Driver Quotes: Singapore GP

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SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX

MARINA BAY STREET CIRCUIT 

SUNDAY DRIVER QUOTES 

23 SEPTEMBER 2012

Red Bull Racing 

Sebastian Vettel

“It’s great to get the win today. I’d like to dedicate it to Professor Sid Watkins. It’s thanks to all the work he did to bring safety advancements to the sport that we can race on circuits like this. Looking to the race, Lewis had to retire which is a shame for him. I know how it feels and have been in that position before. I think we could have had a tight battle. I felt very good on the harder tyres and we had a lot of pace. I think it’s very good to get this win here today. We know the next few races will be tough, but that’s the challenge.”

Mark Webber

“I wasn’t too bad pace wise. The strategy was going alright, but the second safety car really hurt us and put us to the back of the queue. Around here, fighting and looking after your tyres is a bit of a mess. It’s a shame. Sebastian got some good points for the Team, so that’s good and I’m just looking forward now to the next few races. I like Suzuka, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 

Jenson Button

“It’s nice to be back on the podium – and, if I finish every remaining race in the top one or two, that’ll be perfect. During the first stint, I even thought I had a chance of winning because I was able to go longer than the cars around me. But then they didn’t seem to struggle much on the harder tyre, so the advantage swung away from me. I had a good second stint, but the harder tyre didn’t feel quite as good for me [as the softer tyre]. Then I didn’t really have good balance in the final 10 laps. I still have a slim chance of winning the drivers’ world championship, but I’m just enjoying my racing at the moment. I think our car will be competitive at Suzuka, and we’re doing a very good job as a team too. Of course, it’s disappointing that we had a reliability failure with Lewis’s car, so that’s something we need to solve, particularly as we’re doing such a good job in every other area. If we can solve our reliability issues, we’ll definitely have a chance of fighting for the win in all six remaining races.”

Lewis Hamilton

“It’s heart-breaking not to have finished the race today. We definitely had the pace to win this weekend. In fact, before I retired, I was cruising; just managing the gap back to Seb [Vettel]. Then I started to experience difficulty with the gearshift, then I lost third gear, and then the ’box kept dropping into neutral. Obviously, I was disappointed, but the good thing we can take away from this weekend is that we have extremely good pace. As a result, I think we can really attack in the next few races. It’s going to be hard to close the gap to guys like Fernando [Alonso] and Sebastian [Vettel], especially when they keep finishing race after race, but I’ll never give up. There are six more races, and I need to go and win all six. I’ll fight until the end.”

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 

Fernando Alonso

“In the end it went well, but we definitely can’t go on like this. It can’t always be the case that my closest rival retires, as has happened in the last two races and we can’t think of carrying on to the end of the season with qualifying sessions like yesterday’s, when our performance was almost a second off the best. On track we manage to make the most of what we have, making few or no mistakes, thanks to great work from the team: for that alone we deserve to be where we are in the classification. Today, we pulled out an advantage over three of our four main competitors, which is positive. Probably this has been the most difficult circuit for us: we will find partially similar characteristics in Korea and Abu Dhabi, but I hope that by the time we get there, we will have found a way of improving the car. The start was definitely not one of my best of the season, but luckily I managed to take back my position from Di Resta immediately. At my first pit stop I immediately ran into traffic, but I had felt the tyres were beginning to degrade too much, so we opted to pit. On the Softs, we were more competitive, but then, after the second stop, the Safety Car came out, which favoured Button and Vettel. Just before the restart, the two leaders nearly collided and I lost a few metres because I was changing settings on the steering wheel. At that point, we didn’t know yet whether we would need to stop again, but when the second neutralisation came and some drivers pitted, then we decided to stay out, even if we weren’t sure if we would suffer with tyre degradation in the final stages, but that wasn’t the case and we made it comfortably to the podium. It was a very tough race physically, definitely the most tiring of the whole season: three hundred odd kilometres in this heat and such high humidity is very stressful.”

Felipe Massa

“That was a very tough and difficult race. There’s regret for what happened at the first corner, because without the puncture, I could certainly have finished a lot closer to Fernando, which would have been important for both championships. Once I had pitted, there was not much to work out: the aim was to try and make the tyres last as long as possible, while at the same time, going as quickly as possible. Luckily, the two Safety Cars brought the pack together again, but it’s also true that I would never have thought of doing such a long stint as my last one on the Supersofts. The performance of the 2012 today was definitely very different to what we had seen on the two previous days: it seemed like I was driving a different car! Even at the end, I tried to push to make up some places and it was only in the last two laps that I switched to thinking about just bringing the car home, given that the tyres were practically gone. The move on Senna? I think the rules are very clear and one just has to respect them: I was already alongside him and he had to leave me room, but instead he squeezed me into the wall. McLaren and Red Bull are very strong, but I think that today’s result is not so bad for the team: Fernando has managed to bring home a good points haul. Of course we must improve our performance, especially in qualifying.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 

Nico Rosberg

“Everything worked out well for me this evening for the first time in what feels like a long time! Finishing in fifth place having started in 10th is a pretty decent result and I’m happy to have picked up some good points for myself and the team. It’s also nice to have stayed ahead of the two Lotus cars which I didn’t expect before the race. Saving a fresh set of tyres in qualifying yesterday proved to be the right strategy as I had a good start and a strong first stint. Thanks to the team for that and for making the right calls in the race today. Now I’m looking forward to Japan and the opportunity to improve our new package further.”

Michael Schumacher

“It was obviously a very unfortunate ending to my race this evening when I ran into the car of Vergne who accepted my apology straight afterwards. I am not totally sure why it happened like this; I was braking but the deceleration was not as strong as it usually would be, and I could not avoid running into the car in front of me. We have to find out what has happened. Up until then, I think it would have been possible to get some points this evening.”

Lotus F1 Team 

Kimi Raikkonen

“After the result in qualifying today’s race was not too bad, but I think we had a chance to do a bit better. We weren’t quick enough to be fighting for the podium but the first safety car didn’t help us and maybe we could have gained an extra place without that. We were definitely faster than Michael [Schumacher] and Nico [Rosberg] but we ended up stuck behind them for most of the race which was frustrating. It’s so hard to overtake here that you have to rely on passing people in the pit stops or on someone making a mistake. I’m still third in the Drivers’ Championship but we’ve got some improvements to make for the next races to be fighting with the cars in front. Hopefully we can make a step forward in Japan and take it from there.”

Romain Grosjean

“It was a tough race but not a bad result in the end. I made a good start, managed to hold position when things got quite close through the first few corners and the car felt pretty good throughout. Our performance was much better than what we would have expected at the start of the weekend. Of course, I dropped a position to Kimi as well ; he was quicker than me towards the end of the race and there was no sense in holding him up. It’s never easy as a driver to let someone past – even if it is your team-mate – but we need to be intelligent in these circumstances. My target is to be as close to Kimi as I can in terms of pace and we achieved that today, so after a difficult start to the weekend I think we can be pleased with this result.”

Williams F1 

Bruno Senna

“Considering we had a few problems we were having a good race. I had a very eventful first few laps but was able to overtake when I needed to and had good pace at the beginning. It’s one of those races that we knew if we could finish we had a good chance of scoring some points but unfortunately we couldn’t. With 16 laps to go I lost KERS and so it was difficult to defend towards the end, but that’s racing. I’m happy with the race I did today, being able to come from 22nd to be fighting for points.”

Pastor Maldonado

“Today was difficult. The conditions were hard in the race as it was so hot and tyre degradation was high but we were managing well. The start was ok but I ran a bit wide on cold tyres losing a couple of positions but then we got into a good rhythm. Our pace was looking strong, as we were expecting, but then we had a hydraulic problem and that was the end of our race. I’m now confident for the next race as we have the potential to be fighting for victories and I hope to have a better race in Japan.”

Sahara Force India 

Paul Di Resta

“Fourth place is a great team result and my best day in Formula One so far. We qualified well, raced hard and took advantage of a few retirements, but in the final stint we certainly showed that we had great pace. I don’t think the safety car really impacted on my race too much and I was able to make clean restarts each time and hold my position. I was very close to Alonso in the closing stages, but was just missing the pace to really challenge him for the podium. This result is just what we needed for our fight in the championship and I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to the boys in the garage who put in a huge effort, as always.”

Nico Hulkenberg

“It was a pretty rough race for me. The strategy we chose by starting on the soft tyres could have paid off, but I was stuck behind Kimi and Michael early on and couldn’t really show the true pace of the car. The timing of the safety cars was not ideal and the second one really hurt my race. So overall things have not really fallen into place for me this weekend, but there are a lot of positives to take with the pace of the car and the result for Paul.”

Sauber F1 Team 

Sergio Pérez

“For us this obviously was a difficult weekend. We were struggling a lot and we never had the pace. We tried everything including split race strategies but in the end points were not within reach today. I had some good battles but it was too difficult for me to overtake. We have to improve for the next race in Suzuka and I’m sure we will.”

Kamui Kobayashi

“I had a bad start with a lot of wheel spin and then for a long time my race was eventless. I haven’t been in a position to attack and I didn’t have the pace to do so. After the second safety car deployment I couldn’t avoid touching Nico Hülkenberg. There was no space to go. For me it was a race incident. Nico said sorry when we met after the race; apparently he had oversteer, I lost my front wing and had to pit. However, this wasn’t a good weekend for us but I have complete confidence we will come back strong at the Japanese Grand Prix.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso 

Daniel Ricciardo

“It’s great to be back in the points again and it shows we have had a really good start to the second half of the season since the summer break. Even if we haven’t always picked up the points, we have been fighting for them in the last few races. I am pleased about that. We benefited a bit from the Safety Car, but afterwards we had to fight off the guys behind us, so I am really happy with ninth place and I enjoyed having a fight with Mark (Webber) towards the end, even if I could not hold off Massa just before that. In the closing stages, I didn’t look in the mirrors too much, but I just focussed on maintaining my lap times all the way to the flag.”

Jean-Éric Vergne

“Our strategy worked very well and the Safety Car also played out in our favour. My pace was very good, lapping as quickly as the front runners, so it was much better than we had expected. Overall, I am very happy with the way this weekend went, because I personally made a lot of progress from Friday through to tonight. The team also worked very well to improve the car throughout the three days. It’s just a shame it did not end with the points for eighth or maybe even seventh place. As for the accident, I was focussing on catching Perez at that point, trying to brake late to catch him, so I am not too sure what happened exactly, but I assume Michael braked a bit too late and could not avoid running in to me. There is no sense in being angry about it, because these things happen in racing and even the most experienced driver on the grid can make mistakes! He said sorry and that’s the end of it.”

Caterham F1 Team 

Heikki Kovalainen

“For me that was a good race until the safety cars. We decided to stay out but when we restarted for the second time I’d probably been out too long and the tyres were starting to give up. I had to stop again and there wasn’t enough time to recover from there so that was the end of the race – If it hadn’t been for the safety car I’m sure we’d have finished much higher. Now we need to dig even deeper to find more performance from the car. We’ll look at what went wrong this weekend and I’m sure the team will analyse everything and see where we maybe need to make some changes, but we won’t stop fighting.”

Vitaly Petrov

“I had a fantastic start, passed at least two or three cars but then I saw a car to my right make a pretty aggressive move left so I had to move to avoid that. I was very close to Massa and already into the braking zone so unfortunately we had contact and my front wing was damaged, forcing me into the pits. Really, that was the end of my race and probably Felipe’s and I’ve already apologised to him as we get on well and it’s a shame we both saw our chances to race end so early, especially as the car has felt good all weekend. The safety car might have given me a chance to recover but we had a problem with the front left wheel nut and we’ll need to have a proper look at what happened. I think we also need to look at how we were using the tyres as maybe we could have got more out of them, but we have the chance to bounce back in Suzuka and we’ll make sure we do that.”

Hispania Racing F1 Team 

Pedro de la Rosa

“I’m satisfied with today’s race. The safety cars helped me out, but I must admit that the race dragged on a bit for me, and the last five laps never seemed to end because I had no tyres left and I started to lose ground on Glock and Pic and Kobayashi, Kovalainen and Hulkenberg, who were flying, passed me like nothing. Physically it was a tough race but I finished quite well. We did everything we could with what we had and I think that we managed the situations well. For us it wasn’t easy at all to finish the race and that is a victory in itself. Now it’s time for Suzuka, a circuit I love, which I know very well and where I hope to give everything once again.”

Narain Karthikeyan

“It wasn’t my best race. From the beginning we had problems with heating and we lost a lot of time on straights, but we were managing it well until I went on the dirty part of the track and the car didn’t turn which resulted in me going into the wall. It’s further proof that there’s no room for error at street circuits. But I’ll keep my good qualifying session with me as that fills me with confidence ahead of the next Grand Prix. It was a shame not to finish it off with a good result in the race.”

Marussia F1 Team 

Timo Glock

“An incredible race for us. In general I knew that, with our strategy, we could really do something if we stayed close to Kovalainen in the first stint and that’s what I tried to do – to get everything out of the car. Unfortunately, the rear tyre pressures came up a bit too much and I overshot the car in turn 19 and hit the wall. In the first moment I thought the race was over and I realised that the toe was really out; I had to change my driving style and, actually, changed everything that I could do to keep the car on track. I had to get used to the behaviour of the car, so I was saving the right-rear tyre in all the left-hand corners and squeezing everything out in the right corners to get the lap time. When the safety cars came out I knew that mixing us in the pack gave us a chance to fight again. After the first safety car I could go quicker than Heikki and in the end, when he turned into the pits, I knew I needed to push everything out of the car before he came back at me with fresh tyres. In terms of the pit stops, the team made a really good job and that is getting very consistent now. We do of course need to hold on to 10th place until the end of the season still and I hope we can. Over the last four months we have really closed that gap to Caterham and this is a very nice reward to everyone in the team because it has not been easy. We’ll enjoy the moment but keep pushing now for the next race and beyond.”

Charles Pic

“First of all I have to say well done to the whole team. Today’s team result is very important for everyone and it is a very nice reward for all the incredible hard work at the track and back at the factory this year. For me, I am happy with my race, finishing in P15 but dropping to P16 with the 20 seconds added. The plan had been to do a two-stop race with two long stints on the Soft tyre, but with the safety cars that didn’t work out. We were obliged to make a very long last stint with the Supersoft and we had big degradation because of that. Overall, it has been a strong weekend and I am pleased with my performance from FP1 to Qualifying at what has perhaps been the more challenging of the new tracks I have tackled for the first time this season. And there are a few more yet to come! Overall though, racing here in Singapore has been an incredible experience and one I look forward to repeating.”

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