Driver reaction - Abu Dhabi GP
The men in the cockpit have their say on the race
Last Updated: 04/11/12 6:13pm
The 24 drivers have their say on a thrilling race in Abu Dhabi, where Kimi Raikkonen took victory and Sebastian Vettel came from last to third.
Sebastian Vettel: "It was a good race for us today, a big chance for Ferrari and Fernando, but we didn't allow it. I enjoyed it a lot today, more than anything. I damaged the front wing pretty early with Bruno, which was not ideal, but we were able to carry on and not lose too much. Then, during the safety car, maybe I didn't pay enough attention.
"Daniel was slowing down, just as I was warming the tyres and I got surprised. I had to move to the right and hit the DRS board, which damaged the front wing. It was the worst time to have to pit from P13 and start again at the back of the field, then I had to do it all over again, passing everyone from the back. In the end, to finish third on the podium is just fantastic."
Mark Webber: "Nothing really worked out for us today. I think we were strong, but we never got free air and it's difficult here with traffic; we saw quite a few incidents where people were trying to pass. Ultimately, in the incident that ended my race, I tried to go down the inside when the cars ahead made contact, I thought there was an opportunity, but then Grosjean made contact with my car and that was the end for us. Whatever we tried today, it just wasn't working out."
Jenson Button: "Congratulations to Kimi [Raikkonen] - he's a man of few words, but he's all about racing. He deserved this victory today.
"For me, it was quite a fun race. I had a few good battles out there - with Mark [Webber], Sebastian [Vettel] and Pastor [Maldonado] - and they were particularly good fun. But, unfortunately, I didn't have the pace in the car to take the fight to the leaders today.
"The car felt very different from how it had on Friday - I just couldn't find the grip, which was strange. And, at the end, I couldn't have kept Sebastian back - he was on newer Options [tyres], so it was impossible to get the same amount of traction from my older Primes as he was getting from his newer Options.
"Lewis's retirement meant we dropped more points to Ferrari in the constructors' world championship. That was a great pity, but we have two big races remaining in which to make up the balance."
Lewis Hamilton: "I'm gutted; I'd had really good pace all weekend and I feel certain we could have won today.
"I had a fuel pressure problem - it was very sudden, I was just entering a corner and the car just died on me.
"The only mistake I made all weekend was having a brief moment on lap two, when my brakes weren't fully up to temperature and I locked up into Turn Eight. After that, however, everything was going really well. The car was a dream to drive - I was cruising and still pulling away when I had my problem.
"Nonetheless, we'll have more opportunities in Austin and Sao Paulo. I hope we can get back to the front - I'd love to take a win or two more for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes before the end of the season."
Fernando Alonso: "I'm happy with the way this weekend turned out. It's true that with Sebastian last, there was an opportunity to reduce then gap more significantly but it's equally true that our performance and our grid position could have seen us lose points in this Grand Prix. I repeat, they have the quicker car, we have the better team.
"Everyone fights with the weapons they have at their disposal: we will not manage to turn our car into the quickest of the pack with a wave of a magic wand, but we will counter their performance with the perfection of our team. The simulation put us somewhere between fourth and sixth and we finished second, therefore once again this was a more than perfect race, running at the maximum from start to finish. Sure, there were a number of unexpected retirements and two neutralisation periods that did not really come at the right time or suit us, but these are things beyond our control.
"We just had to stay focused on our race and that's what we did. Now we go to Austin, a new circuit for everyone: we have just had a taste of it on the simulator, but the track is something else. Let's hope we can get a good result and put on a good show in an important country like the United States. Tonight I will go to sleep thinking the glass is half full rather than half empty.
"We must be proud of what we have done, the work of the mechanics at the track and the engineers who tried to fine tune the car. I fought from start to finish: first with Maldonado, then Jenson and, in the end I tried to go and catch Kimi. I could not relax for a single lap. The best race of the year? It's still to come..."
Felipe Massa: "It was a difficult race for me. In particular, I suffered on the Softs because of more degradation than we had expected. On Friday, the long run seemed much better: we must understand what changed compared to two days ago. I had problems with the balance: understeer in the fast corners and oversteer in the slow ones.
"The duel with Webber was the vital moment, as it meant I lost a lot of places at a crucial point in the race. He tried to go round the outside of me and we touched. Then he cut the chicane and came back across the track, forcing me to spin to avoid hitting him. A shame, because I could at least have finished ahead of Kobayashi. In any case, I managed to bring home some points which are important for the Constructors' championship, as we have increased our lead over McLaren.
"At the next race, I too will have the technical updates that Fernando had here and we hope there will also be other ones to improve the car's performance. However, it's true that the track characteristics can alter the balance of power: here we saw that McLaren and Lotus were very strong, apart from Red Bull of course, but it's not certain that elsewhere it will be the same."
Michael Schumacher: "Unfortunately we have to say that again we suffered bad luck today. Due to the puncture I had to do another pit stop very late in the race which lost me a points scoring position.
"Of course this is part of the game and you cannot do anything about it but it was a real pity as we had reasonable pace and could have taken some points. Towards the end of the race I was hoping to close the gap to the top ten, and we were making good progress, but it just didn't work out."
Nico Rosberg: "My car felt competitive today so it's a real shame not to have finished the race and scored some points. Unfortunately that chance was gone after the first lap incident with Romain, after which I had to come into the pits for a new nose.
"Then there was the accident which put me out of the race. Narain told me that his steering broke and he needed to brake which I didn't expect in that high-speed corner. There was no time for me to react, and I'm very thankful that we are both fine. I went to the medical centre for a precautionary check but everything is good. I will look forward now and hope for a better two races to end the season."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I'm very happy for the team, and for myself also. You never know what's going to happen during the race; the safety cars made it quite tricky, but I've had similar races many, many times this year. Today we had a clear circuit to be able to use our speed. Perhaps we were not the fastest at the end, but we were quick enough and consistent enough to win so it's great for the team. We've had some difficult races in the second half of the season so it's fantastic to come back with a win."
Romain Grosjean: "I am very happy for Kimi as it's the win we were waiting for and it's an unbelievable result for the whole team. For myself I'm disappointed as I was running pretty well. It was a tight battle with three of us in a row at turn eleven, then Sergio [Perez] went off track at turn thirteen and came back on the inside at turn fourteen leaving me with no room to go anywhere else. Mark [Webber] then came from behind and we touched; it was a big shame. A great day for the team, but an unlucky one for me."
Paul Di Resta: "Quite a hectic race for me but I'm happy to come away with some points considering the way the race unfolded. I'm not sure what happened going into turn one because I had a great launch and moved ahead of Nico, but on the exit of the corner I realised immediately that I had a puncture. That cost me a lot of ground, but the first safety car brought me back into play.
"We were going to try and run to the finish without stopping again and I was up to fifth place, but when the safety car came out for a second time the team called me in for fresh tyres. In the final stages our pace was strong and I moved ahead of the Toro Rossos, but I just could not get ahead of Senna. He was in the DRS zone of Massa and I just could not make the move so I had to settle for ninth."
Nico Hulkenberg: "I made quite a bad start and had a poor run going into the first corner. Then I just got sandwiched by the cars around me go. I think there was my teammate, a Sauber and a Williams around me, and there was not enough space. I tried to back out of it, but it was too late. There was contact between the cars and that was my race over."
Kamui Kobayashi: "It was a very tough race and I am really happy I was able to get those eight points for the team. To fight for fifth place in the constructors' championship in the remaining two races will be very exciting. Unfortunately today I could not use the full performance of the car. There was a problem with downshifting, which meant I could not recharge the KERS properly and didn't have full boost. Otherwise my race went well. I had a good start, while the team did a great job in terms of timing, strategy and the pit stop."
Sergio Perez: "We were looking really good in the race, and I had the feeling even a podium would have been possible. But then after my pit stop I got stuck behind Romain Grosjean and Paul di Resta, and could not get by them because I didn't have enough straight-line speed. I had to risk a lot to get by, but then unfortunately collided with the Lotus and my race was over. It is a real shame because our race pace was very good."
Daniel Ricciardo: "I got a good start, although I had to avoid an accident shortly after. My initial pace was quite good and I could stay with Schumacher who was on the Prime, while like most people I was on the Option, but I could not get close enough to pass him. Then, in my second stint, on the Prime, I don't feel we got up to speed quickly enough and I was struggling a bit with braking. When the second Safety Car came out, we pitted again, which was a good call - originally we had considered a one stop - took on new Options and the fresher tyre meant
"I had a better pace towards the end. I'm pretty happy with tenth as I was not expecting points after the early part of the race, but I never gave up and kept fighting to the end. In the final laps, Schumacher was closing in on me again, but I managed to hold him off. Vettel behind me during the Safety Car? I looked in my mirrors and saw him go through one of the polystyrene boards, but I have no idea what happened."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "I started the race from one place behind my team-mate on the grid and finished two behind him. I am disappointed with the way this Grand Prix panned out for me. I got a good start and with some help from others having problems, I went up five places from seventeenth when the lights went out to twelfth at the end of the opening lap.
"The call from the pit wall to make my first tyre change earlier than planned when the first Safety Car came out was the right one. However, the second Safety Car did not play in my favour so that at the end, Daniel on fresher tyres was able to run at a faster pace. It's good for the team that he got another point at the end of what has been a tough weekend for us."
Pastor Maldonado: "We missed the opportunity to finish on the podium today after we lost the use of KERS following the first safety car period. For sure there was more in the car. The pace was good and at the beginning I was closing the gap to Kimi but we still collected some good points today and it was a great race. I feel very motivated within the team. We now need to keep the car at the top and I am looking forward to the last two races."
Bruno Senna: "It was a very tough weekend but it had a sweet taste in the end. I had a good start getting myself into a good position for Turn 1 but then a few cars tangled ahead and hit me. I had to start from zero again but I kept my cool. There was a lot going on but we had good pace when we needed it and scored some solid points for the team. It is what we are here for and we never give up. There is a good energy and feeling now going into the final two races in Austin and Brazil."
Heikki Kovalainen: "I had a good race today. In India the balance had felt good in the race and if I hadn't had the KERS problem I'm sure I'd have had a better afternoon there. Here it was the same - the car felt good and with more performance we'd be up there in the fight. We need to keep working on the new parts we brought here to get the most out of them and we have three more days on track here to help us do that so we have several reasons to be positive about the remaining two races.
"Today I had an ok start and my pace was pretty good. After the quicker cars passed me I was really on my own for most of the race. When the safety cars came out obviously everything bunched up again but after each restart I was able to pull away easily and finished the race after probably getting as much as I could out of the car today."
Vitaly Petrov: "I made quite a good start and was side by side with Heikki. If we'd both braked at the same point we'd have probably hit so I braked a bit early and from that point I was struggling for grip. I'm not sure what the reason was but on both stints I just didn't have the pace to attack the cars ahead. I had understeer for most of the race and that really held me up.
"It's obviously a bit of a disappointing race, especially when you see that Heikki had good pace today, but sometimes it's like that. The car felt good on Friday afternoon but yesterday and today the grip just wasn't there. We have a bit of time now to analyse why and then make sure we get back to the pace we know we can find at the next race in Austin."
Pedro de la Rosa: "I'm happy to have finished the race and because I gave it everything. But today we were unable to stay on the same level as our rivals. We had a problem at the start when a thread on one of the blankets for the rear tyres got tangled up and I had to start from the pit lane with very cold tyres.
"But during the race the car went well, the tyres held out perfectly on one stop and we controlled the temperature of the brakes and engine. But we need a couple of tenths to be up there and I hope we can take that step in the upcoming races. It won't be through a lack of effort or work."
Narain Karthikeyan: "Today we didn't have enough pace so I focused on setting consistent lap times and trying to get the most out of the car. But on lap 9 we had a problem with the hydraulic pressure and steering of the car went rock solid, so I had to lift my foot off the accelerator.
"Unfortunately, Rosberg was coming from behind and couldn't avoid me. It was tremendously unlucky but we have to leave it in the past and think about the United States Grand Prix in two weeks."
Timo Glock: "After a difficult qualifying yesterday, today went much better for us and we had good pace in the race. Unfortunately on the first lap I was behind Charles and clipped the back of his car, which lost me a bit of aero performance in the opening stint. I tried to stay with Heikki but he was a bit quicker in S1 because of the understeer I was suffering with, but at least I could open up the gap to Petrov behind me and keep him there for the whole race.
"We had a mega pitstop and very good top speed compared to the others; we had some of the midfield guys behind for a while and although they were able to get past, we were able to have a brief race with them. A nice fight at the end with Sergio Perez on the last lap and even with the DRS they couldn't get by. A good end to the weekend and we look forward to the next two races now."
Charles Pic: "It was a very tough but exciting race today. The opening lap was very challenging as I was fighting with Timo and the Caterhams, so there was a lot going on in the first few corners. Unfortunately I ended up going wide and dropping back behind them. From that point onwards though, I was in a good battle with Vitaly and I came close to overtaking him on several occasions. Unfortunately we couldn't quite meet the challenge of his KERS advantage.
"Our pitstop was not quite perfect, which is a shame as a slick stop could have helped us to jump him. Overall I am pleased that I could enjoy a good battle with one of the Caterhams; it's just unfortunate that we had to retire because of the engine problem. Generally I have to say it has been a very positive weekend, so we focus on that and look forward to the next two races at two brand new tracks for me - the next one new for everyone of course, which will be very exciting I think."