Bahrain GP - Driver reaction
The drivers have their say on a thrilling race in Sakhir, where Sebastian Vettel took victory for Red Bull ahead of the two Lotuses.
Last Updated: 21/04/13 7:03pm
The drivers have their say on a thrilling race in Sakhir, where Sebastian Vettel took victory for Red Bull to extend his World Championship lead.
Sebastian Vettel: "It was good fun at the beginning with some very tight wheel to wheel racing. At the start you don't know if you will be quick or not, as everyone is a bit all over the place, including yourself! It's important to get to the front; we saw at the last race that if you get stuck behind someone then it does have an impact on tyre wear and today it was important to make use of the tyres we had saved from qualifying yesterday.
"I love to be in clean air, so I was pushing hard to get into the lead and, with the speed we had mid-race, it was quite comfortable today. Well done to the whole team, to everyone here, to the factory in the background and especially to those who were working on the strategy today; it worked just as we expected, so we obviously got the numbers right."
Mark Webber: "The beginning wasn't too bad, but we lost quite a bit of time in the second stint trying to clear people. We went aggressive on the first few out laps, which meant we jumped people, but the tyres didn't like it. That meant the second stint was a disaster really in terms of pace at the end and that loaded the other two stints up.
"In the middle of the race I thought I could get on the podium, but then it was about pace management and it's a fine line between racing and saving tyres. Others pitted a bit before me at the end, but it wasn't enough for me to get home. If you race people hard then you run out of tyres, but if you don't then they come through. In the end it was a pretty good battle with Lewis for both of us; neither of us had any tyres left, but we were trying to race as best we could."
Fernando Alonso: "We definitely didn't have much luck today and that's a real shame, at the end of what had been such a positive weekend for me and Felipe up until this afternoon. We had been competitive in free practice and qualifying and we were both expecting to have a good race. After the opening laps, when I thought the rear tyres had gone off, the pit wall informed that the DRS was stuck.
"It wasn't fixed properly at the first stop and so I had to come in for another one. From then on, the clear instruction from the pit wall not to use it affected my race. I tried to recover but it was really difficult finding places to overtake without DRS. When you are far back, in the middle of a group, tyre degradation is even harder to manage. I am sure that without the problems me and Felipe had, we would have finished higher up, because the car responds very well and it is definitely our best of the last four years.
"But having a good race involves a lot of factors, including a bit of luck. Let's hope it balances out very soon, maybe even starting in Barcelona, my home race. There, it will be even more important to have a good qualifying, because it's not easy to overtake on that track and so starting from the front is vital."
Felipe Massa: "I was really unlucky in this race and even if it's true that many things can happen in this sport, I can't find an explanation for why so many of them have to be negative. At the start, I lost ground after the collision with Sutil and then I lost even more time coming back to the pits to change tyres and that wiped out any chance of having a good race.
"At the start, I suffered a bit with understeer, but I don't believe that was the cause of my problems, while we still need to check what happened to my tyres that failed in this way. In the first instance it was probably delamination on the right rear and in the second it might have been due to a puncture. Now we must try and understand exactly what happened and immediately turn our attention to the next race."
Sergio Perez: "That was an incredible race - really enjoyable.
"I have to thank the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team first of all - we've been through some difficult times recently, but they kept on supporting me. All in all, it's been a solid weekend - we got pretty much the maximum from the car, ran a great strategy, looked after the tyres, and scored some very useful points.
"I guess I was a little aggressive on track today; banging wheels with Jenson was perhaps a little too risky, a little too hard, but the team never came on the radio to tell us to stop racing. There were no team orders.
"There was a lot of adrenaline from both of us, and Jenson is always a very strong racer, but hopefully we'll help each other a little more in the future.
"He was calm and friendly after the race, though, which was great; but that isn't surprising because he's a great guy as well as a great driver."
Jenson Button: "Today wasn't brilliant for me. Okay, the race was a lot of fun, but I didn't get the result I wanted because I used up my tyres fending off Checo.
"There was a lot of action out there, and as I say I wasn't really able to conserve my tyres as a result. That was partly because I had to work my way back through after my second pitstop, when I'd been fighting with Romain [Grosjean].
"But there was a lot of clean racing out there too - although as I say Checo was a bit tough, which was a little unusual. He did a good job overall though: he had good pace, and he looked after his tyres well. So, congratulations to him, because together we scored some very useful points for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team today."
Kimi Raikkonen: "You're never really happy if you don't win, but I suppose second place is as close as you can get. I drove to the maximum and the car had the pace that we missed in qualifying yesterday so it was a pretty good result. We didn't have the speed to challenge Sebastian [Vettel] today but we did have the pace to get both cars on the podium so I'm happy for the team."
Romain Grosjean: "It's great to be back on the podium and it's a fantastic result for the team. It hasn't been an easy start to the season for me, but we made good progress through the weekend and are now back to where we should be. I felt much more comfortable in the car and the result today is a deserved reward for everyone after all our hard work. It was a really enjoyable race with a lot of overtaking and a couple of tense moments along the way, so to come from P11 through to the podium is really satisfying. We've had consistency already, finishing every race in the points, but now it's the big results we're chasing and this is a very good start to that challenge."
Lewis Hamilton: "I'm really happy with our result today. It's been a tough weekend for us but we got through it and finishing in fifth place was some good damage limitation. My race didn't start well at all. I was looking after the tyres but I really struggled on the first two stints and was falling back. But as the temperatures dropped, the car picked up and then I had the grip that I needed to push and close the gap. I had so much fun fighting with Mark at the end. We really needed that point and I was so determined to get by.
"It was good, clean wheel-to-wheel racing. I'm very proud of what we have achieved over the first four races and to be third in the Drivers' Championship is beyond any of our expectations. But we've got to keep pushing and find more performance. We're hanging on by the skin of our teeth at the moment and, if we can make that next step, then we can close the gap."
Nico Rosberg: "A tough day for me. As nice as it was to start from pole this afternoon, it was just as hard to finish in ninth place. I didn't feel comfortable in the car today and it wasn't much fun out there really. We switched to a four-stop strategy at the end of my third stint but it wasn't enough. We were using the rear tyres too much and at the end, I was really struggling and wasn't able to push hard enough.
"There is a lot of work ahead and we need to focus on why our race performance isn't matching the pace that we can show in qualifying. Hopefully we can make some steps here before the European season starts."
Nico Hulkenberg: "It was a difficult and frustrating weekend. It was clear from the beginning that we were not fast enough and that it would be challenging. We are lacking speed and eat up the rear tyres too much so it simply wasn't enough this weekend. We pitted a bit too late, because we expected to have more problems on low fuel, which in the end we didn't have. That cost us at least one position. This weekend clearly showed we need to bring some new parts to Barcelona in order to improve our speed and fight for points."
Esteban Gutierrez: "I expected a difficult race and this is what I got. We need to find more speed. On the first lap I had contact down into turn 10, which was really hard to avoid. Apart from that, things were quite ok, but, of course, finishing a race like this is definitely not enough and we need to improve. We have to analyse the strategy and hopefully we will bring some good updates to Barcelona."
Paul Di Resta: "It's great to round off the fly-away races with a fourth place and a race that was probably my strongest Grand Prix. The podium was very close, but with our strategy we were always going to be vulnerable at the end of the race - especially to Grosjean who had two new sets of medium tyres.
"I had a good start to the race, a strong opening stint and we showed our true speed today, but ultimately fourth place was the maximum that was possible. We will get on the podium one day, hopefully soon, but for now we can be very happy with the points we've scored today. A big thanks to the whole team because it's been an excellent weekend and I feel we managed to get 100% out of the car."
Adrian Sutil: "It's disappointing to get a puncture in a race that looked so promising. My start was clean and I was racing Massa going into turn four. I was on the outside; I gave him a lot of space but he was off-line and made contact with my front right tyre. I don't know what he did exactly but I had a puncture immediately.
"I had to pit and lost a lot of time, which ended my chance of scoring points. I had amazing pace in the race and I just kept my head down to try and recover something from the race, but I had lost too much with the puncture. But I'm happy for the team and fourth place for Paul gives us more points. There are many more races to come so we will keep focused and next time score points with both cars."
Pastor Maldonado: "Considering the problems we have been having, I think we got 100% out of the car today. We put everything together today, working well as a team and managing the tyres, and 11th was the maximum we could have achieved. We are really looking forward to the next race where we should see a step forward. We must stay together and positive. It's a difficult time, but we still have many races to go."
Valtteri Bottas: "The race was really dominated by the rear tyres today. In the first two stints I was fighting with a lot of cars so it was difficult to look after the tyres and manage the pace. The last two stints were better as I had more clean air and managed to make up some ground on the cars ahead. We now need to keep on working to get some updates to help us in coming races."
Daniel Ricciardo: "I got a reasonable start, better than some of the guys around me and I got ahead of Grosjean. Then at some point, I locked up the wheels and lost a position or two. All afternoon, we just struggled with speed: in the first stint, tyre warm-up was a problem and I was losing a lot of time on braking. We never really recovered, even though we tried to make a few changes to the balance of the car at the pit stops. We must look into what exactly was wrong with the car as we were really limited in terms of downforce."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "I was pushed by Bottas as I passed him on the outside of Turn 4, giving him plenty of room and he clipped my car. Unfortunately for Van de Garde, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it was a big impact, which caused a lot of damage to the car, including a puncture and left it with a big piece of the floor missing.
"After I pitted, I tried to carry on to see how the car felt, but in the end, I was a lap down, I'd lost plenty of aero and the team could see that the damage was causing the car to overheat to an unsafe level, so they called me in to retire. This opening sequence of races has not gone too well for me and I really hope that the beginning of the European part of the season will be like a new start for me."
Charles Pic: "That's our best race of the year so far and one the whole team should be pleased with. I quickly passed both the Marussia cars after starting on the medium tyres which held up for the first stint pretty well, allowing me to pit for the first time on lap 11. By that point the car felt good, well balanced and I was pulling away from the cars behind without any issues. We stayed on the hard tyres for the second stint and again the deg levels were good. I passed Gutierrez and was running comfortably in 16th until Sutil got past about two thirds of the way through the race.
"As the fuel levels dropped the deg levels increased a little but it wasn't an issue. I was keeping pace with Ricciardo just ahead, and keeping Gutierrez behind me and we decided to stay out after the third stop so I did a very long stint on the hard tyres, 21 laps, and brought it home in 17th. I'm really pleased with how close we finished to the Toro Rosso ahead, and the fact we kept a Sauber behind - maybe if I'd been slightly further up the road after the start we could have beaten Ricciardo, but we can take this performance as a good step and look forward to what's coming next in Spain."
Giedo van der Garde: "I didn't have a great start but I was up to about 16th with a couple of other cars going into turn four and saw that Vergne had spun and was moving off the line. I tried to miss him but couldn't and we made contact which destroyed my front wing and basically ended my race on the first lap. I couldn't really do anything from that point so I just got my head down and pushed but after losing so much time with the unplanned stop on lap one, and having a delaminated right front after my fourth stop, there really wasn't anyone to race with. From that point I just made sure I brought the car home and used this as another step in my learning curve.
"Despite today it's been a good weekend for the team. The developments we put on my teammate's car have worked well and there's another step to come in Spain when I'll have the same package as Charles. From that point I think my season will look different. We'll be on tracks I know really well, from GP2, World Series and from F1, and with the updates we have coming we have reasons to be positive. The first four races have been exactly what I thought they would - pretty tough, but I'm learning all the time and the whole team's right behind me. I'm feeling really good physically and mentally and I can't wait to get started again in Barcelona."
Jules Bianchi: "A really difficult race for us today and a tough weekend all round to be honest. I was hoping that things might improve for the race, but we really struggled with the tyres. On my fourth stint the plan was to go to the end but we had to pit again. From there it was just about making it to the finish and holding position with the cars around me.
"There isn't much more to say about here; it was not destined to be our race and we are at the stage where we need to implement the next round of upgrades, which of course are coming right when we need them for Barcelona. My thanks to the pit crew today for a busy day of pit stops and for keeping their spirits through the weekend."
Max Chilton: "Despite a difficult weekend for us here, there were some encouraging signs in the race today. I got a really good start, which I was very pleased with, and this meant that we were able to leapfrog both of the Caterhams for a while. Unfortunately we struggled on the tyres and it wasn't long into each stint before we hit that window again. I'm pleased that I have demonstrated that I drove to the pace of the car today and although we weren't in a position to race who we want to be, I did at least have a good battle with my team-mate."