2013 Japanese Grand Prix - Driver reaction
The 22 drivers have their say on a thrilling race at Suzuka
By William Esler. Last Updated: October 13, 2013 12:13pm
The 22 drivers have their say on a thrilling Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka where Sebastian Vettel took victory.
Sebastian Vettel: "A very rewarding win today; it's a great feeling. I love this track and it's just fantastic to win here. It was a horrible start to be honest; we found ourselves sitting in third place and then tried to go longer in the first stint. I had great traction after I got past Romain and after that the only threat was Mark who got stuck behind Romain. We could then manage the gap until the end of the race.
"The Championship is the big target of course, but the season is very long still and the best way to wrap it up is not to think about it. I'm happy to go home for a bit now and to relax before we go out to India. That's an impressive country and I'm looking forward to racing there in a couple of weeks."
Mark Webber: "We were on the back foot a bit after Romain's great start. I wanted to put pressure on him for the win. Sebastian was on a different strategy to me and in the end it worked out pretty similar. It's hard to know which was right (a two or three stop strategy), as we were trying to cover off Romain. I did my best and in the end it was a good result."
Fernando Alonso: "Fourth place was the most I could do today, as the three ahead of me were really out of reach and so, given our starting position and how practice went in general, I am happy. It was an action packed race and even if we suffered with traffic, degradation was more normal than in Korea and we were back to having a good pace. Certainly, we need to find something extra if we want to finish on the podium in the next four races.
"Today, Mercedes had a few problems and we made up some important points, but we must give it our all, if we want to stay second in the Constructors' classification, because they are not far behind. I am very proud of having become the driver with the most points in the history of this sport, even if for a few years now, with the change to the points system, you get more. Now I want to celebrate this record and think about the next race in India. This one is already in the past".
Felipe Massa: "That was a really difficult day, with the drive-through wiping out any chance of having a good race or bringing home more points. When I came down pit lane, I didn't realise I was going too fast. It's the first time it's happened to me and it's a real shame, because in the first stint of the race, I had a good pace.
"Having taken the penalty, I was stuck in traffic and the cars that had made a third stop towards the end of the race were able to pass me easily on new tyres. I am disappointed, because I'm sure that without that mistake I could have got a good result. In the remaining races, we must continue to fight and I hope we can be competitive starting right away in India".
Jenson Button: "The first two stints of the race were pretty difficult as I had massive understeer. That was my fault: on the lap-to-grid, it felt like I had too much front-end, so I took some wing out of the car. It was the wrong thing to do - it left me with too much understeer, and I kept locking up the fronts, which destroyed the front tyres.
"For the third set, we added some front-wing, and the balance came back to me. In the end, the car was really good to drive - especially my final stint on the Option tyre, which was a lot of fun, especially as I was able to chase down and pass a couple of other cars.
"In the closing laps, I made a great move on Paul [di Resta] around the outside of the chicane. I made the same move on Felipe [Massa] too, but he forced me over the kerb, so I ended up getting him on the straight.
"So it was an enjoyable end to the race, but a disappointing beginning."
Sergio Perez: "It was a very unfortunate afternoon for us.
"I had such bad luck - things just didn't go our way today. In fact, I think you could say that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
"We had an incident with Nico [Rosberg] in the pitlane, some of slow pitstops, and then another incident with Nico, which caused me to suffer a puncture - luckily, however, right at the entrance of the pitlane.
"After a difficult race like this, all we can do is look ahead. In two weeks' time we'll start all over again - I'll be hoping for more luck in New Delhi."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I had a very poor start. I left the line with wheelspin and lost a few places which wasn't ideal, but I managed to gain places back later on in the race. After the final pit stop the car was working much better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it. It was a pretty normal race I would say. It's difficult to overtake here so it's good that we got some points. We did what we could."
Romain Grosjean: "Today was just a very, very good race. What a start! It was superb to go past both the Red Bulls like that and it'll be one of my best memories of the year. The car was fantastic on the first set of tyres and we managed to pull away, but then the Red Bulls were able to reel us in later on. Ultimately, we were the only car to almost catch the bull. It's been a great home race for my engineer; it's always good to come to Japan and it's really good to be back on the podium again."
Nico Rosberg: "I made a good start today and was in a strong position until my first pit stop. Unfortunately we then had the incident as I left the pit box which ultimately cost me a top position. We will analyse internally with the team what went wrong but it was immediately clear that we would get a penalty.
"After that, we switched to a three-stop strategy and that worked out as well as it could for us. I was able to do some good overtaking manoeuvres, although I wasn't happy with Perez as the rules are clear; you can defend once and close the door but you can't switch sides again. Trying to overtake the Sauber at the end was very tough and while it's difficult to be satisfied with eighth place given our potential, at least we were able to salvage some points."
Lewis Hamilton: "I got a fantastic start this afternoon, better than both Red Bulls for probably the first time this year. Mark moved right, so I had to move as well, which sandwiched Sebastian between me and Romain. Seb's front wing clipped my right rear, cut the tyre and that was that. It wasn't his fault at all, just one of those things that wasn't meant to be this afternoon.
"I feel most gutted for the team - the guys here at the track and in the factory - because they are doing an amazing job right now and we're just not getting the reward for it. Looking to the last four races, I will just be going out there to enjoy them and score as many points as I can for the team. I still believe that second in the Constructors' Championship is in our reach if our luck takes a turn for the better and that's what we will all be aiming for."
Nico Hulkenberg: "I think, we did everything we could today. I was already surprised by the pace of the car going to the grid as it felt really good. Again I managed to keep both Ferraris behind me for a long time, even if it wasn't enough as my tryes just gave up a little bit at the end of the race. We were fighting throughout the race today.
"Just after my second pit stop I was surprised I was able to pull away a bit from Fernando (Alonso), but he was probably saving his tyres. It was a great team result with P6 and P7, and hopefully a nice present for Peter Sauber. I'm fairly confident we can fight for points again in India."
Esteban Gutierrez: "Finally I can feel great satisfaction after the race. It has been a lot of work to get up to this point and, while it has not been an easy path, I think it has been a very solid one. Over the past few races we have been improving a lot and, as I said yesterday, we have to keep optimistic and this is the result of that.
"Knowing we can achieve something like this, you really go forward and do your best and push. Even though the last few laps were very difficult with Nico Rosberg behind me, it was overall a great race. I want to thank the team as is has done a great job today. Also many happy returns to Peter Sauber on his 70th birthday."
Paul Di Resta
Paul Di Resta: "At the start of the race I didn't get a good launch and a few cars came by me, and then we lost out at the first pit stop because the Williams of Bottas jumped us. That compromised the second stint, which is why we went very aggressive with an early second stop to get track position and move ahead of the Williams.
"The car felt better for the final stint and it looked like we were on course for a point. In the end we were about five laps too short with the tyre life because I couldn't defend from Jenson [Button]. With four races to go we need to take the positives from this weekend and will travel to India determined to get back in the points."
Adrian Sutil: "It's been a very tough weekend and starting from the back of the grid made it difficult to get close to the points. In the end I finished P14 and had some good battles, but there was a lot of oversteer in the car and it was not easy to be consistent.
"The best part of the race was the start because I moved up to P16, but we just didn't have the race pace we needed today and couldn't get the performance from the tyres."
Pastor Maldonado: "It was pleasing to be able to make a move on the last lap to gain a position over my teammate. I felt we got the strategy slightly wrong today and we were struggling with the pace a bit, but we did manage to get 100% out of the car."
Valtteri Bottas: "At the beginning of the race we didn't look too bad and managed to keep some cars behind us. At the end of the second stint and into the third stint our pace seemed to drop off and we weren't able to keep our positions. As the tyres wore out at the end we did struggle a bit, so unfortunately we couldn't fight anymore."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "There are some positive elements from today, because the car worked very well in this afternoon, However, our pit stops were not the best and cost us some time. After the start I found myself in traffic, so the team decided to call me in a bit early for the switch from the Option to the Prime, but the pit stop was slow and just put me back in the traffic.
"It was hard to overtake, so we tried lengthening the next two stints and the remaining pit stops were not the best. Apart from that, my pace seemed reasonable, so it's a shame, as I think I could have done better, especially as I had a lot of new tyres for the race. I really hope I have a bit more luck and another good car in India."
Daniel Ricciardo: "I am disappointed not to have scored some points today, because I am convinced I was heading for the top ten, which would have been an encouraging result, after struggling with the balance of the car on Saturday. We started on the Hard tyre and after I made a good start to move up two places, it was looking good as I passed Bottas on the track and moved up the order as those on the Medium pitted ahead of me.
"I was moving up the order again after my first stop and then I made a move on the outside of Sutil at the 130R and got past him. But after that, I ran wide onto the grass, which lost me a bit of time. Sadly, the Stewards decided I had gained an advantage by going off the track and had to take a drive-through penalty, which of course ruined my race. I was ninth when I came in for the penalty and it dropped me down outside the points."
Charles Pic: "I had a good start but we'd already decided to serve the drive-through penalty at the end of lap one to get it out of the way and I was playing catch up from there. My target from there was to pass Chilton and I finished almost 20 seconds clear of him so that's about as much as we could have hoped for today.
"I was on a set of hards for the first stint and they held up ok, they felt pretty good and I was given the all-clear to push quite early on so aimed to cut the gap as much as I could. We stopped for the first time on lap 17 and did the second stint on new options and my pace was good on them, right up until the second stop on lap 35.
"The final stint was on another set of hards and I came out around 11 seconds behind the Marussia so pushed as hard as I could and had the gap down to eight seconds with 11 laps left. I was gaining on him at about a second a lap and with five laps left I got him and pulled away, finally finishing 18th. I have to say I'm pretty happy about that, bearing in mind the time I lost on the first lap but I just kept pushing. I think it's a fair result today for the work the whole team put in, and one that shows we never stop fighting."
Giedo van der Garde: "My start was ok but going into turn one I was squeezed between both the Marussia cars and had nowhere to go. I lost my front wing in contact with Bianchi and then the car went straight off and into the wall.
"It was quite a heavy impact but I'm ok. Obviously that's disappointing, but it was a racing incident and sometimes these things happen so now we'll move on to India and push for a better weekend there and for the rest of the season."
Max Chilton: "Generally this has been a really positive weekend for me and one where we've made all the right moves. It was great to qualify ahead of my three nearest competitors for the first time yesterday and today I held position for most of the race, so it was pretty disappointing to lose out just a few laps from the end.
"I was happy with the way our race was panning out but on the prime tyre in the final stint I struggled a lot more and made a small mistake going onto the marbles, which caused me to go off. From then on, with those tyres, there was little I could do to recover. Although we lost out in the end, I think we have to focus on the positives. The car is a lot stronger and we are in a good place for the fight with the Caterhams."
Jules Bianchi: "All in all I think this is a weekend that was destined not to come my way, which is a shame as I love the Suzuka Circuit. We did our best to fight back and I was very confident in the way we would approach the race.
"Unfortunately, as I turned into the first corner on the opening lap, van der Garde hit my rear wing which pushed me off track and into the gravel. Nothing more to say really, except my thanks to the Team for a lot of hard work this weekend. We'll be back to do better in India I hope because there are good signs for the car performance."