Driver reaction - Brazilian GP
The drivers have their say on a thrilling season finale
Last Updated: November 25, 2012 9:40pm
The 24 drivers have their say on a thrilling season finale in Brazil - where Sebastian Vettel claimed the World Championship.
Unbelievable feeling for Vettel
Sebastian Vettel: "It's difficult to imagine what goes through my head now, I am so full of adrenalin. It was an incredible race, everything that could have happened to make it more difficult for us today, happened! I got turned around in Turn 4 for no reason and was heading the wrong way; so I had to get straight and was lucky no one hit me. The car was damaged and we lost speed in straights, even more as it dried up, but fortunately it started to rain again.
"All weekend people tried to push us in a certain direction and said if it rained it would be harder for us, but we have proven today that we like rain conditions as much as the dry. I am very, very happy. The most important thing throughout the season is that we kept pushing and remained ourselves. We just try to do our thing and stick to the route that we know and that's what made the difference. Some people try to play games, but we never get distracted, we keep going our way.
"Everyone at Milton Keynes and here at the circuit, they are always pushing so hard and we really stepped up our game in the second half of the season. I would like to thank everyone in the team and at Renault. There's no one in this team that feels more important than anyone else, we all push together, alongside each other, it's one big force and I'm very proud of that. It's unreal what has happened.
"To win a third title, especially here where one of my heroes Ayrton Senna was from, it's difficult to put into words. I was crying in the car but my radio wasn't working, so I'm maybe happy for that! Tomorrow I can probably say more, but now I just don't have the right words."
Tricky race for Webber
Mark Webber: "The race lived up to expectations today and the conditions were obviously very tricky for all of us. We weren't particularly strong today pace wise and both Seb and I were pretty vulnerable on restarts, as well as the start of the race on slicks. I got hit pretty hard on the inside, I think it was one of the Sauber's, and we had to press on from there.
"We got probably what we could have out of today and we made a good call to go to the intermediate tyres when we did. For Sebastian, it was a great effort. He has joined a pretty decent club now and has even set his own some ways, the youngest ever World Champion and now a triple World Champion - you've got to take your hat off to him.
"The season has gone fast, there have been a lot of different winners, some ups and downs, a lot of crashes and a couple of nice wins for myself. I'm now looking forward to having a break, to recharge and then it's on to 2013."
Crazy race for Button
Jenson Button: "Everyone who took part in today's race deserves respect - it was crazy out there!
"The conditions were always going to trigger plenty of action, because some cars could generate the required tyre temperatures and others couldn't. So, for most of the race, you were on a tyre that didn't feel quite right for the conditions, but for which the lap-times looked okay compared with those of the cars on the other tyre. I spent so much time speaking on the radio to my engineer, Dave [Robson], trying to understand what was going to work and what wasn't.
"I had a lot of fun racing with Lewis, especially for the first 10 laps. We had a really good, clean fight. It's a pity he wasn't still there at the end - but it was nice to have such a great dice with him in our last race as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team-mates. And I really want to say this: 'It's been so good working with you, Lewis. Over the past few years, we've driven a lot of great races together. It's been fab.
"Going back to the subject of today's race, the Safety Car made life more difficult for us - we lost the 40-second buffer we'd built up - but then the rain really came down, and the race became all about choosing the best time to switch to the Inters.
"Then the challenge altered, and it became all about nursing the car to the end. There was a lot of standing water about, especially where Paul [di Resta] had his accident. I'd been through there on the previous lap and had a big snap too, which was a pretty scary moment.
"Last but not least, congratulations to Sebastian [Vettel]. To win three world championships in a row is a great achievement."
Hamilton plays down crash
Lewis Hamilton: "Huge congratulations to Jenson - and to Sebastian too.
"It's a shame we weren't able to seal second position in the constuctors' world championship together, but we did our best. Congratulations to Sebastian, too - his team kept it together and, under a lot of pressure, they pulled through today.
"Now that the 2012 season is done and dusted, I feel a bit numb. It's been a day of mixed emotions. I'm sad that I didn't finish the race, but I'm excited about the future. I'll miss my friends and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but I'm optimistic about what lies ahead for me. I feel comfortable going into this winter because I feel I did a good job this year. I gave 2012 everything I had. I couldn't have done anything more."
As for today, I don't remember too much about the accident with Nico [Hulkenberg], but he came to see me after the race, which was nice.
"It's been a brilliant experience to be a part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team over the past six years. I want to thank everyone and sincerely wish everyone the very best for the future. They've been fantastic, so supportive, and they continue to do an amazing job.
"So, to all of you at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I'll miss each and every one of you."
A race of survival for Alonso
Fernando Alonso: "I score this season a 10! If we had to repeat these twenty races I would change nothing done by the team or yours truly: no mistakes, no mechanical problems, zero problems at the pit stops, zero strategic mistakes. We definitely did not lose the title today, as that happened in Spa or Suzuka.
"We might not have finished the season with the most points, but we won many other things, like everyone's respect and fans and colleagues agree on who was the best this year. I am proud of the job I did and that was also the case last year when I finished fourth and again this time when I fought right to the very end.
"Today is very different to Abu Dhabi: then, there was the frustration of an opportunity missed, whereas here we did our utmost race after race. I feel happy inside: I worked day after day with the team, which pays me at the end of every month and today, they can be proud of what they've done. Once again today we did an impeccable job, finishing on the podium after starting from the fourth row, producing yet another little Sunday miracle.
"The team kept me constantly updated about Vettel and, towards the end, I was hoping something might happen to him or Button which would allow us to reach our goal. It didn't happen and we must accept the result delivered on the race track. What to ask from the team for 2013? That's easy, a quicker car, but most of all I'd like to see the same effort and professionalism the team displayed when it reacted to our initial difficulties.
"Even if maybe we didn't manage to reach the performance level of the best, everyone demonstrated total dedication. I repeat, I am happy and proud and now's the time to drink a caipirinha!"
Hard decisions for Massa
Felipe Massa: "It was very emotional for me to jump up on the podium at my home race. I cried like a baby, thinking back to how difficult this season has been for me, disastrous at first and then very competitive in the last part. Fernando should be proud of what he has done this year: he was able to win when the car was not perfect and fought right to the end, even if his car was not a match for those of his rivals. His championship has been truly spectacular!
"We too must also be proud of what we have done. Today's race was very close fought and difficult and so many things happened. It was not easy to work out what was the right tyre as the conditions changed so quickly. At the start, when it began to rain, we had opted to stay out on track, but we did so for too long. Then, I found myself down in eleventh, but I began to go very quickly and overtake a lot of drivers.
"Who knows, maybe I could even have been in the hunt for the win today...The team kept me informed all the time about what the situation was on track and on what could be useful to do in the fight for the championship: I think I did the right thing, for my team and also for my fans."
Beautiful end for Schumacher
Michael Schumacher: "What an exciting and eventful Grand Prix! Strangely enough, my last ever Formula One race began with a puncture which pushed me down the running order. But it's always been my philosophy to never give up - there's always a chance, you just have to keep going and seize it when it comes. It's a strange sort of coincidence that I've ended my Formula One career now in P7, which was my first ever qualifying result at Spa-Francorchamps 308 races ago. It also occurs to me that I was driving with the number seven on my car today and that I have seven world championship trophies in my cabinet.
"Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel on claiming his third world title in a row. I'm very proud of Sebastian and really thrilled for him. As early as the first lap, I suddenly found him blocking the track facing the wrong way, but then the two of us both staged great comebacks in the race. His performance also showed that you just have to keep plugging away.
"Even under these difficult conditions, my final Formula One race was tremendous fun, and I would once again like to thank the team and all my fans for their support over the past years. I've enjoyed the time we've spent together very much indeed."
Nico Rosberg: "That was definitely the longest race of my life today! The start was pretty good, and I was running in the top eight. After the puncture however, there was damage to the floor and I lost a lot of performance. So unfortunately I had no chance to fight back from there. It must have been a fantastic race for the fans here in Interlagos and watching on the TV and I hope they enjoyed the show.
"Congratulations to Sebastian on the world title which is very well deserved. For myself, I am now looking forward to next year and the chance to attack again. Many thanks to the team for all of their efforts this year which saw our first win together, and we can look forward to making further progress and a better 2013."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It was a busy race and we didn't have the pace we wanted all the time. There was certainly a lot going on. I went off at the last corner on lap fifty-two as I couldn't see well with my visor being dirty and fogged up. Where I went off you can get back on the track by going through the support race pit lane, but you have to go through a gate. I know this as I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year. Somebody closed it this time. Next year I'll make sure it's open again."
Tough weekend for Grosjean
Romain Grosjean: "I'm a little bit shaken but otherwise not too bad. Everything was nicely under control at the start of the race then it all ended very suddenly at turn eleven. It was a strange one; I could see it was raining a bit more so I was taking it even easier than on the lap before, then suddenly the car just went from underneath me and that was it. I've not had much luck this weekend and that's definitely not the way I wanted to end the season, but overall it's been a good year and hopefully there will be many better days to come."
Hulkenberg not downhearted
Nico Hulkenberg: "That was a lot of fun - very entertaining and there was so much happening all the time! We had a great chance to finish on the podium today, but it slipped away, which is a shame. In the early laps it was difficult to keep the car on the track in the very damp conditions, but it was not really wet enough for intermediates and I stuck with the slicks. It was the right decision and soon I was leading the race.
"I felt comfortable but eventually I made a small mistake and Lewis got ahead of me. I managed to stay with him and was fighting to get the lead back when we touched. It's hard to say what happened but I was making a move going into turn one and had a slightly loose rear. I was about to turn in and suddenly there was contact. It's a shame for both of us because we were having a great battle. I managed to keep going but I had lost a lot of time.
"Fifth place is still a super result to end the season and I think the team did an excellent job this weekend. I hope they enjoyed the race - it's a nice leaving present in my last race."
Paul di Resta: "It was a very tricky race and not easy to make the calls with the weather constantly changing. Ultimately we made the wrong decision to switch to the intermediates in the early stages because the track began to dry quite soon after my stop. The tyres lost performance quickly and I went back to the slicks just before the safety car came out.
"That brought us back into play, but I struggled for grip at the restart and lost a few places. When we went back to the intermediates in the closing stages we were more competitive and I was up in eighth place. Unfortunately with a lap to go I aquaplaned in the final corner. It was a big hit with the wall, but I'm OK."
Kamui Kobayashi: "I had a good start and stayed out of trouble. The beginning of the race was good. Then the track conditions became tricky with the drizzle and I had contact with Mark Webber's car. That was why we had to change the nose cone when I pitted for intermediate tyres after eight laps. At my second pit stop after 18 laps I changed to hard slick tyres. For some reason it was a rather long stop, but nevertheless afterwards I was in sixth again. I think we did my last pit stop one lap too late. The conditions were right for Intermediates again.
"However, the weather forecast apparently said something different and then we also had a problem with the front left. At the end I was much quicker than Michael (Schumacher) and tried to overtake him, but on the inside it was a lot wetter than on the racing line and I lost the rear. Overall I think it was a really good race. I was able to do my own race and fight. I am happy for the team and for myself that we have scored points in this our last race together. I want to thank Sauber for the good times we have had and now I will try to find myself a Formula One cockpit for next year."
Sergio Perez: "I really wanted to finish the season in a different way. It was a great season with three podiums and I want to thank everyone at Sauber. I wish the team all the best and will now take on my new challenge. I didn't really understand what happened after the start today. I went to the inside to avoid contact with other cars and then people crashed into me."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "It's good to finish eighth, however, I am not so happy with myself, because I made the decision to stay out for a long time on the dry tyres and it proved not to be the right one, costing me a lap. The team gave me the opportunity to run the race as I saw best from the cockpit and I have learned a lot of valuable lessons from today. However, if the rain had stayed away it would have been a great decision! At the restart after the Safety Car came in, I was hanging back to get a run on Glock, but as I caught up, those in front were braking hard and I ran into him and I've already apologised to him for that. My pace on the slick tyres in the damp conditions was very good and it's nice to finish the final race of the season in the points."
Daniel Ricciardo: "The start was quite chaotic with several cars going off the track and people to avoid. I managed to make up a couple of places and my pace seemed okay. I was trying to hang on to those ahead as the conditions changed all the time. By around half race distance, we were looking in good shape, running in eighth or ninth place. More rain came after my first stop for fresh dry tyres, so I had to come in again, which obviously cost me time. In simple terms, it was a case of too many pit stops."
Pastor Maldonado: "We had an excellent start moving up several places but unfortunately I lost the rear of the car at Turn 3. It was a slippery surface and there wasn't much grip which caught us by surprise at the beginning. There wasn't much we could do so we were unlucky today."
Bruno Senna: "I had a good start and was racing well but unfortunately I had an incident when Sebastian tried to take the apex and there was nowhere to go. This is racing and sometimes these things happen. I want to take the opportunity to thank the fans who were such a big support at my home Grand Prix as it always makes a big difference."
Great day for Caterham
Vitaly Petrov: "What an incredible race. I'm so pleased for the whole team and I want to thank every single one of them for doing such a fantastic job in the conditions today. Seeing what regaining tenth place in the championship meant to everyone when I got back to the garage was really special and I think we deserve it after all the hard work we've put in throughout the whole year.
"On track it was one of the hardest races I've ever been in, but also one of the best. I had a great start, passed a lot of cars and avoided all the problems in turn four, and from then I was pushing as much as I could as the conditions kept changing. We made the right calls today on the stops and every time I came in the boys were perfect. The change to inters on lap 54 is I think what made the difference today. I had a good battle with Pic until the last few laps but then got him into turn three and just pulled away.
"From there it was all about keeping it on track and when I heard the safety car was coming out and I knew I had one lap left to go it was such a great feeling. Now we can celebrate and everyone has earned it - all the team on track, the factory back in Leafield, our team partners and our technical partners Renault Sport F1 and Red Bull Technology."
Poor end for Kovalainen
Heikki Kovalainen: "I'm really pleased for the team today and delighted that we've secured tenth place in the championship after a pretty intense race. It was one of those afternoons when anything could have happened and I think it was down to really good work right across the whole team that got us to where we finished today.
"My race was pretty interesting. I had an ok start and missed the problems on lap one but when we brought both cars in for the second stop there was an issue with my right rear that cost a lot of time and from that point I was playing catch up with the cars ahead. We went onto full wets on the last stop to cover the chance of the rain increasing but there was very little grip until the last couple of laps on that set. Despite that it was all about the final result and it came good right when it mattered."
Pedro de la Rosa: "It's been a great race and I enjoyed driving very much. You never knew what to expect as conditions were changing every lap. You had to keep focused as it was easy to make mistakes and we pulled it out quite well. It's certainly been one of the most enjoyable races of my career. We have done a good job overall and I am quite happy with the outcome. We wanted to finish on a good note and I think we did.
"I also want to congratulate Vettel on his third title. And finally thank the team for their tireless work and commitment and also our sponsors and fans that have supported and pushed us from the beginning to the end of this amazing season."
Narain Karthikeyan: "It has certainly been one of the most difficult races of the season given the changing weather and track conditions. But I am very satisfied with how we all dealt with it and the way we drove. It was a bit of a gamble as weather conditions kept on changing during the whole race and it was easy to lose tyre temperature or overuse them when the track was drying out.
"But we managed the situation well and got both cars across the finish line, which is a positive way to finish the season. I want to thank the whole team for the work they've done all year and I am very proud to be part of this team."
Timo Glock: "There isn't much we can say really; the result speaks for itself and we were just not lucky today. It is a crying shame for everyone associated with the Team as we have all worked so hard together to come this far. It's so sad to lose 10th like this because we were right on it and we had everything lined up to stay ahead of the other guys.
"Unfortunately, Vergne crashed into the back of my car and destroyed the race for me because it was right at the restart and I had to pit under the green flag. I went straight to the back of the field and worked hard from there, but there was very little we could do. Further up of course, it just shows how it can all turn on a knife-edge in these conditions. I think it is important to look back at the whole picture because 10th place is lost but no one can take away from us what we have built at this team.
"We have to stay as strong and motivated as possible and get over this quickly because we have shown everyone what we can achieve when luck is not a factor. Next year with KERS we will be even better. My thanks to my car crew and the whole team, who are all feeling so very disappointed right now. We will be back for sure. Finally, congratulations to Sebastian (Vettel) for winning the Championship and my best wishes to Michael (Schumacher) for the future."
Charles Pic: "Although the outcome is disappointing, I think today was one of my best races for the Team. Our strategy was the right one and I pushed very hard the whole race. The conditions were not easy; it was very slippery but the car was quite well-balanced and we put up the best possible fight. In the end, we just lost out unfortunately. My thanks to everyone in the Team for a fantastic debut season in F1. We have fought so hard all year and I wish the Team the very best next season."