Driver reaction - Indian GP
The view from the cockpit after the race in New Delhi
By William Esler. Last Updated: 28/10/12 3:31pm
The drivers have their say after the Sunday's race in India, where Sebastian Vettel led every lap to take victory and extend his Championship advantage.
Sebastian Vettel: "All in all, it was a very good race for us and I'm happy with the result. I had a good start, Mark had a better one and it was close in Turn 1, but I had a good exit from Turn 3 and got ahead. I was able to open a gap, which was important. I felt very good on the soft tryes and was competitive, I could have stayed out even longer I think, but at some stage you have to cover.
"McLaren and Ferrari were quick on the hard tyre today, so it was important to have a gap to them. I saw some sparks at the end from the car, but we saw a lot of cars throwing sparks this weekend, and we joined them. It was a great day for us and an important step."
Mark Webber: "We had a KERS issue that we had to manage. It's maybe hard for people watching to know what it affects on the car, its power on the straight obviously, but also managing brake balances and those sort of things. The guys were trying to help me get the KERS to recover and were talking with me on the radio.
"In addition, when you have a one-stop race, it's always a chance you have a front-right lock up. As the fronts are very important you need to look after them which can affect the rhythm a little bit, but I tried to stay as cool as possible. Overall, I was pretty happy with how I drove; we should have finished further up the road, but it's the way it was today."
Lewis Hamilton: "I don't yet understand why I got such a poor start - it lost me ground and then I fell under attack from the guys behind. During the first lap, I was primarily focusing on not colliding with Jenson, then I saw Fernando [Alonso] in my right mirror. He was towing me from very far back. Even if I'd had a better start than I did, the guys in front were still maybe a bit too fast, particularly in the first stint.
"During that first stint I started having a downshift problem - I was having to change down with my right hand instead of my left, so the team elected to change the steering wheel at the pitstop.
"I've never had to change a steering wheel during a race before. We've done it in Barcelona testing before, but never in a race. Even so, the guys did it fantastically quickly, under immense pressure, so I want to say 'well done!' to them all. I took the wheel off before I'd even stopped the car, and threw it out of the car. The team then fitted a new one, I clicked it into first gear, and I was away - all in just a bit over three seconds flat.
"I tried to chase down Mark [Webber] in the closing laps, but by then it was too late and he was going too quickly for me to be able to mount a serious challenge. But I never give up, and, right until the very last corner, I thought I might just be able to catch him, but in the end it wasn't to be.
"Still, I loved it out there today - I can't remember the last time I've pushed so far, so hard, for so long, right on the limit - it felt great. It felt fantastic, in fact, to be in the middle of such a battle.
"I'm so proud of all the guys in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, too - it was a really great race."
Jenson Button: "The start of the race was my highlight - there were just millimetres between Lewis, Fernando and me. I've never had a start quite like that before - unbelievably hard-fought - and none of us hit each other. It was so close, so tight, yet so clean. It's just a pity that the rest of the race wasn't as enjoyable!
"My first stint was pretty disappointing; I think maybe we struggled more on the Options [tyres] than the other runners did, so I couldn't keep the guys behind me. I then made my pitstop earlier than anticipated, so that we could find a better balance on the harder tyre, but that didn't work out because I got stuck behind Romain [Grosjean], which lost me more time.
"But getting fastest lap on the final lap was great, and I think there's plenty of potential that we can build on and take with us to Abu Dhabi next weekend."
Fernando Alonso: "We can fight the Red Bulls, but at the moment, we still don't have a car capable of winning. Once again this year we have seen that, in the race, the situation is much better than in qualifying. A great start, a great first lap, a good top speed and the right tyre management produced, along with me driving at 120% for each of the sixty race laps, this second place. We did what we could, as at every race: if, come the end of the championship we will have won, then no one will be able to say it was down to mistakes from the others, but because we always did the maximum.
"We will already have some updates in Abu Dhabi: let's hope we can make a step forward because it will be important to start making up the points gap there already. There are 75 points up for grabs which is a lot. I am still optimistic even if we are all aware that we have to improve our performance, especially on Saturday.
"I don't know if this was my best performance of the season, as it's always difficult to make that sort of call. I am particularly keen on the one in Valencia or at Monza, but this one is definitely up there: I pushed from start to finish, maybe taking some more risks in overtaking compared to previous races. Today, after the start, I tried to immediately attack the McLarens getting into their slipstream.
"They were fighting among themselves and maybe they forgot about me and I managed to get past at least one of them. Then I also managed to overtake Button just a few laps later, but the time lost in those few laps allowed the two Red Bulls to pull out a bit of a gap. In the second stint, I made the most of Webber's problems with the KERS to overtake him: yet again we have seen that anything can happen and that the races are always long and difficult..."
Felipe Massa: "It was a very tough fight, from start to finish. After around 20 laps, I was told from the pitwall that I had to try and save fuel, so I ended up doing over half the race without being able to go flat out and I can assure you, it was definitely not easy, because Kimi was always very close to me. It wasn't the result I wanted, but all the same, these are important points for the Constructors' championship.
"The time lost in P2 cost me dear, mainly because we were unable to optimise our package. The duel with Kimi after the pit stop? I managed to come out of pit lane in front, but then I let him through at Turn 3 because he was still very close and I wanted to have the DRS down the straight. I think he realised that, but by then it was too late and I had the advantage and managed to get by.
"Now we go to Abu Dhabi, which is something of a second home race for Ferrari, as we have the beautiful theme park there. Let's hope we have some more updates on the car and can secure a better result than this sixth place."
Nico Rosberg: "Finishing just outside of the points is always tough, and it was a hard afternoon for us out there. Starting with new tyres, I hoped to be able to make up a couple of places but we just didn't have the pace so I had to keep fighting off the cars coming from behind me. It's a difficult time for us but we are learning for next year so that's one positive thing."
Michael Schumacher: "That was a pretty unsatisfactory race today. It was effectively over just after the start; I lost so much time getting back to the pits with the puncture that any hope of scoring points was gone. In the meantime, the pace was pretty good but I was too far behind to make up more than a few positions. In the end, we had to retire the car for technical reasons."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I had a very good car today but I just couldn't do anything with it as I was not able to pass on the straight. It was quite disappointing but that's how it goes. We put ourselves in that position yesterday with the set-up we chose for qualifying and we paid the price today. We had the speed but not in the right place and when you are behind someone there's not much you can do. Hopefully in the next race we can be a bit more smart and use our race speed to take some more Championship points."
Romain Grosjean: "Finishing 9th after starting from 12th is good but we could have done even better. That said, I think it was a very good race from myself, my engineers, and the crew during the pit stops. We did everything we could; everybody was working at 100% but today we were lacking some speed in a straight line which makes it impossible to overtake. I pushed on every lap - it was like 90 minutes of qualifying - and gave everything to get the best performance from the car, so I'm very happy."
Nico Hulkenberg: "I'm very happy with the result today and I think eighth was about the maximum that was possible. It was a great team performance and I'm feeling satisfied with what we achieved today. At the start I didn't get the best getaway, but I had a good first lap and was able to overtake Rosberg on the back straight and Maldonado going into turn four.
"The middle part of the race was quite lonely for me because I was running in clean air, but towards the end Grosjean was very close behind me and pushing me hard. But I didn't crack under the pressure, I kept him behind and we made the one-stop strategy work. You could really feel the support for the team today in the grandstands and it's great that we could score points for them."
Paul di Resta: "It was quite a tough afternoon, but I think that we achieved all we could from the race because I couldn't get any more out of the car today. I drove as hard as I could and was pushing all the way. We were in the hunt battling with Rosberg and Senna, but I didn't really get close enough to challenge them.
"To be honest I've struggled to find the ideal balance with the car all weekend. We identified a few issues in the data last night, but they carried over into the race. I'm pretty sure the team can get on top of them and be more competitive when we get to Abu Dhabi next week."
Kamui Kobayashi: "I have to say it wasn't our weekend here. In the race I was never alone, I always had someone in front of me but not enough straight line pace to overtake. This was frustrating. I was stuck behind Daniel Ricciardo and there was nothing I could do. The issue with Pastor Maldonado was a bit strange. He had overtaken me but then he suddenly came on my racing line again. I could not avoid having contact. I think we should make sure we have a smooth weekend in Abu Dhabi and forget about this one here."
Sergio Perez: "Today was a total disappointment. First of all I had to pit after 14 laps because the front left tyre was blistering badly. We don't know yet why this happened. I wanted to recover the lost positions but touched Daniel Ricciardo's front wing when I overtook him. The rear right tyre came off the rim and damaged something at the rear of the car. So my race was over after 20 laps."
Daniel Ricciardo: "It was quite an eventful first lap. I was on the dirty side of the grid, but to be honest I did the best I could with the grip level I had. It was not enough for me to keep my position as Di Resta got ahead of me and I passed Schumacher who had a problem after Turn 1. There was some chaos at Turn 4 and I was three wide with Di Resta and Senna going into Turn 5, but I was on the outside and had to back off.
"I tried to push hard after that during my first stint, but I did not have a very good feeling on the Prime and was a bit off the pace. After I made my single stop to fit the Option, the car felt much better and was able to get into a good rhythm and was pushing and pushing. But it was not enough to catch Di Resta and towards the end I had to defend from Kobayashi. So, not exactly an exciting race but we can try again in just a few days in Abu Dhabi."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "Immediately after the lights went out, I was caught up in a bit of a sandwich and had to brake harder and earlier than I wanted to. That meant I locked my wheels and made contact with the back of Schumacher's car. It broke my front wing, so I had to pit and my race was more or less over after that.
"I continued to push as hard as I could, trying to do good lap times, but the performance of my car has not really been that great this weekend. In one way, it's a race to forget, but in another sense, we have to see what we can learn from it, so that we arrive in better shape in Abu Dhabi. We have seen that, even when races are just one week apart, it doesn't mean one's performance is going to be the same at both of them, so we can be optimistic about the next round."
Bruno Senna: "We had a strong car in the race and after a disappointing qualifying yesterday, getting a point means that I am happy with today's performance. It was a fun race because I was fighting with cars that were very similar on pace so I had to make my overtaking manoeuvres stick, and so that was very satisfying. The car has felt much better this weekend so we will head to the next race with a lot more confidence."
Pastor Maldonado: "The car was feeling good today and I was confident that I was going to score points, but my race was effectively over when I was hit and picked up a puncture which put me towards the back and lost me a lot of time. It was a very unlucky race for me in the end, but we can take some positives in the fact that the pace of the car has improved and we should be more competitive for the final three races of the season."
Vitaly Petrov: "I had a pretty good start and was pretty quickly up with Heikki and holding pace with him and the cars ahead until the first stops. The pace and degradation levels were both really good on the first set of tyres so we opted to go longer and changed strategy from two to one stops.
"I came out just behind my teammate and then passed him when he had a KERS problem - after that I was up to 15th but with a few laps to go a couple of quicker cars behind passed me and I finished up 17th. Despite that it was a good race. The car felt great all afternoon and everyone's worked really hard all weekend. We have some new parts coming next week in Abu Dhabi so let's see what happens there."
Heikki Kovalainen: "My start was good. I was up to 17th after the first lap and keeping pace with Kobayashi and the pack ahead as we pulled away from the cars behind. We had planned to do two stops but with the way the car was performing we went long on the first stint and switched to a one stop, boxing just after halfway. I had a good stop but about two thirds of the way through the race I had a KERS problem which meant I had to let Vitaly pass.
"From there it was really just a matter of getting my car to the end of the race. Losing KERS obviously didn't help but it was still pretty easy to pull away from the cars behind and without that problem I'm sure I'd have finished higher. Now we look ahead to next week's race where we'll have a few updates on the car and maybe those will help us close the gap to the cars ahead enough to help us fight for longer on race day."
Pedro de la Rosa: "It's a shame that I had to retire because the car was running well on the hard tyres but, with no warning, the brakes failed. This circuit is very demanding with three consecutive hard braking corners and with the high temperatures this can happen but the important thing is that I'm fine and the car isn't too damaged for Abu Dhabi. We have to understand why this failure occurred and fix it because Abu Dhabi is another challenging circuit for the brakes."
Narain Karthikeyan: "I got off to a good start but had an incident on the first corner and lost a chunk of my front wing. The damage wasn't too severe but we had problems with the balance of the car from then on. But the greatest problem was the overheating of the brakes. They warned me on the radio that I had to look after them because we had to make it to the end. And we did that. Today we got the most out of what we had and I'm happy to have finished my home race."
Charles Pic: "It was a great race for me, especially after a disappointing qualifying yesterday. We didn't get the chance to show our pace then, but we did today and I am very happy for that. I got a very good start and made up five places at Turn 1 and for the first lap, getting ahead of Petrov. They have the advantage of KERS though, so it wasn't long before he was able to pass, but for the rest of the race we stayed with the Caterhams and as the race played out I was catching up to Kovalainen.
"In the last few laps we were constantly having to back off for the blue flags, which lost us time and meant that we were unable to show that we could catch Heikki, but for sure the pace is there. A great stop by the crew today and very good work by the engineers and mechanics all weekend, especially to help us reverse our fortunes after qualifying. I am very happy and looking forward to continuing this in Abu Dhabi next weekend, where I will be back at a circuit I know well and where it all went so well for me in the Young Driver Test last year. I am hoping for another positive outcome there."
Timo Glock: "It was a very strange race for me today. I was in the wrong place at Turn 1 and lost a couple of positions to HRT. Then I was stuck behind Petrov for quite a lot of laps and by that time the other guys were all gone. Generally though I struggled with the pace today; on Friday the car felt much better on the long runs.
"I also suffered quite a lot of vibration on my front right tyre, especially in S2, and from 25 laps in I had too many blue flags to contend with. The same at the end. Because of this you just lose more and more time and it is impossible to recover. I'm looking forward to Abu Dhabi though and what I hope will be a better race for us."