Formula 1 News

Drivers' quotes after the Japan GP

"I never imagined I would win one Championship and so to win this second one is amazing..." - Vettel
Sunday, October 9, 2011

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel (3rd)

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“A lot of people have been quite confident about the title, but one of the important things was that we didn’t allow ourselves to drift away with the thought too much. Instead we concentrated on every single step and everything we have done this year and everything we have achieved - then wow. I want to thank all the guys and girls in the factory in Milton Keynes, as it’s not just us here pushing very hard, it’s them as well – from the post office to the design office to the engineering office here at the track, their effort is just incredible. It’s hard to imagine you know, we have two cars and two drivers only and we carry that weight on our shoulders every time we go on track. Sometimes we don’t treat the cars as good as we should, but we always try to get every single bit out of them every race weekend. But it’s phenomenal what’s happened - we set ourselves the target to win the Championship this year and so, to win it by Japan with four more races to go, is difficult to put into words - it’s as confusing as the first one. I never imagined I would win one Championship and so to win this second one is amazing. I have a lot of good memories from Formula One, from watching it when I was young, to now and I feel fortunate and blessed to experience today.
There were so many excited people when we did the drivers’ parade today and that was my last thought when I put my helmet on. For drivers, it doesn’t get much better than this, a sunny day and all the fans excited to see what you do - I think that’s what life is about. And so, to wrap up the Championship here is difficult to put into words - it’s more than fantastic.”

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Mark Webber (4th)

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“Congratulations to Sebastian - to become a double World Championship is a very good job. All the overtaking during the race was in the pit stops today, with not much on track. We passed a Ferrari and a McLaren, but it was quite even between all of us. I had some contact with Michael Schumacher, which did some damage to my front wing at a crucial part of the race as I was trying to come back through the pack. We made contact, but he got away with it. The safety car didn’t really come at the right time for me - as I was hoping to have a look at Fernando around the stops, but when the field bunches up you have to go through the Michael situation again and it's hard to undercut people. In the end it was a reasonable result; it was a great race for Jenson, it's his second home race in many ways, and congratulations to Seb for the title.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Jenson Button (1st)

“This was a hard race - the last five or six laps were extremely tough, I had to really look after the tyres and try to save a bit of fuel to get the car home, but it was an amazing victory. Sebastian [Vettel] came across at me on the start - he kept coming and didn’t stop, so I got on the grass and had to back out of the throttle, otherwise there would’ve been an almighty shunt into Turn One. He said he didn’t see me until he saw me backing out, so that lost me a place. But fighting back was so, so satisfying: the performance has been in the car all weekend. It’s such an emotional victory for me: there’s so much history at this circuit, and the crowd here has been amazing, this is second only to a home victory for me. I want to thank every single person here in Japan who’s supported us - hopefully we’ve planted a happy memory in their minds, because a lot of Japan has been through difficult times this year. We did our best and we put on a fantastic show. Seb has done a great job all season and he deserved the title. He was given the equipment and just got on and did what was required of him. But, for us, there’s still more that we can achieve this year: I’d love to go out and fight to win the next few races, and I think we have the car and the team to go and do that. We’ll keep pushing and hope to get some more wins this year, but we’re also in a very good place right now - and I think that’s key to success in 2012.”

Lewis Hamilton (5th)

“This was a disappointing race for me, but it was a great day for Jenson and the whole team. Jenson did a remarkable job today – he really deserved this victory, but it wasn’t a great one for me. Still, I’m going to keep my head up and look ahead to the next race where I’ll hopefully have another chance. Clearly, our car has the pace to win, but I wasn’t able to compete today so I’ll go away and look at the data to work out how I can come back and be competitive in Korea next weekend. In the race, I don’t really know what happened with Felipe - the car’s mirrors vibrate at high-speed, so I couldn’t see him pulling alongside me. I want to apologise for our cars’ touching, but fortunately nothing happened to either of us. There was no bad intention towards Felipe; I’ve got the utmost respect for him, he’s a fantastic driver and he was extremely quick today. Finally, big congratulations to Sebastian for winning the title. We all knew it was going to happen, but his season has really been flawless. It’s a fantastic achievement for him.”

Scuderia Ferrari

Fernando Alonso (2nd)

“Congratulations to Sebastian! Winning two world titles at his age, in a season in which he has done it all - in qualifying, the races and every other way, so perfectly, is amazing and it is well deserved. For our part, we can do no more than try and do our utmost to try and beat him next year. Today, we did our best and we came close to winning the race. We know that in qualifying we are behind the Red Bulls and McLarens, but in the race, when there are variables like tyre degradation, then we can exploit some opportunities. Here, the others were very strong for the first five or six laps and then we closed up to them a lot. This podium is a great motivation for the final four races of the season. It was a fun race, in which the strategy was very important. Unlike recent races, today we had a pace that was good enough to fight for the win. We will try again in Korea, where we can go with our heads held high: we will try and win, or at least get on the podium again.”

Felipe Massa (7th)

“Once again I finish a race with a very bitter taste in my mouth. Today, our pace was good enough to finish on the podium, as Fernando demonstrated, but instead I am here commenting on a seventh place. It’s a real shame. The contact with Hamilton? My car was definitely damaged by it: when I looked at it after the race, I saw there was a bit of the front wing endplate missing and the floor was not on properly on the left hand side and I could feel it in the way my car was behaving. I think the footage speaks for itself: he was struggling with his tyres and I had almost come alongside him and for no reason, he moved over and hit me. I let you be the judge… It’s pointless for me to say any more about it. However, I do want to congratulate Sebastian Vettel: he is a great guy and deserves this title and I am very happy for him.”

Mercedes GP Petronas

Michael Schumacher (6th)

“I’m very happy with what we achieved in Suzuka today as we maximised our potential of the car, and managed to put in a good race. The team did a great job the whole weekend in finding performance and transforming it into the race. I think there was not more to expect and achieve. The pit stops were perfectly timed and everything worked out according to plan. I would like to congratulate Sebastian and his team who have been exceptional the whole year. It is extremely emotional to see him win the Championship again - I am very happy for him and even a little bit proud.”

Nico Rosberg (10th)

“I’m pleased to score a point today and had fun out there with a few nice overtaking maneuvers. This is definitely one of the toughest tracks for overtaking so starting from the back of the grid meant that I had a pretty tough job. Before the race, I hoped to achieve between eighth and 10th places and, whilst it would have been nice to be a bit higher, it’s still a decent result. Thanks to the team for a good strategy and great pit stops today. After this complicated weekend, I hope to have a more normal weekend in Korea and fight in our usual position. And finally, Sebastian, congratulations: you deserve the title”.

Lotus Renault GP

Bruno Senna (16th)

"From my perspective, it was a disappointing race having started the race in such a promising position. Vitaly squeezed me a little bit in the second corner, which made it tricky for me to recover. For the rest of the race, I encountered lots of traffic problems and my tyres were degrading quite fast. Overall, I think we can learn from this weekend. Despite limited track time before qualifying yesterday, I managed to get into Q3 and we certainly looked stronger over the three days here than we did in Singapore. Hopefully I will be back in the points in Korea. "

Vitaly Petrov (9th)

"We started on the medium (prime) tyre and I did all I could to maintain position at the start as those around me were on the soft (option). I suffered a lot of wheelspin, so with this tyre it was actually a pretty good start – if I was on the soft I would have gained places. During the race it was difficult to tell how the strategy was working and it was a challenge for the first two stints fighting against those on softer tyres. Ultimately, our target was to finish in front of Force India and this is what we achieved. When I put on the soft tyres towards the end of the race I felt so much grip; I smiled then I pushed a lot! Then I overtook I don’t know how many cars. It’s a pity Sergio (Perez) was just too far ahead. Now we go to Korea looking for another top ten finish. "

AT&T Williams

Rubens Barrichello (17th)

“Everything seemed to be playing our way at the start but then the safety car was deployed. That was bad timing for us. It closed the pack up and left us struggling on the wrong tyre at the end of the race which was too slow.”

Pastor Maldonado (14th)

“We had a difficult start on the prime tyres and our pace in the first stint was penalised quite heavily by them. We went onto the options at the second pitstop and that improved our pace considerably. We became fairly consistent after that. Towards the end of the race our pace was quick, I think possibly the quickest it’s been all weekend, but it was too late as we’d already lost out on a better finish in the opening laps. I did the best I possibly could today but it was not enough.”

Force India

Adrian Sutil (11th)

“To be honest I feel we were unlucky to miss out on points today. My initial start was excellent, although I had to lift because Kobayashi had a very poor start and so I didn’t get the full benefit. But after the first few laps I was ahead of the Renaults and we had good pace. I think what really hurt my race was the safety car because I made my second stop the lap before it came out and lost track position. In terms of strategy we had to go for three stops because the degradation was so high. For a while it looked like ninth was possible, but in the end we lost out to the cars making two stops who had the benefit of soft tyres at the end of the race.”

Paul Di Resta (12th)

“I made an awesome start to the race, going to the outside and jumping up four places –ahead of both the Renaults and Kobayashi. I settled into a good rhythm but the safety car spoilt our strategy because that was our fastest part of the race and it was important to tryand pull a gap. It helped the cars making two stops because they caught us in the final laps and it was very hard to defend. Going into the final four races we know it’s going to be a close battle with the teams around us. Sauber seemed to be quite competitive here and Renault look to be back on form, but we will try and fight back in Korea.”

Sauber F1 Team

Sergio Pérez (8th)

“I am very happy for the team to have scored some points here in Japan, especially after we had that technical problem yesterday in qualifying and I had to start 17th. But today the strategy with the tyres worked out very well for me, and the team did a very good job on this. Also the car’s performance was good. I pushed very hard, and gave my maximum today. Physically it was very hard for me because I am suffering from flu, so I’m totally happy that I brought the car home in a position good enough to score points.”

Kamui Kobayashi (13th)

“It was a tricky race for me. At the start when I released the clutch the car suddenly was in anti-stall mode, and that was why I lost five positions straight away. I tried to fight other cars then but overtaking wasn’t as easy as it was here last year. Then the safety car came out in what was a bad moment for our strategy. I did my second stop when the safety car was out, we changed from the soft to the medium compound and with those tyres I then had to go to the end of the race - 29 laps. In the end they were just so bad that I couldn’t defend my position anymore. Anyway, I had a good qualifying here and the car’s performance in the race has definitely improved, so we will keep pushing at the remaining races. I am very proud of all the Japanese fans who are so excited about Formula One. They are a great crowd and for me it was a very emotional day.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Jaime Alguersuari (15th)

“I had more or less the same strategy as Perez, however he seemed to be one second a lap faster than me. I was unable to get past as I was hitting the limiter on the engine, so I could not find the extra speed needed to overtake. On top of that, I was losing my downforce from following the cars in front. I can’t remember the last time I found it so hard to overtake in a race. I always gave my maximum, but the performance was not there today. Now, I hope to fight back in Korea and try and battle with Sauber again for some points.”

Sebastien Buemi (Ret)

“I had a very good start, passing five cars and running P11. I even ran tenth for a few laps before my first pit stop. I came out of the pits and already at the first corner, I felt some vibration and I saw that the right front wheel was beginning to move. It had not been properly fitted at the pit stop, I’m not sure why and then it came off at Turn 4. There was no way I could drive back to the pits, so my race was over. It’s a shame, because it was looking as though we could have had a good race and scored some points.”

Team Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen (18th)

“What a great race for the whole team! I made an incredible start, no wheelspin, the perfect clutch slip and was suddenly past a load of cars and up into 14th. It looked like everyone else went into reverse and I even heard one of the engineers laugh and accidentally telling someone else how brilliant the start was, and I thought ‘no! Don’t mention it now, I need to get on with the rest of the race!’ After that the first couple of stints were great. The car was working really well on the soft tyres and the stops were mega, and then the safety car came out and bunched everyone up so from there it was a race to the flag with Jarno and I stayed ahead until the last lap. The car has felt balanced all weekend so on the harder compound I was still able to push all afternoon, and even though I was held up a bit by the Virgins and the HRTs when they were being shown blue flags, I was still able to keep ahead of Jarno and as he’s always been quick here that feels pretty good. “Also - the fact that this is the first time this season we didn’t see any blue flags is very satisfying. Every time you have to let someone pass you are artificially slowing up your own race, and it shows our car keeps improving, as does the whole team. Ok, the safety car helped us, but then you have to be in the right place to take advantage of whatever happens on track, and today we did just that. A great day."

Jarno Trulli (19th)

"For me that was a good day. It didn’t start too well – for once my start wasn’t perfect but once we got under way I was able to put in a few good passes and was making up ground. After a few laps it felt like I had a problem with the gearbox that slowed me down, but it came back and almost immediately the safety car came out and I was able to make up the gap to Heikki and we both had a good run to the end. For the whole team this is a pretty significant result. We completed every lap of the race, and while that might not seem all that important when there are guys winning championships up ahead, it still shows we keep on improving, and I’m really pleased for everyone, here at the track and back at the factory, that we can leave Japan on a high again and head to the next race in Korea."

Hispania Racing F1 Team

Daniel Ricciardo (22nd)

“The race went quite well considering yesterday’s pace, we’ve got to be happy about being only a few tenths behind the Virgins. At one stage I was in front but the safety car didn’t help. It came out at times that didn’t suit us. But I’m happy with the performance and, personally, I’m pleased with the way I drove and I don’t think I could have done much more.
The car was good; with every run we made adjustments that improved it. I’m happy for the team because it was a strong race for us. We made good progress since the last few races we’ve had incidents in the first few laps so I’m satisfied to have had a clean race.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi (23rd)

“It was a really tough race where we paid the consequences for hardly doing any laps on Friday and Saturday. We went into the race with a bit of a blind set-up. We suffered massive degradation with the rear tyres, especially the rear left, and I wasn’t able to do many laps with any set of tyres. At the beginning it wasn’t too bad and I was able to fight the drivers ahead but once I passed a few laps I had to pit. It was a massive fight and reaching the finish line was the most positive aspect of the day.”

Marussia Virgin Racing

Timo Glock (20th)

“I had a good start, got on the outside and managed to get Jérôme in the first part of the first two corners. I nearly hit Trulli; he pushed me out and I went out on to the grass and unfortunately couldn’t stay on track, so I lost position again and was behind Jérôme. I was stuck behind him for the first stint, which destroyed my tyres in the first five or six laps because I was a bit quicker than him and then he started to pull away. We went for an early pitstop but the right rear tyre didn’t go on well and I lost 4-5 seconds, the position against Ricciardo and then Jérôme was able to pull quite far away. Then the safety car came out and we switched to a threestop and the hard tyre. I was able to get in front of Jérôme but at the end it was quite difficult against all the blue flags and I had a few tough moments. Anyway, we got both cars home no problem and we got the best out of the cars. I’m looking forward to Korea but we have to look at the car set-up again as it was okay, but not magic.”

Jérôme D’Ambrosio (21st)

“I think it was a good race. I had a good start and first part of the race. I’m not sure if we went for the best option regarding the strategy, as I lost my position to Timo in the pits, which is a shame. But I came back on him in the end and we had a great fight but he was able to end the race ahead. It was a positive weekend for me and I’m happy with this.”

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