What the teams said - Race day in Japan

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: A general view of the start showing Pierre Gasly of France driving the


Mercedes had a disappointing qualifying by their high standards, locking out the second row and unable to answer the pace of the Scuderia. But Friday had shown that their race pace was superior and so it eventually proved. Bottas made a fantastic getaway off the line, grabbed the lead and despite being swapped to a two-stop strategy, never looked troubled. Hamilton didn't have quite the same getaway but was running third and seemed desperate to try a one-stop strategy which would have seen his team mate have to overtake him on track for the win. But the team erred on the side of caution and pitted him again, to guarantee Hamilton's third place which was enough for the Silver Arrows to clinch a record-breaking sixth straight Constructors' title.

Lewis Hamilton - Qual: 4th; Race: 3rd

"I'm so happy for the team - what a great result! Six consecutive double titles is an amazing achievement that has taken a long time and a lot of hard work. It just shows the strength and depth through and through for the team and I'm incredibly proud to be a part of Mercedes history. It's a well-deserved achievement - thank you to everyone in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart for all the hard work and dedication.

"Valtteri did a great job today and deserved the win, congratulations to him. I did everything I could today; I think we probably had the chance at a 1-2 today, so we'll take a look at what we could have done better in the debrief. I think we can expect the next races to be very challenging; Ferrari still have a straight-line speed advantage which makes it very hard to qualify ahead of them, so we have to outrace them, but I think that makes it really exciting for the spectators. We will celebrate this monumental achievement today; but tomorrow we'll start pushing again - we still have races to win."

Valtteri Bottas - Qual: 3rd; Race: 1st

"Six double championships - every single team member at the race track and in the factories can be incredibly proud of this achievement! A big thank you to all of you. I think we don't quite realise yet what an amazing achievement this is, but we're making history in this sport. We've had a really good season so far and managed to make the most of our opportunities, especially in the beginning of the season.

"It's amazing to think that we've just done something that's never been done before - what a great day for all of us! I had an excellent start today, one of the best ones in my career, and managed to take the lead in the very beginning.

"We expected our car to be quick in the race, but it's really tricky to overtake on this track, so we knew that we'd have to try and take the lead at the start and I'm very glad it all worked out. I really enjoyed the race afterwards; the car felt really good and our upgrades worked well. Suzuka has always been my favourite track even though I've never been particularly strong here - but now I like this track even more. It's been a while since my last victory, I missed that winning feeling and I'm very happy and proud to have won the race that secured us the Constructors' Championship."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"When we embarked on the journey six or seven years ago we wanted to win races more regularly and then fight for a Championship - and now, six years later, we win our sixth Championship in a row. We never thought this would be possible and I'm incredibly happy for everybody who has been a part of this journey. It's not always been easy, the entire team put in a lot of hard work and we had our fair share of painful moments, but we were always able to pick ourselves up. Everyone in Brackley and Brixworth worked incredibly hard for this achievement and I can't thank them enough.

"We also could not have done this without the continued support from Daimler and PETRONAS who have always been by our side. This sixth Championship is a very special one - and we dedicate it to Niki. He has been such an important part from the beginning, and we all miss him dearly. I think about him every day and still find it hard to believe that he's not here anymore; I keep thinking to myself "What would Niki say, what would he think?".

"Today, he probably would have said "Congratulations for the sixth one, but you have a challenge on your hands for next year". It was his way of making sure that we're never complacent. Today has been an emotional rollercoaster; we were disappointed in the morning because we weren't quick enough in qualifying. And now we've won the race and also both Championships - which is still hard to fully grasp."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"A big well done to the whole team, everyone in Brackley and Brixworth, on winning a sixth double-championship in a row. It is an amazing achievement and it will take a while to sink in. It's been really quite an amazing day with both qualifying and the race in one day.

"We were a bit disappointed after qualifying; before the session, we thought that we could challenge for pole, but ultimately the gap was too big and there was no way the drivers were going to make that up. We saw on Friday we had good tyre degradation and our efforts focused straight away on trying to make the most of the race. Our car was very strong and both drivers were really happy with it, but we also got a bit of help at the start.

"Our race pace was very encouraging today, but we need to look at how we can improve from our qualifying pace because it's not good enough at the moment. It's a shame that we couldn't get Lewis in front of Vettel at the end of the race; we'll take a look at it to see what we could have done differently. There are lots of things that we'll take from this race to try to improve."

Markus Schafer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development

"To win six consecutive constructors' championships is something that has only been achieved once in F1 history - and it puts our team in the strongest possible position to take a sixth consecutive double, which would set a new benchmark in the sport.

"For everybody at Daimler, this achievement is not just a source of great pride, it is also a demonstration of our company's capability to succeed when tackling the biggest challenges. To win in Formula One requires the right blend of cutting-edge technology and exceptional team spirit to achieve demanding goals; the lessons we learn from this success are important ingredients in our ability to achieve the same in our wider business."

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: The Mercedes GP team celebrate winning the constructors championship after the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Well off the pace on Friday, scintillating on Sunday. Vettel stormed to pole, two tenths ahead of his team mate in a turn up for the books. But the German made a mistake and twitched on the line at the start of the race. He wasn't penalised as he didn't actually cross his pit box line, but it cost him a place to Bottas, which he couldn't recover. Leclerc meanwhile understeered into Verstappen under pressure on the opening lap. A broken front wing resulted, leading to an early pit stop that dropped him to last. The youngster did well to recover to sixth, which became seventh after a couple of post-race penalties for the Verstappen incident and not pitting immediately afterwards, leaving debris on the track as a result.

Sebastian Vettel - Qual: 1st; Race: 2nd

“We had a very good morning, but the afternoon was less good in terms of the result we were able to achieve as a team.

“The start wasn’t good for either me or Charles and without that, we could have had both cars fighting at the front. It was difficult today and to be fair. Our rivals were simply quicker, Valtteri was just flying.

“I had a poor start, I was a bit early with the clutch initially then clutched in again and lost a bit of momentum. Usually our starts are very good but not this time. After that we were missing out a little bit in terms of speed in the race compared to our rivals. We went through the tyres more than Valtteri and Lewis. Especially at the end of the stints they were dropping off a bit more, whereas our rivals kept the pace throughout.

“Towards the end my only target was to stay ahead of Lewis. I knew that down the straights he struggled to overtake, so I just tried to have clean exits in the places where it mattered.”

Charles Leclerc - Qual: 2nd; Race: 7th

“It was a tough race. I made a mistake at the start and made contact with Max [Verstappen] in turn 1, which unfortunately compromised both our races and my front wing was damaged.

“I tried to make the best of it going forward. After the first stop, when my front wing was changed, I gave it my all. I tried to make up as many positions as possible. Although it was quite fun to overtake other cars and fight my way up the field, P6 is not our target or a result we are satisfied with. It was a different weekend overall, and I look forward to the opportunity of bringing home better results once again at the upcoming races.”

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal

“Congratulations from all of us to our rivals and friends for nailing another well-deserved Constructors’ Championship today. Over the course of the season, they simply did the best job and that’s exactly what you need in this business.

“For our part, I’d like to highlight a positive aspect, namely the performance of our car, which was good enough to secure the front row in qualifying this morning – an exceptional result here at Suzuka. As for the race itself, we are disappointed that we did not reap the rewards of what we had sown. A shame. The start compromised the rest of the race, although it has to be said that our rival’s pace was very strong and we suffered more than them with tyre degradation. We made mistakes and now we just have to look to ourselves to improve.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Red Bull

The team mates recorded the exact same time in qualifying, showing just how far Albon has come in his brief career at Red Bull. Verstappen started ahead courtesy of setting his lap time earlier and made a better getaway off the line. He passed Hamilton but was tipped into a spin when trying to pass Leclerc, causing significant damage and leading to his second retirement of the season. Albon meanwhile lost out to Sainz but was quick when it mattered to undercut the McLaren in the first round of pit stops. Fourth is his best finish to date.

Max Verstappen - Qual: 5th; Race: DNF

“I had a really good start and I think I was up to third place which was positive. I stayed on the outside at Turn 2 but Charles drove into the side of my car. I guess Charles was trying to recover places after the start but it’s a long race so there was no need to risk so much so early. We both lost out but he managed to carry on once he replaced his front wing. I re-joined at the back of the field but my car was severely damaged and we had to retire on Lap 15. From my side I don’t think I could have done anything different, so now it will be investigated by the stewards. It’s very frustrating as I think we had a good chance of being on the podium again especially after such a good start, which would have been amazing for all the Honda fans supporting us. We are definitely improving and the gap is closing but there is still more work to do before Mexico.”

Alex Albon - Qual: 6th; Race: 4th

“Fourth is my F1 career best finish and this weekend has definitely felt like my best with the Team. Immediately from FP1 I felt comfortable with the car and the balance, which is important for a track like Suzuka where you need a lot of confidence, especially on your first visit! I wanted more in the race and felt like I could have done better at the start but I had too much wheel spin off the line and lost a couple of places to the McLarens. I managed to get back past them but by then I had already lost a lot of time to the lead pack. The move on Lando for P5 was on, he gave me space and left the door open but it was a bit tight! We then managed to get past Carlos with some good strategy by undercutting him, but from then onwards we were in no man’s land in P4. It was just about managing the tyres to the end but with Max’s DNF it was good to score some points for the Team and fourth was the best we could do. I’m still finding my feet but overall I’m happy with my pace and progress and we took a step forward this weekend. Coming into the weekend we probably wanted more, especially for Honda, and we were close but we just didn’t quite have the pace. Now we’ll do our homework and hopefully come back stronger in Mexico.“

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“After a great start Max was unfortunately involved in contact at Turn 2 with Leclerc which resulted in him retiring from the race. It looked like Max gave Charles plenty of room but we will let the stewards deal with that. Alex had a less than perfect getaway, dropping behind the McLarens but he fought back well, making the two stop strategy work. He passed Norris in a firm but fair move on lap four and closed quickly on Sainz. The remainder of the race was quite lonely but Alex drove faultlessly to bring the car home in P4, his best Formula One result to date. Leaving Suzuka with a fourth place and a DNF is slightly disappointing at Honda’s home race after such a fantastic turnout from a very enthusiastic crowd. Our congratulations go to Mercedes on winning their sixth Constructors’ Championship here today.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: Alexander Albon of Thailand and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage before the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


McLaren qualified as 'best of the rest' with Sainz pipping Norris for the fourth race in a row. The Spaniard made a brilliant start, challenging Hamilton for third. He fell back as the top three pulled away, and lost a further place to a recovering Albon, but came home a superb fifth after carefully managing his tyres in order to hold off Leclerc. As for Norris, he tangled with Albon at the start and had to pit early with his rear brakes on fire. He was unable to recover and came home well outside the points.

Carlos Sainz - Qual: 7th; Race: 5th

“A very good day in general. Qualifying was extremely strong after leading the midfield on Friday. We secured P7 and P8 clearly ahead of our main competitors. Later, in the race, I had a good start on the inside line and fought again wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton. From there I controlled my pace and went for a long first stint.

“The second stint was especially strong, with very good pace and keeping Leclerc behind to secure another P5. I’m very happy with both results today, quali and the race, and the only downside is that Lando couldn’t finish in the points due to an unlucky situation. The team clearly deserved another double-points finish here in Japan. Congratulations!”

Lando Norris - Qual: 8th; Race: 13th

“A frustrating day. I made a really good start and managed to get to the outside of a few drivers at Turn One. Then there was contact ahead of me, debris and guys spinning. I had to slow down, unfortunately, and gave up a position or two but was still P6 I think.

“In the chaos, I collected some debris in the brakes, which meant I had to box really early on and then the rest was pretty straightforward. I did what I could but I always struggled towards the end with the tyres and just couldn’t make enough progress to come back through. Some positives, some negatives – but good points for the team from Carlos.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal

“Great execution today from the entire team, and 10 more points in the bag, extending our lead over the teams with whom we are fighting in the Constructors’ Championship. It was a sensational drive from Carlos to P5 – but we have mixed feelings because we might’ve had Lando up there as well.

“We obviously strongly disagree with competitors leaving cars on track with entire front wing endplates hanging off and putting everyone else at risk. After Leclerc’s endplate finally exploded, Lando unfortunately caught some of the debris in his right front brake duct. This meant he had to box early, and his race was pretty much done. Even then, he gave it everything and put in a great performance.

“Overall, it’s the positives we take away from Suzuka. The team here at the track, together with the support from home, put in a lot of hard work to get the best out of an unusual weekend – and a very long Sunday! The car was strong here and we’re really looking forward to the final four races.

“Finally, congratulations to Mercedes for securing their sixth Constructors’ World Championship in a row.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL34 Renault on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)


They had lacked pace on Friday, and things didn't pick up in qualifying. Ricciardo struggled with his suspension and exited in Q1, while Hulkenberg was pulled back to the pits with a hydraulic leak in Q2. But the German made up five places at the start which made his race, while Ricciardo ran the longest first stint of all to make a one-stop strategy work. The shakedown left both drivers on the fringes of the points, but the Australian's fresher tyres made the difference as he made his way to a superb seventh from P16 on the grid. That latter became sixth when Leclerc was penalised post-race.

Nico Hulkenberg - Qual: 15th; Race: 10th

“I’m very happy for the team today, with both Daniel and I inside the points. We fought all the way, pushed really hard and everything seemed to come together. It was an amazing recovery from this morning where our qualifying wasn’t so good. Personally, I made a great start off the line, passed a few cars at turn one and then pushed on with good track position. From there, it was a fight. The whole second stint we were in traffic and by the end, it was getting hot and tasty out there with everyone’s tyres going off. It was really good fun and I’m pleased with today.”

Daniel Ricciardo - Qual: 16th; Race: 6th

“The team deserved this result today. We’ve been on a bit of a frustrating run recently without scoring, so to take seventh today is excellent. We had an issue in qualifying with the rear of the car that the boys fixed, which explained why we were quite far down. We had good pace in the race and were coming through quite nicely. Starting on the Medium tyre worked to our advantage and we came through the pack with some enjoyable battles. It was nice to execute a good strategy, we pulled through and, in the end, it was a deserved and quite comfortable seventh place.”

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal

“It has certainly been a bizarre weekend, with no running on Saturday, requiring everything to be perfect from the get-go on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, we experienced the opposite, with both cars having different issues in qualifying. Despite our low starting positions, we did not surrender and kept focused. The crew did an amazing job in the limited time before the race to turn around the cars. Both drivers had clean starts for the first time in a while and after the opening laps it was non-stop action, with an amazing number of stylish overtaking manoeuvres from Daniel and Nico. Nico also accepted to play the team game, which played out nicely for the team, so big thanks to him. We’re leaving Suzuka with both cars in the points, a nice reward for the various issues we’ve had over the last races despite a car that had the capacity to score at every race.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS19 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Toro Rosso

A mixed bag for Toro Rosso. Gasly had a brilliant qualifying to make Q3, extracting everything he could from the STR14 at Honda's home race. Kvyat by contrast couldn't find the same balance and started down in P14. From there he was always going to struggle in a congested midfield, but Gasly kept out of trouble to run in the points for much of the day until the final lap. With Perez diving round the outside, the Frenchman understeered into the side of the Racing Point and was lucky to be able to continue to the chequered flag unscathed.

Daniil Kvyat - Qual: 14th; Race: 12th

“This morning everything was OK until the last lap of my Qualifying. I don’t know why I was so slow on the last lap, the car felt a bit different to Friday - the conditions were quite different - but we all had to deal with it in the same way. Starting the race from P14 was not ideal and I knew it was going to be tricky. I feel like the race itself was strong, and even if we lost a couple of places at the start, from then on it was a solid recovery. It’s a shame not to score points because the pace was really good. We will need to work in order to improve our Qualifying.”

Pierre Gasly - Qual: 9th; Race: 8th

“I’m very happy with today! It started really well this morning as I made it to Q3 and qualified ninth. We didn’t really expect to make it there after such short preparation, since I missed both FP1 and FP3. I spent most of the race running in P7 and P8, it was really intense as Renault and Racing Point were pushing very hard. We had a suspension issue in the middle of the race which made it quite tough, so I just gave it everything I had inside of the car to keep the position. There were some intense battles and I really wanted to make it to the end for the team, Honda, and for the Japanese fans who came out to support us. I’m really pleased to score points for the team, especially in Japan…it feels really special! We can be pleased with the day and we can’t wait for the remaining races.”

Jody Egginton, Technical Director

“With no opportunity to evaluate setup changes in FP3, we headed into Qualifying with the cars’ setup based on less data than normal. However, the setup appeared reasonable and Pierre was able to extract nearly everything from the package he had. Dany struggled a bit more and, in a very tight midfield battle, small lap time deltas have a big impact on grid position, so he unfortunately started further back than ideal. The race was a very close and entertaining battle with both Racing Point & Renault and Pierre drove especially well, considering we had an issue with the rear suspension which was affecting the rear ride height and rear tyre wear. Dany had a tricky first stint, spending quite some time in a DRS train early on, which cost some race time, but following the pit stop he drove well and was close to being in contention for the final point. With Sunday comprising of Qualifying and the race, it’s been a busy time for the mechanics, but they have managed the workload very well and deserve credit for this. We now look forward to Mexico and we will be working hard to consolidate our position in the Constructors’ Championship.”

Franz Tost, Team Principal

“After yesterday’s difficult weather conditions, which forced Qualifying to be postponed to Sunday, we showed quite a good performance this morning; Pierre qualified ninth, while Daniil had some problems on his last run in Q2 and qualified 14th. Both Drivers had a reasonably good start of the race. We called Pierre in on lap 18 and he was able to stay ahead of Stroll when he re-joined the race. Pierre was capable of holding his position, driving a very strong race and defending well, finishing in eighth position. He was able to get the maximum out of the car, especially considering that we detected a problem on his suspension, which made his car more difficult to drive. Pierre had to be very careful - especially on the last laps - not to lose the rear, but he managed it in a professional way, showing very good car control. Daniil stayed out longer as we brought him in on lap 27. He showed a good performance overtaking many cars, but unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to score points. However, it’s positive that today’s race increased the gap to Racing Point by two more points. We now head to Mexico for the last back to back races of the year, where we hope to continue to score points.”

Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director

“This was a busy day for all the teams, with the unusual schedule during which we managed to get three of our four cars into the top ten in the morning qualifying, which was satisfactory. Gasly drove an excellent race, finishing in the points after just missing out on the top ten last year in Suzuka. Kvyat fought hard and eventually finished two places up on his grid position. It was great to see the grandstand with 12,000 Honda fans and overall, a bigger crowd than in recent years. Everyone in the Honda team appreciated their support. Today’s result did not live up to our expectations, so we want to come back stronger next year and give our fans something more to cheer about.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: Daniil Kvyat of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Russia during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Racing Point

Perez was the surprise faller in Q1, as the RP19 seemed to struggle in the windy conditions more than other cars. No matter - the Mexican had his usual electric start, making up six places. From there he was able to make his way into the points, but tried to overtake Gasly in the battle for eighth on the last lap. The Mexican will argue he was half a car length in front, but Gasly clipped his sidepod and Perez wound up in the barriers - but fortunately was classified as ninth. Stroll looked likely to be in the hunt for points after a one-stop strategy but ran out of tyres late on to drop out of contention.

Sergio Perez - Qual: 17th; Race: 9th

“Our pace in the race was better than qualifying and I was more confident with the car. I made a good start and the team did a fantastic job with the strategy. We pitted a second time for Soft tyres late in the race and I managed to get back into the points. There was confusion at the end because the chequered flag came out a lap early, so when I was taken out by Gasly the race had already finished. With the fresh tyres I was much faster than him. I was ahead of him and left enough room so there was no need for the contact. It’s disappointing to finish the race like that – with a damaged car – but at least we got some points for the team.”

Lance Stroll - Qual: 12th; Race: 11th

“We had a good first stint running solidly in the top ten, but the main issue today was struggling with the tyres in the final laps. I spent most of the race just behind Gasly, which wasn’t good for my front tyres, but it was really during the last ten laps that we lacked the grip to hold on to eighth place. We had committed to the one-stop, but maybe the two-stop strategy was the way to go because it gives you a big advantage at the end of the race. We saw that with Checo. We had good track position at the beginning of the race so we tried to hang on for the points. It didn’t go our way today and we will analyse things to understand where we can improve for the next time.”

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO

“It was a tough call to choose between one or two stops today and the results confirm there was very little to choose between the two strategies. Lance ran inside the top ten for pretty much the entire race and deserved to come away with some points. He did a super job of fending off the Renaults for a good number of laps, but they made their tyre advantage count in the last few laps. Sergio, who was running behind Lance, was able to roll the dice with no downside, and switch to a two-stop race with about ten laps to go. He made the most of a set of new softs to score a couple of points. Also, credit to the pit crew today for some very quick stops, including a 2.18 seconds stop for Sergio, which was the quickest of the day. Credit also to Mercedes on a sixth consecutive Championship title - a really incredible achievement.”

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Japanese GP: Perez crashes out after contact with Gasly


Haas had a busy day - Magnussen crashed in Q1, meaning a rebuild was required in the short turnaround between qualifying and the race. Grosjean at least gave the team some cheer by making it to Q3 for the second straight race. The team split strategies, with the Frenchman trying a one-stop and the Dane pitting twice. Neither proved fruitful, with the American outfit lacking pace in race trim and coming home well outside the points.

Romain Grosjean - Qual: 10th; Race: 15th

“Well, it wasn’t as good as we wanted. The start was terrible, I don’t know why. I was behind Kevin (Magnussen) by Turn 1, so that shows how bad it was. From there it was very difficult to recover. We tried to push hard, we fitted the hard tyre to do a one-stop race. Honestly, I had two really good overtakes on Russell and Giovinazzi around the outside of Turn 1 and 2 – both times. That was the highlight of my race. After that it was just managing tyres. We just didn’t have the pace in the race, which was a bit of a shame. We’ll keep working and see if the next race will be good for us.”

Kevin Magnussen - Qual: NC; Race: 17th

“I started last and got up to P12, which I was fairly happy about, but after that it went south. It wasn’t terrible in terms of tyres and pace, not like previous races at least. If we’d hooked everything up, and if I’d started where I should have, and made as good a start as I did, then I’d obviously have been in a much better position. We just didn’t have the pace today.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“This morning qualifying for Romain wasn’t so bad, he got into Q3 which was a little bit the highlight of the day. Kevin crashed on his fast lap, he was doing a very fast lap – the car can do one good lap performance-wise. As soon as we go racing though, we fall out of the tyre window and we end up like we did today. It is pretty frustrating but not unexpected, it’s not like we were surprised. Still it’s never nice that it happens. We just need to try to do our best for the rest of the season to get a little bit out of the car, and mainly learn not to do the same mistakes for next year.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 prepares to drive in the garage before the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Alfa Romeo

Giovinazzi out-qualified his team mate for the third race in a row to continue the Italian's recent upsurge in form. But during the race, neither car had the pace to challenge for the points despite trying an opportunistic one-stopper after changing onto the hard compound tyre. It proved the wrong call and despite swapping both back to the softs, they had lost too much time and couldn't recover.

Kimi Raikkonen - Qual: 13th; Race: 14th

“It’s a disappointing end to our weekend. We always do all we can to bring home a good result and in the end the car was pretty good on the last set of tyres. We couldn’t find a good balance in the first two stints, they just wouldn’t work and I had no front end."

Antonio Giovinazzi - Qual: 11th; Race: 16th

"Our pace turned out to be better in qualy than in the race in comparison with our rivals and we have to understand why. The potential of the car is there but we have to keep working to improve ahead of the final races and do the best possible job.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Alfa Romeo Racing C38 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Kubica was the first to fall foul of the tricky morning conditions, running onto the grass through the final corner and crashing into the barriers. That required a big rebuild for the team, who did well to get the Pole to the start on time. Russell had a quieter day, but didn't have the pace to keep in touch with the other back markers and came home ahead only of his team mate.

Robert Kubica - Qual: NC; Race: 19th

"It was not the qualifying session that I had hoped for in Suzuka. I accelerated to open the lap, put the rear wheel off the track and then the wall came very quickly. Unfortunately, it was a high price for a small off, to end my qualifying session.

"The guys have done another amazing job (to get the car ready), they are a really great group of people. I really appreciate their work, not only today but throughout the season. This is not an easy sport, especially in these conditions. The race was difficult as you would expect and overall, it was a pretty disappointing Sunday."

George Russell - Qual: 18th; Race: 18th

"Qualifying was incredibly tricky to be honest, especially through the Esses. It made it unpredictable, and it was pretty sketchy on my lap, but I gave it everything and I think overall, we overachieved so I was pleased with that.

"It was an incredibly tricky race for us. We had some brake issues throughout which made it quite difficult. It was definitely one of the tougher races of the season. I have mixed feelings, but I can be satisfied, waking up this morning I felt fresh and I did the job."

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer

"Qualifying was held in dry but very gusty conditions, making it difficult for everybody, and unfortunately Robert was one of the drivers who suffered as a result, leading to the first of two red flags in Q1. The mechanics worked brilliantly to build a new car for Robert and were able to complete the build and set-up in time for Robert to take the race start. This was a phenomenal demonstration of ability, determination and teamwork. George did a good job in qualifying, finishing very close to Perez. For his first experience of Suzuka, it was a tricky challenge, which he rose to very well.

"The race took place in slightly calmer conditions than qualifying but nonetheless, it was a difficult race, which pushed a large proportion of the field onto a two-stop strategy. We were able to complete a one-stop race with George but elected to complete a second stop with Robert as this offered him better track position and a quicker overall race time. Both drivers did a very good job to bring the cars home whilst managing the fuel and brakes.

"We will soon travel to Mexico where the altitude and weather will give us a new set of hurdles to overcome. We will continue our investigation of our new front wing and will look to make a further step towards the midfield battle."

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: The car of Robert Kubica of Poland and Williams is removed from the circuit after he crashed during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)


Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing

"On top of all the rearrangements to the schedule following yesterday's typhoon, which washed the track clean of rubber, the warmer conditions also meant that the teams were dealing with a number of unknown quantities heading into qualifying and the race – both held within a short space of time today. It was mainly a question of developing the strategy during the grand prix, with a number of different tactics seen from one to three stops, as competitors reacted to their rivals' strategies. All three compounds were used during the race, with four different strategies in the top six, a thrilling tactical battle for the runner-up spot, and lap records broken in qualifying and the race. Congratulations to Mercedes for another well-deserved constructors' championship victory."


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Coming Up


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