Driver reaction - Malaysian GP

The views from the men in the cockpit

Last Updated: 25/03/12 2:57pm

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The drivers have their say after a rain affected race at the Sepang International Circuit.

Mercedes

Mercedes' Michael Schumacher: "From where I started the race, it's a real shame to grab just one point at the end today, and of course I would have wished for a better finish for our team after their hard work. However I was touched at the back soon after the start and the car spun which really decided my afternoon. During the first part of the race, I just tried to stay on track as you couldn't see anything, and it was the right decision to halt the race.

"After the re-start, the pace wasn't that far off but it was the same for a lot of teams so there was no way to gain positions. It's clear from today that there is still a lot of work for us to do to take our pace from qualifying into the race, and I am sure the guys are already thinking very hard about finding a solution. But this will not be done from one race to another, it will take some time, and we need to give it that time. Still it is a fact that we have improved, so I can fly home now being sure about this and looking forward to fighting in the races to come."

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Mercedes' Nico Rosberg: "That was an unlucky day for me after an eventful race. I had a good restart and because of a good strategy I was in fourth position. But then I had problems with my intermediate tyres; the degradation was very high which forced me to do another pit stop for a new set. The positive thing is that on my last stint with the slicks, I had good pace and because of my tyre management, I was able to beat Jenson. We are strong in qualifying but not yet in the race, and we need to work on that before the next race in China."

Red Bull

Red Bull's Mark Webber: "It was busy with a lot of calls going on at the re-start and with the tyres. My stint on the intermediates after the red flag was tricky and I didn't have much confidence. When I went onto the dry tyres, I felt much more confident, but it was a little bit too late then. You've got to take your hat off to Fernando and Perez today, there were some good calls made at the front. It was a mixed-up race and it was good to get some points. There were some great strengths to take from this weekend. The team has been working really hard, so thanks to them. We know there will be more opportunities in the future."

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel: "Most crucially we lost radio communication and that makes it very difficult in these conditions to know what's going on. Nonetheless we did our maximum today and got up to fourth. To then lose the race how I did is very frustrating. Some people need to look more where they are going. Today it was crucial to come in at the right time. Having no radio meant we were delayed getting the messages and I didn't hear anything from the team at the end. There were problems with the car after the incident, but I wanted to see the chequered flag. There were no points for me today. Before the incident with HRT the way the race had unfolded was good for us I think, so it's frustrating to lose the race like that."

Force India

Force India's Paul di Resta: "The start of the race was a bit of a mess and it was all about trying to stay on the track and stay out of trouble. I did pretty well until Maldonado hit me just before the red flag, which spun me around and cost me about three places. At the restart our pace was very good on the intermediate tyres and we were able to get well up the order and stay with the leading group. As it dried out we switched to dry tyres at the same time everyone else did, which was the safe way to play it, and just tried to hold position in the points. We were a bit lucky with some of the issues for cars ahead, but in races like this you need a bit of luck and given where we started I think we can come away from here very happy with this result."

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg: "I think today's performance with two cars in the points is a great team result and I'm very happy to pick up my first points of the season. It was quite a complicated race and the rain certainly helped mix things up, but we made the most of our chances and made good calls on the strategy. I have to say that the wet conditions today were some of the worst I've raced in and the visibility was almost zero before the race was stopped. It was much better when the race restarted, but I struggled with the balance of the car on the intermediates, so it was just a case of trying to stay in the points and catch Vergne ahead."

Sauber

Sauber's Sergio PĂ©rez: "It is a great day for me. The team did a very good job and I feel very happy for them. It is a really nice feeling to have been on the podium here, but I think victory was also within reach. Twice in the race I was catching Fernando (Alonso). On the final stint, when I was on the hard tyre compound, my tyres had degraded quite a lot. It wasn't easy and I went wide and touched a curb. I actually was lucky not to go off. Before that Fernando had just pitted on the perfect lap for dry tyres, just one lap before me, and I lost a bit of ground to him. It was very difficult to make the right calls today and I want to thank my team.

"They always called me in at the right time, the first stop after lap one was especially important and it was also good to take the hard compound in the end, as the medium compound was not working too well for us. It is only our second race in 2012 and I think we have a great season ahead of us. I knew we had potential to fight today, our car is not far away from the top cars and a good crew and a driver can also make a difference in such conditions."

Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi: "It is great for our team to have scored so well today, but for me personally, of course, it was a very disappointing race. Technically I struggled with the brakes and that was then also why I had to give up after 47 laps. Besides that for me the strategy didn't work out, which, of course, is always easy to realise in hindsight.

"I had a good start but then it was a long time before I changed from intermediates to rain tyres. It was not easy to keep the car on track, and almost as soon as I had changed the red flag came out. But nobody can know this in advance. Later in the race then it was the other way round. I would have loved to get dry tyres, but we were expecting more rain so, again, I could not get rid of the intermediate tyres."

Lotus

Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen: "It was a bit difficult today. It was my first time on the wet weather Pirellis and I didn't know how the intermediate or wet tyres would react - I had only completed one installation lap on them before. I just tried to stay on the road and push as much as I felt comfortable with. When I changed to the dry tyres it took a couple of laps to get heat into them, and my visor was pretty dirty so seeing the dry line was difficult. Once I found my way I could push much harder. It was difficult to have another mixed weather weekend. The conditions changed a lot today so it was always a case of adapting and looking for grip. Overall, we seemed to have a pretty strong package again this weekend, so I'm relatively happy. A fifth today was okay, but we're always looking for better results."

Lotus' Romain Grosjean: "It felt like a perfect start off the line; I got a good jump on the others and with the KERS I managed to weave through the cars in front without touching anybody. Coming out of the first two corners I was up to third, which was an amazing feeling. In turn four Mark (Webber) managed to carry a bit more speed through the corner and edged in front. Michael (Schumacher) tried to follow him through but there was not enough space so we touched and I spun. From there things became really tough. The visibility was so poor I couldn't see anything in front of me. We made the decision to stay out on the intermediate tyres but the rain got heavier and there was far too much water. I had massive aquaplaning into turn five and unfortunately ended up going backwards into the gravel."

Williams

Williams' Bruno Senna: "I am really excited about the result today. I'm so happy that I have scored points for the team after a very tough race. It's on days like to today that you can show what you can do in difficult conditions. I knew we had to attack after the restart, so it was very satisfying to push hard, not make any mistakes and to make my way up through the field. I'm so happy for everyone in the team."

Williams' Pastor Maldonado: "It was very difficult today with conditions changing so quickly at the start. I had poor visibility in the pitlane so missed the pit box entry after the restart which dropped me down the order. I was then just pushing every lap and our pace was very consistent. I had a good race to come through from 20th to tenth with just two laps remaining. Bruno had a great race and we have both been able to show that the car is competitive."

Caterham

Caterham's Vitaly Petrov: "I am really happy with the performance today. We didn't show the car's true potential in qualifying, but today I was able to put in similar lap times to the cars ahead and didn't make any mistakes in the tricky conditions. The car felt good all afternoon and the team worked really well to help me get the most out of it, both on the pitwall and with the stops, so I'm very pleased I've been able to record my first race finish for the team and to start to show what we can do in races. This gives us a good base to work from so it's been a good Sunday, particularly in front of our home fans."

Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen: "That was one of those races when we could have had a really good result, but a bit of bad luck and a car I didn't really have a great balance on meant I'm just pleased to have got it home. I made a small mistake on the inters and had to come in for a new nose, and that dropped me back a few places which basically ended my race. Despite that, it's good that we got both cars home and we also showed again that we have a car that can race on Sundays. Now we need to focus on getting more out of it in qualifying and pushing on at the next race in China."

Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne: "To from eighteenth on the grid to eighth and in the points at the end is great. I stayed out for a long time on the intermediates after the start and then the Red Flag came along to help me so I was able to switch to extreme wets on the grid. If I had to resume behind the Safety Car on the intermediates it would have been very hard to stay on track! As soon as the track was dry enough I came in again for intermediates but I lost a bit of time before I made the switch to slicks.

"After that I was catching Di Resta, but with the backmarkers in between us I could not get close enough to pass, so I just managed the situation, concentrating on bringing the car home. So I am happy to settle for this eighth place and I plan to keep improving step by step. After these two opening races, the overall performance has been quite good and I feel we can make progress in China starting from this good base line."

Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo: "Unfortunately, after being delayed in the early stages, when I lost places after the start in the rain, I never managed to fight my way back into the points. I think there were moments in the race when I ran at quite a good pace, but I did not have that extra edge to move up the order. When the track was drying before the pit stops that is when I again lost time, so of course I am a bit disappointed, but there are still eighteen races remaining and I'm sure I will have plenty more opportunities to do well."

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