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In quotes - Sunday in Italy

06 Sep 2015

Following a frenetic 53 laps of Monza, ten teams, 20 drivers and one tyre supplier report back on all the action...

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, DNF

“We had the potential of a good race ahead of us. I made a strong start but got hit by a car from behind in turn one which broke my rear suspension so that was it for us. It was a too optimistic move from Nasr who hit me which meant my race was over. It’s been a tough weekend but everyone has made the most of the opportunities we have and the spirit of the team and the support from the F1 world has been amazing. The E23 still feels good so we head to the next races optimistic of more good results to come.”

Pastor Maldonado, DNF

“It’s been a tough weekend and this is racing sometimes. We keep united and keep pushing as there are still seven Grands Prix to go so time to recover and keep fighting. I had contact in turn one where the Force India came into the side of me and took out my front-right suspension and that was the end of my race. We were looking for a strong finish and we had potential for that. Everyone knows that turn one at Monza can be tough and that’s what we saw today."

Federico Gastaldi, deputy team principal

"What can you say? Everyone at Enstone, at the track, our sponsors, partners and suppliers would have liked to see a favourable result for us today but the cruel mistress that is motor sport gave us a resounding slap in the face. Both drivers had their race undone at the first corner and this was a real blow to all of us. We now focus on the next Grands Prix where we’re determined as ever to score more points and keep fighting. Thank you all for your support.”

Alan Permane, trackside operations director

"A disastrous race for us with our cars retiring following incidents at turn one. Both drivers started in the top ten and we had potential for a good points haul but Monza’s turn one can get very crowded on the first lap, which is what we saw today. It’s been a challenging weekend for us, but the response from our fellow competitors has been tremendous and we thank them all for that. We’ve seen that the E23 has still got strong pace so we’re heading to Singapore and Japan eager for clean races to re-ignite our championship fight."

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, 8th

“It was a great result for the team considering where we started and the characteristics of this track. It was sweet taking that eighth place on the last lap from Ericsson. I am very happy with the chassis, the car was handling really well, and we were able to fight with a Ferrari and a Mercedes-powered car on a track where we lost out a lot on the straights. It wasn’t an easy weekend for us, but I think the race was positive and the energy in the team is good. I will probably celebrate with one more pizza.”

Daniil Kvyat, 10th

“Monza was always going to be a tough weekend for us. Our race wasn’t too bad considering where we started on the track, because of our penalties. I didn’t see much action during the race but it was a positive result to finish in the points, down to good teamwork. We’ll have to come back stronger in Singapore, where the track characteristics should suit us better.”

Christian Horner, team principal

“Considering our starting positions for the race, it was a great job from both drivers today. Ricciardo’s last lap in particular, to take that place from Ericsson, was impressive. The team work and strategy were solid and, given the penalties we faced, getting both cars to finish in the points at this track is a positive result.”

Matthieu Dubois, Renault

“It is nice to see both cars finish in the points with both engines under control after eventful practice sessions. A last second overtake by Daniel was good to watch and double points is as much as we could have expected starting from the back. We came here with reasonably low hopes, wanting to use the power unit changes to cover us for the rest of the season. Let's hope the penalties we took will serve us well.”

Marussia

Will Stevens, 15th

“That was a good race. The car was well-balanced, we had good pace and for the first few laps I could enjoy some proper racing with the cars coming from behind us. Inevitably, things settled down a bit after that but we were able to push hard and maintain the momentum. I was very comfortable this weekend and feel like things are going my way again, so now I’m really looking forward to the long-hauls.”

Roberto Merhi, 16th

“It’s been a more difficult weekend for me, so I have to be pleased with what is a good result overall for the team. The last few races have been much better for me, but not everything goes your way all of the time, so I’ll take away the positives and keep pushing for the flyaway rounds, starting with Singapore, which I’m really looking forward to.”

John Booth, team principal

“All in all, another strong weekend for our team here in Monza. Our reliability continues to be very encouraging, our pace is improving relative to the cars immediately ahead and both drivers are pushing each other hard. This combination of factors is really allowing us to punch a little above our weight at present and it was good to see Will in particular enjoying a good fight with the cars around him in the opening laps today. A positive note on which to end the European phase of races. Finally, our congratulations to our powertrain partner Scuderia Ferrari on achieving a podium result at their home race.”

Force India

Sergio Perez, 6th

“I had a really enjoyable time today. I had very strong pace from the beginning to the end; I managed the tyre degradation well and I feel we got the maximum that was possible from the race. The first stint was fairly calm: I found myself in clean air and I managed to open a gap over the cars behind so I wasn’t under any pressure. After my pit stop, I knew Kimi was closing in behind me: he was really quick and there was nothing I could do to keep him behind any longer than I did. I am very pleased with our performance over the whole weekend and the team really deserves these points. Today's result is important because it moves us back to fifth in the championship with a nice gap over our rivals. We did a good job and we deserve this result.”

Nico Hulkenberg, 7th

“Seventh place brings some useful points, but I finished the race feeling a little bit frustrated because we didn’t have the pace we know is possible. I actually think we had a problem with the car and it’s something we need to investigate because I was losing downforce, the car was sliding and the rear tyres were heating up too much, all of which really hurt my pace. The second half of the race was quite difficult defending against Ericsson and that’s when we were considering changing to a two-stop strategy because I was struggling so much with the tyres. In the end we decided against it and I was able to hang on to seventh place for some important points.”

Robert Fernley, deputy team principal

“To be leaving Monza with 14 points in our pocket completes a very competitive weekend for Sahara Force India. It means we’ve regained the advantage in our battle for fifth place in the standings and gives us a nice boost ahead of the fly-away races. The circuit certainly played to our strengths, but the team has worked incredibly hard this weekend to get both cars home in the points. Sergio and Nico both drove very mature races, fighting hard when they needed to and looking after the tyres. Nico was less comfortable with the car, so we will explore those issues, but all things considered we can feel extremely positive about our performance today.”

McLaren

Fernando Alonso, 18th

“I got a good start today, then a couple of cars made contact at the first corner, which slowed me down. Then, at the second chicane, I came close to Jenson and eventually lost all the advantage I’d gained.

“Jenson and I were on two different tyre strategies, to try to cover all possible opportunities. I was on the prime, which was one second slower than the option, so I had a slower first stint, but then I was a bit quicker in the second.

“In the final laps, I felt a loss of power and was told to retire the car, so as not to cause further damage. We were outside the points anyway, so it was a wise decision.”

Jenson Button, 14th

“I had a good start, and took some cars into Turn One. The whole first lap was good - there were a lot of incidents, and I think I got up into ninth.

“Then, unfortunately, I just waited for the other cars to come by. It was a bit difficult out there, because the other drivers were overtaking me in places that I didn’t previously think were possible, so I had to look in my mirrors on the entry to every corner.

“At the end, I missed out on a good race with my team mate. We’d already had a good little fight for three laps, and there were six to go when he retired. I think it would’ve been a good fight between us - it’s easy for other cars to overtake us, but it’s not easy for us to overtake each other, so it would’ve been quite fun.”

Eric Boullier, racing director

“We always knew that Monza and Spa-Francorchamps would be among the least well-suited circuits for our car, and so it proved at both venues.
“Here in Italy, we’ve come away with nothing to show for our efforts, and obviously that’s hard to take for all concerned.

“It’s been a stressful few days for us - that’s probably been as obvious from the outside as it’s been painful on the inside - but we’ll now return to Woking and Sakura and continue the hard work in an effort to claw our way back to the front.

“We aren’t predicting great things for the next race, Singapore, but we’re hoping that that street circuit’s characteristics will be slightly kinder to our car than Spa-Francorchamps and Monza have been.”

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

“Though expected, it was a very difficult weekend. From free practice to the race, the team worked together to get the cars’ set-up fit for the race, but the assist time from the MGU-K affected the lap times, and could not be improved during the race.

“Fernando's car unfortunately had an electrical control board issue, and therefore had to retire. We will need to investigate the reason for this further, but we do not believe there has been any effect on the ERS itself.

“The next race in Singapore is a street circuit, so the load on the chassis and power unit will be very different from Monza.”

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson, 9th

“I was pleased with my start and first lap. We were expecting to fight against our direct competitors here in Monza. Throughout the race I had a good pace, therefore, I was able to pressure Nico (Hulkenberg) for the whole race distance. Surely it was one of the strongest races so far this year. Obviously it is frustrating having lost a position in the very last corner on the last lap. I pushed my tyres a bit too much trying to overtake Nico (Hulkenberg), so then I was not able to defend against Daniel (Ricciardo). A bitter sweet ending to a strong race.”

Felipe Nasr, 13th
“I had a great start, and was in the top ten after gaining some positions. After the first chicane I felt I had a puncture on the right rear tyre, so I had to make an early pit stop. It was clear that my race was compromised from that moment on. It is unfortunate, as the car was competitive enough to finish the race in the points. I tried my best today. It is great that as a team we were able to score points with Marcus. Now I look forward to the Singapore Grand Prix.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, team principal

“It was an exciting race in which we were able to fight for points. It’s a pity for Felipe. After a very good start, his race was destroyed in the first corner after contact with another driver. Marcus managed to have a good race. Unfortunately in the end we were not able to get even more points. Nevertheless, this result encourages the whole team for the next races - this is also due to the aerodynamic update which will be introduced in Singapore for the upcoming races.”

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz, 11th

“I’m pretty happy with today’s race, especially with our pace. We were quick, and towards the end of the race I was getting closer and closer to the ones ahead and, even though I didn’t manage to catch them, it felt good to know that we were faster. It’s a shame we didn’t get that final point that I think we deserved, but the five-second penalty I had to complete at the beginning of the race wasn’t ideal. There are many positives to take from today: we finally finished a race after four retirements in a row, something I really needed, and enjoyed some good fights!”

Max Verstappen, 12th

“I couldn’t do much today because the drive-through at the start of the race put me on the back-foot, but I think we can be happy with the car’s pace, it was really good! Hopefully we have more luck in the next qualifying and start higher up on the grid in Singapore. It wasn’t one of the easiest races, but I enjoyed some more good overtaking moves and I’m happy with that. I’m sure that if we hadn’t started from last in the race we would’ve finished in the points today. We can be pleased and I now look forward to Singapore, where I’m sure we will be competitive.”

Franz Tost, team principal

“Even before coming here to Monza we knew that we would start from the back of the grid. As we didn’t expect to score points at this track, we thought it wasn’t a bad idea to be penalised for engine changes to prevent any potential issues at circuits that suit our car much better. Unfortunately, Max was also given a drive-through penalty for losing part of the bodywork on track yesterday during qualifying, while Carlos got a five-second penalty in today’s race for cutting the first chicane and gaining an advantage. Nevertheless, the pace in the race was very promising and both drivers did a very good job, as well as the whole team, providing a competitive car for a challenging race. If we could’ve started from higher-up on the grid - something we are generally able to achieve - most likely, we would have scored some good points. We are now looking forward to Singapore, where we expect to be really competitive and start a very positive last part of the season.”

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

“We expected a tough weekend because of the calculated engine penalties. The most important thing is both drivers made the most of the situation in the race today. We can be pleased with how the engines behaved in the race, and we know that the car is good. It's a shame that Carlos had his 5secs penalty early in the race otherwise we could have scored some points. We have to capitalize on the one hand on reliability for the next few races and on the other hand the tracks we know will suit us better.”

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

"As ever, Monza proved to be an amazing experience, with an incredible atmosphere provided by some of the most enthusiastic fans we see all year. As a Formula One venue, it is simply emblematic. Lewis Hamilton drove a text-book race for Mercedes, ending up with a well-deserved victory thanks to a perfectly executed strategy. Behind him, there were also some great battles throughout the field, with a one-stop strategy becoming the default option for the field - despite the fact that Monza is known for its high wear and degradation."

Williams

Felipe Massa, 3rd

"It's really emotional to have been on the podium. It was a difficult but fantastic race, I didn't have the best start but I was still able to pass cars so it was good enough. I worked hard to open the gap to Valtteri, but when I pitted early it gave him the advantage on tyres at the end of the race. It was hard to keep him behind as he really wanted it, but I just about managed it. I am delighted for myself and the team, we got a lot of valuable points. It's special to be up on the podium at Monza again, and I really thank the team for their effort today."

Valtteri Bottas, 4th

"It was a good result for the team today, good points which is important. My pitstop lost me too much time which was crucial for the second part of the race. I managed to get extremely close in the end but it was too late. As I saved my tyres and brakes I was able to attack in the final laps but we had system issues on the last lap, so we need to investigate what happened because I also lost an opportunity there. It's a shame for me that I couldn't be on the podium but it's still good points for us."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"It was a good race for the team. The mandate from the start of the weekend was that we had to have a clean weekend. If there were 15 points on the table, we had to come away with 15 points. The great news is that we've taken 27 points and a podium. We've moved away from the people behind us in fourth by a good amount, which was the absolute priority. We've kept pace with Ferrari, so in championship terms it's been a good weekend for us. We came out of what was not a particularly good race in Belgium, from both a performance and operational point of view, and we've reacted really well. They team were absolutely spot on all weekend which is a great show of the strength and depth we have at Williams now."

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, 2nd

"It's an incredible day, it's the best second place I ever had in Formula One. Thanks to all the tifosi for giving me those emotions today on the podium: it's fantastic to see so many fans, feel the support we get as a team. It just makes our lives so much more worth living when you see all the fans coming underneath the podium. In terms of emotions it's more than a victory. It's nearly a perfect day: I'm saying nearly because I don't know what happened to Kimi at the start. It's a shame because otherwise I believe we could have both cars on the podium today. The speed was there, unfortunately not enough to win, but we've tried everything. Monza is known to be a power track and we all know how dominant Mercedes was here last year. I believe the engine guys have done a great job. There are for sure things that we need to improve: we'll do step by step. Tyres were ok for the whole weekend."

Kimi Raikkonen, 5th

"I don't know exactly what happened at the start. As far as I know I did everything correctly, but the car went into the antistall and did not move at all. I still don't have the right explanation about what happened, but it's a really bad thing that cost us a lot today. If you start from second place and after a few seconds you're in last position it's not easy to see the positive side of the race: we wasted a big opportunity to fight at the front. The car has been working well all weekend and also in the race the behavior was good. We made the best out of it and in the end I managed to come up fifth. Obviously I'm a bit disappointed, as we were hoping for a better result in our home race in front of all our fans, but if we think that after the first hundred metres we were last it was still a good result. Overall we had a pretty good speed all weekend so in a way we have to be happy for what we have done because here we were expecting more difficulties. Today I was positively surprised that we could get through some cars that are very fast on the straights, this shows that we are doing the right things, pushing the car in the right direction and improving in all areas."

Maurizio Arrivabene, team principal

"This time I see the glass half full. Sebastian's race to second place was unbelievable. His contribution to the team so far has been outstanding. As for Kimi, he had a great qualifying yesterday, then maybe he messed up a bit at the start of the race. But afterwards he was able to pass a lot of cars on the track with a fantastic race. Ideally, we would have hoped for two good starts, but we're happy anyway with this weekend. We came here investing a few tokens on our Power Unit and we're satisfied with our gain, also in terms of reliability. In the forthcoming races, the gap to our main competitors will depend much on the kind of track. We will keep on working with humility and determination to the end of the season, trying to jump on every opportunity."

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, 1st

“This weekend has been just fantastic. A perfect weekend for me - I can't remember one like it. This race is so special for every driver. When you stand up on that podium it's so emotional. It's a really proud moment to be up there in front of that sea of fans and to walk in the footsteps of so many great drivers who have won here. The start was pretty close, holding off Sebastian. But from there I felt in control. The balance wasn't perfect for qualifying but it was one of the best I've had in the race. I can't thank the team enough for all their hard work. Everyone at Brackley and Brixworth is doing such an incredible job. I've never seen anything like it, so thank you everyone.”

Nico Rosberg, DNF

“This weekend was very tough for me. There were just too many problems with my car which made it impossible to fight for the win. It hurts a lot when you have to retire with just two or three laps to go. A few corners earlier, I felt already that I had lost some power but was still hoping I could make it. Today was a massive step in the wrong direction for me in the championship - but to complain doesn't help in these situations. I just need to keep pushing and come back even stronger. Giving up is not an option for me. I will push hard to turn things in the right direction - starting in Singapore, which is one of my favourite races. I'm looking forward to it already.”

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“A bittersweet day for us all with a fantastic win for Lewis but a DNF for Nico after he had climbed back through the field. The pattern was set at the start, when Lewis retained the lead but Nico suffered a bad start. Lewis was able to build a good gap to Vettel, drove a flawless race and thoroughly deserved his victory. The result leaves him in a very strong championship position with seven races to go.

“Nico climbed back through the field thanks to strong pace and some great work on the pit wall, when he made an aggressive early stop to undercut both Williams cars in front of him - with a great stop from the boys. That put him in free air and he started a long charge to hunt down Vettel in front. P2 looked possible and Nico was pushing hard to close in - we pushed the power unit very hard and, in hindsight, too far for the high mileage it had. It's a bitter pill to lose a podium finish just three laps from the end and with P2 in your sights.

“Of course, we had to manage the situation with the stewards after the race, although we were confident that we had acted correctly throughout and followed the guidance from Pirelli. As Mercedes-Benz, our number one priority is to operate our car within the prescribed safety limits and this is not something we would ever take a chance on. Indeed, we worked very closely with Pirelli since Spa to help define these limits for the race weekend in Monza, and we saw today that there were no problems in a very high-speed, hard-fought race; my compliments go to Pirelli for the job they have done here in Monza.

“Overall, this has been an extremely challenging race but after so many ups and downs, it's very satisfying to come away with a strong win. However, like we always say, small details decide between success and failure, and we had more evidence this weekend of how hard we must keep pushing to maintain our level of performance in every single race. We have a fantastic team and they have done a great job this season, both at the track and in the factories. Now we need to get our heads down, fix our problems and keep moving forward.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“Congratulations first and foremost to Lewis on a fantastic win. It was a superbly controlled drive. But, at the same time, our apologies must go to Nico. The weekend first started to unravel for him on Saturday with the failure of a component which contaminated his engine, forcing him to run a Power Unit which had already competed in five race weekends. The power loss from the age of the engine likely cost him a front row grid slot in qualifying and had then clearly been pushed too far in undertaking a sixth race on Sunday. He produced a fantastic recovery drive after a tough start and deserved a result, so our apologies once again to him. We will learn a lot of lessons from this weekend to take into the coming races.”