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In quotes - Sunday in Sakhir

19 Apr 2015

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton on his third win in four races; Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen on his first podium in 27 races; and McLaren's Jenson Button on not even starting the race. The teams and drivers report back on Sunday's 2015 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix...

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, 6th

“I think the race went as well as it could and I drove well to finish sixth. The chassis is working better and through the corners we are more or less there; we’ll move onto Europe and see if we can get further up the grid and keep improving. The weekend went pretty smooth for me until the end of the race, I don’t know what happened, but the team will have a look at it.”

Daniil Kvyat, 9th

“I enjoyed the race today, it put a smile on my face. We had a good recovery to finish in the points. We gathered a lot of data to analyse and see what improvements can be made so we can move forward. As a team we want to improve and we’re all working hard to get there – I can feel good vibes are coming.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“I think both drivers got the absolute maximum out of the cars today. Daniel drove a very clean race; his engine seemed to join the firework party in the end, but he finished a strong sixth. Daniil made a good recovery from his P17 start to finish in ninth. It’s good to have both cars finish in the points today.”

Thierry Salvi, Renault

“It was a quiet race for us and as much as we could have expected results-wise. We got to the end with the fixes we put in place after Shanghai, and got the points, which was the main objective.”

Force India

Sergio Perez, 8th

“Eighth place feels very good and I’m very satisfied. It was a great opportunity to score points today and this is a nice reward for the whole team. Before the race we were not sure a two-stop strategy was possible for us - we thought the tyre degradation would be too high, but the team did an amazing job to make it happen. My engineers were giving me good information over the radio and after the first stint we knew that stopping twice was our best chance of scoring points. I think this was one of my best races in terms of managing the pace and the tyres. There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend and once again we showed that this team has a lot of heart and that we never give up.”

Nico Hulkenberg, 13th

“It was a disappointing result for me tonight: we didn't seem to be able to find the same level of grip we had in qualifying and that made it really hard in the car. We were in a few battles, but we just couldn't get the right edge, which is a shame. We seemed to be struggling to preserve the tyres compared to the cars around us and this cost us positions. We will need to investigate what caused us to suffer so much in the race, and hopefully it will at least give us an answer to avoid a similar situation in future races.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“Finishing with some points is always a good result, especially considering the way in which Sergio and the engineers executed the two-stop strategy. We needed Sergio to preserve his tyres to make our strategy work and he did this perfectly. When there was the need to pull a decisive move, he did so without compromising tyres or car and that proved to be the key for tonight's result. Nico had a busy race and he always seemed to be in the middle of some battle. He suffered with high degradation today and the extra pit stop compared to Checo dropped him outside the points. Overall, though, we feel very positive leaving Bahrain - it’s a solid result to wrap up the first round of fly-away races and adds four important points to our tally as we head to Europe.”

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, 4th

“I am pleased with the race and happy with fourth position. It was a real shame for the team that Felipe had an issue at the start. It was a lonely race but the final 20 laps were very tough. Sebastian was quicker than me, and closed up behind very fast, but the fight was really good fun. I know a few tricks that can really help to defend and they all worked today, and I am delighted to come out on top today.”

Felipe Massa, 10th

“It was a frustrating day for me to have to start from the pit lane. The car struggled to fire-up and once under way I had a lot of positions to make up. A few laps in at Turn Four, Maldonado ran into the back of me and damaged something. From then on I really struggled with the rear and the car was very hard to drive. It was a difficult day but one point is better than nothing.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

“It was a race of two halves today for us. Felipe had a sensor issue on the grid and we struggled to return from that. In the end Felipe drove a great race to fight back and bring the car home with a point. Valtteri had a great race as we managed to capitalise on Vettel’s mistake and he did a brilliant job to hold off the Ferrari for 17 laps in the closing stages. Overall, our targets are being met in terms of championship position but we need to develop the package quicker to catch the cars in front.”

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen, DNF

"It hasn’t been a positive day. It was a tough race. We still don’t know the exact reason for the retirement, but it looks like an electrical issue made us end our race before time. Obviously this is not the way we would like to finish our weekend but we have to stay positive. I’m disappointed, but we will carry on working as hard as always in order to come back stronger in Barcelona and fight for points again. That’s where we belong!"

Carlos Sainz, DNF

"Quite a disappointing day today for all of us, especially after such a good qualifying yesterday. I don’t know what happened to my car today, I just know that I felt something weird with its behaviour and I was forced to stop. I can’t hide the fact that I’m upset because we had a very good starting grid position but we suffered from a lack of pace today. We’ll do our best to be in good shape for the start of the European season in Barcelona, a race which will be very special for me as I will be racing at home."

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, 7th

"It had been a tough weekend until now for me, so it was really great to get another strong seventh position. Today's race was great, especially as there was lots of overtaking. I was really hoping to catch Daniel Ricciardo but he was too quick for us today. It was quite difficult to manage tyres, especially with the rears so I think we did a good job to make the two-stop strategy work. We only had new medium compound tyres for the race, the rest were scrubbed, so it really was a great job by the team. It was a good recovery from Friday and Saturday's session and I'll happily take seventh place as my birthday gift for myself and the team."

Pastor Maldonado, 15th

"That was a frustrating race for me. I pushed as hard as possible at the start on the medium tyres whilst everyone around me was on the grippier soft compound rubber. Once I moved to the soft tyres I was able to set the race's then fastest lap so things looked good with our strategy. Unfortunately the engine anti-kill triggered when I came in to make my final pit stop which cost me a lot of time. It's frustrating as we should have finished strongly. My focus is now Barcelona where I've delivered very strongly in the past."

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal

"Congratulations to Romain once more for a strong race and thank you to the race team for some great pit work as well as engineering over the weekend to get the car to Romain's liking so he could deliver today. It's thanks to the hard work of everyone at Enstone that we can score points like we did here in Bahrain. Pastor had a difficult race and we need to investigate exactly what went wrong so we can improve for our next time out."

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director 

"That was an excellent, straight-forward copybook race from Romain. Unfortunately, we didn't have the pace to challenge the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo today but we were ahead of the rest of our near rivals. We were able to complete some very quick pit stops, which helped both drivers during the course of the race. For Pastor we ran with a different strategy to most of the field, with a three-stop strategy, starting on the harder medium compound Pirellis. This looked to be working very well and Pastor should have finished around the same position as Romain however a five-second pit stop penalty and the engine-kill activating when he entered the pits extinguished any opportunity of a strong result." 

Marussia

Will Stevens, 16th

"Overall I'm pretty pleased with my race. It didn't get off to the best start because of Maldonado being out of grid position, so that meant Roberto got away ahead of me. We had a good duel for me to get that back but by the time I was able to get by 8 laps in, I'd lost a lot of time. The positive thing is that when I was back with the pack, the pace is good and it's pretty impressive that we're bringing both cars home when you can see from other teams that it's no mean feat. Massive congratulations to the team for an incredible job in this first part of the season. Obviously the job gets harder still as we head to Europe, but everyone is very motivated by our achievements so far."

Roberto Merhi, 17th

"It was good to bring both cars home again and to see that as a team we continue to make good progress. I was a little disappointed with my race as it started out well with a good battle with my teammate Will. After pushing so hard in the early part of the opening stint, when he did get by I had used the tyre, so I started to lose time to him and I wasn't able to make that back. Overall, we have learned such a lot from the first phase of the season and now that we have some time to reflect on that, I think we will be even better equipped for the start of the European races. My thanks and congratulations to the team for all that we have achieved together so far."

John Booth, Team Principal

"After a really smooth weekend here in Bahrain, another two car finish is exactly how we wanted to close out the first round of long haul races. That achievement really cannot be underestimated when you see the difficulties being experienced up and down the pit lane through the weekend. So we head back to Europe feeling justifiably proud of how far we've come in such a short space of time, albeit we are very aware that the challenge kicks up a notch from here. Our two drivers have done a very commendable job to cope with everything that we've thrown at them with the minimum of preparation and the team have worked so hard to get us back to a very strong operational level. The three week break from racing gives us the chance to reflect and evaluate all the data we've been able to gather, then come back stronger still for Barcelona."

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, 1st

"I'm really happy with that. It doesn't matter who it's against - you always try to beat everyone. But it's great to have a fight with Ferrari as well as Nico. Mercedes has been the best team on the grid for the last year or so but Ferrari are pushing us really hard now. It definitely wasn't an easy win. It was close when I came out of the pits after the first stop and the battle behind me was intense. I had a bit of a slow stop which reduced my gap and when I was braking into T1 I saw them right there in my mirrors! From there I felt like I had it pretty much under control. I had to back off at the end with the traffic and the brakes but luckily for me the effect wasn't as great as for Nico. I have to say a big thanks to everyone back at the factories and here at the track. The car was really nice to drive this weekend and they've done a great job. They won't be 100 percent happy I'm sure as Kimi took points from us today. But it's still a good haul of points and I know we'll work even harder to do better at the next race. That's what motorsport is all about and that's why we go racing - to fight with other teams."

Nico Rosberg, 3rd

"I felt very good in the car today and had a really exciting race. I was able to recover from my poor start with some overtaking manoeuvers on the red cars and I also tried to catch Lewis. But he also had good speed today so it was impossible to get by him. At the end it was very disappointing that Kimi got me, but I had no chance to defend my position with a brake-by-wire problem in the last two laps. I just went straight on at Turn One and that allowed him past, which was a shame. Anyway, we will investigate this now and with Lewis' win we still got a strong result for the team once again, so I look forward to the next races with this great car."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes-Benz head of motorsport

"That was not an easy afternoon for us today but we must be happy with P1 and P3 after we had a number of big challenges during the race. First of all, we saw that the changes we made to the car after a tough Friday practice seemed to be the right ones: we were the quickest car on both types of tyre and Nico had the performance to battle past both Ferraris on pure pace. Out front, Lewis drove a very controlled race: he was pushing hard but able to pull out the gaps he needed at every point to take the win. A third win in four races and a super job. And tonight, we saw Nico at this best: this showed any doubter what a fantastic, aggressive driver he is. He did everything right today but it was clear that it would be a big fight in the final laps, after Kimi ran a long and competitive middle stint on the Prime tyre. Then just as we were getting to the decisive moment, he suffered a brake-by-wire failure into Turn One on lap 56. That meant he was basically a passenger as he ran wide and Kimi was able to sneak past. Without that, I think he was driving so well that he would have kept the Ferrari behind - but he had no weapons to defend. Overall, that is our eighth podium from the first four races and a super job from the team. We have three weeks to the next race and we will get our heads down, use them wisely and come to Barcelona in even stronger shape."

Paddy Lowe, executive director (technical)

"A great result but a disappointing one at the same time, as the one-two was within our grasp. Lewis had a fantastic race - pushing at all times and leaving nothing on the table. On Nico's side, he drove superbly with several great manoeuvers on the Ferraris. P3 doesn't reflect how well he drove today but unfortunately, at the end, the traffic didn't fall well for him and then there was a problem with the brake-by-wire system which sent him deep into Turn One. It had been a concern for a while in the race and it just didn't quite hold off until the flag. It was a shame for Nico and for the team and, of course, we'll be looking at the reasons behind it. Overall, though, a double podium is never an easy thing to achieve, so a good day although not a perfect one."

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen, 2nd

"After a difficult year last year and a beginning of the season that was a bit unlucky, it’s great to be back on the podium. I have mixed emotions, it’s a great feeling to be back, but we want to be on the top. The start was really good , I managed to pass Nico, but then I lost the position and there I lost a bit of time. The strategy was perfect, we did the right calls and the right tyre choice , I was happy with the car , we kept up a good speed through the whole race. In the last laps I was getting closer and closer and could see Hamilton, but the race was at its end, we would have needed more laps to try to do something. I think we are still a little bit behind the Mercedes but in some circuits and some conditions we ca be very competitive, especially in the race. Today we did our best , we have to be happy with the result , we did the maximum and took some good points for the team. We keep improving step by step, we just have to keep working doing the same things in the same direction,and I’m sure we’ll get there."

Sebastian Vettel, 5th

"It didn’t seem to be the perfect day for me. I couldn’t get into the rhythm and lost positions when it mattered not to lose them for the final result. In general, I struggled a bit with the rear end and exiting the corners, which made me vulnerable to Nico’s attacks and prevented me from getting as close as I needed to Valtteri to chase him down the straight with DRS. Towards the end, I was struggling to get past in the fight against the Williams. When it was important to be quick, I always seemed to get stuck in traffic, and thus damaged my tyres. Overall, though, I think it has been another very positive weekend. It’s s shame I damaged the front wing in the race and I had to come in for a new nose, otherwise I think fourth place would have been secured, or even third. Anyway, that’s how it went. I was trying to push, and when you’re following another car you obviously lose a lot of downforce. With hindsight, it was probably more than I expected. I think I tried a bit too hard and ran wide. On the other hand, I am very happy for Kimi. I’ts good that he was able to pass Nico (Rosberg) towards the end. For the team, it’s obviously a great result. It’s a long way to go for the season and up to this point we can be very, very happy. It’s still a big surprise how good we are but there’s still a bit of a gap."

Maurizio Arrivabene, team principal

"I am really happy for Kimi: today I can officially state that he’s back. He showed what a race animal he is, and if he had had a few more laps perhaps… Also, I am happy for the team, because they worked really well. Sebastian made a couple of mistakes today, one at the beginning, which forced us to change his race strategy, whereas in the case of Kimi we followed our plans. He was not totally convinced about it at a point, but showed a great deal of discipline in following instructions from the pit-wall. As for Seb, he actually made something wrong, otherwise we could have had two drivers on the rostrum; but he’s a human being as we all are. He’s a fantastic driver and let’s not forget now what he has already achieved so far. I wish to thank everybody back at Maranello, because they were able to work on the engine development, but also on every single component, achieving over three months what normally would have required twice as much. I can’t tell if we are going to catch the Mercedes, but I do like the idea of putting some pressure on them. Today we were aware of the gap between them and ourselves, and that required an aggressive strategy. Having said that, with regard to the Friday log runs where we had showed a good pace, the temperature was much lower today, and we had to react accordingly.”

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, motorsport director

"It was a very competitive race with plenty of overtaking and good pace from both compounds. There was a big mixture of strategies, featuring both two and three stop options, with a highlight being the alternative two-stop strategy chosen by Kimi Raikkonen, using the medium tyre during the middle stint. This opened up the question of which tyre he should use for the final stint, with some people thinking that the medium tyre would be better suited to the falling temperatures. However, the way he drove his final stint, and the fastest lap that he set on the soft compound, fully justifies the decision and contributed to a very exciting finish.”

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson, 14th

"I had a really good start into the race. On the first lap I moved up from 13th to ninth. In the first and second stints our lap times were quite strong, keeping up with our direct competitors. We were running as planned, but then unfortunately we had the mistake during the second pit stop due to a mechanical problem that came up when the crew changed the left front wheel. Of course, it is very disappointing, but sometines this happens in racing. We win together, and we loose together. After that our race was extremely compromised. However, I still tried to do my best and during the rest of the race my pace was good. All in all, we showed a reasonable performance and this is what counts for the next race in Barcelona."

Felipe Nasr, 12th

"It was a difficult first lap for me as I got squeezed in turn 1, so I lost a few positions. Afterwards I got stuck in traffic which compromised my race pace during the whole first stint. In the course of the race I lost power for several laps, which made us loose ground. On the positive side of things, I was quite satisfied with our lap times on the medium compound. Overall, I think we could have scored points if we would have had a clean race. It is a shame not to have them."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal

"There is no doubt that today we missed a very realistic chance of finishing in the points, particularly as our lap times were competitive. On Marcus’ car we had a technical issue during his second pitstop, where he lost a lot of time. We are sorry for that. Felipe lost time due to a temporary loss of power. The engineers were able to  fix this after some laps, but the time lost was too big, and so he was also not able to fight for points like his team mate. Both drivers fought impressively, but we didn’t get any rewards today."

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering

"Obviously this is a disappointing result. On Marcus‘ car we had a mechanical issue during his second pitstop when changing the front left wheel, which delayed him by 24 seconds. He was then simply not able  to recover  from this and couldn’t get the points he would have deserved. Felipe was hindered by a temporary loss of power, which was able to be fixed after some laps, but this cost him 12 seconds. Both drivers drove strongly, and it’s just a shame that we were not able to convert that into points."

McLaren

Fernando Alonso, 11th

"We weren’t quite fast enough to get into the top 10, but we finished the race and got a bit more valuable experience with the car, which had been our main objective. Everything worked fine on my side of the garage, but unfortunately Jenson couldn’t start the race. We need to look at many things before the Spanish Grand Prix, and we have three weeks in which to increase our performance and improve our reliability. There’s a lot of work ahead, but we’re optimistic.

"It’s clear that we’re all committed to this project and to doing all we can to bring about our eventual comeback. The whole team is united and everyone is hugely motivated by the challenge ahead. Hopefully, we can build on what we’ve achieved so far, and see further improvements over the next few races."

Jenson Button, DNS

"Obviously, that was a disappointing day to end a disappointing weekend. However, although I was unable to get the running I required, and was also unable to make the start of today’s race at all, it’s clear that our car is improving, and that’s good news for all of us.

That’s a result of a lot of hard work. In particular, I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to the boys in the garage, who worked unbelievably hard all weekend for so little reward. Their commitment and team spirit are massively impressive, and I know we’ll get the rewards they deserve in the end."

Eric Boullier, racing director

"Fernando drove hard and well all afternoon, in difficult and frustrating circumstances, and almost scored our first world championship point of the season. In the end he finished 11th. Although that isn’t an achievement that’s likely to tempt us to start popping champagne corks, nonetheless, following our first appearance of the year in Q2 yesterday, it clearly demonstrates that things are going in the right developmental direction.

"Having said that, we’d love to have been able to put on a better show for our Bahraini colleagues and friends, whose Grand Prix has been as resounding a success as ever. 

"As for Jenson, his wretched luck continued today. The team had worked prodigiously hard to try to ready his car for the race after his technical issues yesterday, but, sadly, during the fire-up we noticed data that indicated an unresolved issue originating from the electrical glitches that had struck during the practice sessions yesterday and the day before. 

"We believed that there was a significant likelihood that the issue would recur in running, and would indeed eventually scupper Jenson’s race. We tried our best to fix it but, sadly, we weren’t able to find a remedy in time for the start. That’s disappointing for all of us, and particularly for Jenson, but that’s racing; these things happen, and we’ll live to fight another day.

"Clearly, we aren’t satisfied with our level of competitiveness – our team exists to win – but we’ve made gargantuan strides since the Australian Grand Prix and that’s been a result of a tremendous effort by a large number of people, all of whose passion and commitment I hereby take the opportunity to salute. I believe the way we’ve approached the task in hand has been characterised by honesty, humility and hard graft, and that’s how we’ll continue to approach it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we still have a mountain to climb, but climb it we will; of that you may be 100 per cent certain."

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport

"Day by day, I can truly see the progress being made, and I’m confident in the continuing work we’re doing. Of course, it was extremely unfortunate that Jenson’s car had electrical issues this weekend and he was unable to race, but we’re confident we can resolve them.

"Now that the first four races of the season are complete, we have a short break to further improve. We’ll be preparing fiercely for the first European race, in Spain. And in particular we’ll be concentrating on competitiveness and reliability."