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Race - selected team and driver quotes

23 Nov 2014

Toro Rosso duo Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat on an unfulfilling 2014 finale; McLaren's Jenson Button on why fifth helps prove he is at the top of his game; and Red Bull on their charge from the pit lane to the top eight. The drivers and senior team personnel report back on the 2014 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix...

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne, 12th

"Today I have absolutely given my maximum to catch the ones in front of me but the pace was just not good enough. It's a shame as our starting position made us think we could have finished in the top ten. We really wanted to score some good points for the final race of the season and we could not achieve our goal. On the positive side, we are still seventh in the constructors championship and this is very important for the team. I want to thank everybody, for yet another season together."

Daniil Kvyat, DNF

"This is one of those races, in which we were just not able to show our full potential. We were expecting a much better final race but an engine related problem forced me to retire in the early stages. This was unfortunate, because speed and pace were quite good until then. We were fighting with Ferraris and Button and I think we could have finished somewhere around him. Anyway, I have to thank my team for everything they have done for me this year, helping me to grow as a driver and be ready for next year. This has been massively important for me. Looking back to this season, it's a shame that in many occasions we could not show our real potential. I think we would have deserved much better results, but very often we have just been unlucky. Now I am looking forward to this new challenge with Infiniti Red Bull Racing."

Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal

"To start from the fifth and tenth places on the grid and to finish with only one car in twelfth position is certainly not what we were expecting for the final race of the season, here in Abu Dhabi. Both drivers started the race quite well and in the first few laps the speed was good enough for us to keep pace with some competitors around us. Unfortunately, after 14 laps, Daniil Kvyat suffered a technical problem on his drivetrain, which put an early stop to his race. As for Jean-Eric Vergne, we decided to take the risk and go for a three stop strategy, which did not pay off in the end and we would have needed a few more laps to overtake some people in front of us and finish in the points. I would like to thank Daniil and Jean-Eric for what they have done for us this year - I really think we had a strong driver line-up - and congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for his well-deserved title.

"This season is over but now we have to start working towards the next one. Clearly our aim is to improve still further and be more competitive next year. The 2015 Melbourne Grand Prix is just around the corner."

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

"After a fantastic qualifying session we were all really looking forward to finishing 2014 on a high. But unfortunately Daniil suffered a PU-related issue that put him out early. We'll need to look at the data and find out what happened, but I'd still like to apologise to the team for the problem. Jean-Eric suffered no such problems but didn't quite have the pace to finish in the points. Overall it's been a tough season but we'll aim to come back stronger in 2015."


Jenson Button, 5th

"That was tough! I think we made the best of what we had this evening: in terms of strategy, we did the right thing, but we never really had enough pace to attack the cars in front. So, fifth was as good as it was going to be. Getting the maximum from the car is all that can be asked of a racing driver, and I think I've proved this year that I'm still at the top of my game.

"Since it's the last race of the season, I'd like to say a huge 'thanks' to Tom [Stallard] and Bernie [Collins], my two race engineers, who've done a fantastic job this year, as have all my mechanics. The whole team has been so supportive, which is lovely.

"It's been a good day for me, but a much better day for my old team buddy Lewis [Hamilton]. Winning two world titles is an absolutely amazing achievement. Congratulations to him - he deserves it. I'm sure tonight will be fun - I'll celebrate a good end to the year with my family."

Kevin Magnussen, 11th

"That was a difficult race. I had quite a bit of contact with Adrian [Sutil] on the first lap - and, after that, the front of the car never felt quite right, but it wasn't too bad, so I could carry on.

"My opening stint on the prime went well - the tyre was holding on well and I felt like I could manage the degradation. But once I'd pitted and changed to the option, the race slipped away from us. The softer tyre ought to have helped us gain some positions over the drivers running the prime, but we just stayed where we were, and that ruined the race for us.

"Congratulations to Lewis - he's driven brilliantly all season, and completely deserves the title this year. He's had a stunning season. Finally, I want to pass on my thanks to the whole McLaren team. This season has been an incredible experience for me - I've learned so much this year. It's been fantastic - so thanks, guys!"

Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director

"Jenson drove a strong race, securing a fine fifth place by the finish, having managed his tyre wear consummately all afternoon despite enjoying a spirited dice with Fernando [Alonso] at around half-distance.

"On a different strategy, having sustained a degree of car damage during first-lap contact with Adrian, Kevin kicked off his race with a long stint on the prime, during which he also battled Fernando, holding him off capably for many laps. Kevin eventually pitted on lap 21, and, on options, proceeded to manage his tyre wear almost too well, for his rubber was still in good fettle at the end of that stint; in hindsight, perhaps we should have instructed him to push a bit harder, which he easily could have done, but it's easy to say that after the event and, anyway, that's racing.

"In his final stint, back on primes, Kevin's pace was good again, but it was too late to make much difference and unfortunately he ended up 11th. So, at the end of a long and arduous season, we immediately turn our attention to the future. But, before doing so, I want to say one more thing about the present, and even touch briefly on the past. Today we raced for the last time with Mercedes-Benz engines, and I want to congratulate that venerable company on its dual triumphs this season - constructors' world championship and drivers' world championship - and to thank our old friends at Stuttgart and Brixworth for the past 20 seasons, during which McLaren and Mercedes-Benz enjoyed so much success together.

"Last but not least, on behalf of all at McLaren, I want to say 'bravo' to Lewis, who began his Formula 1 career at McLaren and whom so many at Woking still regard with such affection. On Tuesday and Wednesday, here in Abu Dhabi, we'll be testing our hybrid McLaren-Honda MP4-29H/1X1 for the first time, following our filming day with the car at Silverstone last week. It's an exciting time for both McLaren and Honda, and for all who sail and will sail in the good ship McLaren-Honda. Ahead of us are many weeks of hard graft, but you may be well sure we're up for the task. Bring it on!"

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, 4th

"Yeah really happy, I think it was pretty much a faultless race from all sides, from the strategy, to myself and the pit stops, everything was good so we did everything we needed to. I had fun passing, it wasn't boring out there, so it was pretty much what I asked for. One spot better would have been nice, but fourth is really cool from the pit lane. It's been pretty much a perfect season, as perfect as it can be without holding a world title, so no real regrets, no complaints. It's nice to not only start the season well, but to finish it well also and I think all the way through it was good - we had a strong summer as well, so the start, middle and end were pretty good!"

Sebastian Vettel, 8th

"I felt there was more, but once I got stuck behind Kevin at the beginning it was quite tough, so I can't be completely happy with today; when you race you want to finish as high up as you can and today I think we had the pace to finish higher. I think the last six years have been an incredible journey, obviously we didn't expect that when we started working together - you can never expect four Driver titles and four constructors' championships in a row. You get to know some people in a very good way and build friendships that will last a long time. You go through happy days and sad days, you go through them together and I think I learned a lot. I'd like to thank Red Bull and the Team for everything they did and I will miss them. I feel ready for the next step."

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal

"A phenomenal drive from Daniel to drive from the pit lane to P4, an incredible recovery after the circumstances of Saturday, signing off a fantastic season for Daniel finishing third in the world championship and an unbelievable year. For Sebastian P8 isn't reflective of his time within the Team, four world championships, 38 Grand Prix victories, four constructors' world championships and 44 pole positions. He's been a fantastic team member he's been an absolutely awesome competitor. He's been a pleasure and delight to work with and we wish him well for the future; he'll always be a friend of the Team. Finally congratulations to Lewis Hamilton on achieving his second world championship, he's a very deserving winner after the season he's put together and it's fitting that he won."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

"Fourth and eighth is a very good achievement for the team after starting from the pit-lane and again demonstrates just how strong the team is. It was the last race of a long season, we didn't have any problems with the Power Units and were able to maximise them for the recovery. Dan's drive was especially impressive and he really does deserve to be on the championship podium after a season like that. But my last words must go to Seb, who was racing with us for the final time. Each team member will remember a special moment they spent with him and the success we've achieved together over the years. He'll forever be an important part of Renault Sport F1's Grand Prix history."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, 6th

"I'm very happy with this result. After struggling with the car on Friday and in qualifying, I think we can be proud of today's race and our performance is a good sign for next year as well. The car performed at its best; I had a good balance and I had the confidence to really push. There were just a few laps after the pit stops when I was managing the tyres, but other than that it was flat out all the way. The long final stint on the supersoft tyres was brave, but it turned out to be a great strategy by the team and it really worked out well."

Sergio Perez, 7th

"The points today helped me to finish in the top ten of the championship, which is an important achievement after a great year. I think we could have been even higher up today, but we probably stopped too late for the final pit stop. If we had been on the supersofts a bit earlier then maybe we could have been closer to Button at the end of the race. Looking back at the season overall I think everyone in the team has done a tremendous job and we should feel very happy about what we have achieved. I've enjoyed this season and now that I know the team I'm looking forward to coming back stronger in 2015."

Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director

"Today we saw a captivating race that demonstrated how far we have come this season. Everyone in the team performed superbly, from the team on the pit wall that devised a very effective strategy, to the pit-crew who pulled off four good stops. Equally, the drivers were superb and Nico and Sergio didn't put a wheel wrong on track. We battled with world champions today and we beat them fair and square -we finished with both cars ahead of the Ferraris and one Red Bull. Nico's penalty was harsh and it surely cost him fifth place, which would have been thoroughly deserved. Even though tonight's result was not enough to claim back fifth in the championship, we can look back to our season with pride. We scored the highest points tally in the history of the team, 155 points, and we finished with both cars in the points on ten occasions. I want to congratulate everyone in the team, both here at the track and back in Silverstone, for their effort this season, and encourage them to take this year as a spur for even greater things to come in 2015."


Will Stevens - 17th

"We completed the objective of the day, and that was to finish the race, which is good not only for me but also for the team - we can be pleased. I struggled quite a bit during my first stint on the option tyre, trying to keep it up to temperature at the start during the formation lap, so I had a lot of graining on the front. But the middle stint wasn't too bad and I was able to get into more of a rhythm. Towards the end I was feeling good in the car and it feels really good to have completed my first Formula 1 race! I want to thank all the fans once again for giving this team another chance to race, this is where we belong."

Kamui Kobayashi - DNF

"It's a real shame to finish the season with a retirement, but unfortunately this is what happened: I started to feel some strange vibration on the car and a couple of laps later it started to be undriveable, so the team decided to retire the car for precaution. Up until then, it had been a solid race, we had found a good pace and I was enjoying myself. Overall, it's been a very positive weekend and I've been impressed with the whole team's effort - it wasn't an easy task but, thanks to the fans continuous support, we got here and they gave us that extra boost to carry on fighting. I also want to congratulate the team and thank everyone for their work and commitment throughout the season."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

"As with the previous two days we didn't experience any problems with either PU during the race and were able to maximise their potential throughout. Will drove very well on his F1 debut and it was great to see him out-drag Alonso's Ferrari in a straight line! Obviously it was a shame that Kamui couldn't complete the race distance, but just being here this weekend is a fantastic achievement for the team and will hopefully help their chances for 2015."


Fernando Alonso, 9th

"Today, my time with Ferrari comes to an end, as does a very tricky season, in which, even if we were unable to do much against the technical dominance of our rivals, we fought all the way to the very end, all of us did our utmost, putting our hearts into it. Today's race was difficult to manage but at the same time it was very emotional for me; after five years it's not easy to say farewell to a team with which I have grown so much over the past five years, both as a driver and as a person. I thank all the Ferraristi for their support. I will miss the team, the fans and Italy. Even though we are going our separate ways, I feel I have lived through a unique experience which any Formula 1 driver would have loved to have had."

Kimi Raikkonen, 10th

"It was a very difficult race but we knew right from the beginning that this track would be tough for us. The start was good but then, at the first stop, I already lost a few places and from then on I couldn't move up the order. The car handled well and I had no particular problem, but today we lacked the speed we needed to attack. All season we have faced a series of difficulties which we put a lot of effort into solving and we learned a lot from that. We know which direction we need to work in to be competitive as soon as possible and I have absolute faith in the team."

Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari team principal

"This race was the epilogue to a difficult season for the team at the track and for all the men and women of the Scuderia back home. It's the last day of a season that saw the beginning of a technical revolution that required a different approach and work methodologies and it was a year that presented a steep learning curve for all of us. Unfortunately, the result here in Abu Dhabi reflects the performance level seen in recent races, even though Fernando and Kimi fought all the way as always, showing just what they are capable of. On behalf of the team, I want to congratulate Lewis Hamilton on his fantastic win and I also want to once again thank Fernando, while regretting that we never won the title together. Nevertheless, we had the pleasure of sharing unforgettable moments that are now part of Ferrari history. I also thank Kimi, who this year has patiently dealt with a car that was not easy to manage and I am sure we will soon see him able to express his great talent. Now we are continuing in a methodical and disciplined fashion with the work behind the scenes in Maranello, so as to give our drivers a competitive car with which we can return as soon as possible to the top level of this sport."

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director

"First of all, we must congratulate Lewis Hamilton for a well-deserved second world championship title. For us it was a complicated race from start to finish and our final result was a confirmation of our qualifying performance. Over all 55 laps, both Kimi and Fernando struggled with little reliability problems which affected their cars. Having gained two places at the start, we had to make the first stops very early because of tyre degradation. That put us back out in traffic and unfortunately, our management of the power units and the tyres meant it was difficult to make any overtaking moves. After such an intense last race now we turn all our attention to the work that awaits us, beginning with next week's test, aimed at getting started on next season as soon as possible."


Romain Grosjean, 13th

"We did the best we could today. My race wasn't that eventful and unfortunately it came to an early end for Pastor, so I think that we are all glad that the season is now over. We thought about doing a three stop strategy early in the race but then we swapped back to two stops. I'm already looking forward to being in the simulator to test the E23. We have a new Power Unit and aerodynamically next year's car is looking like a great step forward. Now it's time to take a break, recharge our batteries and look forward to 2015."

Pastor Maldonado, DNF

"That was a surprising race for me. Our race pace was actually pretty good and I was able to fight with the Ferraris as well as enjoy the feel from the car. I was able to push and the car worked well on both tyre compounds. Unfortunately, my race had to end early. The flames showed the engine wasn't working too well which also mean it was getting quite hot in the car! It's a shame to finish a season like we did, but I know we have a lot of potential for 2015, so I am really looking forward to surprising some people when we return."

Federico Gastaldi, Lotus deputy team principal

"2014 won't go down as a memorable season in terms of results for Enstone, but it will be a year we remember for really testing our resolve and strengthening our character. Everyone at the track and at Enstone has fought all the way, despite the lack of results. We are determined to come back stronger in 2015 and everything is in place to enable this. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes for their titles in 2014; both driver and team set a very high standard, so we know our goals for the future."

Nick Chester, Lotus technical director

"Firstly, we must thank Renault Sport F1 for all the good times we have enjoyed over the many years of our relationship together. It wasn't quite the send-off we wanted, with disappointment for Pastor who suffered a Power Unit failure. He was running strongly in the race and our predictions show he would have finished quite closely to Ferrari, so close to the points. Romain struggled a little bit more on this first set of soft tyres so we opted for an early next stop, which meant a longer final stint. He did a very good job considering the penalties he had to serve early in the race. No doubt it's been a tough season from which we have learnt a lot. We are already fully focused on 2015 and aim to come back much stronger next season."


Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

"Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for winning the title, and also to Nico Rosberg, who provided him with fantastic opposition all year. The tyres performed as we expected them to here, in line with the data we had collected before the race. We saw a wide variety of interesting strategies at work today, with Massa showcasing the speed of the supersoft at the end of the race, and Ricciardo putting in a great performance from the back after starting on the soft. It's been a fascinating end to a compelling season, but we're already turning our attention to 2015 as we embark on the final test of the season here next week on Tuesday and Wednesday, where some our new tyres will make their debut."


Esteban Gutierrez, 15th

"A race during which I fought from the beginning to the end. We managed to keep our planned two-stop-strategy, which was quite an aggressive one. On my last stint I had to drive as many laps as possible on this set of tyres, which worked out for us. I was pushing every lap, but at the same time I had to manage the tyres. I want to thank every team member; it was a pleasure to have worked with the Sauber F1 Team. I wish everyone all the best for the future."

Adrian Sutil, 16th

"It was a normal race. I had quite a good start. Afterwards Kevin (Magnussen) drove into my car, and I dropped back many positons. I still cannot say if my car was damaged or not. After this incident I tried my best to get back into the race. However, we had to switch to another strategy with three pit stops, which was not ideal. In general the pace was not good enough, so a better result would have been difficult to achieve. Finally, I want to thank the engineers and mechanics who have all worked very hard throughout the season."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal

"First of all, I want to congratulate Lewis Hamilton on winning the title, and the Mercedes team for an impressive dominant and outstanding season. Coming to our team, 15th and 16th in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are typical of the 2014 season, which was a huge disappointment. Everyone within the team worked very hard, but we could not achieve the results we aimed for. We were not able to score points, which has never happened before in the history of the team. There are many reasons for this. However, it does not make sense to point fingers. We will draw our conclusions and will initiate the right actions. We will move on and use our entire energy to bring the team back to where it was before, and where it should be. I want to thank every member of the team - mechanics, engineers, the employees at the factory and our drivers. A special thanks goes to Esteban Gutiérrez who was part of this team for five years, first as an affiliated driver and afterwards for two years as a race driver. We were with him through good and bad times. Esteban was always loyal to the team. Adrian surely expected more from this season, as we also did. With the issues we had with the C33 he was not able to deliver results which we as a team and he wished for. Giedo van der Garde did a great job as test and reserve driver. We thank all of them, and wish them all the best for the future."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber head of track engineering

"It started off quite well with Adrian gaining some positions at the start, but in Turn 7 on the first lap he was hit by another driver and lost some places. When he was then stuck in traffic behind slower cars we opted for an early pit stop, which originally was not planned. He was then on an three stop stragety. In hindsight that maybe cost him some time. However, looking at the other car that had a clean two stop strategy, it didn't really change a lot as our cars finished in 15th and 16th. Once again our performance was not good enough to achieve more. This race marks the end of a very difficult season. However, as a team we never gave up, and I would like to thank everyone for their hard work. As from tomorrow we will switch our focus to the 2015 season."


Felipe Massa, 2nd

"It was a close race, I didn't think the victory was there, but it was so close at the end. It was good to be racing and pushing the Mercedes. I hope this is a strong building block to go on for next year. The team progressed so much throughout the year, which is why we were able to get podiums in the second half of the season; we will continue this forward movement into next year."

Valtteri Bottas, 3rd

"We were very competitive today. I got a bad start and the race was compromised after I was stuck behind a few cars, so to walk away with a podium is incredible. It was a good race; I could really push and fight. The team has grown and developed throughout the season, from our first race in Melbourne to our best result here. It's a great start to build on for next year and to continue the team's great history."

Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance

"It was a fitting end to the season. The team has come on over the year in an incredible fashion. To get our best result of the season in the final race is a fitting tribute to all the work we have done. It's been over ten years since Williams was last P3 in the Constructors' and that is testament to the effort that the guys have made, many of whom have been here through the tough times are now reaping the benefit of their commitment."

Claire Williams, deputy team principal

"I am exceptionally proud of the team today, to go from P9 last year to P3 in 2014 is amazing. The work to turn the team around has been hard, but I am so happy to see the smiles back on the faces of the people that work here. This is just the first step in a great future for Williams. We must congratulate Mercedes on winning both championships and thank Mercedes HPP for all their effort throughout the season."