Driver reaction - Korean GP
The view from the cockpit in Yeongam after the race
By William Esler. Last Updated: 14/10/12 12:04pm
The drivers have their say after the race in South Korea, where Sebastian Vettel took his third straight victory and the Championship lead.
Sebastian Vettel: "I think it was a perfect day for me and the team. It was important to get a good start. I was able to out-accelerate Mark and get side by side, I had the inside for Turn 3 and a good exit, which meant I could stay ahead for Turn 4. I was in the lead, but we have seen before that it doesn't always stick.
"My one mistake today was a lock-up going in to Turn 3, but with the tyres it was marginal for everyone. You couldn't push so much and my front right didn't look too happy from the inside many times. We were able to pull away in the first and second stint and hold it for the third. We will have to do our best to remain where we are now. We have to just keep it simple and do our job."
Mark Webber: "I had a bit too much clutch off the line, which was disappointing. I put up a fight on the back straight with Sebastian, as it wasn't all over. I tried to make a move, but once I pulled out of his slipstream, both of us were on the same speed. After that I was going quite well in the first part of the race. I couldn't use DRS, due to the yellow flags and after that it became a tyre battle.
"The second stint wasn't so good, as I went a bit slower to conserve the tyres, but that made the degradation a bit worse. The last stint was the strongest, but it was too late by then. Congratulations to Sebastian on the win and it's great for the team that we got a one two, especially for the Constructors', but I have mixed emotions. It was a good result, but of course, I wanted to get the top result today."
Lewis Hamilton: "I'm exhausted. I was told after the race that my car had suffered a rear anti-roll bar failure a few laps into the second stint. It was safe to drive - and I was trying my best with it, pushing all the way - but it was extremely hard to maintain a good pace. The balance was switching from corner to corner, the car was moving around along the straights, and it was eating up the tyres, which meant we lost further ground by being forced onto a three-stop strategy.
"To make things even more difficult, I then picked up some stray run-off Astroturf, which tangled itself around my sideboard winglet for the final few laps. It stalled the diffuser - so I had no rear downforce at the end, which made it even trickier to hang on to 10th place.
"In terms of winning the world championship, logic suggests that that's probably it for me. Having said that, there are a lot of points still up for grabs, so I'll keep pushing. Stranger things have happened, and I'll never give up.
"It doesn't feel great to experience days like these, but every cloud has a silver lining. Put it this way: it's good to see what's in your heart when you keep fighting. Days like these show the true spirit within."
Jenson Button: "I got a really good start and was able to get past both Mercedes. Into the first corner, there was a slight incident in front of me [when Sergio Perez braked late and tapped the car in front], so I was forced to run wide and push Nico [Rosberg] off the circuit.
"Nico and I then had a good drag-race down the back straight on lap one. I braked really late for Turn Three, then suddenly Kamui's [Kobayashi] car was climbing all over my car's right-hand side.
"It's extremely disappointing. This is a long race, with so much opportunity for everyone. It's a great circuit for overtaking, so it's surprising to see people behaving like that on the first lap.
"I no longer have a realistic chance to win the world championship, so I'll be enjoying myself over the final four races. Scoring points for the team in the constructors' world championship will be the most important priority, so I'll be focusing on picking up as many as I possibly can."
Fernando Alonso: "It was a difficult race and, come the end of the weekend, I am happy with the way things went. I was starting from the dirty side of the track, we had doubts over tyre life and what would be the race pace of our rivals. With all these concerns, managing to get to the podium meant I could breathe a big sigh of relief.
"It's true that Red Bull was quickest all weekend, but our aim was to be right behind them and we achieved that. It's also true that I am no longer leading the championship, but being six points down does not mean much, just as it did not mean much being four points up going into this race. It is also very significant that we are back in second place in the Constructors', as it means the team is on the case and that will be our strong point from now until the end of the season. Being in this position having pretty much skipped two races out of the last four says a lot.
"There are a hundred points up for grabs and everything will depend on how much we can improve over the coming races. Here we were much closer to the lead than we were in Singapore and nearer than in Suzuka, so we must continue in this direction. Vettel's three wins in a row? Well, he and Red Bull have had three perfect weekends so congratulations for that, but when everything goes smoothly for so long, inevitably sooner or later something has to happen.
"We are right in the fight for the title with a car that has never been the fastest. It seems we are capable of doing something good too, don't you think."
Felipe Massa: "After Suzuka, this was another fantastic race for me. I managed to run at a great pace from start to finish. I expected that to a certain extent, because on Friday, I'd seen that over a long run, the car behaved very well. It's true that you can never be certain about how things will go in the race, but everything went smoothly.
"I always managed to get a hundred percent out of the car and I am very pleased about that. It was important to pass Kimi and then Hamilton, because from then on, I was able to run at my pace. Towards the end, I closed on Fernando but attacking him was never even up for discussion: I know how important every single point is in the title fight.
"The whole team is doing its utmost to help Fernando and I am there for him, just as the team is and as it has been for me when I found myself in the same situation. In this second part of the season, I have probably understood the best way to drive this car on these tyres: now I'm enjoying myself and it's a pleasure to make the most of everything I've got when sitting in the cockpit.
"Maybe there was also some pressure regarding my future coming into play: but at a certain point I told myself I should not think about it too much anymore and probably this approach helped. Now I feel stronger and when you enjoy what you are doing, it's the best. In between here and India there's a lot of work to do to improve the car, especially for qualifying. Let's hope the updates will give us a little something extra, which could be decisive when it comes to the fight for the title."
Michael Schumacher: "There are some races where nothing comes together and which you simply have to move on from straight away. This was one of them. We didn't manage to get the tyres working properly over the race distance, which made for inconsistent lap times, and accounted for our step back in performance. So we will write this one off, look forward and hope that we will be able to get back on the front foot again in the upcoming races."
Nico Rosberg: "Unfortunately this has been the second poor weekend in a row for me, and it's very frustrating to be taken out twice in the first corners of the race. Kobayashi hit me from behind today and that was my race over. The one small positive to be taken from the weekend is our qualifying performance which was a small step forward. Now I'll look forward to India and hope for a bit more luck there."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I think this was about where we should have been today. The yellow flags at the start didn't help when we were fighting with Felipe [Massa] but even so we didn't quite have the speed to match the Red Bulls and Ferraris.
"We also lost quite a bit of time behind Lewis [Hamilton] - mainly because the new exhaust system means you lose a little bit of power so it was hard to get past - but with a few more practice sessions I'm sure we'll learn a lot more to be able to improve it. I was pretty much on my own at the end but we had to keep pushing to maintain position and it wasn't so easy.
"The gap to Sebastian [Vettel] in the Championship is quite big now so it will be very difficult to catch him, but we'll keep pushing all the way."
Romain Grosjean: "For sure I was a bit nervous starting the race today, but we did a lot of work this week trying to understand a few things and it's certainly helped. It wasn't the easiest start; there was contact behind me at turn three and I took evasive action but after that it was quite straight forward.
"I struggled on the last set of tyres as I had graining straight away meaning the performance was not great during the final stint. Maybe we could have achieved one place better - I think I now know every detail of Force India's car after spending so much time battling with Nico [Hulkenberg] - but I'm happy to make it to the chequered flag after a good, clean race."
Nico Hulkenberg: "That race was a lot of fun and it's great to get such a mega result. It wasn't easy though, and for most of the race I had the Lotus of Romain [Grosjean] pushing me and some great battles. Even the first pit-stop was very close with Romain, but the team did a great stop because it was important to stay ahead at that stage.
"I think the best moment of the race was the fight with Lewis [Hamilton] and Romain in the final stint when I got ahead of both of them in turn four. They both went to the inside so I just saw the opportunity to use the outside line and made the move work. That certainly put a big smile on my face. So a very positive day, an amazing job by the whole team and lots of positives to take as we head to India for our home race."
Paul Di Resta: "A tough race in many ways and it's fair to say that the result in qualifying hampered us quite badly. We expected the supersoft to be a better race tyre and so we saved it for the second stint. As it happened, the soft tyres did not last long enough at the start of the race and when I switched to the supersofts they started graining straight away.
"So we were not on the ideal strategy and that impacted the whole race, and after that I was always struggling with traffic and couldn't make any progress. On the positive side the car seemed competitive here with the points for Nico, but it's just a bit frustrating that we couldn't maximise it."
Sergio Perez: "It is a big shame that we didn't score points today. My first stint was really good, despite a little understeer which came from the incident after the start when I damaged the front of the car. But our plan was good and the strategy seemed to work out. Then unfortunately we had a problem at the pit stop and could not recover from it.
"This was when we lost the race because I dropped behind a group of cars. Nevertheless towards the end it again looked like there was a chance of scoring a point. My car was quick, I overtook Paul (di Resta) and Lewis (Hamilton) had a problem. But in the end I just didn't manage to catch him. Today, I think sixth would have been what we could have done in perfect circumstance."
Kamui Kobayashi: "This is a race to forget. Initially I had a good start but then we were four cars side by side approaching turn three. I had Nico (Rosberg) to the right and Jenson (Button) and Sergio on my left hand side. Someone hit my rear tyre and then it was impossible to control the car, but I had to brake at some point.
"I didn't manage to avoid the accident, and I feel very sorry for ruining someone else's race, and certainly this was not my intention. It was just a very difficult moment and I had nowhere to go but I think it was my mistake. I pitted for repairs but my car had too much damage to finish the race so we had to give up after 17 laps."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "I am really really happy, as this was definitely my best race of the year and the car worked well with very little tyre degradation on both the Prime and the Option. I did not take too many risks at the start and I had a nice fight with Perez in the early stages and then with Di Resta and also Hamilton.
"Dan and I were on different strategies and both seemed to be effective. Towards the end, I was told that my team-mate had a problem, but overall for the team, to get eighth and ninth with Daniel also driving a great race is a fantastic result. Everyone in the team worked very hard on improving the car throughout the weekend. In general, we seem to be making progress and this track seemed to suit us well, which I think we can also expect to be the case in India. The best part of the race? Seeing the chequered flag in the points!"
Daniel Ricciardo: "I got a good start and made up a couple of positions on the opening lap. After that, I got into a really good rhythm and was able to pick off cars ahead of me one by one. Jev was in front and as he got past a car, I was able to follow him through. The second stint also saw us jump a few cars, getting ahead of Schumacher and Force India.
"Then my last stint on the Prime was my best until, with about ten laps to go, I found myself going straight on at Turn 3 and at first I thought it must have been a suspension failure because the car suddenly shot to the left and I could not stop it. However, I realised I could keep going, even if every time I braked the car pulled to the left and I was locking the front a lot.
"Unfortunately, that cost me eighth place, but at least I was able to give it up to my team-mate. I'm still grateful to be in the points with such a problem, although it's a case of mixed emotions, as it would have been my best result of the season. But for the team overall, it's been a very good day."
Pastor Maldonado: "At the beginning of the race, we were too hard on the front tyres which meant that we couldn't go as fast as we would have liked. After the pitstop things were better and we were able to do 30 laps on that set of tyres. Overall, we were not fast enough this weekend, so we need to work out why and try to improve for the next race."
Bruno Senna: "It was a frustrating race for me because I didn't make many mistakes this weekend which makes it all the more disappointing to finish where we did. We need to work hard on the issues we've been having because the grid is very close. We will keep pushing and if we have a weekend where we get everything together, we can be in the points again. Hopefully next weekend will be one of those."
Heikki Kovalainen: "That was a pretty straightforward race that for us was really all about making sure both cars finished clear of the teams behind us without any problems. I had another good start and was ahead of my teammate through turn one after starting on the supersofts.
"They started to go off relatively quickly, particularly the right front, which we knew would probably be likely in the race so for both stops we opted for the softs and they held up well for most of the afternoon. To be honest it was a pretty quiet race for me. We were easily able to stay ahead of the teams behind, we didn't have any problems with the car and we probably got as much as we could out of the car today."
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Vitaly Petrov: "For me that was a good afternoon, probably the best result I could have had today. The car was working well throughout the race and I had a good battle with Heikki right from the flag. Today was really all about managing the gap to the Marussias, getting through the first corner without any problems and from there making sure I looked after the tyres. In the first stint that was pretty hard as the options I started on were graining quite early on, but both sets of primes I used in the second and third stints worked well and I was able to take it to the flag without any problems."
Pedro de la Rosa: "We were anticipating a tough race but the start was good. Unfortunately, we had a problem with the throttle pedal since the fifth lap. At the start it would get slightly jammed but as the laps went by it got worse so the team decided to pull me out. I think they made the right decision because, not only was the car very difficult to handle and we were going slower and slower, but it was also dangerous. After this tough weekend we must now leave this behind, look ahead and think about the next race."
Narain Karthikeyan: "We opted to get the race underway on supersoft tyres and the start was good as I got past a few cars. But perhaps it wasn't the best option because we had quite a bit of graining in the front tyres from the start which made me struggle with some understeer.
"But when we changed to soft tyres the balance of the car was pretty good. I think a one-stop strategy was too much for the front tyres but we had to take the risk. It's been a tough weekend but I'll keep the positives which is to have finished the race after two races not doing so and the Indian Grand Prix which is on the horizon."
Timo Glock: "I was very excited at the start of the race as I could see that we could really challenge the Caterhams. I had a big chance in the middle stint and managed to close the gap like in Suzuka. Then we took the risk to go on to the Supersoft option tyre and I was just waiting for Heikki to make a mistake. Unfortunately there was no opportunity and on the long straight he had the KERS, so I couldn't attack him.
"I was the first car with the blue flags which dropped me back in the final phase of the race. Also our last stint was quite long and the front right tyre really started to go away. I had a lot of front wheel locking and in the last eight laps I just decided to focus on bringing the car home; I took it very easy and gentle. Our strategy was a good one and it was great to be racing and really threatening the Caterhams again.
"It was very motivating and my lap times were very consistent, so I'm really happy with the progress. Well done also to the pit crew, who did a solid job again. I hope there are tracks coming where the KERS effect may be slightly less and we can continue to keep fighting hard like this."
Charles Pic: "The first part of the race was tough for me because of having to start at the back of the grid due to our engine change. I was stuck behind the HRT cars for a while and I lost quite a lot of time. Because of this, it wasn't long before I was already too far out of touch with the Caterhams ahead and it was difficult to try to come back from this.
"Looking at the weekend overall though, I was very pleased with my qualifying and also our pace in the race was good, particularly in the last part of the stint. I look forward to being able to discover another new track for me in India."