Formula 1 News

Driver's quotes after the Chinese GP

Raikkonen: "We had good pace in the race, we tried a different strategy and it didn’t pay off today; it’s as simple as that."
Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg (1st)
"This is a very special moment for me. The whole weekend went perfectly. My first pole position, now my first win in Formula One - it really is fantastic. But it's not only this; it's the first win for the new Silver Arrow and for this great team. That is really special for me. Thanks to everybody in the team, here in China and in our factories in Brackley and Brixworth. It makes me very proud that we have improved the car so quickly. I will never forget this race, and the last 20 laps felt as long as if I was racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours! But then crossing the line was so intense. We will enjoy this success, but our feet are still on the ground. We are still not where we want to be, we are still working hard to understand the car and the tyres in all conditions, and we will keep pushing to improve our race pace even further. We will see how that works out in Bahrain."

Michael Schumacher (DNF)
"First of all, congratulations to the whole team, to Mercedes-Benz and of course to Nico who achieved a perfect victory from start to finish. He did a great job today and yesterday, and I am happy for him. As for my race, my right front tyre got loose following my first pit stop. As I did not want to cause any bigger damage to the car, I stopped on the grass. I felt there was something wrong immediately and especially in turn three, when I put pressure on the right side of the car. Up until then I had a controlled race I'd say, keeping the others behind me and the tyres together. Of course, this was an unfortunate ending to what could have been a nice race, and I feel sorry for the guys, who always work so hard and give their best. But we all know that's part of the game."

McLaren

Jenson Button (2nd)
“Congratulations to Nico today - he drove a faultless race. But who knows what we could have achieved if we’d had a clear run at him in the final stint? Our pace was very good and the aim was to come out ahead of that following pack of cars - which we would have done if we hadn’t lost time in the pitstop - and chase him down and put him under pressure. The delay in the final stop was just one of those things though - all the other stops had been very strong this weekend, but that one in particular wasn’t. The delay pushed me back into the traffic, which was a little bit of a shock, but the pace and consistency are there in the car and I was able to get back into second position, after a good battle and a satisfying pass on Sebastian (Vettel). It’s disappointing not to have been able to challenge for the win, but it was a fun race with tons of overtaking and lots of battling. More important, it’s been a great day for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes because we’re now leading both world championships. It’s very important to be consistent, and it’s nice to be back on the podium, but there are just a couple of little things we need to improve upon to make life even better for ourselves.”

Lewis Hamilton (3rd)
“I had a great race! And, although neither Jenson nor I was sadly able to win, I’m really happy that Nico took his first win today, but I’m also really pleased for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team: both Jenson and I were able to get back on the podium and score some more good points. It was a tough race, though: I’d love to have been able to challenge Nico, and I think maybe I’d have been able to if I’d started on the front row, but we still managed to move forwards from the start I had a lot of fun overtaking people too. I reckon I got everything out of the car that I possibly could. It’s also a major positive to know that we’ve got a very consistent car. We just have to make sure we keep moving forwards, that’s all. Mercedes AMG, Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Sauber are all up there - that’s a serious championship and it’s going to make for great racing for the fans to watch. It’s been a while since I was at the top of the drivers’ world championship - but we’ve got to remain focused. I think if I just continue to work as I am then the wins will surely come, and I’ll keep pushing for some better results in the future.”

Red Bull

Mark Webber (4th)
“Trying to get the balance right for the whole race was very tricky. In the end, fourth was not too bad; it wasn’t the maximum, but it’s very tight between the teams at the front. At some points of the race, I saw P13/ P14 on the board, so I have to be satisfied with fourth place. I made a few mistakes running wide trying to push onto the back straight, it’s hard there as you can get onto the marbles. I think the strategy was good, but it’s always a gamble with the three stop, as to what traffic there might be. Congratulations to Nico, he deserves the victory, and also to Mercedes. For me it’s three fourths on the bounce now, it’s good points and we leave here reasonably satisfied, but we need to keep boxing and keep improving.”

Sebastian Vettel (5th)
“I had no tyres left at the end of the race. Sitting in the car, I was reacting with brake balance, diff, everything to try and keep the tyres, but by the last few laps, I knew the only chance was trying to keep ahead of Kimi; I think he ran into the same sort of problem. We got some good points and it was a good recovery from 15th. Mercedes won pretty comfortably today, so well done to them. We were generally too slow on the straights, and we’re losing time there; it made it difficult to pass other people. But overall, I’m pretty happy with fifth given the poor first lap. I missed out on the start, I wasn’t entirely happy finding the revs and I lost the initial bit when the lights went off. Usually I’m pretty quick with that, but today I was one of the last ones. The first lap wasn’t great, but with the strategy we managed to come back. I think the weekend was good for us, we learned a lot and hopefully we will take these lessons on board and go in the right direction for next week.”

Lotus

Romain Grosjean (6th)
“It was a very good race, I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I made a little mistake fighting with Mark (Webber) but overall it was a good performance. The car felt great and the team did an amazing job to give us such a big improvement from Friday, so I’m especially happy for the guys to be able to finish the race and get some good points on the board. To be up there fighting with McLaren and Red Bull is a great feeling and I’m happy to have got my season started properly. We’ve had high hopes since P3 on the grid in Melbourne, and now after a few setbacks it’s time to aim higher. There’s always room to improve and hopefully from here we can aim for the top five and eventually podiums. We’ll take things step by step but I’m feeling confident for the rest of the season ahead.”

Kimi Raikkonen (14th)
“We tried to run two stops as it looked to be the fastest strategy and up until the last ten laps it was looking good, but we ran out of tyre performance at the end. I was stuck behind Felipe (Massa) for quite a while and couldn’t get past as I wasn’t fast enough in the right parts of the track to make a move. Even if I’d got past I don’t think it would have made the greatest amount of difference to the final result. Raikkoenen”

Williams

Bruno Senna (7th)
“It was a great result for the team to finish with two cars in the points today. It was a tough race and tyre wear was high. Our strategy worked for us today but we’re still learning and improving together. We aim to continue to get better throughout the next few races.”

Pastor Maldonado (8th)
“It was very tough today. I lost places at the start and it was difficult to overtake but we had good pace. We were able to fight all the way to the end so I’m happy to get some points. It was a great result for the team.”

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso (9th)
“We knew this would be a difficult race and that’s how it turned out. We were always in traffic, without an opportunity to exploit the car’s potential and when you are behind other cars, the tyres get worn much more easily. Choosing to do three stops clearly meant we would be forced to do some overtaking, but with the top speed we had, it turned out to be almost impossible on the main straight, so I had to invent some overtaking moves at other points on the track, where I could make better use of the car. Obviously, this does not leave me very optimistic for Bahrain, on a track where traction and speed are vital, exactly the areas where we are weakest. Once again next week it will be mainly a case of damage limitation. I don’t want to think of the classification because the priority is to improve the performance of the F2012. This does not mean however, that I have lost hope, quite the contrary. Last year, we believed all the way to Spa and there’s no reason not to at the moment, when we are third in the classification, just eight points off the leader. Sure, we definitely need to make a good step forward to make the car quicker. In Spain we will have major updates but so will the others and so it’s not that I’m expecting a miracle of going one second quicker than the others.”

Felipe Massa (13th)
“I tried to do my best in a very close fought race. Sure, thirteenth place is not something I can be happy about, but I think that as far as my race was concerned, this was a step forward compared to the first two races of the season. At least I managed to run a normal race and I know I did everything that I could. The decision to make two stops was the right one, given my position, but maybe, in the light of how the race went, it would have been better to stop at different times: however, that’s easy to say now, after the chequered flag. Each and every time I found myself in traffic and paid for the lack of top speed, one of the major problems with our car at the moment. The Sakhir circuit, for the next round of the championship, does not look like being very favourable for us, given how things have gone so far. For me, it is a race where I have always done well, but I’m not under any illusions. As always, we will try and give it our best shot.”

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi (10th)
“Of course after what we did in qualifying the race result is disappointing. I’m not really sure what happened at the start, my car just didn’t move, it was a bit strange and I lost positions immediately. Then I was stuck in traffic for most of the time, also we made the second pit stop a bit late and the tyres had gone. Quite often we have recovered in the race from a bad qualifying, but today it was the other way round. So we have proven we can be strong in both qualifying and race, and next time we will put this all together.”

Sergio Perez (11th)
“I must say I am very disappointed. I had a very good start, and for the entire first stint it really looked to be going very well for me. But then when I picked up the medium compound tyres I lost a lot of performance from lap 17 onwards. Actually I feel I would have been better off with a three stop strategy, but you never know. The pit stops as such were good, but at both I lost time at the launch because we had a problem with the clutch. However, this is racing and we will do better next time.”

Force India

Paul di Resta (12th)
“It was an extremely close race today and although we were able to keep ourselves in the hunt, we were just missing the pace to catch people and make up any more ground. So it was a bit like the race in Australia where there were lots of cars running very close to each other and a lot of guys nursing their tyres. I think we made some good calls with the tyres and there were lots of different strategies playing out around us. It was also incredibly slippery offline with the marbles making things very tricky. So we go away from here knowing that we are not too far away from the other teams and determined to get the car dialled in nicely for Bahrain next week.”

Nico Hulkenberg (15th)
“I didn’t get a great start because there was a lot of wheelspin and I lost a few places straight away. Then I picked up some damage to my front wing on the first lap. I don’t think I hit anybody, but there was a lot of debris flying around going into turn one so maybe that’s when it happened. That made the first stint very difficult because there was massive understeer and I had to change the nose at my first stop. We targeted a two-stop strategy, which I think was the right choice because our pace was strong towards the end of the race and I closed up on the main pack, but I think we lost too much at the start to make a real impact in the race.”

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne (16th)
“We decided to change some elements on the car that had not worked well up to qualifying, which is why I started from pit lane, so my set-up for the race was more similar to what we had in Melbourne and Sepang. I did not have high hopes of doing much, starting from the back, but the important thing was to see how the car performed. It was pretty good, so I expect we will start with it like that in Bahrain and hopefully be able to have a better race result. Today’s race had some enjoyable moments as I passed a few cars, but it was a bit short for me, as a few more laps and I think I could have got ahead of the two guys in front of me.”

Daniel Ricciardo (17th)
“My start off the line was okay, but I got a bit squeezed around the outside at Turn One and lost what I had gained earlier. Then, on the same lap, I went round some debris on the track at Turn Six and lost another place. In fact, my whole first stint was not very good and we were struggling to overtake. In the second stint, it went slightly better and the last one better still, but the pace today was not good enough to deliver anything better.”

Caterham

Vitaly Petrov (18th)
“I am really pleased with my performance today. I think we got as much out of the car as we could and the fact we were on the same lap as the leaders right up until the final lap is a very positive sign. We brought some updates here and they've worked out pretty well - the key for us is to keep pushing, keep bringing new parts to the car and make sure we maintain the momentum we are building up.”

Heikki Kovalainen (23rd)
“I had a good start, getting up to 16th off the line and then was running pretty well for the first stint on the options. We pitted on lap 13 and went to the primes which held up well until lap 30 but then as soon as we made the second stop I could feel an issue with the right rear so we had to stop again immediately which was basically the end of my race. This hasn't been our strongest weekend but with the next race back-to-back with China we can look to bounce back straight away, so we'll regroup in Bahrain and look to put in a stronger weekend there.”

Marussia

Timo Glock (19th)
“It wasn’t a straightforward race for me. The start was good and I could get in front of a couple of other cars, but they got by again with the DRS and KERS. Then I was racing with my team-mate and I was able to pull out a bit of a gap from him. For some reason though, my front left tyre just dropped away too early each time. Charles seemed to have the better car over the race and he was able to close the gap. I had to come in early, but I had some good in and out laps and could use the tyre well. In the second stint I just managed the gap to him and helped the tyre over the distance, but it dropped again and I had a lot of understeer. From the second stop I had good pace and could open the gap again until the blue flags started to come out. Suddenly the engine dropped as I was low on fuel, so I had to cruise in 6th and 7th gears and my focus then was getting the car home. Some things to look at and learn from the race because they held us back quite a bit. On the positive side, this means there is a lot more to come from the car. Well done to the team. A good job again, especially in the pits today.”

Charles Pic (20th)
“It was a good race for me I think. We have reduced the gap to the Caterham cars yet again, so this is very good. I was also lapping round the same pace as Timo today, so again this is another step forward for me. We have to keep this up now and continue pushing because the potential is there in the car for sure. I think we can do some good work with the strategy because, now we have reduced the gap, maybe we can try some other things to get ahead on the track. It has been another good weekend for me so thanks to the team and my crew, who have all done a great job. I hope to see another improvement in Bahrain next weekend where I will be racing on a circuit that I know for the first time this season.”

HRT

Pedro de la Rosa (21st)
"I’m happy with the race we did. It’s true that the start wasn’t great but I was able to maintain a good rhythm afterwards, especially with the medium tyres. We had an interesting fight with Kovalainen, which is always stimulating, and at the start we had the Marussias in our sights during various laps. Although I wasn’t able to catch them in the race, we’ve got them right there and with a little bit of progress I’m confident we can get ahead of them. We leave here with a feeling that we’ve taken an important stride and that we’re right in the fight. The overall assessment is that we’ve progressed in every aspect, the pit stops are better every time, our rhythm is improving and the team is more of a unit. It will be difficult to see much of a difference in Bahrain because there is no time to introduce upgrades but we can progress in terms of teamwork and set-up.”

Narain Karthikeyan (22nd)
"My start was also quite poor, so we still have to do some work on the start system because it’s still new. It was quite difficult to drive on the option tyres because we had a problem and the car was moving a lot on the straight, we are yet to identify what the reason was for that so we’ll have to look into it and make sure we overcome it. But on the primes the car balance was much better and it was easy to drive. We set out to finish the race this weekend in China and we’ve achieved it, so we have to be pleased about that. Now we hope to progress a little bit more in Bahrain next week.”

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