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In quotes - Sunday in Brazil

15 Nov 2015

Ten teams, 20 drivers, and one official tyre supplier report back on the Formula 1 Grande Premio Petrobras do Brasil 2015...


Will Stevens, 17th

“I think the focus on race balance has really paid off for me this weekend. It wasn’t an easy race because of having to look after the rear tyres, but I knew that if I could get past Alex I would be able to pull away. I’m pleased to regain the advantage over my team-mate and bring the car home in 18th place. Yet another two-car finish for the team, which is good news, so we go into the final round in Abu Dhabi eager to end season on a high note.”

Alexander Rossi, 18th

“Wow, that was a tough race. My first stint wasn’t so bad, but in the second and third stints the balance was terrible and I was losing so much time with understeer. Will getting past was inevitable and I was pretty resigned to that fact. It’s a shame, because the early part of the weekend was stronger for me. I would have liked my final F1 round of 2015 to have a better outcome, but I look back at the five races I’ve had since Japan and I’m pretty happy overall. It’s been a totally positive experience and I know I’ve given it everything I’ve got. So now we wait and see what the future brings, but I want to thank the team for this incredible opportunity to show what I can do and I hope I’ve done that.”

John Booth, Team Principal

“I think Will had a much more enjoyable day than Alexander and he is pretty happy, having focused rather more on the race throughout the weekend. Everything came together for him today, whereas Alex seemed to have a really difficult balance and he was battling with the car from start to finish, so I’m sure it seemed like a very long race for him. For Abu Dhabi we have Roberto back in the car and Alex will be focusing on his GP2 team’s championship position, but I’d like to commend him on five very strong races with us and it has been a pleasure to have him around.”


Romain Grosjean, 8th

“It was a fun race, and I enjoyed going through the field with some nice overtaking manoeuvres with our aggressive race strategy. It was quite hard to follow the cars but we had good power to overtake into turn 1. It has been an emotional weekend so it is good to be back in the points. The next race will be my last one with the team and taking the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi will be very special but I will give my best to bring a good result.”

Pastor Maldonado, 10th

“It was a very active race with lots going on. We used a different strategy to most by running with the slower but more durable tyre for the first stint, when it was difficult to make progress against those on the softs. That meant when we changed to the softs we could push harder in the middle stint and make some good places. Then at the end we were defending with harder tyres from those with softer and fresher ones so it was difficult to keep P10, but from where we started it was a good race.”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal

"A great job from Romain, and also from all of the race team here, to work so well at what is nearly the end of a very long season. Thanks too to everyone at Enstone for all their efforts which we were hoping would be rewarded by both cars in the points. It’s a big shame that Pastor received a penalty as otherwise he would have finished at least P10, and this is very frustrating for all of us.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

"That was a strong race where we got back to where we should have been fighting after yesterday’s disappointing qualifying. Romain drove superbly today and Pastor should have scored too were it not for his penalty."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, 6th

 “I’m very happy with sixth place and with scoring the points that helped the team secure fifth place in the championship, which is great news. It’s the best result in our history and shows the progress we have made over the years. This fifth place is a result of all the hard work from everybody in the team and we should feel very proud of what we have achieved together. The race today was fun, although I didn’t have the best start and got some wheel spin, which dropped me behind Bottas and Kvyat. Fortunately I was able to get one of those places back with an aggressive early pit stop, but that forced me to do two very long stints on the medium tyres, which was the main challenge of the day. We made it work, though, managing the tyres and delivering the two-stop strategy. I’m now looking forward to Abu Dhabi and ending the season on another high note.”

Sergio Perez, 12th

 “It hasn't been the best of weekends for me. I have struggled to feel comfortable with the car from the start and I feel I didn't go in the right direction with the set-up yesterday. Today was more or less the same so we will need to go back and analyse all the data from the weekend to address the issues before we arrive in Abu Dhabi. Today's result, however, should take nothing away from what has been a great championship so far. The team has now finished fifth, so there are a lot of positives to celebrate. I am proud of what we achieved together this season and I am looking forward to aiming even higher in the future.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“Everybody in the team is delighted that we have secured fifth place in the championship with a race to spare. It’s the reward for all the hard work put in by everyone back at the factory in Silverstone, at the wind tunnel, and here at the track. We have been through a lot this year, but we never let our target out of our sight and today we can celebrate. The race itself leaves us with mixed feelings as we wanted to seal this result with a double points finish. Nico drove very well, making a two-stop strategy work and withstanding a lot of pressure in the closing stages when Kvyat was behind him. Unfortunately Checo missed out on the top ten despite fighting hard this afternoon, but he didn't feel completely comfortable with the car all weekend. We now head to Abu Dhabi to close off this record-breaking season on a high and secure top ten positions in the drivers' championship for both Nico and Checo."


Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“With weather conditions warm but uncertain, strategy was always going to be a key element of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Rosberg’s considered approach to tyre management over the course of the whole weekend once again proved to be a key element of his victory, which was very well deserved. However, there were a number of drivers operating a two-stop race. We saw some long stints on the medium compound that helped drivers gain track position.”

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat, 7th

“Today we extracted pretty much the maximum out of what we could have done. Unfortunately we got undercut by Force India at the first pit stop which compromised our race a bit. After that I was following Hulkenberg all the time and it was quite hard to find a place to overtake. We were stuck behind him trying to attack but they were controlling us in a straight line so it wasn’t easy, I got in DRS range a couple of times but it didn’t really help. Anyway we have to be happy with those 6 points at this track. All in all we had a very controlled qualifying yesterday and a controlled race today, so it couldn’t have been much better.”

Daniel Ricciardo, 11th

“In the first few laps we made up some positions and did what we could and then we went for an aggressive first stop. When we put the primes on, we didn’t really have the tyre life we thought we would so we still had to do a three stop race, running at a pretty similar pace to the cars around us. Parts of the race were a little bit boring, although I had a nice battle with Sergio for a few laps, which was encouraging. I had to get around him twice and that kept me excited for a while. Clearly my grid penalty didn’t help today, but Abu Dhabi’s next and that has always been a good circuit for us. I enjoy it a lot so for the last race of the season we’ll hopefully finish strong and in the points.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“We knew this was going to be a difficult track for us and we were proved right this afternoon, even though the team and the drivers did their utmost to bring home the best possible result. Overtaking is very difficult here and we couldn’t match the pace of the quickest cars down the straight: we clearly weren’t alone in this as only four cars finished on the lead lap. Dany finished where he qualified to bring home some valuable points. As for Daniel, who made up seven places from his grid position, we tried giving him a short final stint on the softer tyre to see if he could catch and pass some cars in the closing laps but today it didn’t pay off.”

Matthieu Dubois, Renault

“It has been a tough weekend for us and to be honest the Paris attacks have overshadowed anything that has happened here in Interlagos. We decided from the outset to take a heavy penalty to introduce a new engine specification and learn as much as we could. We know there is still work to extract the performance. The penalty resulted in Daniel finishing out of the points, but the result with Daniil could not have been a lot better. Nevertheless it is positive to see all the measures introduced are paying off in terms of reliability again, including the new engine. Above all we would like to reiterate our strongest thoughts to the victims of Friday and their families.”

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen, 9th

“It was a very enjoyable race! Of course, you always want to score more points, but we have to be realistic and a P10 was the maximum we could do today. On the straights we were slow and it’s very difficult to defend position with a Lotus or a Force India unfortunately, but to add another point is always good. I enjoyed it out there this afternoon – I managed to do some good overtakes, especially at Turn 1! There were some good battles, I was attacking but behind they were also doing the same to me, so I had no rest but it was good fun! I’m happy to finish in the top ten once again.”

Carlos Sainz, DNF

“How frustrating not to even be able to start the race! I went to do the first practice start on the way to the grid but the engine suddenly turned off. I was pushed back to the garage and started the race from the pit-lane, but as soon as I left the engine stopped… It’s a shame, because I was really looking forward to racing here! It’s definitely not the ideal situation for a rookie like me, as I need to gain experience and finish races, but now we just need to look forward, there’s one race left in Abu Dhabi in two weeks and we will give it our all to try and end the season on a high.”

Franz Tost, Team Principal

“Starting from P9 and P10, I was expecting to score some more points than what we have today. Unfortunately, Carlos wasn’t able to make it to the starting grid because of an issue on the drivetrain. We checked everything when he was brought back to the garage and he started the race from the pit-lane, but unfortunately after only a few hundred metres we recognised that the problem was not solved, the rear tyres locked-up and that was the end of his race. I’m really sorry for Carlos, because this is now his seventh retirement due to a technical failure, where the driver cannot do anything about it. As for Max, he had a good start to the race, even though he was then overtaken on the long straight by a few other competitors with more power and therefore quicker. He was able to establish himself in eleventh position and had some fantastic fights with Maldonado, Grosjean, Perez and Nasr, and I must say that once more, his manoeuvres were of an extraordinary quality – always overtaking in the corners, taking a lot of controlled risks, and not in the straights like the other cars. Max really drove an excellent race. The strategy from the team was good, we couldn’t have done anything different. We simply have to accept that here in Sao Paulo we were just too slow to close the gap to Lotus. We have one more race in two weeks in Abu Dhabi, which is a completely different type of circuit, and I hope that we can fight and end up in sixth position in the Constructors’ Championship.”

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 Track Support Leader

“Yet again Max put in a good race and scored a well-deserved point after a difficult weekend. Everything worked perfectly with his power unit and he was able to fight with the Force Indias and Lotus cars for position. It is obviously a shame that we lost Carlos' car so early in the race. The team looked at everything in a lot of detail after his electrical issue yesterday that affected the clutch control and the analysis suggested that everything on the engine side was OK to run. Unfortunately it seems that the engine was in the end affected by this issue, which resulted in a loss of power on the lap to the grid and then on lap one. We will check everything with the team and try to end the season on a high in Abu Dhabi. But more importantly we would all like to express our sincere sympathy for the victims of the Paris attacks on Friday night, their friends and families. We are all thinking deeply of our city at this very sad time.”


Fernando Alonso, 15th

“Finishing the race today was our first priority after having suffered retirements on recent Sunday afternoons, so it’s good news that both cars saw the chequered flag and we collected some good data, especially for next year and especially for the chassis, to see which is the best way to go to keep moving forward.

“The chassis has already improved a lot in terms of aerodynamics, and corner speed is good; but we are still missing power.

“Unfortunately, the car was not working 100% at the beginning of the race. It sometimes felt strange to drive, with different power in different gears, so I was having to try to avoid the odd gear from time to time. I think the reason for that was that after qualifying we fitted a brand-new engine and we didn’t have any laps in which to set it up.

“Anyway, we have just one more 2015 grand prix to go now. I can’t wait to start working 100 percent on 2016.”

Jenson Button, 14th

“We never enjoy P15, but the race itself was reasonably pleasurable – I could push the car and fight people in the corners.

“We know where our weaknesses are, so let’s concentrate on the positives. So there was an interesting feel to the car out there today, we had reliability, and we ended up 12 seconds behind the last points-scoring position, which is probably closer than we’d expected to be.

“Okay, we were a long way off the front-runners’ pace – when they come past it’s scary how fast they are, especially on the straights. But, as for the midfield pack, through the corners we’re pretty competitive, as I say, which means you can have a bit of fun out there.

“We’ll be back at the factory on Tuesday and hopefully we can continue to develop the car. There’s a lot of room for improvement but it feels like we’re going in the right direction, which is promising, and I’m enjoying inputting into that. I have strong belief – in Ron [Dennis] and his leadership, and in the teams at both Woking and Sakura. We’re a team that’s pushing hard and we’ll make massive strides in the winter. I’m really looking forward to next season.

“We’re working massively hard. We’ve probably produced more new parts than any other team, and they seem to be working. We had new front wings here, and it’ll be interesting to go back to the MTC on Tuesday to study the data and see if they’ve helped us move forward, but it already feels like they have.

“Hopefully in the next race, Abu Dhabi, we’ll do a little better again.”

Eric Boullier, Racing Director

“For a team that has won the Brazilian Grand Prix no fewer than 12 times in the past – more than any other équipe – to finish 15th and 16th here today is of course far from agreeable.

“However, yet again, both Jenson and Fernando drove forcefully and skilfully, in trying conditions, their efforts compromised not least by the uphill gradient of the main straight, which was always going to be inimical to the optimisation of our car’s specific performance envelope.

“Nonetheless, both their Honda power units ran like clockwork today, exhibiting faultless reliability throughout the afternoon, and that laudable achievement represents a sound and solid developmental platform on which we can build for the future.”

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D Senior Managing Officer - Chief Officer of Motorsport

"First, I would like to thank the McLaren-Honda mechanics and engineers, who, with the cooperation of the FIA, were able to prepare Fernando's car for the race today.

“The race itself was less eventful than the practice sessions had been. Most of the cars finished where they’d started, which resulted in a P15 and a P16 for us.

“In order to fight with the midfield runners, we need to utilise the full three days of the race weekend, to set up both the car and the power unit; but, for the Brazilian Grand Prix, we lost much of this precious time.

“The last race in 2015 will be in Abu Dhabi, where McLaren-Honda united as a team one year ago. It will be important for us to show our progression and perform to the maximum of our current abilities there."


Kimi Raikkonen, 4th

“Not much happened in my race today: the start was kind of ok, I had some wheelspin but I managed to keep the position and I could follow Seb down the corner. We had enough speed to keep the fourth position easily, but I had hoped to have a better feeling with the car. I was struggling a bit with the Soft tires and then again with the Mediums. They were ok for a few laps, when they were still new, but afterwards I was not so happy with the handling. Still, I don’t think my race result would have been different if we had switched to a three-stop strategy, so we stuck to the two stops as planned in advance. My last stint was probably the best but obviously there was not much I could do at that point, as we were already too far away from the guys in front. We tried to make the best out of it, and fourth place is fine.”

Sebastian Vettel, 3rd

“It was a good race! We were close as we had never been before, which is a massive achievement, considering that Mercedes was pushing all the way, as they had nothing to lose. For sure it is not the most exciting race when you are a little bit alone, but it is still a very nice track, enjoyable on every single lap. It’s not easy to get everything right, looking after the tires but still trying to go to the limit. Overall I’m very happy. We know Mercedes have a very strong engine and Power Unit, a very strong car, and that both drivers are doing a good job. So that made their package very difficult to beat, but if you look at our Power Unit, the Motoristi have done a miracle this year and the same goes for the car. Also, let’s not forget there was a lot of changes in the team, and that usually takes time to digest. We got into the right rythm straight away, achieving some podiums and winning already the second race of the season, and I think we improved more than anyone else. Now in the winter there is a chance to make a big step but that is also true for the other teams. Our target has to be, again, to make the bigger step compared to everyone. I am told I had more podium finishes than any other Ferrari driver at his first season with the Scuderia: so I hope I can turn all of these 13 podiums into victories next year!”

Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal

“Our pace today was good: on some laps we were close to the Mercedes, on some other stages we were matching their lap times and on some occasions we managed to be even quicker. Overall, though, they were quicker than us on more occasions. Looking at the data, we see that despite having no safety car period in this race, we were closer at the end than in most other races this year. And our cars were the only ones not to be lapped! With Seb, we switched from two to three pit stops, fitting Options on his second stint for purely strategic reasons, a three stopper would have allowed Seb to be more aggressive. He really pushed throughout the race. With Kimi, we stayed on the two stops to cover every possible situation, and this explains why he had more tire degradation than Seb. Much of the credit goes to our car and all the people who worked on it all year. Now we move on to Abu Dhabi and the last race of the season. We said we wanted to end up this year in style, and that means we’ll be trying everything we can to achieve a brilliant result!”


Nico Rosberg, 1st

“Wow - another great win in front of another great crowd! I'm so happy with that one - especially at this great circuit with all this history, which makes it extra fun. It was a perfect weekend for me. I was able to control the race the whole time and won with a comfortable margin to Lewis in the end. The team made a good decision to switch to a three-stop race as we saw that Lewis' tyres went off very quickly. I look forward now to Abu Dhabi where I'll be pushing to end the season on a high. It's good to have secured P2 in the Championship in front of Sebastian today - but that's never really been my ambition. I want to be first, so I need to raise my game as this year it wasn't high enough. I want to remember at this moment also that we have to put our sport in a different perspective after the incident in Paris. My thoughts are very much still with the family and friends of the people involved.”

Lewis Hamilton, 2nd

“I felt good out there today. I was pushing like crazy and genuinely had nothing left. I really love this track but it's so difficult to overtake. I was all over Nico but couldn't get past as the DRS Zone sadly just wasn't long enough. It would be great to do something different strategy-wise once in a while to mix it up - but as drivers we rely on the team. They do so many simulations that they know what's best. The three-stop strategy was slower but the tyres wouldn't have lasted, so it was the right decision. At the end of the day, Nico drove a fantastic race and he's done a great job in qualifying recently too. Since Singapore the car has changed a bit which seems to have swung it towards him - but I just need to get my head down, work out why that is and get back on top of it for the final race. It has been fantastic being here in Brazil with these amazing fans. There is a lot of love in their hearts. Thank you to the organizers for a great event and see you next year!”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“A fantastic 1-2 finish for the team this afternoon and a great feeling to see Nico secure P2 in the Championship with this win. He put in a faultless performance this weekend with a strong pole position lap and then a beautiful drive today. For Lewis, running P2 was always going to be difficult at this track. As soon as you get close to the car in front, you lose downforce and the tyres start dropping off. When that happened in the second stint he asked about an alternative strategy. But the only option was to convert to three stops which was ten seconds slower in terms of overall race time and would have put his second place at risk to Vettel. Then, the situation changed in our favour when Vettel converted to a three-stop strategy, which allowed us to do the same and control any threat from behind to the end of the race. The boys were pushing flat out to the finish but Nico was able to manage the gap to the end to take a well-deserved win. We're looking forward to seeing this season's final installment of the battle between Lewis and Nico in two weeks' time in Abu Dhabi.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director Technical

“Congratulations to Nico who delivered a perfect weekend here in Brazil. He won the race through a great qualifying lap yesterday and consolidated that with a tremendously controlled drive today. Unfortunately for Lewis, he couldn't counter that and spent the afternoon chasing hard - unable to quite get close enough to try and overtake Nico on track. To us, it seemed a very exciting race as both drivers fought over fractions of a second lap after lap, putting each other under immense and sustained pressure. We originally planned to do a two-stop strategy but eventually converted to a three-stop strategy to shadow Sebastian in third place, even though the three-stopper was about 10 seconds slower overall. But with the relatively slender margin we had to the Ferrari, it was much safer to mimic his stops. There was a point in the second stint when Lewis asked if anything could be done about a different strategy, but the only alternative at that point was the slower three-stopper, with others looking like they were two-stopping, and we didn't want to risk handing second place to Ferrari. Our policy is to let our drivers race and also to allow them to explore viable alternative strategies, as we have shown in the past - but we don't let them pursue a bad alternative strategy at any cost. Needless to say, it's fantastic to take a 15th race win and 11th one-two finish of the season; and it was just as satisfying to see Jimmy on the podium for his 50th birthday. He's part of the fabric of our team and of the paddock as a whole, and it was nice to be able to recognise him with a visit to the rostrum.”


Valtteri Bottas, 5th

“The start was the most exciting part of the race for me as I gained a few places. After that I just had to maintain the tyres and make them work on a two-stop strategy. We were missing pace today so we need to have a look at why and improve for Abu Dhabi. I am so proud of the team to get P3 in the constructors’. We are competing against teams that are much bigger than us, and in some cases beating them, which is really cool. The guys at the track and in the factory have done really well this year, so a massive thank you must go to them and also to Mercedes HPP for a really strong power unit. We want to win though, so next year we must continue to make that step forward.”

Felipe Massa, EXC

“The atmosphere is always fantastic here, it's a great feeling from the people. Unfortunately my race today was not anything to compare with the atmosphere. I was struggling all weekend with lap time. I started eighth and finished eighth, so there isn't much to say. It was a frustrating race for me. We just need to finish the championship on a high now, with a much better result than I had here.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

“We have achieved our primary target for the season which was to retain third in the constructors', showing a marked improvement compared to where we were a few years ago. We've shown consistency in consolidating that position and the team has worked very well to achieve that. Today's race was not what we wanted, we just didn't have enough pace. Valtteri was able to get past Hulkenberg and Kvyat in the first stint and show the car's true pace, while Felipe was unfortunately caught behind them for most of the race and unable to do the same.”


Marcus Ericsson, 16th

“I think it was probably the worst start of my F1 career, as I had a lot of wheel spin and then almost dropped down to last. Despite this, the pace was good and I was making some nice moves, working my way up the field and catching the guys in front of me. Then, unfortunately, Pastor (Maldonado) made a move on me into turn 1. It was just too late, he hit the back of my car, spun me around and we had to pit to check for damage. I lost around 30 to 40 seconds and, obviously, the race was then compromised. Despite this I had a good pace, but we just lost too much time with what happened. Overall it was a disappointing day, but the pace was promising.”

Felipe Nasr, 13th

“It has been a very special weekend - not just on race day, but over the entire weekend. I felt a lot of energy from the fans, from my family, who were here supporting me, and from everyone else. I cannot wait to come back next year, and hopefully we can come back in a more competitive way. Talking about the race today, it was a tough one for us. The beginning of the race was pretty good, I managed to make up positions at the start, but after that we just couldn’t keep the other cars behind us. It’s one of those days where you fight, but didn’t get the rewards.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, team principal

“A disappointing result, especially when you consider the starting position and the speed we showed. Marcus had a bad start, which lost him his rhythm and, unfortunately, Felipe was unable to make the most of his grid positon. At the season finale in Abu Dhabi the track should us suit better.”