Formula 1 News

Drivers’ comments after the race

Button: “I just want to enjoy this moment; it’s been a long time coming and it couldn’t have been much sweeter. I can’t stop smiling now!”
Monday, June 13, 2011

Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel

“Of course I’m disappointed. I think it was a very difficult race from start to finish and we led every single lap, apart from the last one, or part of the last one. I think I was probably too conservative when I was in the lead after the last safety car; I didn’t open the gap enough and was trying to hold the gap to the cars behind. Then I saw Jenson coming through, I was pushing and thought it would be enough to the end, but obviously it wasn’t, as I made a mistake. It’s down to me, I locked up the rear a little bit and what you have to do then is open up the car and go a bit straighter, there’s only one line and I ended up in the wet, so it was quite easy for him to pass. But, surely I think it was a good day today, it’s easy to make mistakes and there were a lot of cars not finishing, so it’s good to get the points. That said, at the moment when you have it in your hands and you give it away – then it’s not the sweetest feeling. But, I think all in all, it was a good race for us today.“

Mark Webber

“It was an eventful race! I had a few people to pass after the break; it wasn’t too hard until the dry line appeared on the racing line and it was slippery off line. It was then very hard to clear some of the guys, as it meant there was such a narrow window to get down the inside of people. When you have experienced guys like Michael (Schumacher) and Nick (Heidfeld) to pass, well those guys know what they’re doing, so it becomes even trickier. I decided to roll the dice and go onto the slicks. I was happy to see that not everyone followed immediately, so I had two laps which was enough to bring me back in the game for the podium. Then it was a pretty good fight with Michael, we both wanted the same bit of track when we were braking for the chicane, but when JB arrived, he was absolutely flying. Today’s result means plenty of points for the team and it’s a good result, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Jenson Button

“That was the best victory of my career, and today is therefore a very special day for me. I fought my way from last to first to win the race, and I overtook the cars in front of me on the track. To win a grand prix by getting one over on your rivals with a series of strong overtaking moves makes it even better. Races in changing conditions are always very tricky but I love it when you’ve got to search for grip on the track rather than knowing in advance where it is. It was an amazing victory - I don’t think it could have been any better, especially after Monte-Carlo where we thought we had a win in the bag but were then disappointed at the very end. I was a little bit fortunate today when Sebastian [Vettel] made a mistake on the last lap, but I think we deserved that bit of luck! As far as the incident with Lewis is concerned, I couldn’t see a thing behind me except a blur of Vodafone rocket-red, but that could have been my rear wing: obviously, it’s the same colour as Lewis’s car. I moved to the left, which is the racing line, then I felt a bang, and I feared it was game over for both of us. Lewis knows that I didn’t do it on purpose, and I know that he didn’t do it on purpose either. I spoke to him before the race restarted, and it’s all good. I want to offer big congrats to Dave [Robson], my race engineer. We haven’t won together before, so this is a very special result for him as well as for me. Now, I just want to enjoy this moment; it’s been a long time coming and it couldn’t have been much sweeter. I can’t stop smiling now!”

Lewis Hamilton

“First of all, I have to offer my heartfelt congratulations to Jenson – he drove an absolutely incredible race and thoroughly deserved this victory. It was an utterly fantastic performance, from a truly great driver. I’m also sorry for the team; they’ve worked really hard this week and we could have done with the points that a two-car finish would have earned us today.
Although the conditions were very tricky from the start, I had pretty good grip and I was doing the best I could to keep the car on the track; I think I had pretty good race pace, and I didn’t have any particular problems. I touched Mark’s [Webber] car after he braked a bit early into the first corner. He left me enough room, but I touched the inside kerb and understeered into him. Then I started fighting back. After I fell back behind Jenson, he outbraked himself into the final chicane and got a poor exit, so I was able to get a good run on him. It felt to me like I was halfway alongside him down the pits straight - but, as he probably hadn’t spotted me, he continued moving across on the racing line. There was no room for me, so I hit the wall. Of course, I don’t think it was intentional: I know Jenson well enough and I know he wouldn’t do that. He’s a good guy. So, now, I’ll just focus on the next race and the rest of the season. It would be great if we could qualify a little higher up the grid in order to stay out of trouble in Valencia; but our race pace is good and I really want to do well there.”

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

Fernando Alonso

“Everything went wrong, right from this morning when we saw it was raining. We had our best qualifying of the year and we found ourselves starting behind the safety car, when I felt that for me, the intermediates were the best tyre. When we fitted them, the downpour came, along with the red flag which meant those who had not changed tyres could now do it practically for nothing. Finally there was the coming together with Button, which as a final insult left my car beached on a kerb and I was unable to get going again. It’s a real shame because today we really had a good race pace but we were unlucky: that’s not a feeling I have, it’s a fact. When you don’t score points then you must immediately turn the page and look to the next race. I think that in Valencia we can do well, because it is another circuit which should suit our car well, as was also the case here. The championship is not finished yet, but we must now hope for errors from others to have some hope. Our performance level here was good, especially because of the characteristics of the circuit, but also thanks to the updates we brought here. We must keep our heads up, have confidence in our ability and work hard.”

Felipe Massa

“I can’t draw much satisfaction from this sixth place, given the potential we had here. My chances of finishing on the podium and also of fighting for the win given how things went, just evaporated when I was passing Karthikeyan. He was going very slowly on the dry line but then, as I was passing him on the wet, he accelerated and I lost control of the car ending up in the wall. Thanks to the next Safety Car, I was able to catch up to the pack and then, in the end, I passed a few cars to get as high as sixth. I am angry, there is no point denying it.
We qualified well and we were in the top three up until the red flag. Then what happened happened and it was all over. I am pleased with how the car performed, both on the extreme wets and on the slicks, but with the intermediates, I was struggling a bit. Now we go to Valencia, a track where we can be competitive, given its characteristics are fairly similar to here. We will have the medium tyres, that we tested here on Friday: we will see what sort of grip levels they give us.”

Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team

Michael Schumacher

“I am leaving this race with one eye laughing and one eye crying, as I am not sure if I should be excited or sad about it. Having been in second place towards the end, I would obviously have loved to finish there and be on the podium again. But even if it did not work out in the very end, we can be happy about the result and the big fight we put in. A good strategy after the red flag made it possible, and I am very happy for our team. I would also like to send a big compliment out to the spectators who stayed with us in those difficult circumstances for so long and even cheered us up. That was impressive, and I am glad that I could play my part in entertaining them.”

Nico Rosberg

“It was a very demanding race this afternoon. In general, everything was okay with my car and, at the end, I was up there in the points but I made a mistake at the hairpin on lap 66. I was trying to overtake Kobayashi and was very close behind him in turn 10; he slowed when I didn't expect it, I hit the back of him and damaged my front wing, which then came off on the last lap. The same thing had happened to me, but in reverse, when Sutil hit me. I could perhaps have been a little more aggressive with some of my stops today, pitting a little earlier, but it's always difficult to judge the risk. Although my result was not so good, I'm sure it was an exciting race for the fans in front of the TV. We have some positives to take from this weekend, and we will look to give a strong performance next time in Valencia.”

Lotus Renault GP

Nick Heidfeld

"Naturally, the main disappointment for me is that I didn’t finish the race. I was behind Kamui (Kobayashi) and then something happened. He slowed down suddenly and I hit the back of him, which resulted in my front wing coming off and me going off the track. I was on track for fifth and some good points, so it’s frustrating that more did not come from today after a decent qualifying session yesterday. Today was one of those unpredictable races and I just had to drive as well as I could in the circumstance. We will now look forward to Valencia where I hope to get some more points for the team."

Vitaly Petrov

“Today, the conditions became very difficult after a few laps and stopping the race was the right decision. There was absolutely no grip and the car was aquaplaning everywhere. When it restarted, we tried to make the most of our position: I was fourth because I decided not to change my tyres before the red flag. From then on, I was fighting for a good position. On one hand, finishing fifth after starting 10th is a good result but, on the other hand, I really feel we could have finished on the podium today. That said, I welcome these extra points, and I think we’re back on track after a couple of difficult races. A big thank you to the team for the work this weekend.”

AT&T Williams

Rubens Barrichello

“Starting from 16th, I am happy that I managed to score more points for the team. Unfortunately, it should have been more but I lost a potential 6th or 7th place when I went offline to avoid Kobayashi after the last safety car went in. He ran wide while overtaking a backmarker and rejoined the track without seeing that I was there. I was then forced offline and lost a lot of positions. That was unfortunate but it was still a good reward to score a couple of points again.”

Pastor Maldonado

“It was a difficult race for me. I had quite a bit of oversteer at the beginning so the car was difficult to manage. When the race was re-started, the car felt better on inters and then even better on the dry tyres. We then had another safety car. When that went in, Kobayashi made a mistake at the first corner, Rosberg braked in front of me in response and I collided with him. That broke my front wing so I had to make a stop. After that, I just spun out on the wet.”

Force India Formula One Team

Adrian Sutil

“At the start of the race the visibility was extremely poor and there was very little grip. I had problems with the full wets so I switched to the intermediates quite early on, which were good for a few laps until the rain got too heavy. At the restart I was doing quite well until I got too close to Rosberg when the safety car was out. All the cars ahead of me slowed down a lot at the hairpin and I just got caught out, which damaged my front wing. But the car still felt okay and I didn’t lose too much time. After the drive-through penalty, I decided it was worth the risk of switching to dry tyres, but it was maybe a few laps too early. I had quite a big snap on my out lap and touched the wall, which broke the left rear suspension.”

Paul Di Resta

“The weather conditions were very bad today and given the intensity of the rain it was absolutely the right decision to stop the race. There were a lot of rivers running across the track and they were catching people out, even under safety car conditions. After the restart I think things were going well until I lost my front wing against Nick [Heidfeld] at the chicane when he cut across me. That gave me a drive-through penalty, which I was quite surprised to receive because it only really compromised me. After that I was coming back through the field and I was pushing to pass Rubens [Barrichello] in the final few laps. Unfortunately I pushed a bit too hard and clipped the wall, which gave me a puncture. That’s why I had to park the car. It’s a shame because we had a strong car today and we could have come away with some important points.”

Sauber F1 Team

Pedro de la Rosa

“First of all I want to thank the FIA. It stopped the race when it became too dangerous and I think every safety car call was right. Before the red flag it became impossible to drive. You could not see anything and I was aquaplaning in every gear. However, I came from 17th and resumed the race in ninth behind the safety car. But just before the restart Jenson (Button) and I touched and I had to pit because of a damaged front wing. This ruined my race, I lost many positions, and I even lost a few more later when I got stuck in first gear. On top of that
I lost time due to some backmarkers. I tried to recover from this as well as possible, but points were then out of reach. I must say it could have been a lot better today, but also the team made very good pit calls, so thanks for this. It was an extremely eventful race, especially for somebody who had just stepped into a car at short notice. I will not forget these days here, this is for sure.”

Kamui Kobayashi

“We have scored points and in the end this is most important. We have proved we are good in the wet, but when the track became dry my pace wasn’t good enough to defend my position. Originally I qualified 13th so then it is not bad to finish seventh, but on the other hand I started second after the long red flag and looking from there the result is disappointing. I really tried to bring the car home in a better position, but it didn’t work out.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Jaime Alguersuari

“I am very happy because to finish eighth having started last from the pit lane is a really good result for us. I am also very pleased that I have scored my first points of the season, even if I know there is still room for improvement on my side and in terms of how we set up the car to suit me, especially in qualifying. Today, the team did a good job and we also made the most of every opportunity that came our way, some of them down to the bad luck of other teams. We ran a perfect strategy in terms of when we decided to stop to change tyres.
This result will give everyone a lot of motivation to keep working hard. It gives us wings as we head for my second home race in Valencia! And the spectators deserve a mention for sitting in the cold and wet for so long, but I think they saw a good motor race.”

Sebastien Buemi

“Of course, I am pleased to have scored a point as that is always important. However, I am a bit disappointed because I think I could have done better myself and I’m not sure if changing to the slicks so early worked for me. But, looking at the overall result, including Jaime’s eighth place, I am very happy for the team, who did such a good job. It seems something unusual always happens at this race and today’s turned out to be a bit longer than expected, but stopping the race was the only correct decision because the cars were aquaplaning and visibility was very bad. I am sure the whole afternoon was very spectacular for the spectators! Now we must continue to work hard to be in good shape for Valencia.”

Team Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen

“Unfortunately my race came to an end with a driveshaft failure. When we restarted I lost drive pretty much immediately and had to retire which is obviously a disappointing end to the weekend. It’s just one of those things, nothing I could do about it so hopefully we’ll have better luck in Valencia and keep pushing on."

Jarno Trulli

"That was a very eventful race. It started well but I struggled all afternoon with the brakes and even though I was able to get them up to temperature I think they glazed after the first safety car and I couldn’t recover them. After the race restarted I had the same issue with the brakes but as the track dried they started coming back and I was able to start pulling away from our direct competitors. Unfortunately after the stop to dry tyres I had something moving around in the cockpit so I came back in again for the team to investigate it. They couldn’t fix it so I went back out and did as well as I could to bring the car home to the end.”

Hispania Racing F1 Team

Narain Karthikeyan

“It was a very interesting race for us, we achieved our best position yet. I drove well today in wet and dry conditions. I would’ve liked to have stayed a little bit longer on the last set of intermediates; I passed Tonio with them so maybe one more lap would’ve got me a little bit more track position. For whatever reason I didn’t get a call saying we were going to go on slicks, so in my mind I thought I was still on intermediates and when I came out of the pits I realised that they were slicks but it was too late because I was on the wet line and the car was sliding a lot and I lost a lot of positions. But apart from that it was an enjoyable race, I overtook a few cars, D’Ambrosio and Glock, and I’m very happy to finish the race.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi

“It was a crazy race. The crazier it is the more we like it though. It was a great result for us, for everybody in the team, because we’ve done everything right since Saturday, when we had a great result in qualifying. In these kinds of situations you always have to gamble, you have to be in the right place at the right time, we made the right decisions and the team worked perfectly during pit stops.
The updates helped but in these sorts of conditions it’s more about timing and getting the right tyres in the right moments. The pit stops have been good, everything went well. But we’re positive because all the updates worked and now we have to keep pushing to get more for the following races. It’s a great feeling to overtake other cars, we’re always focused on challenging our nearest rivals, but this race was crazy because we were able to overtake much faster cars. All you needed to do was be smooth and under control, it’s always a great feeling when you’re racing properly. We achieved our best result of the season, which is great for the team.”

Marussia Virgin Racing

Timo Glock

“It was an unusual and difficult race. I think it’s one of the longest races I’ve ever raced in! It was a bit of a shame in the last part of the race as I had quite a good pace and I managed to catch and pass Trulli. But then I had a massive lock-up on both front tyres which cost me badly at the end. I couldn’t go flat any more on the straights because of all the vibrations, so when Karthikeyan came up behind me I tried to stay in front but he made a move into the last corner and pushed me off the track. He shortcut the chicane when he overtook me and Jérôme got by in that incident too. On the last lap there was nothing I could do as the tyres were completely destroyed.”

Jérôme D’Ambrosio

“It was just an unbelievable race. We were in a racing situation for about four hours. I've never experienced anything like that. It was something quite special. There were quite a lot of ups and downs - before the red flag I stopped twice and then suddenly after the restart I found myself racing with Timo and I thought, what's happening? It was crazy! Then at the last restart I lost a lot of time with the blue flags, having to go offline onto the wet to let them past and at the end I couldn't fight for position because with our wet setup I didn't have the same top speed. But It was a great race and really good experience for me.”

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