Formula 1 News

Drivers' quotes after the Abu Dhabi GP

Massa: "In the first stint I could fight with Button and the Australian, but I always had the thought in my mind that, in the final stint, I’d be in trouble."
Sunday, November 13, 2011

McLaren

Lewis Hamilton (1st)
“This result is just fantastic. I’m usually my own biggest critic - I’m always hard on myself when I make mistakes - but I really felt like I maximised everything today. To be able to sustain that kind of pace, under constant pressure, and not make mistakes, is really satisfying. For most of the race I was concentrating on managing the gap to Fernando (Alonso). He’s such a strong driver. He’ll never give you an inch, in fact. Into the closing laps I found myself beginning to think about victory, but I didn’t want to do that really so I kept saying to myself: ‘Don’t even go there!’. It worked: I stopped my mind from wandering and I didn’t allow myself to think about the win until I’d crossed the line. To have Jenson on the podium alongside me was great - great for me, great for him, great for the team, and a great boost as we move towards the end of the season. The team has been fantastic all weekend - the strategy, the pitstops, everything - really top-class. The whole package came together today and I owe everyone a big thank-you. This is so uplifting - for the team and for me. To be able to walk away with a smile feels just fantastic: victory is good for the soul.”

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Jenson Button (3rd)
“It was a difficult race for me, as I had a KERS Hybrid issue, which is admittedly very rare for us. After about 15 laps it stopped working - and that doesn’t just affect your power out of the corners, it affects engine braking too. Fortunately, my engineer came over the radio and told me they’d found a way to make it work again - but it meant pushing lots of buttons on the steering wheel every couple of laps because it only returned intermittently. So I’d arrive at a corner and not know whether I had any engine braking because I had no warning. So selecting the right spot at which to brake was tough. Still, as I say, it’s extremely rare for us to encounter a problem with our KERS Hybrid. Mercedes-Benz has done a great job this year, and in fact I’d say theirs is the best and most reliable unit in the pitlane: a fantastic system, in fact. So as I say it was a rare issue - and, although the problem made for a tricky drive for me, it also made it even more satisfying to manage to keep it together and end up on the podium. Last of all, I want to say: ‘Fair play to Lewis.’ He did a great job today. It’s very positive to move towards the end of the season on a high, because it’s the best possible way to build for the new season.”

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Ferrari

Fernando Alonso (2nd)
“I am pleased with this result: finally my podium trophy collection is complete! I have seventy three top three finishes and I have managed to stand on the podium of all the circuits that have been on the Formula One calendar over the past ten years. Next year, we go to Austin and the year after to Russia, so there will always be new challenges to tackle and objectives to reach even if, obviously, the main one is always to win the title. It’s clear what will be the objective for me and all the team next year: winning the title. Today we were fighting for the win all the way to the end. We got a good start and could match Hamilton’s pace. The first pit stop went well, while I lost a couple of seconds at the second one, what with traffic on my in-lap and a problem changing the front left wheel, but I don’t think that’s where we lost the race, because I am convinced that, in the end, it’s the quickest car that wins and so it was. The opening lap was exciting: at the start I squeezed round the outside of Webber at the first corner because I knew there was more grip there then, once I saw Vettel was off, I got into Button’s slipstream, taking a bit of a risk but, in the end, I managed to pass him too. After that I expected to struggle more, but today was one of those where the car went much better than expected and you are kept busier fighting with those ahead of you than in looking in your mirrors. I hoped right to the end I could do it, because maybe Hamilton might also have had some problems with KERS like Button did. Even if we have not fought for the title it has still been a good season: we have improved a lot as a team and learned a lot.”

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Felipe Massa (6th)
“I cannot be happy with this fifth place. Things were going reasonably well while I was on the Softs, but with the Mediums I was really struggling to keep the car on track because of the lack of grip. That’s why I ended up spinning on lap 49, losing any remaining hope of staying ahead of Webber. In the first stint I could fight with Button and the Australian, but I always had the thought in my mind that, in the final stint, I’d be in trouble. The fact I could not use the new front wing was more of a penalty when running the Medium tyres than the Softs, because with the harder compound you could feel the lack of downforce more. Now we go to Brazil where I will have the support of my home crowd: I am sure that will help me try and finish well this season that has definitely not been a positive one for me. Even if it’s obvious, I want to state clearly that, despite everything, I am absolutely motivated for next year. Along with the team, I will work to have a more competitive car and then you will see everything will be different.”

Red Bull

Mark Webber (4th)
“On the second pit stop, we fitted the option tyre again to try and cut the race down to something different; it was certainly worth a bit of a punt. The two DRS zones are tricky here; in the first one it was easy to get the move done, but in the second one you couldn't, so if I passed Jenson there, he could just get you back again. I think it was a bit of a gimmick today the DRS, it was difficult to make the move stick and harder to get the move done, as I say in Turn 11. I had a pretty good pace on Jenson anyway at the end of the first stint, he went one lap shorter than us which was no problem, but then we had a bad first pit stop, so we lost a lot of time with that. It put us on the back foot. I got the car back onto the leaders, but we were out of position by then.”

Sebastian Vettel (DNF)
“On the exit of the first corner, everything seemed fine and then turning into the second corner I could feel that something was odd on the rear right. I had to catch the car surprisingly and then the second time, I couldn’t do it anymore, as I’d lost too much air in the rear right tyre. I had a puncture and spun off. When I got back to the pits, the resulting suspension damage meant we couldn’t carry on. There wasn’t anything we could have done better really this weekend; we just need to look at what had caused the puncture. I had a good start and I was very happy with the car up until that point. To lose the race there, so early on, it hurts for sure. There wasn’t much we could do, so after that I took the opportunity to learn a little bit on the pit wall.”

Mercedes GP

Nico Rosberg (6th)
"It was an interesting race for me today. The start didn't work out very well as I tried to overtake Felipe but suddenly there was no space left. Michael was able to overtake me, and we had a fun battle before I took the place back. From then, I was able to handle my tyre situation very well. I stayed out a bit longer before the second stop as there was some grip left, and it was better to stay out with the softer tyres. With the prime tyres, I had some understeer which made it impossible to overtake Felipe towards the end. Thanks to my engineering team who did a brilliant job here and I was quite happy with my car all weekend. Our pit stop guys were also great again, and that's why we achieved a good result today. It makes me look forward to Brazil and hopefully we can achieve another good result there."

Michael Schumacher (7th)
"A reasonable race today and some reasonable points I would say. Considering that we did not manage to find the perfect balance yesterday, we managed to get the maximum out of our situation today. But then, I did lose some small parts of the car which cost us some balance, and towards the end I had a slow puncture, which is why I had to park my car at turn two. The tyres gave up rather early in the first stint but that was due to our tyre strategy yesterday when we wanted to save a fresh set for the race. I therefore had quite used tyres for the start. We now have to look into the data and make sure we are well prepared for the last race of the season which we want to finish as well as possible."

Force India

Adrian Sutil (8th)
“Today’s result is great for the team and just what we needed. Initially we were planning to do a one-stop race, but the team took the decision to switch to a two-stop strategy because the soft tyre did not last as long as we thought it would. So it was a good call by the team to make the change. I spent a lot of the race fighting with Schumacher and managed to get ahead of him for the middle stint. But I probably went one lap too long in the middle stint and he got ahead of me when we were both on the medium tyre at the end of the race. I was close behind him, but we had similar pace and I couldn’t get back ahead. Still, we came here to pick up points with both cars, and that’s what we’ve done. It puts us in a very strong position for the final race.”

Paul di Resta (9th)
“I think as a team we can be pleased to have come away with a double points finish having run different strategies with both cars. With hindsight my one-stop race was not the optimum strategy, but we felt it was worth a try. As it turned out the performance of the medium was not great to begin with so the first 30 laps were quite hard work. I had a good fight with Buemi in the early laps and I think we were quite lucky that he retired, which made my race a bit easier. When I switched to the softs the speed of the car was very strong. To do a one-stop race and come away with two points is as much as we could really hope for. It’s what we need for our fight in the championship and hopefully we can arrive in Brazil and carry on where we left off.”

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi (10th)
“I am happy to having scored a point today, I have had a pretty long period without scoring and for me it was important to put an end to this. I had a really good start and was able to make up five positions on lap one. Actually the performance of the tyres during and after the start was better than expected. I started on the medium compound as I was only 16th on the grid, and this is obviously a situation in which you have to take chances. But we knew it would be a difficult first stint, and it was not really clear how long those tyres would last. They dropped off after a few laps and then I lost three positions before I pitted after lap five for soft tyres. I think overall it was a good race by us.”

Sergio Perez (11th)
“I had higher hopes for the race today. It is a shame what happened on lap one. There was a queue into turn seven and I couldn’t avoid hitting Adrian Sutil’s car. It wasn’t immediately clear how big the damage was, but then the team told me my front wing was broken and I had to pit after lap two. We then decided to go for the medium compound when we did the nose change. On my third stint, again on soft tyres, I was driving in tenth for a while, but then I struggled with the tyres and also for the last 12 laps my KERS wasn’t working.”

Williams

Rubens Barrichello (12th)
“It was a very good race, and a well considered one by the team. We started from the back but I fought all the way through and we almost ended up fighting for points. We did well to finish where we did today.”

Pastor Maldonado (14th)
“Our pace was a bit slow at the beginning of the race but improved when we switched onto the soft tyre. Unfortunately, my drive through penalty cost us a lot of time and potentially a better result. Our overall pace was better than it has been recently and I was happy with the car today.”

Renault

Vitaly Petrov (13th)
“It was quite a frustrating afternoon because my DRS was not working. We thought we could have a good fight with the cars in front, but we were pretty helpless, so we decided to change the strategy. When I first stopped, we put fresh medium tyres on but unfortunately these did not last long enough so we returned to the pits on lap 38 to change to the soft. Unfortunately that ended up being too slow. The pace was not good enough to score points and that’s the reality.”

Bruno Senna (16th)
“Let’s be honest here - there’s not a crumb of comfort to take from that performance. We suffered from a KERS failure, drive through penalty and a car which was not on the money at this particular track. Put those together and you see why I finished where I did. There was lots of lost time to make up and, strategically, we took a gamble that didn’t pay off. I certainly think that overall this weekend my pace was as good as it could have been. Maybe for Brazil we will have a better baseline, and let’s hope we have a better race weekend.”

Toro Rosso

Jaime Alguersuari (15th)
“I am very disappointed with the outcome of this weekend, because we had opted for a strategy in terms of aerodynamics that appeared to be the best in terms of ease of overtaking in the race. However, after the first four or five laps, I seemed to pick up some tyre degradation and I was losing the rear end. Then came the key moment in my race, when there was a mistake in the pit stop, which cost me a lot of time and dropped me down the order, from which I could not recover. Today, P10 was possible, because I had a good pace on the new Options, even if I am not sure that we could have caught the Force Indias. I am sure Brazil will suit us better, so I am looking forward to that and the chance for all of us to do a better job.”

Sebastien Buemi (DNF)
“I had to retire because of a loss of fluid from the hydraulic system, which I first felt through the lack of power steering, as this is what makes the most demand on the hydraulics. After that, I could not change gear so there was nothing to do but bring the car into the pits and retire. It is such a shame, because I was having a good race up to that point. Just before it happened, I had passed Di Resta in the Force India and was hoping to start fighting Schumacher and Sutil, which means that a finish somewhere between seventh and ninth should have been possible tonight. Now we have just one more opportunity to try and score some more points, so I can’t wait to get to Brazil to try and end the season with a good result."

Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen (17th)
“Another pretty good start and from there the whole race was straightforward. I didn’t have any issues for the whole race, the pitstops were good and the strategy worked out exactly was we’d planned, so across the whole weekend this has been another strong event for us. What seems to be happening is that in the first couple of stints, as the race sort of settles down, we are able to keep up with the cars ahead, and that’s obviously a sign of how we have progressed, and that’s again what happened here. When we went onto the primes for the last stint the pace obviously dropped a bit but we had another strong push to the end, with Senna losing time on his final set of tyres, and that points to us being able to fight much more closely next year. For now we have one race left, so we’ll shift the focus now to Brazil and make sure we finish the season as strongly as we have been doing since Singapore.”

Jarno Trulli (18th)
“I lost a few places at the start with clutch slip, but within a few laps I had got passed the cars we needed to fight and then focused on making sure I got the car to the end of the race. The second stint was pretty strong, but then on the last stint on the hard tyres I was struggling to get them up to temperature so I couldn’t really push any more. This has been a bit of a tough weekend. I came here with a bit of a fever and then losing time in FP3 obviously set me back as well, but now I want to make sure I have as good a race as possible in Brazil and help the team secure tenth place.”

Virgin

Timo Glock (19th)
“Overall it was quite a good race today. I had a strong start, the speed was not too bad and I was in front of a couple of quicker guys, even though in the end they caught us up. I just drove my race and my engineer kept me updated about the gap to the guys behind, which was quite easy to manage. In the second pit-stop I think Ricciardo pushed a bit more, but I still managed to stay in front of him as well as keeping an eye on the rear tyres. In the end I got the best out of the car even though I have to say it was a bit difficult with the last set of tyres because the Medium compound combined with all the blue flags made it difficult to get them up to temperature. But it was a good race and the team did a good job.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio (DNF)
“What a shame! I had a good start and was fighting hard against the HRTs, but I had a problem with the brakes and that was my race over. But we will work hard and continue to be motivated to finish the season in Brazil on a high.”

HRT

Vitantonio Liuzzi (20th)
“The car was suffering from the same balance problems as yesterday. The team worked on the issue all night to try and fix it but, unfortunately, the car wasn’t perfectly balanced today. There was understeer on left turns and oversteer on right turns which meant that it was hard to achieve a good race pace. We got off to a good start and made up a few positions but it was a difficult challenge. Still, I pushed until the very end and got the car past the checkered flag which is a positive thing. It was a difficult race but we got a decent result.”

Daniel Ricciardo (DNF)
“I had a pretty good take off at the start, passing Glock and getting right behind Trulli, and then I stayed on the inside for turn one, which was probably a mistake as Glock overtook me on the outside. There were a few moves that I should have maybe committed to a bit stronger. The pace was good but I lost a few places at the start and had to play catch up. I closed the gap with Tonio but then I couldn’t get past him. For the second stint I was able to keep up with Glock. I was then caught in traffic and, three laps from the end, my car stopped. It was a shame to end the race prematurely but, overall, the pace was good and I was setting some good times so that’s something to take into the next race.

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