Driver Quotes: Russian Grand Prix

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DRIVER QUOTES RUSSIAN GP

1!2 OCTOBER 2014

INFINITI RED BULL RACING

#1 Sebastian Vettel

“I had a good start and then a tough battle with Daniel, but from then onwards the speed was nothing special, we had the same issues as we had in qualifying. I was alone for a lot of the race, the beginning was entertaining, but after that it wasn’t that busy. Congratulations to Mercedes on the title, they deserve it.”

#3 Daniel Ricciardo

“The first few laps were pretty hectic and we lost a few places at the start. We will have to have a look at that, it’s nearly the end of the season now, but we haven’t had many good starts so that’s a bit frustrating. Starting the race the tyre was already blistered, it had quite a bit from qualifying, so it wasn’t looking too healthy and the first stint made it worse; I could see it starting to come apart, so we had to pit quiet early. Then on the prime the tyre lasted well and we had good pace and could match Alonso, but couldn’t get past. Congrats to Mercedes – it’s been a dominant season by them, so hats off to them.”

MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS

#44 Lewis Hamilton

“It was a good day and an amazing weekend. Firstly I’m so proud to have contributed to the work of this great team, to get the first Constructors’ Championship for Mercedes- Benz is a huge achievement. Massive congratulations to the guys back in the UK and Germany, it’s history for us. Today I had to manage the tyres a lot through the race; managing the fuel wasn’t too bad. The car felt great and I didn’t have to push too hard. At the end, when Nico was behind, I needed to match his times, which I did. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the weekend here in Russia, it’s a great place. It’s been one of my favourite venues so far this year, so it’s very cool to have won the first race here. The fans have been amazing; I didn’t know so many people followed it here but they were all there in the grandstands and looked excited! The organisers have also done a great job – the layout, the surface and the whole event; I take my hat off to them.”

#6 Nico Rosberg

“We are World Champions! I feel so happy for the team and the whole Mercedes-Benz family, today we made history. Thanks to everybody for their efforts, also thanks to the husbands and wives to send us your partners to make this happen. I remember well the hard times we had in this team. So now it’s great to be so dominant in our sport. But I’m also divided. Today was a really tough race for me. I just messed up in the first corner. I simply braked too late, which was unnecessary. So I flat spotted my front tyres and it was impossible to continue due to the vibrations. I had to pit, and on the prime tyre I had great pace. In the middle of the race I thought the degradation would start to increase. But very soon it was stable and I was able to push a lot. Then I managed to overtake Bottas. Also still at the end I was able to push, but the team asked me to control the pace as everyone was worried about dropping at the very end of the race. P2 was damage limitation. I really look forward to the last 3 races of the year with this outstanding championship car.”

SCUDERIA FERRARI

#14 Fernando Alonso

“Today’s race followed the pattern set in the earlier part of a weekend in which we didn’t manage to be competitive, even if the car worked well from start to finish. The entire race was particularly demanding from the point of view of managing the fuel consumption and especially in the closing stages, I had to save fuel. During the pit stop, the front jack didn’t work, but I think that even without this problem, I’d have finished in the same position, because the McLarens were faster. We took a risk at the start because we knew it was an opportunity to make up some places, but after that, my race pace was what we’d seen to date and it wasn’t possible to do any more. We have not picked up many points, but we will continue to give it our all in the last three races, because third place in the Constructors’ championship is still a possibility, even if at the moment, the most important thing is to get some good news about Jules as soon as possible.”

#7 Kimi Raikkonen

“We knew we could expect a very demanding race and that starting from far back it would not be easy to move up the order, but at the start we did very well. Unfortunately a Toro Rosso squeezed me towards the wall once we were on the straight. Because I had to brake hard, various cars passed me and I lost any chance of having a good race, because from then on I was always stuck behind other cars. The car handled well and with a clear track I had a good pace, but we lacked top speed with which to try and overtake on the straight and having to save fuel meant I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to. We are aware that this year it’s hard to fight for the top places, but all the same, we will continue to try our best, starting with the very next race in Austin. That track is very demanding and interesting and I hope I don’t have the same problems I had here, so that I can aim for a good result. However, what I wish for most is that all our prayers help Jules at this difficult time.”

LOTUS F1 TEAM

#8 Romain Grosjean

“The car felt okay to drive today, which was a big improvement on the previous two days and a testament to the work the team has put it over the week. The main challenge was the race start. It was hard to get the tyres up to temperature over the first few laps, so much so that I thought I had a puncture at the beginning. After that, it was a straight- forward race aside from the incident with Adrian Sutil. He was on the softer tyres and had a lot more grip than me going into T3. That corner closes up a bit on exit and he didn’t want to go too much off the racing line. I was already on the maximum for the braking zone and we just touched a little. It felt more like a racing incident to me but never mind, we head to Austin and hope for better things.”

#13 Pastor Maldonado

“We really struggled for balance on track today and it made for a very tough race for us. We started on the medium tyre, which made it difficult to make progress in the early laps. We then moved to the soft compound, but even late in the race it was a struggle to find grip. My side of the garage lost out quite a lot from our issues on Saturday as we weren’t able to improve the car and in particular the balance. It was frustrating as we really wanted to put on a good show as the Sochi Autodrom is a fantastic circuit. I can’t wait to return next year in a faster car with a different tyre allocation as there is fantastic potential here.”

McLAREN MERCEDES

#22 Jenson Button

“Well, that wasn’t a bad day at all – I reckon we got the maximum out of the car. I had a little scare at Turn Three on lap one, when Fernando [Alonso] and I got very close to each other, but apart from that it was a pretty straightforward race. It was odd that we were able to run so many laps on a single set of tyres today. The Primes [tyres] felt like they could have gone on for ever – it was a bit like going back to ‘old school’ racing in that respect. The track surface is in Austin [ Texas] is very similar to the track surface here, as it happens, so I look forward to seeing how we fare out there in terms of tyre wear. It’s been a tough year for us but over the past few Grands Prix it’s been clear that we’ve been improving. Today’s result, fourth and fifth, is the best we’ve had for a little while, and the 22 World Championship points that Kevin and I scored are very welcome from a Constructors’ World Championship point of view. Having said that, unless you’re standing on top of the podium, you always want more; that’s the Formula 1 mindset. But believe me: we got the maximum out of our car today, and our race pace was good, but better results still will come soon enough.”

#20 Kevin Magnussen

“I decided to go flat-out from the start, in an effort to make up as many positions as possible from my P11 grid slot, and it worked; I had a great lap one, and then moved up to P5 very quickly. After that, though, it cost me dear because I had to do a lot of fuel- saving, especially in the second half of the race. Even so, it was a pretty uneventful afternoon for me. It was almost like a chilled-out Sunday drive, in fact, because I was easing off the power 200 metres before the corners in an effort to save fuel. I was really surprised that no-one was able to catch me, in fact; I guess the guys behind me must  have been experiencing the same problem. Overall, therefore, I was pleased to finish fifth – and for Jenson to qualify and finish fourth was a great result in two ways: it meant that together we scored a lot of very valuable Constructors’ World Championship points and it also showed that our car is steadily improving. So it’s been a good weekend. We’ve been a bit quicker than we’d expected to be, which was great. Now we need to push really hard so as to carry that improved form forward for the rest of the season.”

SAHARA FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM

#27 Nico Hulkenberg

“It was quite a difficult race for me today. We started pretty far back on the grid and I was struggling a little with my straight-line speed compared to the cars with which I was battling. We were doing well in the corners, but losing a bit of ground on the straights, which made it difficult to overtake, especially on a track like this, where the straights are the only good passing opportunities. We could have probably finished in a higher position had it not been for this. We will need to regroup and come back stronger in Austin.”

#11 Sergio Perez

“It was a very hard race and a very hard-earned point. We tried our best to push throughout the race, but obviously the fuel strategy was quite marginal – especially because I started the race on the medium and had to really push to keep in touch with the group on the softs. When I was on the softs, it was hard to save fuel because I had todefend from Felipe [Massa] who was behind me for the whole of the second stint. So it was a hard afternoon, but hopefully we can be in better shape for the coming races.”

SAUBER F1 TEAM

#99 Adrian Sutil

“The start on the medium tyres was difficult, as I had almost no grip. In addition, several drivers behind me put the soft compound on, which was a clear advantage. In Turn 1 I had no space and was forced to drop back. It was very slippery on this set, I lost some time in every corner and, as a result, positions. We decided to go for an early pit stop in order to change to the soft tyres. Afterwards I was able to continue the race without major incidents, although the grip level reduced towards the end. We knew that the start on the medium tyres was a risky strategy in case there was no safety car period. In the end, no safety car came out. However, it was in general difficult to finish the race in the points with our pace. We still need to do our best during the upcoming races.”

#21 Esteban Gutierrez

“It was a clean race with an interesting first part. We were betting on having a safety car period during the first stint, and this is why we extended this run. It was not ideal for the strategy, but we took that risk and hoped to gain an advantage. In the end, the safety car did not come out. Although I think the way the tyres were behaving and the way the car drove was pretty enjoyable, on the other hand finishing in P15 was very frustrating, after a race where almost everything went very well. However, we will keep fighting until the end of the season to have a chance to score points.”

SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO

#25 Jean-Eric Vergne

“It was an extremely frustrating race. We have to understand why we had to save so much fuel. It’s a real shame because the guys did an excellent job giving us a very good car, which I felt was great for the whole race. The start was very positive, we were attacking as much as possible but then I had to stop doing it, even though I felt I could really do a great job. We have to move on to the next race in Austin, where hopefully we will be able to extract the maximum out of the car.”

#26 Daniil Kvyat

“It was a tough race. Apart from the fact that I could not find immediately the right grip, we had to care too much about our fuel consumption compared to the others. This is something that we will have to understand, so as not to lose performance for this reason in the future. Last but not least, I also had to pit again towards the end of the race, losing even more positions. I would have liked to do much better here in Russia, in front of my own crowd, which really made me feel their great support. Regardless of the disappointing final result, it was great to race in such an amazing structure, with an excellent organization.”

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING

#19 Felipe Massa

“My strategy today was undermined by traffic and that prevented me from getting in the  points. We decided to stop on the first lap and after that I was in clean air and had good pace on the option tyres so made up a good number of positions. I then came up against Perez who had strong straight line speed so I lost a lot of time behind him. After my second stop I soon found myself behind Perez again and I didn’t really have any good opportunities to take a risk and pass him. Of course it’s disappointing to finish 11th when we had a very competitive car, but we are looking strong at this point in the season so we need to focus now on Austin and making sure that the race is problem free.”

#77 Valtteri Bottas

“We went into the race today with the mentality that we were going to fight Mercedes for the win, but their pace in the race surprised us a bit and in the end we need to be satisfied with third place and another podium. I was keeping pace with Hamilton at the beginning but in the middle of my first stint the rear tyres started to go away and that allowed him to create a gap. In the second stint I didn’t realise Rosberg was quite as close as he was and his move caught me a bit by surprise, but he had more pace at that point anyway as my prime tyres were taking a good ten laps to switch on so he would have caught me regardless. I was closing in the final laps as my tyres were getting better but he had managed to create too big a gap. I’m very happy to be in fourth place in the standings and we have some great momentum heading into the US Grand Prix.”

MARUSSIA F1 TEAM

#4 Max Chilton

“After an incredibly tough week for everyone in the Team, we all deserved so much more from today’s race. It hasn’t been an easy day, far from it, and all the guys have had to dig deep to get us to the grid. When we got there of course, it was very emotional with all the support for Jules. I think the Team, the sport and all the fans have really done him proud. In the race, we got a good start then switched from the Medium tyre to the Soft quite early on, as we always knew we wouldn’t be that strong on the prime. On lap 9 I started to feel a problem with the front left and it wasn’t going away, so I pitted for the Team to investigate. In the end it was not something we would be able to address quickly, so it was best to bring a generally difficult weekend to an early conclusion. What the Team needs now is to head home for support from their families and colleagues back at the factory. Somehow we need to find the strength to regroup and move forward, which is hard to contemplate right now.”

CATERHAM F1 TEAM

#10 Kamui Kobayashi

“A disappointing Sunday. When I heard over the radio that I needed to pit I thought it was just a normal pit-stop, but then I was told that I needed to retire. It was all a bit of a surprise to me and at first I didn’t really know what the reason for having to stop was. The team has now analysed the telemetry and it was clear that my brakes were overheating too much. It’s a shame to end the weekend like this, but there’s not much more I could do today.”

#09 Marcus Ericsson

“The start to today’s race was a really good one – it was a strong first stint and I was able to pull-away from the Sauber and the Lotus behind without any problems, I felt really good. But the second stint on the prime tyres wasn’t that good, I just couldn’t get them to work – I felt no grip and I struggled massively to switch them on and in the end the team decided to call me in again for a second pit-stop and by then the race was already over for us as we were too far from the Lotus. I feel a bit disappointed because it felt so good on the first stint, I think we could’ve had a better result. Overall it’s been another strong weekend, we’re improving continuously and we’ve demonstrated that we can fight with Lotus and Sauber not only today during the first part of the race, but also yesterday’s qualifying session. Now we just need to build on that and I look forward to the last three races of the season.”

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