Driver quotes: Spanish GP

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13 MAY 2012

Red Bull Racing 

Sebastian Vettel

“It was difficult race and a hard day in the office. I’m not entirely happy, we could have finished maybe one position higher up, but we had a good recovery in the end. We were definitely stronger towards the end of the race and it was good fun, but when it’s up and down and up and down, it’s quite difficult. I don’t know what the problem was when we had to change the nose of the car; I wasn’t sure if I had damage or something stuck at the front – maybe a piece of rubber or something. I tried another lap, but it wasn’t the right thing to do, so we decided to come in and change the nose to make sure. It lost us some time, but it was the right thing, as I was told there was some damage to the front left of the wing.”

Mark Webber

“It was an interesting race and a difficult first lap. I don’t know where I got damage to my front wing, but I had to pit for a new nose. I lost a lot of time with that – and on the few laps before when it started playing up. We had to pit and when you’re out of position here it’s tough – you have to look after your tyres and when you catch people your tyres get killed, so it’s chicken and egg. If you push past them, you have to pit earlier and commit to another stop. It was a mystery with the pace; I was stuck behind Force India, you see the McLarens weren’t doing so much and Seb was just chipping away.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 

Lewis Hamilton

“I’m proud of my performance today, and proud of the team too. They did a great job: a real improvement with the pitstops, following our difficulties in that area recently. All in all, then, I think today’s result was the best we could do. I was the only driver to attempt a two-stop strategy, and I’m glad I was able to made it work. People often say that I have an aggressive driving style, but my final stint on the Prime tyre was 31 laps, so I reckon I proved today that I can make tyres last. It was a huge challenge to come through the field from the back, but I never gave up for a single second, right up to the finish line. Before the race I said I’d race my heart out, and that’s exactly what I did. For me, that’s what racing is all about. Today was all about damage limitation. But, now, looking at the bigger picture, I can’t really complain because, despite the setbacks I’ve had this season, I’m still only eight points behind the leader of the drivers’ world championship. The team has been working extremely hard, and our car is quick. So, when things go right, I think we’ll be in a great position – and it’ll come to us before too long. Finally, big congratulations to Pastor [Maldonado] and everyone at Williams – it’s a fantastic result for them and this is a great day for him personally.”

Jenson Button

“Congratulations to Pastor! His was a great drive and I’m sure it will instil a lot of confidence in him and the Williams team. The Formula 1 form-book is very mixed-up at the moment, which is unusual, but that’s the way it appears to be going this season. As for us, well, a lot of my afternoon was spent stuck in traffic, and I had a Sauber breathing down my neck for most of the race. All in all, we weren’t quite quick enough today – but that’s something I need to solve myself. I need to find a set-up that suits me better as I feel like I have pretty poor grip at the moment. Having said that, I’m already looking forward to Monaco and a much better weekend there. It’s a circuit I love and hopefully a place where we can achieve a good result.”

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 

Fernando Alonso

“This second place feels like a victory. Having finished the race in Sakhir almost a minute off the winner, today we overtook one of the two Red Bulls and we fought right to the very end for the win. On top of that, we have made up a lot of points on the Red Bull and the McLaren drivers, which makes the outcome of this weekend even more positive. At the end of the second stint of the race came the key moment: maybe Maldonaldo pitted a bit early and we stayed out on track, but we lost time behind a backmarker for a whole lap, partly because there was a yellow flag on the last part of the main straight. Then, with seven laps to go, I suddenly lost grip at the rear: I asked the team if something was broken because the handling of the car changed from one moment to the next, for no apparent reason. However, in the final stages, the Williams was still very quick and, right at the end, we were also lucky to hang onto second place as Kimi was coming back at me. This championship is very hard to interpret with all the different winners and the performance of the top teams going up and down from race to race. We definitely did not do the best job when it came to designing the car – there is still much to do – but we can be proud of how we got the most out of our potential, probably over and above the limits of the car. After two Grands Prix – China and Bahrain – where we suffered a lot, to be back for the podium is very positive and gives us confidence for the rest of the Championship. We must continue to bring updates all the time for the car, because it is all very close and the slightest thing can make the difference.”

Felipe Massa

“Today my race was affected by a penalty that I had to take on lap 28. Honestly, I don’t think I did anything wrong and I believe it is better to look into the detail of what happened, because I was in the middle of a group of cars and I definitely did not try to overtake anyone. It’s a real shame, because up until then, the race was going well for me and a place in the top ten was comfortably within my reach. I was in the group with the Red Bulls and the McLarens and I could match their pace. I had a good opening lap when I managed to make up a lot of places. I am happy that Fernando was able to fight for the win all the way to the end, as it shows our car’s potential has definitely improved: we still don’t have the quickest car but it seems we are going down the right road. I want to congratulate Pastor, who is a great friend: the taste of a first Formula 1 win is something amazing and I can understand how he feels right now.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 

Nico Rosberg

“That was a difficult day for us and a very strange race. We didn’t manage to find the right tyre management so I lost two positions towards the end of the race on my last stint which was 26 very long laps. The one positive thing is that I was able to defend my position against Lewis and keep seventh place, rather than eighth. Once again today we saw a surprising and well deserved win which is good for Formula One. Congratulations to Pastor and Frank at my old team Williams! Now I’m looking forward to my home race in Monaco in two weeks with some updates on the car.”

Michael Schumacher

“Obviously I am not happy with the outcome of the race as I think we could have achieved some nice points today. But then this is sometimes what you have to go through in racing. It is not easy to see from the TV replays but what happened from my viewpoint was that he went to the right to defend the inside line, and then suddenly, shortly before the braking point, went to the left. When you are so tight together in the braking zone, you have no other choice than to try to react and avoid hitting but it was too late. It is a shame, as I said, but then what I will do now is to look ahead to the next race and try to attack there.”

Lotus F1 Team 

Kimi Raikkonen

“I had a very good start and had a chance to overtake on the outside, but we did not have enough speed and I hit the limiter in fifth gear. I am a bit disappointed because if everything had gone right in the first part of the race, we could have won. There was no issue with the speed of the car, but it is so close between all the teams that if you have a small problem or a small issue it can cost so much. Our car can do it, but everything has to fall into the right place to be able to get on to the top step. My first stint was okay, but I didn’t have the speed to stay with the cars in front. We changed the tyres and it seemed to be pretty good, but we were too far away. At the end we needed a few more laps and we could have fought for the win. We’re not far away from it and so far we’ve made good steps forwards; the car feels strong everywhere.”

Romain Grosjean

“We lost position at the start and with it a bit of front wing too! It was cooler today which didn’t suit us so much. Despite this, I am very happy with P4 especially when you look at yesterday where I missed all of the final practice session. Both cars finishing strongly in the points is great for the team. It was pretty difficult for me at the start of the race as it was hard to get the front working properly with the wing damaged, but we made some changes and at the end of the race the car was really flying. I think we made the right decisions today; if you told us we could finish third and fourth at the beginning of the weekend we’d have taken it.”

Williams F1 

Pastor Maldonado

“It’s an unbelievable feeling winning my first race. The car felt really consistent, was fantastic to drive and our pace was strong throughout. Alonso was chasing me hard but we looked after our tyres well and I managed to open the gap towards the end. The team has worked so hard all year and this win is for them. To be the first Venezuelan to win a Formula One race is a big honour and hopefully I will win more races in the future.”

Bruno Senna

“It has been a disappointing weekend for me on the whole. It was difficult to overtake at the beginning of the race and then Schumacher got a big DRS boost coming down the straight and went into the back of me. These weekends with lots of bad luck happen sometimes, but on the up side our car has shown excellent pace with Pastor’s win. I am really happy for him and this will give the team a big boost headed into the next race.”

Sahara Force India 

Paul Di Resta


Nico Hulkenberg


Sauber F1 Team 

Kamui Kobayashi

“The team did a really great job, and the update on our car works very well. The pace in the race was a big improvement compared to the last race. I absolutely believe I could have made it onto the podium today if I had not been so unlucky in qualifying yesterday. If you start ninth you can be happy finishing fifth, but the car had more potential. I was in traffic and overtaking was not easy. I could not do it on the straights with the help of the DRS because there I wasn’t close enough. So I had to take some risks and do it in the corners. I damaged my tyres quite a lot in the last stint. The competition is really tight at the moment. If you want to get in front of the pack you have to get everything right on the weekend. This is what Pastor (Maldonado) did. The last time I came fifth was last year in Monaco, and I am very much looking forward to returning to the Principality soon.”

Sergio Pérez

“We have been very unlucky at the start. In turn one I managed to get passed Romain (Grosjean), but then he hit me and I had to pit after lap one. We could not really recover from the back of the field, and later I had to retire because of a transmission problem. Whatever it was, it is over and I will be focusing on the next race. Monaco is a very special Grand Prix for me.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso 

Jean-Éric Vergne

“I had a really good start, moving up as high as tenth in a couple of laps. We decided to pit early to try and get ahead of some more guys and I came in from eighth place on lap 10. But then I was behind Di Resta and got a bit stuck. When I made my second stop for new Prime, I hoped I could have got past Di Resta through the stop but the pit stop was not the best and so unfortunately that did not work out and I was still behind the Force India. I lost more time towards the end of my third stint and then in the final one, on the Prime again, I was quicker than Daniel ahead of me. It took me a lot of time to get past. After that I tried to catch Webber and Hulkenberg, but the tyres were no longer good enough. Overall, it was disappointing, because I feel points were possible today, but for various reasons we did not manage it.”

Daniel Ricciardo

“I did not have too great a start, but with our strategy we managed to make up a few places. There were some parts of the race where we ran quite strongly, but in the final stint on new Primes, we no longer had the pace we had in the previous stint. I had managed to look after the tyres quite well all the way to the end and produce relatively good lap times, but by then we had lost too much time. It had looked for a while as though we might have been able to challenge for tenth but it did not pan out that way. Overall, it was a bit up and down, but at least it showed some slight progress compared to Bahrain.”

Caterham F1 Team 

Heikki Kovalainen

“I think we got as much out of the car as we could this afternoon. I had a good start, passed Senna and was hanging on to the pack ahead up until the second stops. The first stint on the options was good, and we stayed on the soft tyres right up until the last pitstop but maybe the last stint on the hards was a couple of laps too long. Still, it was a decent race and we showed we have decent pace on Sundays, more than enough to easily pull away from the teams behind, but not quite enough to be able to fight throughout the whole race with the cars ahead. We knew this track was going to be one of the tougher ones for us, but now we go to Monaco which will give us a chance of fighting higher up, so we’ll keep pushing to close the gap and aim to take another step forwards at the next race.”

Vitaly Petrov

“I’m pleased with how I drove this afternoon and, like Heikki, I don’t think we could have got much more performance from the car today. Yesterday we found a good KERS map for qualifying but this afternoon it wasn’t working as well in the first and second stints, and I think that’s where we lost some time to Heikki. The tyre degradation was higher than we’d seen in the long runs in practice, so we need to look again at why that happened and how we can fix it for future races. Apart from that it was one of those afternoons when we got as much out of the race as we could so now we’ll move on to Monaco where the circuit layout and the difficulty of passing should give us a better chance of pushing the cars ahead throughout the weekend.”

Hispania Racing F1 Team 

Pedro de la Rosa

“Racing in front of your home crowd is fantastic and so is finishing the race. I’m very happy because it’s the second home Grand Prix of my career that I finish, so I’m really satisfied about that. It’s true that it’s a discrete position but we gave it our all and we did what we could. We were ahead of the Marussias on some laps and behind on others but our rhythm, in general, wasn’t bad. We know that we must continue to improve but we’re on the right line. The race was even harder than we anticipated. We did a four-stop strategy and we finished near the limit because the tyres were degrading a lot. The first twenty laps were complicated. The softs literally disintegrated, but the hards went much better and we were able to maintain a better rhythm which enabled us to finish in our best position so far this season in front of our fans.”

Narain Karthikeyan

“I had some trouble at the start with a little bit too much wheel spin, but it didn’t affect me too much and by the first turn I was already back up behind Pedro. It was the first time I drove on heavy fuel this weekend so, with the first set of tyres, my objective was to get used to them. On the second set I had a really good stint and was catching Pedro as we came in for the pit stop to switch to hard tyres. That’s when my bad luck continued…I hope to leave it behind in Spain and have a fresh start in Monaco.”

Marussia F1 Team 

Charles Pic

“I didn’t get a very good start today. From then on I was working well on my pace and got the right side of the HRTs again. Things were going well for me then on lap 26 I suddenly lost drive and came back into the pits, where unfortunately I had to retire. We could see then that we have experienced a problem with the drive shaft, so we need to understand why that happened. There’s a lot of work for all of us in the next two weeks to improve for Monaco as we have not had the weekend we hoped for. After going to Sir Frank’s 70th birthday event last night I am pleased for him that he had this result today for Pastor and his team. For our side we look ahead to the next race and some more progress.”

Timo Glock

“I had a pretty good start. The first lap was good and I had a bit of a fight with Lewis for that lap. In general after that when positions were settled I just tried to keep the tyres alive as long as possible and we struggled with rear end instability again. From my side I can only push around 80% at the moment. It’s still not perfect and we’re missing pace, so we have to analyse and get on top of the problem before Monaco. On a lighter note, congratulations to Pastor Maldonado and the Williams F1 Team. They’ve done a great race result today.”

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