Formula 1 News

Drivers' quotes after the Korean Grand Prix

Hamilton: "There was so much pressure from Mark [Webber] behind and it would have been so easy to make a mistake, lock up or go wide - but I’m really satisfied that I didn’t do so once."
Monday, October 17, 2011

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel (1st)
"Fantastic; a very nice day today and very special for the team. Winning the Constructors' means a lot. It was a phenomenal race, we had so much pace and it was so much fun out there. I knew overtaking Lewis near the start would be difficult and I nearly went off under braking, but he was very fair and it was important for us to get track position. Then I wasn't too comfortable to be honest, there was a lot of head wind and it was difficult to get away. I could see the car behind getting bigger in the mirrors and it was tough to break the tow, but we did it. It's nice to win the Championship today with a fastest lap - it's no points, but it's nice to have. It's difficult for everyone to imagine what winning the Championship means for the factory. It's a boost and not just for those here at the track - it's much more than that. There is so much going on behind the scenes, every day of the year. It's down to the whole team to build two competitive cars and we push it to the limits on track. It was a lot of pressure off the shoulders today when I crossed the line. People now expect us to take it easy, but we are here to win and do our best. We had a chance to win today and we took it."

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Mark Webber (3rd)
"The battle with Lewis was pretty intense. I was frustrated that we followed him out of the pit lane, so I risked quite a bit to try and pass him on the out lap, before he got settled in. It's not easy to pass a driver of Lewis' calibre. I tried some moves and it was a good battle as our cars had weaknesses and strengths in different areas of the lap, so trying to get the move done wasn't particularly easy. I enjoyed it, but I would have liked to have got that extra position, which I think performance-wise we deserved, but McLaren did a good job and Lewis drove well. There were loads of positives today, it was a good start for me and I got a good result. For the team to get the Constructors' is an incredible effort - when you have two back-to-back Constructors' World Championships, it's phenomenal. For the team, for everyone in Milton Keynes designing and building the car, for everyone in Viry at Renault building the engine which has been 100% reliable so far this year and for everyone in Fuschl in Austria, it's been a great year. I'm sure there will be some headaches tonight."

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McLaren

Lewis Hamilton (2nd)
“This was one of my strongest races of the season. There was so much pressure from Mark [Webber] behind and it would have been so easy to make a mistake, lock up or go wide - but I’m really satisfied that I didn’t do so once. I believe that withstanding pressure is the mark of a world champion, and I think I showed that in today’s race. Our car started off reasonably well, but the front-end dropped away through the race. By the end, all the switches in the cockpit that could help me were adjusted to the maximum! The differential and front wing were at the maximum possible, and there was still nothing I could do. I was driving into corners with almost maximum lock and the car still wasn’t turning - so I couldn’t carry the speed through the corners, and that’s how Mark was able to catch me. It was only after the race that I discovered we had an issue with debris lodged in the front wing, and that’s probably what caused the understeer. This was a good, strong result for the team. The guys didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, so we should be proud of today’s result - but, man, it was hard! I really hope we can carry our continued momentum through the next three races. It feels good to be back.”

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Jenson Button (4th)
“I don’t think I could have done much more than fourth today. I struggled to get rid of my understeer throughout the whole race, so fourth was a fair reflection of what the car was capable of today. On the first lap, I braked into Turn Three, but Felipe [Massa] went inside me and I got stuck on the outside and ended up losing quite a few places. At the end of the first lap, I was sixth, but I don’t think that poor first lap would have changed my result. Throughout the race, I didn’t have any front-end grip. I couldn’t get into the DRS zone either, so it was always tricky to try and close down the car in front when I lacked that straight-line advantage. I was passed by Nico [Rosberg] after my first pit stop when he ended up out-braking himself at the pit exit. The exit here is a bit unusual: if you leave the pits behind another car, then you’re probably going to be able to get ahead, because you get the benefit of the DRS into Turn Three. But Nico locked up out of the pits and ran wide, so I passed him, meaning he crossed the DRS line behind me and was able to use it to get past on the straight. I was able to nip back past pretty quickly and was able to close down on the battle for second between Lewis and Mark. But, towards the end of each stint, the front-end would drop away: I just couldn’t get close enough in the last sector. I added more front-end at the stops, but I had lots of understeer so I couldn’t get close enough to Mark [Webber] to use DRS. I think I only used DRS once in the entire race. Still, if this was a bad day, it wasn’t so bad!”

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso (5th)
“It was a very close fought race, as indeed has been the case for much of this segment of the season. As usual this year, Red Bull and McLaren are clearly stronger in qualifying, but then on Sunday we are all much closer. All in all, it was an interesting race, with plenty of action. At the start, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the leaders, because, after just a few laps, the super softs were already producing a lot of understeer. On top of that, being in traffic all the time compromised still further the tyre performance, because there was less aerodynamic downforce. When we switched to the softs, the situation improved significantly and, with a clear track, I was able to push as hard as I could, but by then it was difficult to reach the small group that was fighting for the podium: hence what I said on the radio, having given my all for twenty laps, but there was no way I could do more with just two laps to go. We must try and improve our Saturday performance, but we will not give up trying to secure a win in the remaining races of this season. Furthermore, we will continue to work towards next year, trying new things and maybe, taking a few risks with our strategy.”

Felipe Massa (6th)
“I’m not pleased because small problems prevented me from getting a better result. I got a good start and, on the opening lap, I managed to make up some places, then at the first pit stop, I rejoined the track behind Rosberg and Button. This was mainly because the team had to keep me on my spot because Michael was coming and also because the other two had pitted before me. In the first part of the race, on the super softs, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the guys in front, but then, once on the softs, we managed to go very quickly. Then, after the second stop, I found myself behind a Toro Rosso and a Force India who were fighting amongst themselves and I lost valuable time which allowed Fernando to get ahead of me. Today, our performance level was better than it had been in qualifying, which has been a constant factor this year. Now we are off to the Indian Grand Prix, a new venue for Formula 1. I don’t know the country and I am very curious to see what it’s like, because I think it has a lot in common with Brazil, given that both are going through a period of strong growth.”

Toro Rosso

Jaime Alguersuari (7th)
“The reality is that the Toro Rosso team has done a fantastic job, not just this weekend, but also going back to Suzuka, where we introduced some updates on the car. In Japan, we did not make the most of them but in the few days in between the races the team has done really well to move forward for here. In qualifying I did a good lap and then today, I was not concerned about tyre degradation and believed our two stop strategy was the right one and it worked perfectly for us. The car had fantastic straight line speed which is how I managed to pass Nico on the final lap. I struggled a bit in sector 2 compared to him which is why I saved all the KERS for after the first corner, in order to be close enough to activate the DRS. I ended up using all the KERS and DRS and it finally paid off right at the end. I must say I did not think I could do it, I did not expect it, but I gave it one last effort at the end I was able to get past, partly helped by the fact he made a small mistake on that lap. Combined with great pit stops, that is how we managed to produce this fantastic result. I am very happy for the team who have worked so hard, especially the mechanics fitting all these new parts. We are closer to Sauber now and with three races remaining, I think we have a chance of passing them, as long as we continue to perform like this, finishing in the top ten.”

Sebastien Buemi (9th)
“I am extremely pleased with my race. Someone drove into me at the first corner which cost me four places and I’m not really sure what happened. After that, I had to work hard to pass other cars - the two Williams, the two Saubers and both Force Indias - to move up the order. The car was very competitive with good top speed down the straight. The pit stops also went very well, so I want to thank the team who did a great job right from the start of the weekend. Now, I can’t wait to get to India, because it seems we have a competitive car and I will be out to score more points in the first ever race there. We are now only a few points off Sauber in the championship and if we continue to work hard, I think we can realistically try and get ahead of them in the remaining races.”

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg (8th)
"I had good speed at the start of the race today but after we changed to the prime tyres, it became more difficult as the degradation was too strong. I had some nice battles against Jenson and the Ferraris, and was pushing hard to defend my position against Felipe and Fernando in the middle stint. During this, I flat-spotted my front tyres so I had to pit earlier than expected which made my last stint on the primes very long. I didn't have enough grip by the end and so I just wasn't able to defend the position against Jaime. A difficult race for me today but I'm still happy to score some points."

Michael Schumacher (DNF)
"Another unfortunate end to a race which could have been encouraging today. It's a big pity as the car was again very good in race trim and I had already gained some positions. It would have been interesting to see what was possible, and I think we could certainly have taken some points. As for the incident, I didn't see Vitaly coming; I was just suddenly spun into a direction I had not intended to go, and then I saw my rear wing hanging off. It was unfortunate but these things happen when you fight hard - that's racing."

Force India

Paul di Resta (10th)
“It’s good to come away with a point, but ultimately we didn’t have the performance to match Toro Rosso today. It looked like we might be able to hold off Buemi in the final laps to stay ninth, but we came up six or seven laps too short with the tyres and I couldn’t hold him back. In terms of tyres, we probably should have been a bit more aggressive with the strategy and used my new supersofts at the start of the race, rather than the used set, but I’m not sure it would have changed where we finished. Still, every point counts come the end of the year and we’ve managed to gain a point on Sauber, which is important.”

Adrian Sutil (11th)
“It was not the easiest race today and I’m disappointed that I missed out on points. The start of the race was okay, but Schumacher and Alguersuari came by me quite early on. I think our strategy was good and I made my first stop when the safety car came out, but our main competitor today was Toro Rosso and we just didn’t have the pace to beat them. It’s clear that we have to fight really hard in the final three races because the race pace of our close competitors is strong and we will need to score points to hold on to our sixth position.”

Williams

Rubens Barrichello (12th)
“Our pace was good today and I was able to fight with quicker cars. Once again the safety car didn’t go my way and that cost me positions. Having said that, I still enjoyed the race and I had fun overtaking. It’s just a pity we didn’t score.”

Pastor Maldonado (DNF)
“I had a good start and my pace was looking ok. Unfortunately, I made a mistake coming into the pits which cost me a drive through penalty. My race ended when the team spotted a problem with the engine and I had to retire. Not a great weekend, but I’ll now shift my focus to a better result in India.”

Renault

Bruno Senna (13th)
“It was far from the best race I’ve had. I got a bad start, and from then on it was always going to be an uphill battle. Being stuck behind a number of other cars again restricted my ability to get points today; I don’t feel there were any specific weaknesses in my car itself but I was just unable to progress much from where I was. We will now see what we can do to better the situation, and come out all guns blazing in India. That’s a culture I’ve not experienced before and a race I’m looking forward to.”

Vitaly Petrov (DNF)
“I tried to defend my position from Fernando but I was in the braking zone on the dirty side of the track which meant I locked my wheels and hit Michael. I was focused on my battle with Fernando as there was potential for me to be ahead of him. We both braked too late as he missed the corner too. Up until that point I was happy with our strategy and how the race was going. I apologise to Michael, it was not his fault, it was absolutely my fault - once my wheels were locked there was nothing I could do about it. But that’s racing and tomorrow is another day.”

Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen (14th)
"After the fantastic performance last weekend in Japan this is another big step forward for us - finishing 14th today, ahead of both Saubers and within touching distance of Senna on the final lap is for sure our strongest ever race and it's a great feeling for me and the whole team to see us fighting with a big group of cars right from the very first lap. I had another amazing start, passing a bunch of cars into turn 1 and making it look like they were all in reverse. From there I had a good first stint on the options, managing to look after them well enough to stay out for an extra couple of laps that really helped in the first stop. We went onto the primes, and my pace on them was just fantastic, good enough to help me match the times of the cars ahead right up to about tenth. The second set of primes we put on were exactly the same - the wear rates were totally manageable and I could really push on every lap. We knew there were a few cars ahead who would struggle to get to the end, and if I'd had another half a lap I would have passed Senna for sure. As it was we finished ahead of both Saubers on pace and strategy and that's a very good feeling. We've been strong all weekend and it's great for the whole team that we're heading towards the end of the season with a car that is giving us a chance to really show what we can do. Honestly, I'd like to get straight back in now and do it all over again - now I can't wait for India!"

Jarno Trulli (17th)
"That was a really strong race for us, definitely the best of the season, and I want to congratulate the whole team for the work they've done here and back at the factory for giving me and Heikki a car that we can really race with. For me, the start wasn't so good - I lost a few places into the first corner but I made them back up again quickly on the first set of tyres, and when we changed to the primes my times were great. Heikki and I were keeping pace with the midfield and easily pulling away from the cars behind, but then in my second stop I had a bit of an issue with traffic in the pit lane which lost me a bit of time and brought me out just behind where we wanted to be. As soon as the blue flags started coming out late in the race I had to slow up, and if I hadn't had those problems I'm sure I could have finished with Heikki ahead of Kamui and Sergio. Despite that it's been a good weekend, and now we have another three races to build on today's performance and finish the season as well as possible."

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi (15th)
“My start was okay, except I couldn’t gain any positions. When I was fighting with Sebastien Buemi our cars touched and the front wing was damaged. I changed to super-soft tyres after ten laps, as I had started on the softs. When the safety car came out we lost the advantage from the fresh tyres, as everyone was pitting then. I also had some damage to the rear wing, but I don’t really know where this was from. At almost mid distance Bruno Senna was behind me and was pushing extremely hard, which actually resulted in a damaged front wing. Because of that my car was understeering a lot and the tyres were blistering. I then had to pit earlier than planned to replace the front wing. After the second stop I was able to overtake a couple of cars at the back of the field, but there was obviously no chance to score points today. We were just too slow, but we will go and work on it.”

Sergio Perez (16th)
“Initially my start was pretty good, but then I got stuck behind some other cars and the positions I gained were lost again. In the beginning with the soft tyres it was quite good, but then with the supersoft tyres I struggled. During the last stint especially they degraded way too much. I had to pit and change them three laps before the end because the front right tyre had a hole in it, and you could see the casing. It was a shame, but there was no way I could have finished the race with those tyres. However, we didn’t have the pace today to finish in the points.”

Virgin

Timo Glock (18th)
“It has been a good weekend for us. Strategy-wise I think we made the right choice. I had a very good car the whole race - very consistent to push until the last lap and all the problems that we thought we had before were less of an issue. The Pirellis were very good and very consistent. I had a lot of fun and could push until the end, until the last lap. We had a bit of a fight with HRT in the middle of the race, who were suddenly very quick, and I had to push more and more. Overall I’m happy and got the maximum out of the car. The pitstops were good so we made a big step forward in that area too. Now we’re off to our big adventure in India, which I think the whole team is looking forward to.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio (20th)
“It wasn’t a great race today, but I can say that compared to yesterday and bearing in mind that we couldn’t do any big changes on the car because of the rules, I think that today went pretty well. We tried to do what we could to compensate with the tools that we had and we went in the right direction. So in general it was good, definitely much better than yesterday.”

HRT

Daniel Ricciardo (19th)
“We had a good race, it’s nice to finish considering the weekend we had. We had a strong pace throughout the race and had a good fight with the Virgins so that’s two consecutive races where we have been much more competitive with them so we have to be happy about that. I’m a bit disappointed with myself after the safety car because I went to attack Glock but it worked against me with D’Ambrosio getting past me. That made me work hard to get back past him again so, at least we split the two Virgins. Next time we have to work hard to get ahead of both of them.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi (21st)
“We had a really good start, we overtook a few cars and heading into turn 3 there must have been some contact because there were pieces of carbon flying. I hit something with my front end and after that I had problems locking the front which caused my contact in turn 4 with one of the Virgins. After that I damaged my front wing and was forced to come in which killed my race. We had pretty good pace during the first stint but the safety car came out at the worst time possible, just as the leaders had lapped me, so I was a lap down with respect to my main rivals. The race was very difficult after that and the balance was all over the place, it was really hard to drive. But with all those problems we endured, we still made it to the checkered flag which is a positive thing.”

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