European Grand Prix teams’ quotes

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Here’s what the teams had to say after the European Grand Prix:

McLaren

Lewis made a good start from pole position, and drove a strong first stint to lead the opening laps, stretching his advantage over Heikki and Rubens Barrichello in so doing. Pitting for the first time on lap 16, Lewis resumed in fourth position but was able to retake the lead once the order had shaken itself out after the first series of pitstops.

He struggled a little with his car?s balance in the middle stint, and was therefore unable to pull out a sufficient gap on second-placed Rubens ?ǣ he needed to have established a lead of at least six or seven seconds before the final pitstop in order to give himself a fighting chance of retaining his lead, but was able to manage only around four seconds.

The team?s strategy for him was twofold: to push hard to extend his gap over Rubens, and to take great care to conserve enough fuel for an additional lap before the second pitstop. It was marginal, though, and it was only at the last second that a decision was made to keep Lewis out for that extra lap, but by that time he was heading for the pit entry so it was too late.

As a result, the pit crew hadn?t fully readied his final set of tyres, and he was delayed slightly in the pits while they were being unwrapped.

It was a calculated risk to push for that extra lap ?ǣ but, given the race pace of Rubens?s car, it almost certainly wouldn?t have paid off even if Lewis?s tyres had been ready for him. Second place was anyway safe, though, and Lewis scored a second successive podium finish ?ǣ a result that moved him up to sixth in the Drivers? World Championship.

Lewis Hamilton:

This is my second podium in a row, and I?m very happy to be here. We did the best job we could today. Am I disappointed? Yes, I think we all are ?ǣ but that?s simply an indication of just how hard everyone in this team is pushing to win. We?re never satisfied unless we?re winning, in fact.

But, ultimately, we didn?t really lose anything today ?ǣ it was always going to be tough to beat Rubens and what we tried wasn?t quite enough.

Before my second pitstop, I?d been saving fuel and was a bit unsure if I had enough for that extra lap or not. The pitwall had initially asked me to pit ?ǣ but, just when I was coming in, they told me to stay out and do an extra lap ?ǣ however, I was already inside the white line [entry to the pits] and committed, so it was too late.

In those circumstances, it?s always better to be safe and to pit, because the last thing you want to do is run dry out on the circuit. But the call was a marginal one ?ǣ the team was pushing the envelope, as I say ?ǣ and it came just a little too late for me and the mechanics, who weren?t perfectly prepared. Make no mistake, I think those guys are the best in the business; what happened was simply a result of the team trying everything in their power to turn a safe second place into a possible win.

In any case, our overall performance this weekend confirmed the huge improvement we?ve made recently, but we still lack a bit of race pace compared with the very fastest cars. You can be well sure we?re working on fixing that, though.

Congratulations to Rubens ?ǣ he drove a fantastic race today and really deserved this victory.

Heikki Kovalainen:

Heikki started from the front row, slotted in behind Lewis into the first corner and maintained second position until the first stops, when he was jumped by Rubens. Despite pushing hard to create a sufficient advantage over fourth-placed Kimi Raikkonen, the Ferrari driver was fuelled longer in the middle stint and jumped Heikki at the second pitstops.

Nonetheless, Heikki drove a solid race to finish fourth ?ǣ his best result of the season and his third successive points finish.

To start second and finish fourth isn?t ideal,?? he said. ??But I?m more pleased with my overall performance in this race than in Hungary. We showed good performance throughout the whole weekend, and I really want to thank the whole team for helping us to achieve that ?ǣ it?s good to see things improving like this.

We don?t yet have the pace of the frontrunners, but everyone has done an incredible job to get us to where we are. We?ve scored more points in the last three races than any other team ?ǣ but I still want to score more. I?m already focusing on Spa; it?s a circuit I love and I really want to be on the podium there.

Martin Whitmarsh:

Following our all-front-row qualifying result, naturally enough we had very high expectations for today?s race. In the event, though, our race pace wasn?t good enough to beat Rubens?s car. We?d adopted a different tyre strategy from many of the front-runners ?ǣ maybe that was right, maybe that was wrong ?ǣ but the reality is that we weren?t quick enough to win today.

So, coming in to the final pitstops, in our efforts to convert a safe second for Lewis into a possible first for him, we took a calculated risk in attempting to reverse the sequence of Lewis?s and Heikki?s pit stops at the last second. That last-second decision caused a bit of pitlane confusion, which probably cost Lewis a couple of seconds overall ?ǣ but Rubens?s race pace was such that that couple of seconds didn?t make a difference to the outcome of the race.

In a nutshell, we decided to take the risk because we knew Rubens had the strategy to win and it was our only chance of attempting to prevent that. We don?t like not winning, but second and fourth isn?t such a terrible result. Now, though, we?ll focus on the challenge of Spa ?ǣ a very different type of racetrack from Valencia.

Norbert Haug:

A shame for Lewis who drove a faultless race, but it would have been very tight with a perfect pit stop against Rubens anyway and he certainly deserves this victory.

Our team scored more points than any other today, the same it did before the summer break in Hungary. This makes a total of 27 out of 36 possible points and Lewis scored 18 out of possible 20. That of course is very positive and will certainly please all our team members in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart who have worked so hard to recover from our not quite typical Vodafone McLaren Mercedes form in the first half of the season.

Heikki drove a solid race today and brought home his best result so far this season. So, all in all, quite a lot of positives and we all will push hard in order to build on these results.

Spa will not be a circuit exactly tailormade for our car and I do not expect us to be quite as competitive as we were in Hungary and here where we have been the class of the field or on a level with the best.

Congratulations to Rubens ?ǣ he deserves this victory after four tough years since his last one and my feeling is the whole paddock thinks like that.

Ferrari

Fourth podium of the season for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, the third for Kimi Raikkonen. The second F60 in the race, that of Luca Badoer, came home in seventeenth place. With today?s six points, the Scuderia has consolidated its third place in the Constructors? classification.

Stefano Domenicali:

Today we did the maximum with Kimi, who drove an amazing race to make it to the podium once again. He was very competitive throughout the race, pushing at the decisive moments, at the start and then when the opportunity arose to get ahead of Kovalainen. Luca managed to finish the race, thus completing this learning weekend, which served as an introduction course prior to tackling the Belgian weekend in the best way possible, next weekend. Clearly, considering our choices and those of other teams in terms of developing this year?s car, our aim of maintaining third place in the Constructors? classification is becoming harder. For our part, we will give it our best shot, knowing that in some races we can expect to be more competitive than in others and we will have to be ready to exploit every opportunity that arises.

Kimi Raikkonen:

I am happy about this result. Already on Friday we saw that the car was pretty competitive over a distance and we therefore thought we could fight for a podium finish. We were also aware that, in qualifying, we might have struggled, especially on light fuel. Both these predictions proved correct and today we were once again able to get on the podium. I managed to make up a few places at the start and my first aim was to pull out a bit of a gap over Rosberg, who was going to stop after me. In the second part of the race, I realized that I could close on Kovalainen and try and make the most of the run of pit stops to get ahead of him and I managed it. Now we go to Spa, a track that I like a lot: we must wait for Friday to see how competitive we can be. At this point in the season, if we manage to get everything right, then we can aim for the podium and if anything was to happen to those ahead of us, we can try and do even better. We must do all we can to hang on to third place in the Constructors? championship.

Luca Badoer:

I said when I arrived in Valencia that this Grand Prix would be a time for me to dust the rust off my back and get confident in the role of race driver again. It was important for me to complete so many kilometres without making any serious mistakes and I managed that. From the physical point of view, I feel fine and that is another cause for satisfaction. I got a good start, making up a few places but then I was hit by Grosjean and that dropped me back down again. I tried to run my own race, but it was not easy to maintain a consistent pace, especially when I had to let the leaders by. At the first pit stop, I made a mistake which cost me one place and then I was just a whisker over the white line and so I picked up a drive-through penalty. Now I am looking forward to Spa with confidence: it?s a track I know and I will also be able to count on the experience gained this weekend. Thanks to the whole team, who did everything they could to make me feel comfortable, without putting me under any pressure and to Michael, who was a great support throughout the weekend.

Chris Dyer:

We are pleased with Kimi?s third place, which represents the most we could aspire to today. Driver, team, car: all these elements came together in the best possible way and the result confirms it. As for Luca, it was another difficult day in an equally difficult weekend. However, it should be stressed how much he improved, continuously day by day, lap after lap. We are confident that he will find himself in much better shape next weekend in Belgium.

BMW

Robert Kubica:

I had to start the race from a very bad position as I was in the middle of the pack and we were all very close together in the first corners. Unfortunately I was not able to make up positions at the start, and I even lost a place to Nick. But then during the race my pace was good. Although my stints were shorter, I was even able to overtake Mark Webber during his final pit stop, which was very good.

Nick Heidfeld:

??For me the result is rather disappointing because it doesn?t reflect what I was able to achieve today. After a good start I was able to match the pace of the guys in front of me, but I let Robert by because he was on a lower fuel load. Then I had to defend my position against Adrian Sutil and lost contact with the front group. This turned out to be crucial, because after his pit stop Heikki Kovalainen came out in front of me and I could not take any advantage from my car being lighter at this stage.

Mario Theissen:

Despite being in a very difficult situation with BMW pulling out of the sport, the team really did a very good job all weekend. Starting tenth and 11th on the grid was already a big improvement compared to the previous races. In the race Robert was able to move up to eighth and score a point. Actually Nick had the better chances to make his way up to the front from 11th on the grid because of the strategy he was able to choose. But he got stuck in traffic and therefore couldn’t demonstrate what he was capable of. The result gives us a boost for the next races and the development packages planned up to the end of the season.

Willy Rampf (head of engineering):

Our goal was to get at least one point in Valencia. We achieved that. Compliments to the whole team for the effort. The new aero package is clearly progress. We did not have any problems during the race. Unfortunately Nick and, also during some periods, Robert got stuck in traffic and therefore lost valuable time. Our race pace without traffic was as expected.

Renault

Rubens Barrichello returned to the top step of the podium for the first time in five years today as he won the European Grand Prix in Valencia after a race-long battle with Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren. The result sees the Brazilian move to second in the drivers’ championship just 18 points behind his teammate Jenson Button. Fernando Alonso raced hard to pick up three points for sixth place in his home race, while the team’s rookie Romain Grosjean brought his R29 home in 15th place on his debut having gained some valuable experience.

A busy first lap saw the McLarens preserve their lead into the first corner ahead of Rubens Barrichello in the leading Brawn. However teammate Button lost ground at the start slipping to the tail end of the points. Fernando made a good start and ran strongly for the first stint, but teammate Grosjean had an eventful first lap, damaged his nose, and had to pit for repairs.

At the front of the field Barrichello was matching the pace of the McLarens and jumped ahead of Koavalainen after their first pit stops. During the second stint Barrichello traded fastest lap times with Hamilton as he chased down the Briton to challenge for the lead of the race. As Hamilton lost time during his second pit stop on lap 37, the Brazilian delivered a series of quick laps to emerge in the lead of the race as the pit stops shook out. Hamilton tried to chase Barrichello down in the final stint, but the pace of the Brawn was enough to give Barrichello his 10th Grand Prix victory.

Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium in third having got ahead of Kovalainen during the second round of pit stops by running longer stints and gaining the advantage. Kovalainen eventually finished the race in fourth but was pushed hard to the flag by a hard-charging Rosberg in the Williams.

In the final stint Jenson Button staged a late charge to try and catch Fernando for sixth, but the Spaniard had the pace to hold off the Brawn to pick up three valuable points.

Toyota

Panasonic Toyota Racing completed a difficult weekend by missing out on the top 10 in the European Grand Prix on the streets of Valencia, Spain today despite setting the fastest lap of the race. A tough afternoon was expected following a frustrating qualifying session and that proved to be the case on another hot and sunny day. The race started badly when Timo Glock was hit from behind in the first corners, causing a puncture and necessitating a first-lap pit stop for new soft compound Bridgestone Potenza tyres. Jarno Trulli, also starting on the soft tyres, made up three places on the first lap but on a track where overtaking is almost impossible the top 10 proved to be out of reach. Both drivers started on heavy fuel loads and passed half distance before making their first pit stop, each switching to super soft tyres. Timo’s strategy featured two relatively short stints on the super soft tyres and he switched to a new set with just a few laps to go. Neither driver gave up and in
the closing stages Timo set the fastest lap of the whole race with a 1min 38.683s effort, Panasonic Toyota Racing’s third in Formula 1.

Jarno Trulli:

The start wasn’t great and the car didn’t improve from qualifying, when I was struggling a lot with a lack of grip. So I had the same problems again today and the grip was nowhere close to where it had been earlier in the weekend during practice. I did my best but there was nothing I could do to improve my position. I hope for a better weekend in Belgium.

Timo Glock:

It was a pity the race started like that because over a race distance we were pretty quick, just like we were in Budapest. At the first corner I had to dive down the inside because the cars in front were braking heavily so I had to avoid them. Then I was hit from behind and basically any hope I had of getting a decent position was finished there and then. But I pushed as hard as possible for the rest of the race to at least get some more data and we showed what might have been by setting the fastest lap right at the end.

John Howett:

That was clearly not the result we wanted or expected from this Grand Prix. It has been a very difficult weekend but we must put this behind us and we have another race next week in which to show our true potential. We have to understand why our relative qualifying pace is worse than our relative race pace because our car is reasonably competitive, as Timo showed by setting the fastest lap. We have to get on top of this and take advantage of what the car can offer.

Toro Rosso

Jaime Alguersuari:

This was much tougher for me than Hungary, because of the heat and humidity. With ten laps remaining, I had a problem with my drinks system which meant I couldn?t get anything to drink. It was really tough and I just did my best to finish and bring home the car. On the plus side I have now done a lot more kilometres and I therefore hope this will help me do better in Spa, where at least it won?t be as hot.

Sebastien Buemi:

My race was more or less over immediately after the start. I will have to watch the race to see exactly what happened. I moved to the inside to try and avoid the bottleneck and as Glock accelerated, he drove over my wing which obviously broke and the time I lost coming back to the pits to replace it meant my race was done. I carried on pushing to see what lap times I could do and what the car was capable of, but I soon had braking problems and eventually the disc broke and I had to park the car. The last few race weekends have not gone well, but you have to stay positive. The car seems to have improved, so we have the potential to do better. Let?s see at Spa.

Franz Tost:

Unfortunately for Buemi, his race was effectively over at the first corner, when he collided with Glock, losing the front wing. He had to pit for a new nose and we assume that the accident had also damaged the left front brake duct, so the brake didn?t cool properly, which led to the failure that put him out of the race. Alguersuari did a good job to finish in these tough conditions, in what we must not forget, is only his second F1 race.

Red Bull

Mark Webber:

No gains for us today, which is the first time in a long time. The long and short of it was that I wasn?t quick enough today ?ǣ it was a tough race. I?ve been struggling all weekend and I think I got the result I deserved, which was no points, unfortunately. We were a little bit unlucky around the pit stops with Lewis coming back out in front, but that?s the way it goes. The pit stops weren?t great, as I might have been a bit long on positioning ?ǣ so not the best day for us. But, we will dust ourselves down and move on to Spa.

Sebastian Vettel:

The biggest problem today was the first stop ?ǣ we weren?t able to get fuel in the car, so we had to come in again. We were lucky to make it back for a second stop. The race was lost already at that point but then, a couple of laps on, I had a problem with the engine and I had to retire. It?s not good. In terms of the Championship, I will fight until the last breath, but it?s not good to have retired when you?re hunting and want to get more points than your opponent. You?re in a position to do it, but then you don?t finish the race.

Christian Horner:

A bitterly disappointing day. A fuel rig failure on Sebastian?s car, followed by an engine failure, which is the second of the weekend, was costly. Unfortunately with Mark, we just weren?t quick enough today. He held Jensonbehind him for a long time, but Jenson was too quick and jumped us with a very quick out-lap, unfortunately Mark was not quick enough to hold him behind.

Fabrice Lom (Renault principal engineer track support):

This race ended a nightmare weekend for us. We had two engine failures on Sebastian?s car, so it?s a black weekend. I can only apologise to Red Bull Racing and Sebastian in particular for this reliability issue and assure them that we will work as hard as possible to ensure it doesn?t happen again. But, the end of the season will now be tough on the engine side for Sebastian.

Williams

Today?s European Grand Prix at Valencia?s 5.44km street circuit yielded four points for the AT&T Williams team as Nico Rosberg scored for the seventh consecutive time this season, eight times overall, with his fifth place finish.

Despite strong progress from 17th on the grid which saw him jump three places in the opening lap, Kazuki Nakajima?s compromised weekend continued as a puncture on lap 38 forced an unscheduled pitstop and returned him to the back of the field.

As a precaution, with two laps to go, Kazuki was retired to limit any potential damage to his gearbox as a result of the earlier puncture. Today?s points consolidate the team?s sixth place in the Constructors? Championship and Nico?s fifth position in the drivers? standings.

Nico Rosberg:

I did enjoy the race, but the heat really took most of the fun out of it. It wasn?t nice, but it was still a good result for the team. Fifth again, after starting seventh, is not bad, and gives us more points. I was hoping to beat Raikkonen today but he was too fast. Our car seems to suit every track we go to, and the team is doing well to keep development going from race to race. It?s nice that we are always up there and I hope we continue like this, and possibly make a step forward onto the podium soon.

Kazuki Nakajima:

It was another disappointing afternoon for me. It was all over in qualifying really. I was in 13th when I had the puncture and that really finished my race. Just a few laps before the end, I then had some kind of problem so I had to stop early.

Rod Nelson, chief operations engineer:

Kazuki was compromised by his problems in qualifying so we decided to go for a long first stint which was looking reasonable until his puncture. We then had to retire his car early as it had some damage from the puncture which could have harmed the gearbox. Nico drove a strong race. We were hoping to get close to Raikkonen but the second stint wasn?t strong enough which, in turn, brought Alonso into play. We managed the gap to Alonso to keep fifth place which we are happy with.

Force India

The Force India Formula One Team has finished a sweltering European Grand Prix with Adrian Sutil in 10th and Giancarlo Fisichella in 12th position. Adrian’s result is Force India’s fourth top 10 finish this season, and his best result since the season opening Australian Grand Prix, while Giancarlo’s is his fifth top 12 position this year.

Adrian used a two stop strategy to move up two places on his grid position and enjoyed a race long battle with the two BMWs, passing Heidfeld on his first stop on lap 22 and putting pressure on Kubica on his second stint. On his third run Adrian then chased the Red Bull of Mark Webber for ninth position, matching the Australian’s lap times, to finish just three seconds away at the flag fall.

Giancarlo made a good start off the line and finished the first lap in 13th position, three places up on his grid slot. Using a one-stop strategy he was able to safeguard this position and move up a further place midway through the race. Despite pressure from Jarno Trulli’s Toyota in the closing laps, Giancarlo held on to the finish to claim a strong 12th place.

Adrian Sutil:

Today was a good performance with no mistakes, good lap times and we showed a clear step forward. I think tenth was the maximum we could do from 12th position on the grid. It was a very tough race, very hot, but everything worked perfectly. I was behind the two BMWs for my first stint and couldn’t get past on the track but the team did a really good stop and I could pass Heidfeld in the pitlane. I’m really looking forward to Spa now – I love the track and with the pace we’ve shown this weekend it’s looking promising for a good result there.

Giancarlo Fisichella:

It was a difficult race as the grid position was not as good as we had hoped so we used a one-stop strategy, which gave us an opportunity to gain some positions. I made a very good start, keeping clear of the collision and was running in 13th at the end of the first lap, right behind Adrian. The first stint on the hard tyres was very consistent with a good pace. Then we changed to the soft tyres and it was a bit tricky as there was some graining. I could keep a good pace though I had to watch the tyres to keep them until the end. Twelfth is a good result for us. We made a few positions and now seem to be ahead of Toyota and some other cars. We need another step like we made this weekend and we can easily score points.

Vijay Mallya:

Overall it’s been a strong performance for us all weekend and probably our most competitive race in two seasons. The upgrades we introduced this race have clearly given us a big step forward and we’re now really mixing it in the midfield positions. I’d like to say thanks to all the team back at Silverstone who have worked very hard to get the development through, and to the drivers for doing it justice. I can’t wait to get to Belgium now.

Brawn GP

Brawn GP’s Rubens Barrichello won the 2009 European Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit today. The Brazilian, scoring his tenth victory in Formula One and the 100th Grand Prix victory for a Brazilian driver, started from third on the grid and drove an aggressive and determined race to take the chequered flag in his Brawn-Mercedes car. Team-mate Jenson Button came home in seventh place adding a valuable two points to his lead in the Drivers’ Championship.

Rubens had a good start and kept close to Heikki Kovalainen for his first stint, staying out for an additional three laps prior to his first stop which enabled him to jump ahead of the McLaren. A strong middle stint, trading quick lap times with his rival for the win, Lewis Hamilton, saw Rubens get ahead of the Brit at his second pit stop. From there, he was able to control the gap and bring his Brawn-Mercedes car home after 57 laps for an emotional and well-deserved victory.

Jenson had a difficult start and was caught behind Sebastian Vettel which dropped him to eighth position on the first lap. He was then forced to concede a place to Mark Webber after missing a chicane. His chance to jump the Red Bull came at his second stop when a quick pit stop and a superb out-lap moved him up into seventh place to claim the two points.

After ten races, Brawn GP lead the Constructors’ Championship with 126 points with Jenson leading the Drivers’ Championship with 72 points and Rubens in second place with 54 points.

Rubens Barrichello:

What a fantastic day. I am so delighted with the win after what was a really tough race out there. It’s just amazing and a weekend that I will never forget. Even after five years, you don’t forget how to win and the feeling is so good! Although we were fuelled heavier than the McLarens, I knew that I would have to push really hard throughout the race. My engineer Jock was great today, he really encouraged me and helped me to maintain the pace, and the team did a fantastic job with two excellent pit stops. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and this victory is dedicated to the whole of Brazil but particularly to my great friend Felipe Massa. I hope he is back racing against me soon.

Jenson Button:

Rubens did a great job this weekend and he deserves the victory. It’s been a long time so I’m happy for him although of course I would rather be on top of the podium. The small mistake in qualifying and a difficult start caught behind Vettel really cost me today as I got caught in traffic and it’s really tough to overtake around this circuit. Still we did what we came for this weekend and beat the Red Bulls, our main title rivals, so I’m not too disappointed with seventh position. We’ll go to the next race in Spa positive and ready to have a good race.

Ross Brawn:

That was a fantastic performance from Rubens today to take his first and Brawn GP’s seventh win of the season. We knew that having a heavier fuel load would give us an advantage over the cars in front but Rubens had to drive at his absolute best to have a chance of victory. He pushed exactly where he needed to. When we got on the radio and told him that he had to put in some quick laps, he delivered. It was a great performance and an extremely well-deserved victory. We’re all delighted for him. Unfortunately it wasn’t such a good afternoon for Jenson who had a quick car but was caught in traffic which prevented him from achieving the result that he could have done. In hindsight perhaps we should have been more aggressive in qualifying but his two points today are valuable and we have increased our lead in both Championships. Thanks and credit is due to everyone at the track today and at the factory in Brackley for all their hard work over the past couple of weeks and to our colleagues at Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines in Brixworth for their dedication and the performance of our engine.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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One comment on “European Grand Prix teams’ quotes”

  1. i like this page; there are some interesting little pearls burried in there amongst the dross.

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