2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Driver reaction
The 22 drivers have their say on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
By William Esler. Last Updated: 03/11/13 6:17pm
The 22 drivers have their say on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where Sebastian Vettel took victory under the floodlights.
Sebastian Vettel: "I think today was incredible; the pace we had was scary at some stages, I felt very, very good on the soft tyres and was able to pull out a good gap in the first couple of laps. I think it's difficult, being an active member of the team, to put things like today into perspective. When I think of the times we've experienced over the last few years, it's incredible to have a strong group of people together that believes so much in what they do.
"To be part of that is great and makes me proud. The car was so enjoyable on every single lap. There are not that many races when you are in complete control of the car - so it's special. I didn't get the maximum out of myself yesterday, but we made up for it today."
Mark Webber: "Seb was on another planet today and was very, very strong in the first stint. He was super quick and his tyres didn't wear out, which is a recipe for disaster for the rest of the opposition, me included. Nico had a very good start on both Sebastian and I, but fortunately it wasn't a long run to the first corner.
"We got under way from there and I attacked Nico on the first lap, but then we had to look after the tyres, so we waited and then on lap eight or nine we were in trouble with the rears. I made a good move on Nico to get back into position. It would have been good to win, but we got second and I'll go to Austin and try and do better."
Fernando Alonso: "I am happy to have brought home points for the team in a race that was always going to be tough, on what has been a very difficult weekend for us. Given the gap to the top four, I certainly couldn't have done more. Starting from further back, we knew we would find ourselves in traffic, therefore having done well at the start, I tried to overtake as much as possible. When we saw that we were always behind another car, it became impossible to think in terms of a single stop and it was clearly better to switch to two and attack.
"As the Mediums were holding up quite well, we thought we'd use the Softs for a short stint to try and do a series of quick laps. As for what happened with Vergne after the second pit stop, I don't know what the stewards will say, but the rule states that if you have an equal amount of car to the other one on the track then you can use all the space. But this was only one incident in a race which, for me, was fantastic. Now, if we don't want to give up our fight in the Constructors' Championship, we absolutely must do better and finish the last two races on the podium."
Felipe Massa: "Today I was competitive from start to finish and pulled off a lot of passing moves with a car that handled well. It was a great race. Our strategy was based on a single stop, but when we realised that the pace was too quick for the rear tyres and the wear was greater than expected, we decided to make a second stop so as not to take any risks.
"Fitting the Mediums rather than the Softs was not the best decision, because the softer compound was quicker by at least a second per lap: I'd managed to do 19 laps on them in the first stint and it would not have been a problem to do the same in the final part of the race. It's a real shame, because we could have finished at least fifth, but even if this is not the result we deserved, I am still pleased with my performance. Now we head for Texas and Brazil, two tracks that on paper should suit our car better and where I hope I can continue to be competitive".
Sergio Perez: "This was a very complicated race - and harder than we'd expected.
"I struggled a little on my first set of Prime tyres, and I'm not too sure why. We had bad rear tyre degradation and poor traction overall. We'd opted to run with minimal downforce in the hope of being able to pass other cars in the race. But, despite that, in the event I found it difficult to overtake, and the fact that I spent a lot of the race stuck in traffic therefore made things very difficult.
"Still, it was a positive to be able to take ninth position from Adrian [Sutil] on the very last lap - one more point for the team may not sound much but it's always helpful.
"The next race is in Austin [Texas, USA]. I can't wait to go racing again so close to my home [Mexico], and to see the people who've supported me so well during this difficult season."
Jenson Button: "You make your own luck when you start down in 12th - where first-lap congestion is inevitable - and, sure enough, there was a little bit of argy-bargy into Turn One. I duly locked-up both my front tyres, couldn't slow the car down sufficiently, and drove into the back of Paul [di Resta], which broke my front-wing end-plate.
"It's a real pity to keep on having first-lap incidents, especially when the car is working reasonably well now.
"I've been in a similar situation for the past two races, and things haven't really gone my way. Still, I managed 44 laps on the Prime - and, in terms of getting the most out of what we had, that felt positive.
"So, all in all, given how far behind we were after lap two [when he made his unscheduled early pit-stop], to finish so close to 10th by the chequer wasn't so bad."
Kimi Raikkonen: "There was some contact in front of me through the first corner so I stuck to the inside, but unfortunately one of the Caterhams touched my front wheel and it broke the track rod. It wasn't a heavy impact, but the angle made it worse.
"It's never easy starting so far back on the grid, but after the penalty it was a better choice to help our chances in the race rather than starting from the pit lane. After a difficult start to the weekend we did well yesterday so it was a shame we couldn't start where we qualified, but these things happen sometimes; it's just back luck."
Romain Grosjean: "That was a pretty long race. I got a good start and made up two places in the first few corners, but after that I lost a lot of time behind the Force India. I could overtake him with the DRS, but he had much better top speed and could just drive straight back past at the next straight.
"That middle stint cost us the chance of a podium in the end, and on pace we could maybe even have pushed Mark [Webber] for second place, but that's how it goes sometimes. It's a shame we couldn't make it four podiums in a row, but to come away with fourth place after a difficult couple of days is a decent result."
Nico Rosberg: "I had a great start to the race and was able to catch Mark off the line. I thought there might be a chance to get Seb but it wasn't quite possible. I was able to push hard in the first stint on the option tyres but the second stint wasn't quite as good as the car had a lot of oversteer on the primes and Mark was able to pass me.
"After the second stop, the set-up worked much better and we were able to set some really good lap times. We didn't quite manage to take the challenge to the Red Bulls today but we were closer at least to one of them and hopefully we can make it happen in the last two races. As a team, we scored some great points for the Constructors' Championship this weekend and I'm very happy about that."
Lewis Hamilton: "That was a tough race this evening for me. My race just didn't quite come together and I'm not really sure why as I gave it my all out there. I had some problems with grip and, of course, it's so difficult to overtake here when you are in traffic but we also need to figure out why I'm not getting the maximum performance from the car at the moment.
"The guys worked so hard this weekend to get my car repaired and ready for the race so it's frustrating not to have delivered a better performance for them. A massive thank you to everyone for their efforts and it's great that we have extended our lead for P2 in the Constructors' Championship. All points count but Nico did a really good job today to maximise the potential of the car. Hopefully the last two races will be stronger for me and I look forward to that challenge."
Nico Hulkenberg: "I'm not quite sure what happened today. I had felt comfortable with the car all weekend, but from lap one I was struggling with it. All the balance and the confidence I had was gone today, and I don't know why. I had a lot of understeer in the first two stints. I couldn't really rotate the car, which cost a lot of lap time.
"Then the unsafe release during my second pit stop, which resulted in a drive through penalty, was also quite costly. Now we have to evaluate as to why the car was so different today. It is disappointing, because there was a realistic chance for points today."
Esteban Gutierrez: "Obviously we were looking for a better result this weekend, so we cannot be happy. The pace is there, but qualifying yesterday affected the race today. Our strategy today wasn't ideal either. I still had some good fights going on today, which I enjoyed, so I will take those positives with me and look forward to Austin."
Paul Di Resta: "It's a great feeling to finish sixth and make the one-stop strategy work. I said yesterday that we had opted to set the car up more for the race and it really paid off today. There were times when we had to be very quick and times when we had to manage the pace and look after the tyres. Towards the end of the race I was battling with Fernando and Lewis, but it was impossible to hold Fernando back because he was on much fresher soft tyres.
"Lewis was on the mediums so I just focussed on getting clean exits from the hairpin and the chicane leading onto the long straights, and was able to stay ahead. The eight points are just what we needed and everybody in the team deserves credit for the big effort that has gone in this week. That's two strong weekends in a row and we will move to Austin determined to keep up the momentum."
Adrian Sutil: "Considering that I started in P17 I have to be quite satisfied about scoring a point and I'm happy about the team result today. It's not been an easy weekend with the problems I had during practice and qualifying, but the strategy today was the right one and we came away with a point.
"I was running in ninth until the last lap ahead of Perez, but by that time I had done 27 laps on the soft tyres and it was very hard to defend because I had no traction out of the slow speed corners. The points scored in the last two races have been very important for the championship position."
Pastor Maldonado: "Today was a very tough race from the perspective of trying to manage the tyres, but we managed to cope with it pretty well. I certainly feel that the pace and consistency of the car has improved with the new aero package we ran this weekend and I could feel that the car was improving as the race went on.
"Unfortunately I came out in to traffic after my second pitstop which meant that I couldn't really show the improved pace we had, and in the end I had to settle for a finish just outside the points. Overall the weekend has seen some positive steps forward which will give us a boost for the next race."
Valtteri Bottas: "I don't think P15 was really reflective of the pace we had today. My race was compromised by the first lap when I was jumped by the Caterhams who started on the option tyres and so had more grip and were able to overtake me.
"After the prime tyres started to work my race pace was very good and I was able to fight hard with the cars around me. The positive from this weekend is that the car is feeling better and we have definitely made some gains which is promising for the final two races."
Daniel Ricciardo: "This was not at all the race I was hoping for. In this sport, if the start doesn't go well, it's hard to recover, so I want to look at the data to understand what happened. The car didn't get off the line well and then, at Turn 1 there was a bit of chaos as I dropped back into the group behind me.
"I had to run wide to avoid some accidents and from then on, my race was pretty much over. At the moment, our pace is not sufficient to fight back into the top ten if something like this happens. We must see what we can do to have better starts, because when we get good ones, we have generally gone on to score points.
Jean-Eric Vergne: "This is a very disappointing result. To sum it up, going for a one stop strategy was the right decision, but we made the change from Soft to Medium a little bit too early, so there was no life in the tyres towards the end, just as all that group of cars came up behind me. The original plan was for a two stop, but looking at how the race was developing, we decided to take this gamble, but it didn't pay off. I tried all I could to keep the tyres alive, but it was not enough.
"A shame, as I was in the points for most of the race, especially as the car felt good and I was running at a strong pace. It seems that luck is just not on my side this season, as it's not the first time I've been having a good race until circumstances have worked against me. The incident with Alonso? For a while now, if a driver puts a wheel outside the track when overtaking he gets a penalty and he had four wheels outside the line. In any case, he would have passed me down the next straight as I was struggling with my tyres by then."
Charles Pic: "The car's been understeering all weekend and it just carried on the same today in the race. I had an ok start, passed Chilton and Bottas by the end of lap two and was immediately pulling away until the first stop on lap eight when we went from options to primes.
"In the second stint the car just didn't have any balance I could work with. I was ahead of Giedo but the team told me to let him pass so I did but with the way the car felt I couldn't get any more out of it. That was the same pretty much right to the flag - in the final stint it felt a bit better but still nowhere near enough what I'd wanted."
Giedo van der Garde: "I have to say that's one of my best ever races. The car was great today and the work the boys did in the stops, they were really on it and that helped a lot in the race.
"At the start I was ahead of Raikkonen who made contact with my left rear in turn one. I nearly spun after the contact, and lost a bit of time to my teammate and Chilton, but both Charles and I passed him by the end of the second lap and then we also got Bottas. I'm obviously pleased the luck went my way this time and I made it through the first lap and from there the car was feeling great, just really well balanced.
"In the first stop I went from softs to mediums and I could really push everywhere - I had a bit of oversteer but nothing too bad. I was behind my teammate after the stops but had more pace and the team made the call to let me past - with clear air I could really push and opened up a gap to him right to the flag.
"We know we need more luck and things to happen to the cars ahead to be able to get back tenth place in the championship, but it's still good to have finished so far ahead of our nearest rivals. We need to carry that form through for the final two races and I know that if things come our way, we can do what's required to finish my rookie season on a really positive note."
Jules Bianchi: "I think we are quite surprised by our performance today after we had seemed to arrive at an improvement in qualifying. It was a very long race, I have to say. The car balance was not as we expected and I had to really push very hard to keep pace with the Caterhams, which is not ideal for managing the tyres.
"I think we will have to have a good look at everything before we go to Austin as, in theory, our new developments had seemed positive. It has been a tough weekend so we hope for better things in the final two races."
Max Chilton: "That was a tough race for us today. We've made some good progress this weekend but for some reason we were unable to show that today. The start was good - again - so well done to the Team for getting on top of that because that last few races have been very good in that respect. Into the race the car balance was difficult and we were just battling for pace.
"It's a shame, because our new developments seemed positive, but they haven't translated into the race today. On the plus side, I finished yet another race - so that's 17 out of 17 now - and of course we still hold position in the Constructors' Championship. I think we have a lot of work to do to get on top of this before Austin as we need two strong final races."