jenson Button. Our Mercedes engine has taken six wins from 13 races this season, including one for our Silver Arrows team in China. After scoring the most points of any engine in 2009, 2010 and 2011, this confirms the Mercedes V8 as the most successful power plant so far in 2012 as well."
Paul di Resta (8th)
Coming into this weekend I probably would have settled for eighth place, but when you consider the pace we showed in qualifying yesterday, we certainly had high hopes for the race. I struggled at the start with the heavy fuel load and didnt really have the race pace on the medium tyres. Things improved after my stop when I was running the hard compound and our pace was much stronger towards the end of the race. But there was no way I could keep the Mercedes behind me and with their two-stop strategy they had a bit more speed than us. Its good to extend our lead over Williams with a few more points, but obviously Sauber look strong and outperformed a lot of people. We will take the positives from the weekend, analyse things and try and improve our race pace in time for Singapore.
Nico Hulkenberg (DNF)
Its always frustrating to start right at the back and I knew it was going to be difficult to come through the pack - even with a quick car. I had a few good fights in the race so from that point of view it was fun, but I was struggling with my brakes from lap one with a long pedal and I lost more performance as the race went on. Towards the end it became a safety concern so we decided to retire the car. Its not been a particularly memorable weekend for me, but at least the team scored some points with the other car.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director
I think we made the most of a challenging race today. Despite the speed we showed yesterday, we did not have the race pace early on to fight the cars ahead of us. So all considered Im pleased to see Paul come home eighth and score four points. The one-stop strategy worked well for us and the car was coming on strong in the closing stages of the race. We were a bit fortunate with some retirements, but we were in the right place to maximise the opportunities. Nico's difficult weekend continued as he suffered with brake issues all afternoon. He made some progress early in the race, but as the brake problem deteriorated there was no choice but to retire the car.
Bruno Senna (10th)
It was very tough to try to make the one-stop strategy work, but we did it and were also lucky with a few cars that were forced to retire. It was a great effort from the team today to make it into the points. Now we look forward to the next few races where we run higher downforce on the car which should suit us better. We will be aiming to build on today and bring home even more points.
Pastor Maldonado (11th)
It was a tough race, especially starting from the back, but the car showed good pace and was consistent. We just missed out on the points but I was happy to have made up 11 places in the race. Im looking forward to the next race now as I think the track will suit our car better, so well see.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
Both drivers had good starts and from 13th on the grid today, we are pleased to have scored a point with Bruno who ran a one-stop strategy and finished in tenth. Pastor also drove well, finishing just behind Bruno in 11th on a two stop strategy, having started back in 22nd following his 10-position grid penalty.
Laurent Debout, Renault track support to Williams
It was always going to be difficult to score points from our starting positions so for Bruno to come away with one point is some consolation. We have to look forward to Singapore, a very different type of track from here, and one that should suit us a lot better.
Daniel Ricciardo (12th)
Its been so hard to score points this year and that means it is incredibly disappointing not to get one today. I was tenth until the last corner on the very last lap. At that point, I accelerated to exit Parabolica and nothing happened. At the moment, I dont know the cause, but to miss out on a point by a few hundred metres is bitterly disappointing.
Jean-Eric Vergne (DNF)
I was taken from the accident to the Medical Centre, but apart from a bit of pain in my back and my head, I am fine. I dont know why I crashed. All I can remember is that when I braked, I completely lost control of the back end of the car. I felt a big impact when the car landed after going up in the air. The kerb is high at that point and I count myself lucky that the car did not flip over.
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal
A frustrating race for us at the end of a difficult weekend on home ground. As it was clear we did not have great pace this weekend, we decided to run Daniel on a one stop strategy in the hope of making up places on those changing tyres twice. It worked to a certain extent, as from 14th on the grid he was in tenth place for most of the final lap. Unfortunately, his car suffered a fuel pick-up problem, which we now need to investigate and this dropped him back to 12th. As for Jean-Erics accident, we now need to look into its causes.
Heikki Kovalainen (14th)
"Overall the race was OK and better than we had last weekend but for me it was a pretty hard afternoon, not too bad but maybe a bit average. I didn't really have the performance I had on the longer runs on Friday and the grip level felt lower so I couldn't really attack and that held me up a bit on each set of tyres. Now we have a couple of weeks to work through everything we've learnt in Italy and from Spa and make sure we go to Singapore with a clear idea of where we lost time in Belgium and what we can do to keep improving in the rest of the season. Everyone's determined to get back to where we should be and we'll see what we've learnt when we get back on track in two weeks time."
Vitaly Petrov (15th)
"My car felt fantastic all afternoon so thanks to the team for giving me a car I could push my team-mate with right up to the last lap. The pit stops were good and the mechanics and engineers did a great job to keep me in the hunt with Heikki. With a few laps left Heikki and I were right up behind Fernando but Heikki was close enough to the Ferrari to use his DRS, otherwise maybe I'd have been able to pass. Anyway, we've definitely improved since Spa and we can build on this for Singapore and the rest of the season. It was my birthday yesterday and I had a quiet dinner with some friends. Now I can go out and celebrate a bit more and that'll be a good way to finish the European races this year - maybe I should make sure I have dinner with them before every race so I can have as good a Sunday as this for the rest of the year!"
Charles Pic (16th)
I am very happy with todays race performance as it represents another significant step for the team. We came here expecting it to be a tough weekend for us; our car had not performed well in Montreal, which has similar aerodynamic characteristics. We worked well through the various set-up options to arrive at a car that was actually very strong and which today put us even closer to the cars ahead when we were perhaps expecting not to be so competitive to them here. This is a good sign. In the race it was not a bad start, but not great, so there is some work we can do in the last stage of the season to improve that and our prospects for the races. We have some more upgrades for Singapore so I hope they translate into more of this great progress we have been seeing.
Timo Glock (17th)
A bitter shame on my side really. The start itself was not great although I got through Turn One okay, but into Turn Two there was a bit of a queue in front of me and Petrov moved to the outside, where I was. I couldnt avoid him and he just clipped my front wing, which was damaged as a result. From there I couldnt really do much as we had lost a bit of performance and the car was just okay to drive. Worse than that, as I stopped so early I was out of sequence. I had to stay out longer and had more degradation at the end as the stints were quite long for me. Then blue flags cost us at the end. Overall I think we have to be quite pleased as we werent really running with the traditional Monza downforce specification. Im now looking forward to Singapore - my favourite race.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
Overall, weve seen even further improvement today, however the race was not without its disappointments, as we were unable to finish in the positions that we had hoped for. Neither driver got the best of starts, however by the end of lap one we were in a position to challenge the cars directly ahead. The pace of both cars was good initially, but unfortunately Timo had broken his front wing end plate during the first lap melée and had to pit for a new wing, which effectively ruined his race as he was well off the optimum strategy. Charles did a fantastic job to keep pace with our immediate competitors and our plan for him was to run a one stop race. Unfortunately, we were limited by front tyre wear, despite having a good rate of rear degradation, and this resulted in us having to complete a two-stop race and lose what would have been track position to a Caterham. Despite our steady progress, experiences such as this do still disappoint us, but we take great comfort and encouragement from seeing how well we have fared here, despite not running an optimum Monza downforce package. We have achieved our target of ending the European section of the calendar on a positive note and we look forward to a very busy but exciting final phase of the season. As we say goodbye to Monza Id like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the team, both trackside and back at base, for all their hard work and dedication to the task of improving both car and team performance. We really are coming into our own now and we can all take tremendous pride in what we are achieving at this stage in the season.
Pedro de la Rosa (18th)
"Im more than satisfied with the result, especially keeping in mind how we started the race. The start wasnt easy but I did what I could because the medium tyres didnt work well. In the second half of the race, on hard tyres, I started to run well and Im happy with our pitstop because it was very good. Im happy with this 100th Grand Prix although I would have liked to have done it better. We have to continue improving and in Singapore we hope for the planned upgrades to help us take that step forward.
Narain Karthikeyan (19th)
"I had a great start and overtook both Marussias, but on the first corner we had a slight touch that, besides making me lose positions, damaged my front wing. The car was oversteering and we made the most of the pit stop to the change the front wing, which made us lose a substantial amount of time. Then the blue flags started coming out and we also had to change our driving mode to avoid excessive overheating and reach the end of the race. Nevertheless, Im happy because the car is performing well and surely, if we continue working hard, we will achieve a good result. Now the Asian swing begins and Im very excited about racing close to home in Singapore.
Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"Im happy with how the race went; we experienced no problems and the car proved its good reliability. We carried out a one-stop strategy which worked well and finished one lap off the winner, which proved that we had a good performance. Weve closed the gap to the head of the field at a circuit that we knew would benefit us. Overall its been a positive weekend with Mas debut and Pedros 100th Grand Prix, and now were looking forward to Singapore, where I hope we will be able to continue progressing.
Mark Webber (DNF)
Towards the end of the race, I had no rear tyres left and I was pushing reasonably hard. Nico was coming on his fresh two-stop tyres, so I had to keep pushing and staying on it - for the sake of getting a couple of points, maybe I shouldnt have pushed as hard, but I was trying to stay on it. The rear tyres were completely finished, so I dropped it out of the Ascari chicane; I managed to keep it off the wall, but then the tyres were so heavily flat-spotted, I was worried about damaging the car. We do 330 km/h round here, I couldnt see the track, so we decided to retire.
Sebastian Vettel (DNF)
I found out I had a problem roughly 300 metres before I stopped the car. It was an alternator problem, similar to the one we had yesterday morning. The drive-through incident was decided and happened, so theres not so much to say about that. We lost some points today; but we did the best we could - you could see that our pace was not as strong as the leaders. It had been a good race for us given the lack of pace. There are not so many long straights at the next couple of circuits, so we can challenge there.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
A hugely disappointing race - our first non-points scoring race since Korea 2010. It was a repeat failure on Sebastians car with the alternator and we need to look into it and work with Renault to ensure it doesnt happen again. Its already cost us a victory in Valencia and now a points-finish again here in Monza. Its important we address it for the remaining seven races. For Mark, it was a tough race. Unfortunately he just ran out of tyres near the end of the race and the resulting flat spots that came from the high-speed spin put an awful lot of vibration in the car. Rather than risk a failure, we chose to retire the car.
Cyril Dumont, Renault track support to Red Bull
We changed the alternator on Sebastians car yesterday, but unfortunately we had the same failure in todays race. We are still looking into why this happened, but we do know that even though the alternator was being operated entirely within the prescribed range, the part itself overheated and shut off the power supply. We have to apologise to Red Bull Racing as clearly this has hurt us in the Championship. We have no option, but to sort it out and it will still be a priority before Singapore.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
We witnessed performance and durability from both the P Zero tyres today: performance from the explosive drive by Sergio Perez and Sauber on the medium compound, and durability from the long runs we saw on the hard tyre from all the frontrunners, with the top five stopping only once on the fastest circuit of the year. Going into the race, the teams had to be quite flexible in their approach in order to decide between a one-stop and a two-stop strategy. Although tyre degradation is low in Monza there are some places like Parabolica that put a lot of energy through the front tyres in particular. Once more McLaren did an excellent job but we also saw very good tyre management from Ferrari - with Alonso making up eight places - and Perez, who demonstrated once more Saubers ability to get the very best out of their tyres. And wed like to thank all the Italian fans here, whose passion and enthusiasm has made this race unique. We really appreciate the support and welcome we have been given and we all feel proud to call this our home Grand Prix.
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