Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel completes a hat trick of wins at Singapore, storming to victory over Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and third-placed Kimi Raikkonen for Lotus. We hear from the German, as well as the other drivers and senior team personnel, about Sunday's action from Marina Bay...
Sebastian Vettel, 1st
Its just been a fantastic weekend. The start was close, but then we had strong race pace, especially when the safety car came in, and we pushed very hard to try to build up a gap. You never know whats coming up and what can happen. The last ten laps seemed to go on forever inside the car. I kept my concentration by reminding myself how easily you can make a mistake around here, the walls are close and if you dont pay enough attention it can go wrong pretty quickly. I focused on hitting the brakes correctly and on saving the tyres. We didnt expect to be that strong, but its a team effort. Everyone is pushing hard and I think the secret, if there is one, is that we love what we do and were so passionate. The conditions arent great here with the heat, but the team always pushes hard and I think thats what makes the difference. Id like to say to everyone working for team that its a privilege for me to be driving the car you have built.
I think I did pretty much everything I could today. We had pace in the car when we needed, we managed the tyres and made a very good undercut on Nico, I was really happy with that lap. Then six laps from the end, the guys were getting worried about the car. So, yeah, its annoying but someones had a tougher day than me somewhere and thats the way it goes. I was having to short shift, but then, unlike Monza, we started to lose a lot of power. We were just trying to get home at that point but then on the last lap we caught fire.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
It was a really bittersweet result today. It was a phenomenal performance by Sebastian. It was one of his strongest ever drives, particularly after the safety car came out halfway through the race. It wasnt the best moment for us and after that, Seb needed to pull out a gap of 27 seconds. He pulled out 30 seconds in 15 laps, at times lapping over two seconds quicker than the rest of the field; it was incredible to watch and it was a thoroughly deserved and really dominant victory today. There was huge frustration for Mark that after two hours of driving really well we could see with 12 laps to go that we began to lose water pressure. The water then effectively ran out at which point it is only a matter of time until the engine overheats, which is what happened on the last lap it was cruel luck. Nonetheless today is our third successive win and our third consecutive Singapore win, while weve extended our lead in the drivers championship.
Thierry Salvi, Renault support for Red Bull
Sebastian had fantastic pace today. He controlled the race from the beginning to the end. Mark retired following a water leak about five laps from the end. We tried everything, including short shifting, to get to the end of the race, but we came up just short and the engine overheated within sight of the line. The whole team did a great job this weekend, showing the potential of the Red Bull-Renault chassis/engine package yet again. Apologies to Mark, as he deserved more after such a strong race.
Fernando Alonso, 2nd
Todays second place is like a victory for us, at the end of a difficult weekend on a track where its very tricky to overtake. The key points of this race were the start and the strategy and, in both cases, the decisions taken proved to be the right ones, even if they were aggressive choices. At the start, I managed to pass four cars, helped by having watched the starts from previous races here, but then I couldnt pass Rosberg. The decision to pit when the safety car came out paid off, even if it wasnt easy to get to the finish with the tyres on the limit. Fortunately, thanks to the advantage I had over Raikkonen and Webber, we were able to manage the situation over the final laps: if Id been in a group, it would have been like the end of a horror movie! Now the gap to the championship leaders has increased and apart from congratulating them, because they deserve to be where they are, we must be realistic, because to win the title now, we would need a lot of luck. Sure, we cannot think of giving up right now because if that luck does show up, then we will be there to take it.
Felipe Massa, 6th
Given everything that happened in todays race, sixth place is a really good result. After a fantastic start, at the first corner I found myself stuck inside the cars that had braked early and, at that point I lost places instead of making up some. From then on, I was always stuck behind other cars and we all know how hard it is to overtake at this track. When the safety car came out, we had two options: to fit the medium tyres, with which we werent sure to go all the way to the end, or the supersofts, to try and regain some places. We went for the second option, but Di Resta was ahead of me on the same tyres and so I was stuck behind him. In the final stint after the third stop, I managed to retake sixth place, making the most of the fact that many were struggling with their tyres. It was tough from start to finish and I am very happy to have brought home a good points haul.
Pat Fry, Ferrari engineering director
This weekend, even if we didnt have the fastest car, we did manage to maximise our performance getting everything possible out of our driver-team package and the result is absolutely positive. With Fernando, the decision to stay out all the way to the end after the safety car paid off handsomely. Our competitiveness in the race was better than we had seen in the previous days, but even if we knew that things could change today, we must try to improve, especially in situations where the track characteristics dont suit our car. Fernando pulled off an amazing start, as its really rare to make up four places at the start here in Singapore. Felipe also got away well, but then, his inside line meant he had to move over to avoid a collision. At Fernandos first stop, we had to cover Webbers early stop: we knew we would have found ourselves in traffic behind Di Resta, but the pit stop window was very limited and we preferred not to take the risk. When the Safety Car came out, we had half a lap to take a decision and, in the end we brought both drivers in, trying different strategies. We tried to play an ace with Fernando and luckily we did not have to go through a repeat of what happened in Canada in 2012. For the final six races, one group of engineers will still concentrate on the F138, because we want to continue to try and improve so that we can be more competitive.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
I am happy with the performance of the team on a weekend that was not easy for us and on a day when unfortunately, it was the wrong Bull that stopped. Clearly, with yet another win for Vettel, to whom I send my congratulations, the drivers championship situation is becoming difficult, but until the outcome is a mathematical certainty, we will continue to push. I dont think we could have picked up many more points today, which all the same have strengthened, albeit only slightly, our position in the constructors championship. A reasonably clear scenario emerged from Fridays practice, in which apart from the leaders being very strong, we were also up against Mercedes and Lotus, who were also back to being very competitive here in Singapore. We finished ahead of them in unfavourable conditions and this should motivate us to give it our all over the last six races. We definitely have to be realistic about our chances, even if we have a duty to ourselves and those working in Maranello, to try and score as many points as possible, because we dont want to give up on doing well in both classifications. We have seen how performance levels can change depending on the circuits and during the coming week we will prepare to tackle the Korea-Japan doubleheader in the best way possible.
Kimi Raikkonen, 3rd
Its been a difficult weekend, so to finish on the podium is a good result. The car felt good and it could have been even better if Id been able to do more work in practice, but even with a better qualifying performance I think third was the maximum we could achieve today. The problem with my back hasnt been ideal, but it felt much better than yesterday and I didnt really notice it in the race, only afterwards. I have some time to recover before Korea and we were pretty strong there last year, so lets see what we can do next time out.
Romain Grosjean, DNF
The race was going pretty well and I think a second or third place finish was a realistic prospect. We had a good strategy pitting under the safety car and we should have finished well, but unfortunately today my engine had other ideas. We lost air pressure and the team tried to fix the problem by topping it up with an additional pit stop, but that didnt work so we had to retire which is never what you want to happen.
Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
Once more Kimi drove an exceptionally strong race today even without considering his back pain whilst the team did an amazing job with the strategy for both drivers. Were it not for Romains engine problems we should have had both cars home in third and fourth. Its unfortunate that Romain had the problem with the pneumatic system of his engine as he showed strong pace in the race after putting in superb performances on both Friday and Saturday. This level of downforce suits our car and thats the level were running for the remaining tracks this season; we will fight for podiums for the rest of the year Im sure.
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
Another day of mixed fortunes and commiserations for Romain who had a superb weekend, stymied by a reliability issue in the race. On the other hand, huge congratulations to Kimi for a typical never-give-up race carving his way through the field nicely to put the back problems which have affected him all weekend right behind him. Our race strategy worked perfectly today and we were able to jump a number of other cars well.
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 team support leader
The team did a great job with the strategy today; getting Kimi from 13th to 3rd on a track you cant overtake on is a real achievement. Unfortunately Romain retired with an engine pneumatic system problem. Air consumption had been inconsistent throughout the race so we pitted him to top the air back up, however the consumption remained high so we were forced to retire the car on the next lap. Well look at why it happened as it was a brand new engine and put solutions in place to ensure it does not happen again.
Nico Rosberg, 4th
I had a good start today and the pace of our car was really strong. The safety car was unfortunate timing for us and perhaps it wasn't the best decision to stay out but, at the time, we weren't sure if our tyres would be able to last the distance. I then had some rubber trapped in my front wing after the safety car period which cost me quite a lot of performance for some laps and had an impact on my race because the tyres suffered more than would be normal. We could perhaps have been second today but events in the race just didn't go our way so it is a little disappointing to only finish in fourth place. We now need to learn from this weekend and focus on the next race in Korea.
Lewis Hamilton, 5th
That was a really tough race, probably the most physically demanding of the year. We tried our best and the car felt good but unfortunately we paid the price for not qualifying further ahead yesterday. I didn't have the best start and had to go wide to avoid Mark at turn one. From there, it was difficult to follow the race and my position. Whilst the timing of the safety car definitely didn't help us, we need to go back through our strategy and see what we could possibly have done differently in that situation. I'm not sure we could have done what Fernando and Kimi did by staying out on that set of tyres for so long, though. Of course, it's a little disappointing to come away with only fifth place but I gave it my all out there and we'll come back stronger. Our aim is to get back ahead of Ferrari in the constructors championship and see if we can get another win before the end of the season.
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
That was a frustrating race after the safety car came out at what was just the wrong time for us. It was a close decision whether or not to pit the cars in order to try and run over half the race distance on a single set of tyres. Our view was that we couldn't make it, so we left both cars out on track - as did Red Bull - so that we could run a shorter final stint. In the end, we saw that two of the cars who pitted managed to make it work, but most others had to make an additional stop or fell out of the window of tyre performance in the closing laps. The race was further complicated by a front wing problem for Nico, who suffered from rubber build up at a critical stage of the race, which cost him performance through excessive understeer. Fourth and fifth positions allowed us to minimise the points loss to Ferrari in the constructors championship but our car had the performance potential to score more points today.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
After starting from second and fifth positions on the grid, we cannot be satisfied to finish fourth and fifth this evening. Two of our rivals managed to complete over half the race distance on a single set of tyres, which was something we did not feel we would manage successfully. Therefore both cars stayed out behind the safety car when it was deployed. Congratulations to Sebastian on a well earned victory: he was in a different league for most of this race."
Jenson Button, 7th
We thought we might have a chance of a podium, but in the end we didnt have the pace to keep us ahead of the closing cars. It was good fun trying though, and we have to take risks if we want to get podium finishes this year. We expected to spend most of the race on the option tyre, so wed set the car up for that. The prime tyre didnt work so well for me, and having to hold Kimi off for so long destroyed my rear tyres and made things very tricky. In the end, as I say, we simply didnt have enough pace to stop him overtaking. It was a good try though, and a P7 finish isnt too bad. We couldnt have done any better with a different strategy, Im certain of that, and Im glad we got some good points for the team.
Sergio Perez, 8th
I think we should be satisfied with todays result as Jenson says P7 and P8 was probably the best we could have achieved today. In my view the safety car came at the wrong time for us, so we had to take a risk by choosing to drive to the finish with two pit stops. It was pretty tough to keep the car out of the barriers not to crash yet to lose too much lap time but as I say I think it was the right choice. Last but not least, although P7 and P8 isnt brilliant, its the best we could have hoped for - and I dearly hope itll put a smile on the faces of my people, in my country, Mexico, who really need something to smile about at this very difficult time.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Jenson and Checo both drove great, spirited, combative races here this afternoon, and the result was a brace of points scoring finishes for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Our strategy involved an element of risk, but that risk was worth taking. After all, the second placed and third placed finishers both ran the same strategy and, although our cars didnt have sufficient pace to beat them to those podium finishes, our drivers boldly embraced the challenge set by a strategy that required them to attack and defend with an impressive mix of aggression and restraint. Checo, in particular, made an extremely good start, moving from his P14 grid slot to P11 on lap one, and thereafter fighting his way through heavy traffic all afternoon to finish eighth at the flag, just behind Jenson in seventh. From here we go to Mokpo, South Korea, where well be aiming to score points with both cars once again.
Nico Hulkenberg, 9th
All in all we can be happy. We brought home two points. To be honest, I didnt expect much more than that. You cant expect that every weekend will be like Monza now, but we improved significantly. It was a very tough race. I had a very good start and then a racing situation with Sergio Perez. In the end, I did have to give back the position to him and I dont quite agree with that. There was a Williams in the fight as well, Sergio was on the inside, but I had to leave space and caught the outer kerb. Then my car bottomed and I was off, however, I was in front of Sergio before and after the corner. At the end, it was a pure fight for survival, because the tyres were pretty much gone. Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber were all on fresh tyres and I simply had to focus on staying on track and finishing the race.
Esteban Gutierrez, 12th
We expected a better result today. Our pace during the race was not good enough, especially at the beginning as I was fighting a lot with the car. At times I pushed a bit too much, had a lot of oversteer and the tyres were degrading. It was one of the toughest races I have ever had. I did the best I could and this is where we finished. The strategy was not ideal either. Nevertheless, the weekend was a step forward and now I will keep working to improve.
Tom McCullough, Sauber, head of track engineering
Scoring points again was obviously very good for the team. The timing of the safety car meant it was very difficult to get to the end from there, but we elected to do that with both cars. Nico managed the tyres and the pressure from behind very well. Its a shame he had to give his position up to Sergio Perez because he went off the track. However, this was not to gain a position but to avoid a crash. Esteban lost track positions when the safety car came out, and, after that, he suffered some slight tyre degradation. But overall, we take a lot of positives from this weekend to the upcoming races.
Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal
After a strong performance in Monza we were able to claim points again, which is very pleasing. Nico drove a fantastic race and was rewarded with two points. We find the decision by the race director to give the position back to Sergio Perez very harsh. He did not gain an advantage, but merely avoided a collision by leaving the track. However, we have to accept this decision. Esteban had a mixed weekend. Now we have to find out why he wasnt able to clock the expected lap times. We are happy that we were able to perform on a track that usually doesnt suit our car. That shows we are heading in the right direction with the development of the car.
Adrian Sutil, 10th
It was a tough race and exhausting in the end. So it feels great to come away with a point and its a small motivation for the whole team. In the closing laps of the race I was catching the train of cars in front of me - Perez, Button and Hulkenberg. I thought I had a chance to get ahead of at least one of them, but as soon as I reached the back of the train my tyres went off. In fact, we were all struggling with tyres and I couldnt attack anymore because it felt like driving on ice. So Im happy to take the point and its well deserved by the whole team.
Paul di Resta, 20th
Its such a shame to come away with nothing to show from a race where we had put ourselves in a position to score some valuable points. The management of the tyres was good and the overall performance in race conditions was very strong. Even without the safety car we were in good shape, but as a team we made the right calls and were looking to challenge the train of cars ahead of us in the final few laps. Then I had the incident at turn seven. Im still not sure what happened, but I took the corner the same way as I had done the previous lap and the car went straight on and wouldnt stop. The team is investigating what happened.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director
We come away from Singapore with mixed feelings. The positive is that Adrian picked up the final point and thats a good effort considering where he started the race. On the other hand we missed a golden opportunity to score some big points with Paul, who potentially could have finished in sixth place. His retirement with seven laps to go proved costly and has not helped us in our battle against McLaren. As a team we must focus on the positives of the competitive race pace, good tyre management, and the calls we made with the strategy. Korea in two weeks time will be a chance to regroup and keep up our fighting spirit.
Pastor Maldonado, 11th
We recovered two places at the start and after a couple of laps we were pushing towards the cars in front whilst also trying to manage the rear tyres. My tyre management was good throughout the race and I was able to push hard in the final stages on the super soft tyres. We just missed out on points in the end, but we'll be looking to progress a step further in the next race.
Valtteri Bottas, 13th
It was one of the most difficult races of the whole season for me today. Immediately at the start we had a problem with the clutch which meant we lost a few positions. After the safety car we had a few problems with debris in the front wing, which made the car difficult to drive. These limiting factors meant we couldn't go any faster today and so we did the best we could with what we had.
Xevi Pujolar, Williams Chief race engineer
Pastor had a good start, gaining a few positions and managing his tyres well in the early stages. Valtteri was unable to hold position at the start due to a clutch problem and consequently struggled with his tyres fighting to regain position. Valtteri's race was further compromised by debris in his front wing meaning he didn't have the pace to challenge for position. Under the safety car we pitted both cars for their second stops to move onto the prime medium tyre. We were looking at the data to see if we could go to the end but when it became clear that we needed to stop again we switched both cars back onto super softs. Pastor was then able to fight to the end gaining two positions in the final stages to finish P11. Both Pastor and Valtteri drove a solid race today in challenging conditions but we need to find more performance from the car if we want to be consistently fighting for points.
Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 team support leader
The end result flatters us slightly as we were not as competitive as we would have liked. It is disappointing to miss out on the points again but Korea is a very different track and should play to the strengths of the car more. We'll look forward to this race now.
Jean-Eric Vergne, 14th
My start was not the best and, in an effort to compensate for that, we switched from a two stop to a three stop strategy and I believe it could have paid off in terms of getting me back into the points. However, I then found I was having a lot of trouble just keeping the car on track and my tyres were completely worn out at the end, by which time, I had already been told to back off as the car was overheating. This is always a long, tough race and it felt particularly long for me, as I had no one to fight against in the closing stages, apart from working to keep the car away from the barriers. I always try to look on the positive side and in that respect, the updates we brought here seemed to work and we have learned a lot about the car. Therefore I still believe we can have a strong end to the season, starting in Korea, where I expect the car to work very well.
Daniel Ricciardo, DNF
The crash was my error, trying to make up for lost ground. At the start, my car just seemed to sit there without moving off the line. It was very frustrating to lose so many places right away. I think I went down five places from ninth on the grid to fourteenth. So I was on the back foot from then on, just trying to do the best I could. In the second stint, my engineer came on the radio and said the pace is good, keep pushing. I was aware that for the pace we had, we were not doing too badly and maybe at the end I was just trying to get too much out of it and made that mistake. Its a delicate corner with not much run-off and I went too deep into the apex. I then braked a bit harder, locked a wheel and went into the wall. Its not a mistake Im used to making. I will learn from this.
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal
A very disappointing evening for us, especially after we had produced a good qualifying performance yesterday. Unfortunately, the benefit of our grid positions was cancelled out immediately, as both drivers got poor starts, with Daniel dropping five places and Jean-Eric three. Daniels race then ended prematurely with an uncharacteristic mistake which put him in the barriers. With overtaking being so difficult here, we decided to switch Vergne from a two stop to a three stop strategy, as he was so far back. After that, he looked in reasonable shape and we had saved a new set of options for the final stint, believing this would help him catch the cars ahead, that had tried to go for a long stint. However, his car suffered from overheating and we had to turn down his power, which meant he could not pass those ahead of him. This weekend, we didnt make the most of our opportunities and we will be working hard to put that right in a fortnight in Korea, where the Yeongam circuit should suit us better.
Giedo van der Garde, 16th
That was a tough race but for me a really good one - I have to say I really enjoyed myself out there tonight! Fighting with the Williams for most of the race was great, really good and Im pleased for Tony and Kamarudin that we could put in a performance like that back in South East Asia. After a bit of a poor start I was past Charles, Bianchi and Bottas by the end of lap one and was up behind Sutil until the first stop. The car was absolutely great on the super softs - my pace in the first stint was really strong, the same as the cars up to 12th and it just felt great for the whole first stint. We boxed for a set of mediums on lap 12 and re-joined in 18th, still ahead of Bottas who was on super softs for the second stint. With the pace advantage that compound has here there wasnt a lot I could do to hold him off and he passed me about three laps later. When the safety car came out we boxed for another set of mediums and after the race re-started my pace was good again. I was right up with Bottas and then passed him again when he went off a couple of laps into the stint. As the fuel levels dropped he got past me again so we focused on catching Charles who had stayed out on a two stop plan. With a long final stint he was managing his tyres and I was catching him at about two seconds a lap, and just before he had to make the final stop I passed him and then held 16th to the flag. As I say, its good to have had a strong race here and Im pleased for the whole team that we could fight with Williams for a lot of the race. Im now staying out in the Far East for a break before Korea and even though tonights race was tough physically Im already looking forward to getting back in the car.
Charles Pic, 19th
Even though I finished 19th Im not too disappointed. We tried a two-stop strategy but this time it didnt work out - sometimes plans like that work, sometimes they dont and this was one of those days. Away from the line I had a pretty good start but had to move aside to avoid Bianchi and was then stuck behind him for most of the first stint. Just before we were due to box I passed him and opened up a gap within a couple of laps so the first stop wasnt so much of a fight. I was back out on track on a new set of mediums, clear of him and immediately started pushing on to my teammate. When the safety car came out I boxed early, re-joining in 19th on another set of mediums and right up with Giedo after his stop. The car felt okay at that point - the tyres were performing really well and when Giedo came in again we made the call to switch to a two stop strategy. I had a lot of laps left so I had to manage the pace so I could look after the tyres to the end but with six laps left the rears were gone so we had to come in again. My race was effectively over at that point because, even with the big pace advantage I had on the super softs, we used in the final stint I didnt have enough laps to catch the cars ahead.
Max Chilton, 17th
What started off as quite a tough race with the balance then thankfully improved and in the end it was not a bad race for us. Once again we got another two car finish out of it which is good for the team and we maintain our 10th place in the championship. The degradation was quite high and it was a tough challenge to manage the tyres and still try to push for opportunities with Caterham, which came along when Pic stopped late in the race enabling us to gain an extra place. Overall Im pleased with my first night race and have enjoyed the whole Singapore experience.
Jules Bianchi, 18th
I was hoping for better today but the first half of the race didnt go at all well for me. Just as I was stopping for the first time I lost the gears and I was worried it was mechanical but we stopped again to change the steering wheel and the problem thankfully went away. The second stint was tough because I was so far back by then and it was looking like it would be a very long and lonely race, also hitting the blue flag phase much earlier than usual. When the safety car came out it helped enormously as we were able to catch up and unlap ourselves. After struggling with traction initially I was then able to get into a good rhythm with strong pace. I was quicker but whilst trying to pass my team mate my tyres went away completely and we had to stop again much earlier than plan. After that, having seen the degradation we were incurring trying to push, I had no option but to hold back but at least I was able to gain a place when Pic stopped again at the end. Some difficult points in the race but what matters is the team result.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
Todays race was a challenging one for the whole team due to a combination of the intense humidity, an early gear shift problem for Jules and a heavy emphasis on tyre management through the whole race. The safety car period benefited us by helping us to overcome the penalty of an extra unscheduled pit stop for Jules and we were able to get back in touch with the rest of the field, which in turn put us back into a good fight with Caterham. They were ahead but the gap was minimal during the second half of the race and at a track like this any opportunity can arise at a moments notice and this is in fact what happened when Pic had to stop six laps from the end. We have been extremely close to our nearest competitors all weekend, which is a definite improvement on recent races. Another two car finish for the team and we leave Singapore with our position in the constructors championship still intact, so we will focus on the positives from the weekend.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Thermal degradation proved to be the limiting factor that the tyres had to overcome today rather than actual wear at Singapore: a race that proved to be just as tough as everyone expected. Both compounds, but in particular the super soft, showed plenty of durability as well as pace and were the most appropriate choice for this race. One of the biggest complications is that the race strategy here has to be flexible in order to take into account the length of the race and the potential for safety cars, which ensured once again that the race went to the full two hours. The safety car mixed up the strategies considerably, but while Vettel was in a league of his own, there was an intense tactical battle for the final podium positions behind him. In the closing stages there was plenty of action, with different strategies ensuring a tight battle for the points places and several passing manoeuvres on a circuit where its not normally so easy to overtake.
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Race - selected team and driver quotes 22 Sep 2013
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel completes a hat trick of wins at Singapore, storming to victory over Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and third-placed Kimi Raikkonen for Lotus. We hear from the German, as well as the other drivers and senior team personnel, about Sunday's action from Marina Bay...