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Race - selected team and driver quotes

21 Sep 2014

Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne on his 'incredible' race to sixth; Jenson Button on the disappointment of retiring late on at Marina Bay; Lotus on the mixed feelings of narrowly missing out on a double points score. The drivers and senior team personnel report back on an tense and taxing race in Singapore...

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne, 6th

"It feels great. It was a fantastic race and I'm extremely happy, especially considering the two 5 second penalties. I had to push as much as possible in the last laps and pull away and this is what I've done. I had a lot of fun overtaking the ones in front of me, an incredible race. I did a mistake yesterday in Qualifying and I said to the team that I would have done everything for them to forgive me today and I think I could manage it in the end. So I'm really happy also for the guys, they gave me a good car and the 6thplace repays their big effort, we deserved it. I'm really confident we can have a good end of the season together and I'm looking forward to Japan, where we also have some updates. Hopefully we can improve even further."

Daniil Kvyat, 14th

"It was a very tough race today in which I had to fight more with myself than with the cars around me. The car was quite difficult to drive and it was sliding a lot. It was also hard work to take care of the tyres. Unfortunately I also had a problem with my drink system, so I was without water for the whole race, which definitely made it a much tougher race. I think points could have been possible, so well done to JEV, who did a great job today!"

Phil Charles, Toro Rosso chief race engineer

"We are very, very pleased! JEV drove an absolutely fantastic race. He had to deal with two 5 second penalties, but having taken his first, with the second we knew the time would be added on at the end, so we kept him informed of the gap to those behind him, after he pulled off some brilliant passing moves and he managed to finish more than the 5 seconds ahead of the seventh placed driver, so he keeps his sixth place. He did absolutely everything right. The team worked very well today and everything generally went to plan, with the strategy working out well, so we are all very happy for JEV. He has been due a decent result, because he's been doing a good job this year, but has had more than his share of bad luck. Daniil was particularly unlucky as he had a drinks bottle problem right from the start, so it was a physically very difficult race for him, as he was unable to drink and was getting dehydrated from quite early on. We're sorry for him that we had that kind of problem, as it compromised his race."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, 9th

"It's good to be in the points and from a team perspective it's been a successful day. This is always a difficult race, especially from a strategic point of view, and maybe we could have achieved even more today. After the safety car I had to do a 30-lap stint on the soft tyres and like most of the cars ahead I was running out of grip towards the end of the race. With hindsight it would have been better to pit again for fresh tyres and we probably could have finished even higher up, but it's always a difficult decision for the team with the information we had at the time. The good news is that we got two cars home in the points."

Sergio Perez, 7th

"The race really had everything for me and the final laps were very enjoyable. I was very happy with our performance today and, most importantly, we finished ahead of our direct competitors. Those in front of me at the end had big tyre degradation, but this affected me as well. When I caught the train ahead I didn't have much grip either and this made each one of the overtakes a bit more difficult. We managed our tyres perfectly and to go from P15 to P7 was the reward we deserved. It was a great result for the team; they did a fantastic job with the strategy and it worked very well for both Nico and me. Today was one of those results where the race gives you a fantastic feeling: it's more than just scoring the points - it's about how you gained the result. Everything gets thrown at you but you don't give up and come back strongly to get the points."

Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director

"To come away from Singapore with eight points in our pocket and fifth place in the championship is a fantastic result. It was an eventful race, especially for Checo, and it was only in the closing laps that the race came back to us. We had to make some difficult decisions on the pit wall today, but I think on the whole we made the right ones. There was a bit of luck, too, but we made the most of our opportunities and Checo and Nico drove extremely well. It sets us up well for the final five races where it's crucial that we continue to score well with both cars."

McLaren

Jenson Button, DNF

"I was cueing things up for the end of the grand prix: I'd been looking after the tyres for the whole stint, and I knew the last five laps were when things were going to get tricky for Valtteri ahead of me. I'd just switched the car into a different mode, and the chase was starting to get quite exciting. Then, a few corners later, the car just died going into the hairpin. Going across the bridge, it just turned off, so I had to stop.

"I'd been really looking forward to the end of the race, because I definitely think I'd have got past Valtteri. But it just didn't work out – I was pretty unlucky."

Kevin Magnussen, 10th

"It was a very, very tough grand prix. During the race, I don't know if there was something wrong with the car, but my seat started getting very hot, which made things extremely uncomfortable for me. Without that, I think we could have done better than 10th, but at least we got that one point. It's better than nothing. It was the hardest point I've ever earned."

Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director

"To score just a single world championship point, after two hours toil in intense heat and humidity, is of course extremely disappointing for the entire team. For Jenson, who was driving exceptionally well in seventh place, cleverly optimising a tricky two-stop strategy, to be forced to retire with power box failure was an especially bitter blow. For Kevin, who had driven such an excellent qualifying lap here yesterday, this afternoon was gruelling; there's no other word. His first stint was satisfactory, but in stint two he began to experience tyre degradation to a greater degree than we'd predicted, forcing us to convert his strategy from a two-stopper to a three-stopper.

"To add injury to insult, he was then subjected to severe bodily discomfort as his car's cockpit began to overheat, necessitating his holding his arms aloft, first one then t'other, in an effort to direct cooling air down his sleeves and inside his race-suit, which was an unusually painful complication for him. In the end, after an impressively plucky drive in extremely challenging conditions, he was able to score a single point for the team. It was scant consolation, of course it was, but it's indicative of his tremendous fighting spirit, and I commend him for it."

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, 2nd

"It's a circuit I like here, the atmosphere‘s great and it's a tough event. I had a good start and got past Daniel and had a decent race. We played a bit with strategy after we got undercut by Alonso, the safety car came at the worst time for us but we made the tyres work at the end which was tough. There was no point fighting Lewis at the end, he was on fresh tyres and I had to manage mine to the end as they were pretty old by then; that was the focus. It was nice to get the cold champagne on the podium."

Daniel Ricciardo, 3rd

"We were really close to the Mercedes in qualifying and we expected the race pace to be a bit faster today to be honest. We weren't quick enough in the first stint and we had a few other issues going on, with brakes and some power issues that were coming and going, but in terms of points we still got a good handful to take away from here. It actually feels a bit like a home race here. Singapore to Perth is like Melbourne to Perth, so for West Australians it's not too far. Suzuka is in two weeks and that's another track we can be optimistic for, so I'm looking forward to that. All in all it was a solid weekend."

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal

"A tremendous performance by both drivers. After an interesting start, Fernando had to give back the position to Sebastian, but unfortunately not Daniel also, and after that it was all about getting into the race. We went onto the soft tyre at the first stop, by the time we got to the second, Fernando had got the undercut on us, so we went onto the different tyre to change the strategy. Then the pace car came out and we were in a horrible situation of having to decide if the tyre could make it to the end, but the drivers did an incredible job today, and got the cars to the finish on what must have been minimal rubber by the end. So, second and third is a great team performance, especially with the double pit stop during the race which was done in an exceptional time."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

"A difficult race today but we got the most we could have expected with a double podium. Sebastian had to fight from the beginning of the race, pushing to get the maximum of the car while keeping the tyre degradation under control. He managed very well until the end of the race and second place is a great result for him and the team. Daniel had reliability issues with his power unit and had to manage the energy management in very tricky situations. He again proved his ability to stay calm and focused, even in difficult situations, and stayed very quick. Once again reliability is the key point and we suffered this weekend. The car has the potential to win and we need to work harder to deliver it in the final races of the season."

Lotus

Pastor Maldonado, 12th

"We got the maximum out of our performance today and we had a strong consistent race. I'm pretty happy about this after the issues we had earlier in the weekend. I pitted once more than the others during the safety car period but it didn't affect my position. It was a tough race, especially the last ten laps where the tyres needed a lot of managing, but I think we were able to do a great race today."

Romain Grosjean, 13th

"It was hot out there; things were looking pretty alright until the safety car, we were fighting for points. Unfortunately, I tried to attack too hard on the restart. I wanted to give it everything and with cold soft tyres after a slow safety car period, it was just too much once at the corner. From then on, I couldn't pass back up through the field to get points."

Federico Gastaldi, Lotus deputy team principal

"We were very close to scoring points with Pastor and Romain today. Unfortunately we couldn't convert the potential into reality in the end but the team did a great job to get both cars to finish the race after the difficulties that we had through the course of the weekend. So I'm happy. Not rock and roll, but happy."

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director

"Unfortunately we didn't have the pace to challenge for points today but we were very close, closer than we have been for a long time. The safety car period obviously influenced our race strategy so it's hard to say what the maximum could have been were it not for that. We're pleased with the improvement of the E22 which we hope to be able to harness in the next races."

Sauber

Esteban Gutierrez, DNF

"There is not much to say about the race. At the moment it is almost impossible to achieve good results. We have to extract 120 percent from what we have, but with these issues we are having it makes things complicated. There is nothing that I can do to guard against these problems at the moment. We have to look forward to the next races and need to take every chance that we get. Keep fighting will be the most important objective for us as a team at the moment."

Adrian Sutil, DNF

"It is very frustrating to retire again due to a technical failure. Today we were in a good position to score points. It was a difficult race, as we had problems with the engine at the beginning. However, we were able to fix it and continue with our planned strategy. Regarding the contact with Sergio (Perez), there is not much to say besides that suddenly he drove into the back of the car. Luckily the car was not damaged."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal

"That was a very disappointing race. Esteban particularly was in a good position, but he was forced to retire from the race once again due to a problem with the power unit. As Adrian's car had a water leak, the team decided to retire him from the race so not to risk an engine failure. We now have to analyse the reason for this."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber head of track engineering

"Sadly once more our race finished before the chequered flag due to reliability issues. On Esteban's car there was, once again, an electrical problem with the power unit. Adrian experienced a water leak which forced us to stop him as a precautionary measure so not to damage the engine. Before that the race itself was going more or less the way we were expecting. Esteban was on a two stop strategy, but his race ended too early to know whether it would have worked. Adrian was on a three stop strategy, and I think we played it well during the safety car period in order to bring him back into the race, but then he had to stop. This was one of the races where we tried to cover all different possibilities, and in this sense everything was going according to plan. In the past we have seen that just getting the car to the finish line can be rewarded, but in this we failed, due to the reliability issues."

Caterham

Kamui Kobayashi, DNS

"What a frustrating way to end the race weekend here in Singapore. During the formation lap, all of a sudden I felt no power and then it smelt as if something was burning. Then I suddenly lost the brakes so I decided to stop the car because it was dangerous and I had nothing to do. I was really looking forward to this race and it's a shame not to have been able to get out there and fight, but this happens sometimes in motorsport unfortunately."

Marcus Ericsson, 15th

"What a race! One of the best of my season so far, I have no doubt about it. I'm very pleased and happy for the whole team – this result is a great way of saying thank you for all the hard work and effort they put in yesterday. We can be very happy as we beat our closest rivals fair and square after having struggled quite a lot to keep up with them this weekend. We maximised our performance today. We followed a great strategy and I didn't make any mistakes. I'm very pleased but we have to carry on working as hard as ever in order to build on this and make progress every race.

"We decided to stay out on the Prime tyres and I knew that Bianchi was going to catch me as he pitted in front of me, so I prepared myself as best as possible for the final four laps. I managed the tyres well and kept him behind. A great effort!"

Manfredi Ravetto, Caterham team principal

"It's ended up being a very positive weekend here in Singapore. We've managed to beat Sauber from a reliability point of view as well as beating Marussia out on track for the second race weekend in a row. We are definitely on our way up. I would like to thank every single member of the team, both here on track and back at the factory in Leafield - we've all worked very hard and I am proud of the whole team."

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, 11th

"After the safety car we moved to a two-stop strategy and in the end the tyres just weren't able to hold on. In the final lap I had a big lock up in the rear tyres when I was defending and after that I had no grip and cars could easily sweep past. I also had an issue with the power steering in the final stint and this made it harder to keep the tyres alive as I lost a lot of feeling in the car. If I hadn't had this issue then I might have been able to go until the end. Obviously I'm disappointed not to finish in the points but we can take a lot of positives from this weekend as we looked competitive at a track that is less suited to our car and we have kept third place in the constructors' championship."

Felipe Massa, 5th

"We changed the strategy from a three-stop to a two-stop after the long safety car period, and the final stint was pushing the tyre to the absolute limit but I managed to make it work. The grip levels were very low in the final few laps but I had a big enough gap to sixth place to ease the car home. Given the nature of the track, fifth was probably the best position we could have hoped for this weekend, but I am of course disappointed for the team that Valtteri's tyres were not able to hold on until the end."

Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance

"We knew it was going to be damage limitation this weekend and on balance we should be pleased with the result as up until the final few corners, we were set to score the same number of points as our nearest rivals in the Championship. We took a calculated risk with the strategy and this succeeded for Felipe as it kept him ahead of Raikonnen who had a faster car, but with Valtteri it didn't pay off as he ran out of tyres on the final lap which cost him sixth place. The drivers did a magnificent job behind the wheel and the team has operated very well all weekend. We are heading to tracks that will suit our car more now and we have maintained our third place in the championship which was the objective at the beginning of the weekend."

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, DNF

"The problems with my steering wheel began in the garage even before the race and it was a difficult moment when I couldn't pull away from the grid - the car didn't get out of neutral. When I left the pit-lane, I was only able to change gear - there was no radio, no DRS and reduced Hybrid power. We were hoping that the systems might come back to life, like the radio did, and that we could change the situation. But after we changed the wheel another time, we had to retire the car. It was a tough day for me and unfortunately another reliability problem for the team. It was at least something good for the team that Lewis was able to take the win. Now we need to analyse what happened and to optimise everything further because reliability is our issue this year."

Lewis Hamilton, 1st

"It was great to come here after winning in Monza and start the final leg of the season with such a competitive car. It would have been a really hardcore race if Nico had been at the front, as we clearly had the pace. It was all running pretty comfortably until the Safety Car came out, which gave me some problems. I was driving hard to build the gap but then the tyres started dropping off and I wasn't sure what to do - keep pushing or back off to look after them. So we pitted straight away and I came out behind Seb. But I knew they were on a two-stop strategy and that his tyres were old. I went for it down the back straight - the gap was pretty small and maybe I could have chosen another point on the circuit. But I luckily squeezed through and made it stick. Of course, it's not an ideal result with Nico retiring, so that shows we still have work to do to get on top of reliability. But it's been a great job from the team at everyone at the factories to make this mega car. Now we need to keep pushing hard for Japan in two weeks' time."

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"What an incredible race from Lewis. After the Safety Car came in, it needed qualifying laps every time round to build the gap - and he did that faultlessly. These are the days when drivers like Lewis show what makes the difference between star drivers and the superstar drivers. Congratulations to him. On the other side, it was a bitter afternoon for Nico. It looks like a loom in the steering column failed and that was the root of his problems. When he came back to the garage, I told him we were sorry to have let him down - and he handled the whole situation in a very professional way. We have a missile of a car this year but these reliability issues keep tripping us up. The parts will be sent back to base tonight for forensic analysis by our reliability group. We have an excellent team dedicated to quality and we will track down this failure and make sure it does not happen again. Looking at the Championship, the pressure is now on for both drivers with such a small gap and five races to go. It will give us a few more grey hairs - but it's great for the fans of Formula One."

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)

"That was a bittersweet afternoon for the team - a fantastic win for Lewis tempered by disappointment at the technical problem with Nico's car. Although we have not yet fully understood the causes, Nico suffered an electronic problem within his steering column. This manifested itself on his laps to the grid and we changed the steering wheel on the grid in the hope this might resolve the issue. But it became clear as soon as he started the race that only his gear change paddles were working. This meant he had no control over the clutch, or the many different functions he manages from the steering wheel. Among other things, he had significantly reduced energy deployment, which meant he couldn't pass even the slower cars he encountered. At the pit stop, the car became stuck in neutral and we decided to retire because we judged that the mechanism required to restart would have been too dangerous. I can only offer my commiserations and apologies to Nico. On the other side of the garage, Lewis delivered a fantastic performance. The pace was strong and our tyre endurance better than that of our competitors. We were backed into a corner by the Safety Car at the mid-point of the race, when others decided to go to the end on the prime tyre. But we stuck to our guns, made the right strategy call to stay out and Lewis did the rest. We had hoped to pull the full pit-stop gap over Vettel before Lewis made his final stop but the tyres didn't quite last long enough. That left Lewis with a little work to do when he emerged from the pits, but he enjoyed a significant performance advantage on fresh tyres and made a good pass into Turn 7. It was a very controlled drive and a hard-earned win."

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

"Again we saw another very tense and exciting race where different tyre strategies formed a crucial part of the outcome. In the closing stages of the grand prix we had Hamilton on newer soft tyres behind Vettel on older soft tyres, meaning he had to overtake to seal the race victory. Before then, we had the situation where Hamilton, on the faster supersoft tyre, had to build up a crucial half-minute or so gap after the safety car to give him enough time to get in and out of the pits and change to the soft tyre. So, as we have seen before, despite the fact that there were different strategies at work, it was an extremely close finish."

Marussia

Jules Bianchi, 16th

"Today was not the easiest of days for us, but at least there were some positives to take away. We were closer to the Lotus of Maldonado and also to the Sauber of Sutil, so at least we are back to a more typical delta to those teams on this type of circuit. It is disappointing that we were unable to get past Ericsson due to brake wear issues. It was quite a demanding race as there were a lot of factors that we had to manage, particularly the brakes. The safety car after Perez's accident brought the pack back together so any advantage was lost, particularly as we struggled on the prime tyre."

Max Chilton, 17th

"A tough and complicated race, which also had its fair share of bad luck. I had a stall in the pit lane at the start of the reconnaissance lap and had to return to the garage. I got a good start and almost got Ericsson, then lost time to him when, unusually, Rosberg got past and stayed between us for quite a chunk of the first stint. I made my first pit stop and then had to come in again soon after, when we suffered a puncture due to a valve issue on the front right wheel. This upset our strategy as we switched to the prime tyre earlier than expected. The problem was made worse when the Safety Car came out halfway through the race at a point where I was unable to benefit and that left us compromised for the final stint on the option."

John Booth, Marussia team principal

"Today's race was every inch the tough challenge we anticipated, so first and foremost all credit to the drivers and the team for their tremendous efforts in managing all the aspects of the race. Overall, not the result we wanted. At most points in the race we were much stronger than Caterham, however our performance on the prime tyre under the safety car was by far our most limiting factor, by having to complete a three-stop race versus their two-stops. Both cars suffered problems in the race, Jules with brake wear issues and Max with a puncture that can be traced to a valve issue."

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso, 4th

"With hindsight, it’s easy to ask oneself how things would have gone if I hadn’t made a mistake at the start and the Safety Car hadn’t come out when it did, but overall I’m pleased with this weekend, because we were competitive and were able to fight with the front runners. Sometimes, a Safety Car can help but I think that today on this front, we were a bit unlucky, because at that moment, we were trying to make sure of second place and our strategy was good. We didn’t have much of an alternative, because if we had stayed out, the probability was that the stop for the Softs would have cost us more places. Even if in the end, I wasn’t able to get past, the fact we were competitive right to the finish confirms we have made a step forward. Now, in Suzuka, a real circuit, we will have a clearer picture of where we are."

Kimi Raikkonen, 8th

"Today’s race was really frustrating, because despite the fact we were quick, we weren’t able to finish where we wanted. My start was good, I moved up a few places and everything was working perfectly. After the first stop, I lost a place to Felipe and from then on, I found myself stuck behind a Williams for the entire race. Unfortunately, every time I managed to get close, I lost aero performance on the rear and on top of that, tyre degradation was very high. It’s a real shame I was never able to run my race, even if we already knew that straightline speed is our opponents’ strong point. I’m not happy with eighth place, but on the positive side, we have seen improvements this weekend. I’m sure that if, from now on, we don’t have problems, things will go better."

Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari team principal

"Today’s race could have delivered us a better result, because thanks to a quick response from the team after the disappointing outcome of the Grand Prix in Monza, we were competitive all weekend long. Our pace was good and thanks to the strategy, with Fernando we managed to run second, but it later slipped from our grasp during the course of the race. Kimi was held up by traffic and slowed with tyre degradation and, although he got a good start, he was unable to retake the places he had made up. The variable of the Safety Car altered our strategy projections, affecting the outcome of the race. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the only strategy for winning is to be able to count on a competitive car. Now we leave Singapore having shown signs of progress: on this front, Suzuka will provide a very interesting test bench, because it will allow us to go deeper into our development work in areas in which we want to improve."

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director

"Here in Singapore, the performance of the two F14 Ts was a pleasant surprise, as we have never been as close to the front runners this season. The technical characteristics of the track, our development work, the talent of our drivers and the way our car worked on the softer tyres are just some of the elements that explain our good form this weekend. While very encouraging, it was still not enough to achieve the team’s objectives and it was a real shame to see second place slip from our grasp with Fernando because of the Safety Car. Unfortunately, with Kimi we didn’t manage to get the most out of the car: he had the potential to get a better result, if hadn’t been for Massa undercutting him and then, even though he was on fresher tyres, he did not have the top speed to pass Bottas on the straight. Like Monaco, this is a track where it’s hard to overtake and the arrival of the Safety Car can jumble up the order. Now, in Suzuka, we will have another opportunity and once again, we will try and fight the Red Bulls and especially the Williams in the constructors’ championship."

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