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In quotes - Sunday in Barcelona

10 May 2015

Those involved in a fascinating Spanish Grand Prix report back on their highs and lows from Sunday's action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya...

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, 8th

“It was a tough and eventful race. Firstly, I’m glad to say that no-one was seriously injured in the pit stop. The rear tyres were experiencing a lot of degradation and I just couldn’t stop in time. It was a really scary moment for me, but probably more scary for the crew. I checked everyone was okay and I certainly owe them some beers! In the race, I lost fourth gear during the race which made things a bit of a challenge. It was a tough race but it’s good to be in the points for the third race in a row and we can be proud for what we’ve achieved today.”

Pastor Maldonado, DNF

“We were having a pretty great race at the start and our strategy was working well but then the damage to my car meant that I had to make an extra stop and my race was completely compromised. For sure, we have the pace in the car and in every race we have shown the potential to be in the points so it’s only a matter of time before we get a good result; I’m looking forward to Monaco."

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal

"Both our drivers put in really strong performances today, with Romain finishing in eighth despite a gearbox issue and Pastor driving relentlessly before we retired him, but the real heroes today were the pit crew. Our pit box proved slippery causing Romain to stop long, resulting in three of the crew being slightly worse for wear, but nevertheless they were back in action for the subsequent stops. This is another endorsement of Enstone’s never give up spirit and we know the guys will be fighting fit for Monaco.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director

"That was an eventful race for us. It was a good result for Romain with another four points in the bag despite an issue with the gearbox which he managed well. Pastor was looking quick but we had to pit him to remove some damaged bodywork. The extra stop proved too much of a penalty as despite him setting strong lap times, we weren’t able to work back up the order so we retired the car to avoid any additional damage."

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, 4th

“It feels good to split the Ferraris for a second race in a row and this has been another solid points haul for the team. Tyre life was better than we expected and as a result we changed from a three-stop to a two-stop race, which was a good strategic choice from the team because it allowed me to keep Räikkönen behind. The big positive is that we were closer to the leaders than we have been at any point this season. That gives me a lot of hope because we have shown that the updates we are bringing are improving our performance. I want to thank all the team here and in Grove for providing me with a great car to go racing with, and I’d also like to thank Mercedes HPP as they continue to push hard on the power unit to help us keep our competitors at bay.

Felipe Massa, 6th

“It was a good race for the team, scoring 20 points, not losing too much to Ferrari, but also getting a lot more than Red Bull which is really important and positive for our championship position. I managed to overtake cars on the first lap and then fought hard with Kimi (Raikkonen) for a long time, which was hard on the tyres. Because of the extra degradation a three-stop race was better for me today, but it meant the others were too far ahead. We finished with one car in front of a Ferrari so we have shown that we can be competitive with them and we can now look forward to Monaco which will be a very different test for the car.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

“Overall I’m pleased with the result today. The car has shown pretty good pace throughout the weekend and we wanted to see if we could convert that potential into points. There was a lot of talk about different teams bringing updates for this race with big gains. We have shown that our improvements have moved us forwards and this ended up being our closest finish to Ferrari. It was a good job by the aerodynamic team and all the people back at Grove, as well as an excellent operational performance from the team today, with good strategy choices and well executed pitstops. We need to keep heading in this direction and to keep finding additional performance gains in this package to help us challenge for podiums in future.”

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, 7th

“I am more satisfied today as we achieved everything we could and seventh was the maximum I could get out of the car. There were some parts of the race that were encouraging but we’re still further off than where we want to be, but we’ll keep pushing. We came here with upgrades this weekend but they didn’t give us what we were expecting, so that’s something we’ll keep working on. We’re still a fair bit behind Williams at the moment but I think we have a good chance to close the gap a bit further in Monaco.”

Daniil Kvyat, 10th

“We didn’t have enough pace today. I had a poor opening lap, dropping a few places and from then on that compromised my race. Because here at this track, if you lose places at the start, it’s almost game over, as it is so hard to get close enough to pass. I had a nice battle with Sainz towards the end, but now we will wait and see what the Stewards say about how it ended. We need to improve the car in every area at the moment. On the positive side, both our cars finished the race, which is good on the reliability front. This was a bad day for me, so now I just want to look ahead to Monaco in the hope we can be more competitive there.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Daniel drove a strong race today, and did a great job to extract everything he could out of the car to finish seventh which is where we are for the moment. Dany had a tricky first lap which landed him in traffic, and as a result used up his tyres fairly quickly and needed an early pit stop. He drove a solid race over the next two stints to cross the line in tenth place. We’ll have to wait and see what the outcome of the Stewards is regarding the incident with Carlos.”

Thierry Salvi, Renault

“The weekend was focused principally on the reliability of the power units. We limited mileage where we needed to and did not suffer any issues in qualifying or the race, which was the first step we needed to take to recover after the last events. It’s obviously not enough to do just this, but we have to get back to form step by step. Everyone at Renault Sport F1 is focused on this and we look forward to being able to work on power unit performance very soon.”

Marussia

Will Stevens, 17th

“It’s good to finish another race with both cars. From a set-up and car balance point of view, this was probably our best race yet, so a good result for the team. I didn’t get the best start and I was behind Roberto for the first 12 laps. After I passed him, I pushed as much as I could. I’m looking forward to Monaco now, which I think is a track that will suit our car a little more.”

Roberto Merhi, 18th

“I’m pleased we achieved another two car finish for the team. The reliability of the car is obviously very good but we have to find some more performance. I got a good start and managed to get ahead of Will and stay there for 12 laps but we were on different tyre management strategies. On my second set of tyres I had a flat-spot and as that was a long stint I lost a lot of time. I’m happy to finish my first home race though and to have a good team result here in Spain.”

John Booth, Team Principal

“Both drivers did a good job and we are obviously very pleased with the reliability of the cars. Clearly there is some work to do, but our development programme is still in its infancy, so race finishes are key for providing the information we need. The next race should be a bit better and of course it is a very special venue for us, as the track where Jules achieved our first two Constructors’ Championship points one year ago.”

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“Strategy was clearly at the forefront of the Spanish Grand Prix, with a fascinating and complex battle between Mercedes and Ferrari. The nominations we made opened up a number of different possibilities, enabling each team to make the most of their potential. Despite the demanding conditions of the Montmelo track and significant track temperatures, both compounds performed perfectly, showed very little graining and no blistering, helping every driver to maximise his chosen strategy. We look forward now to the test, which will help us gather more data to shape future tyre development.”

Force India

Sergio Perez, 13th

“Considering where I qualified, we probably maximised our race today. Maybe a three-stop strategy would have been a little bit better, but it wouldn't have made much difference in the end. My last stint was really on the limit - nearly 30 laps on the same set of mediums - but we managed them well and I was able to control Ericsson who was putting pressure on me. Once again we showed today that our car is more suited to Sundays, so if we can improve our qualifying pace we can definitely fight for points at the next few races.”

Nico Hulkenberg, 15th

“It was always going to be difficult to score points today, especially on a track where it’s so difficult to overtake. I was always stuck behind other cars and, even with better pace, you lose too much performance running in the dirty air. My three-stop race was the more aggressive approach, but we didn’t have the track position to make the most of it. Maybe things would have worked out better if I had run in some clean air, but points were too far away today. Hopefully we can be more competitive in Monaco. It’s often an unusual race and we will have completely different tyre compounds, which should suit us better.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“I think we can be content with today's race despite finishing outside the points. Our pace was more convincing than our qualifying performance, which allowed us to battle against the Saubers and McLarens, but anything more was just outside our reach. We chose early on to split the strategies so that we had the opportunity to make the most of any unexpected developments, but as the race was fairly uneventful, both drivers ended up pretty much in the same place. The main regret is the amount of time Nico lost behind Maldonado in the middle of the race, which again proved how difficult it is to overtake here - even with a tyre advantage and DRS. Looking at the championship table, we are only eight points adrift of fifth place, and we are now one step closer to our big upgrade package, which is encouraging for everyone in the team.”

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz, 9th

“It was a tricky start to today’s race and I was a bit disappointed when I saw that the fifth position from which I had started from didn’t last much. But I kept my head down, started to save my tyres early in the race, as I know that our car behaves better with lower fuel, and I managed to extend my stint a bit on the Prime tyres. That enabled me to go for it during the final five laps and go for the last two points. It was a tricky moment: I had DRS and managed to get ahead of Daniil before Turn 1 and crossed the line in ninth position. It’s good to add another two points to the team’s tally at my first home race.”

Max Verstappen, 11th

“It was a difficult race today. It was very hard for the rear tyres. In addition to this, having to deal with blue flags at the end of the race also put me in a difficult position. It wasn’t the race we expected after a very strong qualifying session yesterday.”

Franz Tost, Team Principal

“We had a very good qualifying performance yesterday, finishing fifth and sixth, which meant we started today’s race in a good position. In the first stint we were simply too slow on the straight and therefore we couldn’t do much to avoid being overtaken by a few of our direct competitors. As in the second stint on Prime tyres we lost too much time, we decided to change our strategy for the last part of the race, where Carlos went out on Option tyres and Max on Prime. This generated a very good fight at the end, especially from Carlos’ side, who did a good manoeuvre against Daniil Kvyat and I think he deserved this ninth position. I’m satisfied with our qualifying performance, but now we have to work and also improve our race pace.”

“The team will now remain here in Barcelona for the two-day test. On Tuesday it will be Red Bull Junior Team driver Pierre Gasly at the wheel of the car, while Carlos will drive the following day before heading to Monaco, where we hope we can show a further improvement.”

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

“We are pleased to score a couple of points here after the disappointing weekend in Bahrain. We put a lot of effort in at Viry to bring reliability updates, which proved to be successful. Both power units worked well over the weekend and helped the team find a good set-up for qualifying. We were expecting a bit more today following the great performance yesterday so we have to understand why we lost out compared to our direct competitors, but we’ll push with the team in the next races to bring more performance to the cars.”

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, 1st

“We had a perfect weekend here in Spain. We have a fantastic car and everybody did a really great job in the break, so thanks to the team for everything. My start was great for the first time this season. From there I was able to control the pace and I never felt in danger throughout the whole race. I'm so happy about this win. It's still early days in the season so it's good to close the points gap to Lewis. I will continue to push hard - starting with a home race for me in Monaco!”

Lewis Hamilton, 2nd

“I got off to a poor start with too much wheel spin and had to fight hard just to keep third. From there it was always going to be tough as it's difficult to run right behind another car here and even tougher to pass. I managed to stay close enough to Seb before the first stops but unfortunately we lost a bit of time there. In the end, we went for a three stop strategy to try something different. That call was made quite early on as it was clear it wouldn't have worked to stay out for that long and, again, passing on track was almost impossible. Luckily we had the pace to make it work. Nico was then 22 seconds ahead with 15 laps to go which was a big gap. I pushed really hard to close up until about 6 laps from the end but I was only gaining about a second per lap which wasn't enough. So, damage limitation on a difficult weekend for me. But I'm grateful that I could score some good points for the team.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“That feels like two P1 results today after such a demanding race. Nico did the perfect job this afternoon: he had a great start, built the gaps that he needed and made his two-stop strategy work in a fantastic way. He was controlled and composed throughout. Lewis lost a position on the start, then had a slow first pit stop, and that left him stuck behind Vettel's Ferrari in the second stint. At that point, we knew that the only chance of getting past Sebastian was to do something different with the strategy but it was still a bold move to try the three-stopper. It was only going to work if Lewis managed to overtake on track and he made it work with great moves on Räikkönen and Bottas - he was decisive when he needed to be and showed some incredible pace on the prime tyre.

“As Lewis was building the gap he needed ahead of Sebastian in his third stint, we actually compromised Nico a little bit by leaving him out longer than optimum before his second stop. This made sure the two cars didn't trip over each other on track, while running different strategies, and gave Lewis the clear air he needed to build the gap to secure P2. Following Lewis' final stop, it was clear after a few laps pushing that the pace difference between the cars wasn't big enough for him to challenge for the win, so we then told both drivers to bring the car home. It's a great feeling to take a one-two finish at this circuit, which is a really severe test for the complete car package, and a confirmation that the updates we brought in a number of areas correlated to the track and delivered a good performance improvement. Well done to everybody back at both factories, now we will get our heads down and start working for Monaco.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“We're absolutely delighted with today's result. Nico took an excellent pole yesterday, which put him in prime position to drive a controlled and disciplined race from the front. This is precisely what he did to take a well-earned first win of the season. It's important for us as a team to have two drivers competing and pushing each other - which is exactly what we're seeing again this year - so well done to Nico on a very strong weekend.

“For Lewis, the race didn't start off well with a lot of wheel spin off the line. From there, it was impossible for him to overtake Sebastian with the very marginal pace advantage we enjoyed in the first stint. We therefore attempted the undercut with an early stop but, unfortunately for Lewis, this didn't work out after a problem with the left rear in the pit stop, so our apologies to him for that. This then required us to pull out something more extreme with the three stop strategy - which seemed like a bit of a long shot at the time. But Lewis' pace on the prime tyre and then again on the second set of options was extraordinary. This enabled him to break free enough to avoid an overtaking situation before the third stop, making it a much more comfortable second place that it could have been. So, a huge congratulations to everyone on an important result to start the European season and a special thanks to everyone at our factories for all their hard work.”

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, 3rd

“All in all, I think third is the best we could do for the pace we had. I don’t think there’s anything wrong, it think it was just something coming together and maybe this is not the best week end for us in terms of competitiveness, but I believe it’s probably more down to conditions rather then something being wrong with the car. For some reasons we didn’t find the same rhythm of the last two events, but I’m sure that in a couple of races we’ll come back stronger.

“In terms of strategy, we went for two stops because we thought it would have been the best choice for the race: we have to be fair and accept the fact that Mercedes was the best team today. I think we’re going in the right direction. We know that there is a gap, but we’re fighting very hard to close it. Unfortunately we didn’t make a big step this race, but I’m pretty confident we’ll make it soon.”

Kimi Raikkonen, 5th

“Overall, it has been a difficult weekend, but non a disaster and we learned a lot. In the race today we gained a few places, but I was not very comfortable with my car, as it was sliding around. Besides that, and for whatever reason, we are able catch the Williams but it’s very difficult to overtake them: they are very fast down the straights and once we get behind them, our car starts to be difficult to handle, much more than when you’re following other lapped cars.

About the choice of going back to the ‘old’ aero package, I think it was good for all of us to be able to compare them on the circuit and I was prepared to run the risk. Maybe it would have been better with the new bits, that is probably the case, but at least now we know about it. So, for the next races, we have to do a better job and we need to have more clean weekends, without any issue, even a small one, to make sure that everything works. We know where we have to improve.”

Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari team principal

“The comparison of the two aerodynamic configurations in the race clearly shows that Sebastian’s car was going very well versus Kimi’s. But we need to improve. The gap to Mercedes is there and we need to analyze our data to understand the reasons. We’re not blind to the fact that we were losing about half a second in T3 only, which puts a premium on traction, and we must find out whether this depends on the nature of the track or on our faults. Strategy-wise, we took an aggressive approach by having Seb stop only twice for tyres. If we had gone for a three-stopper, things wouldn’t have changed or would have been even worse. The numbers tell us that the new solutions are good, the reality shows that they are not good enough. We did make a step forward, but it was supposed to be a jump. I am not blaming anyone in particular, I am taking my own responsibilities. We need to work harder.”

McLaren

Jenson Button, 16th

“My car was pretty scary to drive today: as soon as I touched the throttle, it just snapped away from me. It was unpredictable: in low-speed corners, the car was just slow, because I got wheel-spin immediately; in the high-speed stuff, it was just scary, because the rear end would snap away immediately under power.

“I was talking to my engineers for most of the race to try to find out what the root of the problem was, and we switched on quite a lot of handling balance changes to try to cure it. It got a little bit better towards the end of the afternoon, but it was a pretty tough afternoon.

“Now, we’ll thoroughly look at the data and see what the matter was – it’s something we’ve got to look into.”

Fernando Alonso, DNF

“My pitstop was a scary moment – I didn’t have much rear braking for my whole in-lap, then even less at the stop. It was scary for the mechanics, but luckily it didn’t hurt anyone.

“My brake issue was separate from Jenson’s problem yesterday; in qualifying, he had a single disc that wasn’t reaching temperature, but I had no brakes. I think the rear disc stopped working, so I only had front brakes.

“Things are coming together. We’re still a long way off the front and need to take bigger steps, but this is a very challenging project and I’m happy that we’re recovering well.

“This has been a disappointing day, but the team will investigate what happened, and we’ll come back stronger in Monaco.”

Eric Boullier, Racing director

“For all at McLaren, a team that has won the Spanish Grand Prix no fewer than eight times in our illustrious history, it’s superfluous to state that this afternoon has been a more than somewhat disappointing one.

“Fernando was running reasonably well until his race was abruptly terminated by an as-yet-unspecified rear brake problem that caused him to overshoot our pit-box. That was irksome for all of us, Fernando in particular, but more important is that no-one was hurt.

“As for Jenson, he too had a vexatious afternoon, losing ground right from the start and complaining of poor rear traction thereafter. He eventually finished 16th.

“We arrived in Spain with robust but measured ambitions: to manage both our cars through to Q2 in qualifying and to score world championship points for the first time this year. The former objective we achieved; the latter we did not.

“Disappointing it was, but disheartening it isn’t. Yes, we’d all be more sanguine if progress could be made more expeditiously; equally, and importantly, our underlying pace is improving with every race.

“In two weeks’ time we’ll be in Monaco, on whose famously serpentine Tarmac we’ll be hoping to fare appreciably better than we did here in Barcelona today. McLaren has won at the Principality more often than has any other marque – 15 times to be precise – and, although we aren’t anticipating notching up victory number 16 there this year, I won’t shy away from proclaiming here and now that we’ll be aiming to score world championship points on May 24th.”

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

“It has been a very disappointing weekend, but, sometimes, that’s the reality of racing. On a more positive note, Fernando’s race pace was very good. We’ll now analyse all the data and continue to improve driveability for the next race at Monaco. That will be key to progress around the slow street circuit.”

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson, 14th

“Overall, 14th is not satisfying, but I think we have extracted the maximum out of the car this weekend. I had a reasonable start, but afterwards for a few laps got stuck a bit in traffic. It is a shame that we lost some time, especially during my first pit stop. We need to make sure to make the next races, and I am confident we will do so. Now we need to focus on the test days and try to make sure we improve the car for the next races.”

Felipe Nasr, P12

“It was a difficult race. We have been missing some lap time on medium as well as hard tyres compared to our main competitors. We still lack some downforce, which compromised our race. Our two stop strategy was overall a good choice. From my point of view, I took the maximum out of the car, so more than P12 was not possible.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal

“We already had a difficult situation for the start with 15th and 16th. That’s why there was no more we could achieve today. Our drivers put in a solid performance. Now we need to focus on the next race in Monaco, a track that should suit our car better.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering

“After a difficult qualifying we expected not to have an easy race. The change from a three to a two stop strategy didn’t help us much. During testing on Tuesday and Wednesday we will continue to improve the performance of the Sauber C34-Ferrari.”