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F1 - Race - 2018 Mexican GP team quotes

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Haas F1

Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean wrapped up a difficult Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday by finishing 15th and 16th, respectively, in the 71-lap contest at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City.

The third-to-last round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship proved to be a challenge in qualifying and in the race, as Magnussen started 16th and Grosjean started 19th after neither was able to make it out of the first round of knockout qualifying on Saturday.

In the race, the two attempted to take advantage of varying tire strategies up and down the pit lane, and even with Magnussen rising to as high as ninth and Grosjean climbing all the way to 11th, both fell to the back of the line after their respective pit stops on laps 43 and 44 where they swapped the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires they started the race with for Purple ultrasofts. The duo was the last of those still running at the conclusion of the race around the 4.304-kilometer (2.674-mile), 17-turn circuit, as four drivers failed to finish.

Haas F1 Team maintained fifth in the constructors’ standings despite the result. Nineteen rounds into the 21-race Formula One schedule, the American squad trails fourth-place Renault by 30 points and holds a 22-point advantage over sixth-place McLaren.

Max Verstappen scored his second straight win in the Mexican Grand Prix by an impressive 17.316 seconds over Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. The win was the fifth of Verstappen’s Formula One career and his second this season. The Red Bull driver is the first repeat winner at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez since Formula One’s return to the track in 2015. Nico Rosberg won the inaugural event on the new circuit in 2015 and Lewis Hamilton was victorious in 2016.

Hamilton finished fourth in the Mexican Grand Prix to clinch his fifth Formula One title with still two races remaining. He is now tied for second in all-time championships with the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio. Only Michael Schumacher, with seven championships, has more.

This is Hamilton’s second straight championship, with last year’s crown also being clinched in Mexico City. It marks the fifth time the Formula One title has been earned in Mexico City. In addition to Hamilton’s title last year, where a ninth-place finish secured his spot at the top of the standings, John Surtees took his sole title in Mexico in 1964 with Ferrari, Brabham’s Denny Hulme took his only championship in Mexico in 1967, and Graham Hill won his second Formula One crown in Mexico with Lotus in 1968.

Magnussen is ninth in the driver’s championship with 53 points and Grosjean is 13th with 31 points.

The penultimate event on the Formula One schedule is the Brazilian Grand Prix on Nov. 11 at Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo.

Romain Grosjean

“It’s been a very tough day. We didn’t get what we were expecting on the ultrasofts. On the supersofts, we made it as good as we could for as long as we could. We got the maximum out of the tire life. Then on the ultrasofts, we were having problems we were just not expecting. There was a lot of rear degradation. I decided to pit again under the final VSC (Virtual Safety Car). It didn’t make a difference in finishing with Kevin. It was very close. Just a tough day.”

Kevin Magnussen

“We had gotten ourselves into a good position, then we pitted around lap 40. When we got out onto the ultrasoft tire though, it just didn’t work at all. I mean, if we want great racing, we need tires. That just wasn’t possible today with these tires. It’s tough, but we move on.”

Günther Steiner

“The only good thing about this weekend is that it ended. There’s nothing good to take away from here. We were just too slow and we couldn’t get the tires to work. We move on to the next one.”

Williams

- Lance Stroll finished 12th and Sergey Sirotkin 13th in the Mexican Grand Prix
- Both drivers started the race on the ultrasoft Pirelli tyre, with Lance P17 and Sergey P19 on the grid
- Lance and Sergey made clean starts both climbing four positions each, Lance to P13 and Sergey P15
- Lance came in to pit on lap 10 for a new set of the ultrasoft tyre, re-joining in P18 before making his final stop on lap 23 for the supersoft tyre. He pushed hard in the closing stages, overtaking Magnussen for 12th position
- Sergey pitted on lap 11 for the supersoft tyre and managed them well to the end of the race, also gaining a position by overtaking Magnussen to finish 13th, just 0.8-seconds adrift of his teammate

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer

Considering our general performance level that was a relatively good day. Again, two cars home in good condition, which is a positive for the team. It was a very tough race with tyre management, both drivers showed themselves extremely competent at controlling their pace and controlling the use of the tyre. That’s what made the difference for them in the end to beat some of the cars out there this afternoon.

Lance Stroll

It was too bad we couldn’t score points today. Maybe with a one-stop - I know Sergey managed a one stop - we would have been able to. But we were in a bit of a different position fighting on track in the first stint. The ultrasoft in the first stint went off very quickly, so we had to go to a two-stop strategy. Then we went really long on the supersoft, and we were just managing that.

Sergey Sirotkin

A very good team effort today. The way we managed the final stint doing 58 laps on the prime tyres was absolutely mega. With 10 laps to go I still had better tyres than the cars around me. I had a really good rhythm and a lot more pace than the cars ahead. I was side by side with Kevin (Magnussen) but when the Virtual Safety Car came it completely ruined my rhythm, which in turn, cooled down the tyres and reset things. During the restart I was struggling to warm up my prime tyres and it took me three laps to get them back into the window. I put a tough move on Kevin and had four laps to catch the cars ahead. In the final few laps I was able to catch the cars ahead of me, but the race was over. We did a really good job of managing the stint, but I’m disappointed I couldn’t be more aggressive in the fightback towards the end of the race. Overall, mixed feelings.

Renault F1

Renault Sport Formula One Team’s Nico Hülkenberg took his fifth six-placed finish of the season in a strategic Gran Premio de México, helping the team to a 30-point advantage over its nearest championship rival leaving the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Carlos Sainz had been ahead of Nico on the road after a fantastic start, however on lap 29 his car suffered from an electrical shutdown and he retired from the race.

- Nico started from P7 on scrubbed Pirelli Hypersoft (pink) tyres, pitting on lap 12 for a new set of Supersoft (red) tyres.
- Carlos started from P8 on scrubbed Hypersoft tyres, pitting on lap 11 for a new set of Supersoft tyres. He retired from the race on lap 29 after his car suffered from an electrical shutdown.

Nico Hülkenberg

“We’ve had two very good weekends in a row with a lot of points. From my side, it was a very calm and solid race, albeit a little lonely to get ourselves through on a one-stop strategy. We had to manage the car and the tyres through the race and the whole team did a good job all weekend. It was a shame to lose Carlos, otherwise we could have had sixth and seventh again and another strong haul of points for the team. Nevertheless, we’ve extended our lead in both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship, so that’s very positive.”

Carlos Sainz

“Today was a big shame. We were leading the midfield comfortably and in contention for some good points and then, without warning, the car shut down. It’s really frustrating after making such a good start on lap one, but that’s racing. We’ve not had too many reliability issues this season, but when I have, it’s been when I’ve been leading the midfield, so that’s a bit of bad luck and coincidental for it to happen again today. We’ll investigate the issue and move on. We’ll keep fighting, aim to score points at the last two rounds and look to secure fourth in the Constructors’ Championship. We deserved more, but at least Nico stayed in the points, so it’s not a bad result for the team. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for his fifth title.”

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal

“Today saw a strong result for us in the championship battle with Nico driving an intelligent race to sixth position. We also saw a Renault-powered car on the top step of the podium after a fine performance from Red Bull. All weekend we were able to show good pace in Mexico and that echoed our performance in Austin, this illustrates that our team continues to push hard right till the end. It was a very frustrating retirement for Carlos and everyone in the team. He was doing a fabulous job and would have also scored a good haul of points. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton on his fifth World Championship title. He and Mercedes set the bar very high and that must be an inspiration for the future. There are two races left in 2018 and we are aiming for a strong finish to our season.”

Racing Point FI

ESTEBAN OCON

“This has been probably the worst race of my whole Formula One career so far. Nothing went our way and it’s just been a terrible afternoon. I made a very good start, managed to pass the two Saubers on the run down to turn one, but that’s pretty much the only positive to take from today. I went alongside Carlos [Sainz] in turn three but I saw he was going to turn in. I braked to avoid a collision, but we still made contact and it broke my front wing. I had to pit at the end of the first lap and my race was effectively over. It’s a shame because we had a good strategy and a fast car, but today was not our day. Let’s just forget about this race and come back stronger in Brazil.”

SERGIO PEREZ

“It’s a big shame to retire from my home Grand Prix – especially when things were looking really good in the race. I think we had at least seventh place in our pocket and the great strategy that we started planning yesterday [in qualifying] was really paying off. Sometimes in racing you have these big disappointments when there is an issue with the car. Today it was the brakes that forced me to retire because suddenly the pedal went long and we had to park the car. Until then it had been a really exciting race for me – I had a great first lap, getting ahead of Fernando [Alonso], and then some good battles with the Saubers later in the race. I was controlling my race, looking after the tyres, and I thought we would pick up some good points. I feel sorry for the team and for the fans who have been incredible this week. They always make me feel very proud and today they gave me amazing support.”

OTMAR SZAFNAUER, TEAM PRINCIPAL & CEO

“A hugely disappointing afternoon for the team and definitely a missed opportunity to score important points. The strategy we had prepared for yesterday was playing into our hands with Sergio until a brake seal failure forced us to retire the car on lap 38. Up until that moment, Sergio was comfortably running in the points and looked set for sixth or seventh place. On the other side of the garage, Esteban had a scruffy race with contact on lap one destroying any chance of points. Sainz closed the door in turn three and that damaged the front wing. It was a real shame because Esteban only needed to stay out of trouble on lap one and the strategy would have seen him finish well inside the points.”

Toro Rosso

Pierre Gasly

“First of all, congratulations to Lewis for winning the Championship – another great achievement for him, and well done to Max! As for my race, it feels great to finish in the points. With the penalty, we started last on the grid in P20 so it was difficult to reach the top 10, but we managed to do it in the end; I’m really happy to get one point. It’s good for everybody in the team, especially after a couple of tough races. I felt good with the car, I had some great battles and the strategy was the right one so I think we did everything we could. It wasn’t an easy race; tyre management was a key factor today so you needed to be smart and push at the right time, staying focused and disciplined with your driving for the whole race to make these tyres last. We should be able start in our normal qualifying position in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, so we can fight hard and try to get our position back from Sauber.”

Brendon Hartley

“I had a good start. It was a little bit of a mess going into Turn 4, a car pulled in front just before braking, I locked the brakes and flat spotted the Supersofts. Unfortunately, we had to pit on lap one and after that I effectively did a one stop race from there. I think it was a solid race with really strong tyre management. I defended heavily against Ocon, so it’s a shame I got a 5-second penalty when we made some contact. Without the damage and penalty from the contact I would have been P10, and without the flat spot on lap one we had the pace to be even further up. The pace this weekend is very encouraging but the final outcome a little disappointing.”

Franz Tost (Team Principal)

“Firstly, congratulations to Max Verstappen for his fantastic win, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing did a really good job over the weekend showing strong performance from FP1 onwards. Also, congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and to Mercedes for winning the Drivers’ Championship. Mexico is always a big challenge for the engineers because of the high altitude, which means cooling the brakes and the engine are key factors. It’s also a big challenge for the engine manufacturers to find the correct parameters for the PU. We decided to race here with the pre-Russian spec PU, meaning Pierre started the race from the back of the grid. Pierre had a good start and was able to catch up with the midfield, managing the whole race well. Towards the end, he had a decent fight with Ericsson but unfortunately he wasn’t able to pass him. We still scored one point, which means the car had a good potential today. Brendon had a flat spot after the start, therefore we called him in to change the tyres on lap one. He then had a really competitive race so it’s a pity that he had a collision with Ocon which damaged his floor and received a questionable 5-second penalty. Due to that, he was only able to finish in P14. We lost some points to Sauber but there are still two races to go in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, so we must put all of our efforts in taking back eighth position in the Constructors’ Championship.”

Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director)

“Pierre got a precious point today thanks to an aggressive drive that took him from last on the grid to tenth at the end. The result was partly down to his driving and partly the team’s good strategy. At a track that puts the PU under a lot of strain, we had a trouble free weekend which is a positive thing.”

McLaren

The team suffered a tough start to the Mexican Grand Prix as Fernando retired after just three laps. However, the race ended on a much more positive note thanks to a strong drive from Stoffel, who finished eighth and brought home four points.

Fernando was unlucky to collect debris from an incident between two other cars on the first lap. The debris became lodged in his car bodywork, making his car difficult to drive. Just two laps later, he was forced to retire the car due to water pressure loss from a leak, which the team is still investigating.

Stoffel had a difficult start as he navigated his way through the first lap chaos, and was P19 by the end of the first lap. He then set about battling his way through the field with some bold overtaking moves, maintaining strong pace throughout and managing his tyres well. The team opted for an aggressive one-stop strategy once Stoffel had fought his way up to ninth, and he kept pushing to maintain his position while also conserving his Supersoft tyres for all 59 laps of his second stint until the end of the race, eventually finishing in P8.

Fernando Alonso

“I didn’t feel anything wrong with the car, but apparently some debris from [Esteban] Ocon’s car that was flying around hit our car in the wrong place and probably caused my DNF, which is one in a million case.

“I’m sad now, because I wanted to stay in the race, but in a couple of hours’ time I’ll only have good memories of this Sunday, because it has been quite emotional with a lot of support from such great Mexican fans.

“I’ve been unlucky today, and it’s okay as long as it’s not your mistake, in which case you take more time to get over it. These things happen, so let’s see if in the two last races we can have a bit more luck and see the chequered flag.”

Stoffel Vandoorne

“I’m very satisfied with today. We put a lot of hard work and preparation into this weekend in terms of what strategy to choose, and we knew it was possible to score points here. I’m super happy to finish P8 and score some points. It’s important for us for the constructors’ championship and now we can go on to enjoy the last couple of races.

“In practice we didn’t look super competitive and qualifying wasn’t the best result, but we were closer than usual, and we always know that when we get to the race there’s an improvement. I’m glad we saw that today. It was a great race. After lap one we were last and had a lot of work to do, so it was a strong recovery. I made some good overtakes on track which were very crucial, and in the end making the tyres last to finish eighth is also a great result for myself.

“It wasn’t easy at the beginning, but I was always there or thereabouts attacking at the right time when I had to, and managing the tyres at the same time. The crucial point was when we had to decide whether to go for one or two stops. The tyres were looking very tricky, but we managed to recover them little bit and that was the turning point.”

Andrea Stella

“The weekend has certainly been bittersweet. Fernando once again didn’t finish the race, and was involved in a first-lap incident. His retirement was caused by a water pressure loss due to a leak, which may have been related to the incident due to running over debris, but we are still investigating. Either way, he had significant debris stuck in his car, so had he continued it would have made his race very difficult.

“On the positive side, Stoffel scoring four valuable points after he was 19th at the end of the first lap was due to a combination of factors including some great overtaking manoeuvres, impeccable driving, and looking after the tyres to make them last for 59 laps. Also, it was a great race by our strategy team, who realised we had to take a risk by extending our stint on the harder compound, and it paid off. “In addition, we did well to manage the cooling of the engine and the brakes which were both very marginal throughout the race, thanks to good preparation at the track and at the factory.

“Finally, our pit-crew executed a great pit-stop today. In fact, I’d like to thank everyone in the team – not only in the garage but also back at the factory – for their constant commitment and development, and of course hard work so far this season.”

Sauber

Through great team effort, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team concluded the challenging Mexican Grand Prix weekend with a double-points finish, with Charles Leclerc scoring six points for 7th position, and Marcus Ericsson adding two points to the tally with a 9th place.

A tight-knit start made spectators’ and team members’ hearts race faster, with both of the team’s drivers giving consistent and strong performances on the opening laps. Heading into the race on hypersoft tyres after qualifying on them in Q3 yesterday, the challenges of the demanding Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez quickly made it clear that it would not be pure speed, but tyre management and retention of positions that would be the key factor to success – not only for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, but for all teams across the grid.

Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson started from 9th and 10th spots on the grid respectively with a one pit stop strategy, determined to score points. The first stint was crucial in terms of strategy and tyre management, and both drivers did an excellent job of extracting the maximum performance. Both Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson continued to progress, maintaining the strong pace into the second stint, recovering important positions and finally finishing the Mexican Grand Prix weekend with a very successful race result.

With a total of 36 points to its tally, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team has gained a position in the Constructors’ Championship, advancing to 8th place today. Charles Leclerc is in 15th (27 points), and Marcus Ericsson in 17th (9 points) place in the Drivers’ Championship.

Marcus Ericsson

“It is a great result for the team today – getting both cars into the points is a great effort which has allowed us to advance by a position in the Constructors’ Championship. I am very proud of my race and think that it was one of my best performances in Formula One. I had to fight hard to manage my tyres, I had to recover many positions after the pit stop and I didn’t make any mistakes, so I am satisfied with my result.”

Charles Leclerc

“It was a good race and I am happy with my result, a P7, which is my second-best result so far in Formula One. It was challenging to manage the tyres and the race was quite demanding in that respect. It was a good team effort and we scored enough points together to advance in the Constructors’ Championship. Overall, a positive result, and I hope that we will be able to have a similar next race in Brazil.”

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal

“It was a positive Grand Prix for us with strong progression throughout the weekend. We had Charles and Marcus in Q3 and today they both scored points and the team gained a position in the Constructors’ Championship. The race was tough, and all drivers struggled with their tyres due to the challenges of the circuit. Both Charles and Marcus did an excellent job in tyre management, and could retain their positions which ultimately resulted in a successful outcome for the team. We have to keep pushing to finish the season on this note, and will fight for another good result at the next race at Sao Paolo.”

Red Bull

MAX VERSTAPPEN

“Yesterday I was very frustrated and disappointed but today I am really happy, and Sunday is the best day to be happy. I didn’t sleep much last night and found today’s race build up a long one, but after the lights went out my feelings soon changed. Once ahead I could just settle in and concentrate on my own race, especially as Lewis looked to be struggling with grip. I made sure I matched his lap times to maintain the lead. We got the strategy spot on again, having another set of Supersofts meant I was able to manage the wear knowing I had a fresh set to go onto towards the end of the race. So when Seb pitted we did the same and were able to keep the gap. When I saw Daniel pull over I asked the Team if they should turn my engine down as I already had such an advantage, I wanted to be sure we made it to the chequered flag. It was such a shame as we were definitely on for at least a double podium, if not a one, two. The podium, like last year is amazing. To have the DJ and the crowd coming down from the stands is really cool, two years in a row makes it even better. Mexico always has so many passionate fans which makes me love coming back here every year. Also congratulations to Lewis on his fifth title, he has been the most consistently strong driver all year and deserves the championship, I’m sure it feels very special. Hopefully I can challenge him for it soon.”

DANIEL RICCIARDO

“I saw pass fail on my dash which I guess was some sort of hydraulic failure and I was forced to retire immediately. This sucks and it is at a point where I feel why should I even come on a Sunday. There hasn’t been a clean weekend for so long due to many different reasons and it’s breaking my heart. Deflated comes to mind but this feels deeper than that. I put it on pole but lost out at the start. It just doesn’t seem to happen for me on a Sunday, even if I have a good Saturday. I don’t want to end it like this and I know nobody is doing it deliberately but I just can’t seem to catch a break and a double podium for the Team today was exactly what we all wanted. I’m a very positive guy and I will probably still wake up tomorrow with some sort of positivity.”

CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal

“I’m delighted that the Team secured a victory here today, but it’s bitter sweet to have lost Daniel who was fighting so hard to maintain second place. It was a fantastic drive by Max. He reacted incredibly quickly at the start and managed to hold his line and re-pass Lewis into Turn 1. From there Max controlled the race in an extremely mature manner. We elected to adopt a two-stop strategy to cover the cars behind in what turned out to be a dominant win for Max. The frustration for us as a Team is that we didn’t have both drivers on the podium. Daniel lost out at the start after getting a little too much wheel spin but he then settled into a great race pace. Seeing the tyres come off Max’s car at his second stop we elected to leave Daniel out on a one-stop strategy, which he was making work in second place and defending brilliantly against Sebastian. With nine laps to go Daniel had a sudden hydraulic failure which caused him to retire immediately. It is hugely frustrating for the Team not to have both drivers up on the podium, especially when it’s such a great celebration here. Our apologies go to Daniel today and we will fight as hard as we can in the last two races of the season to secure a positive result for him. Thanks to our engine partner, who in challenging conditions provided us with a power unit this weekend that was capable of taking on and beating the best. Congratulations also to Lewis on securing his fifth Formula 1 World Championship which is quite an achievement and puts him amongst the sports’ elite.”

Mercedes

Lewis wins his fifth World Championship and seals the fifth consecutive Drivers’ title for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

- In his 226th Formula One race – all of which have been powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine – Lewis claims his fifth FIA Formula One World Championship and becomes one of only three drivers who have won five or more championships, after Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher
- Lewis finished today’s Mexican Grand Prix in P4
- Valtteri set the fastest lap of the race and finished in P5
- Lewis (358 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 64 points from Sebastian Vettel (294 points) - an unassailable lead with two races remaining in the 2018 season
- Valtteri (227 points) is in P4 with 50 points remaining to be scored in the 2018 season
- Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (585 points) lead Ferrari (530 points) by 55 points in the Constructors’ Championship with 86 points still to be scored in the 2018 season

Lewis Hamilton

Honestly, it’s very hard to realise it at the moment. It’s something I dreamed of, but I never in a million years thought I’d be standing here today a five-time World Champion. I never knew that was going to happen and I am just so grateful to everyone who has helped me be here. I want to say a big thank you to all the fans here for making the Mexican Grand Prix as special as it is. And I want to say a big thank you to my team. Bono said on the radio – the Championship wasn’t won here, it was won through a lot of hard work and through a lot of races. So, I am so grateful for all the hard work back home, for PETRONAS, for all our partners and ultimately for Mercedes. I have been with Mercedes since I was 13, so to achieve the same thing Fangio had done with Mercedes so many years ago, is an incredible feeling and very surreal at the moment. The race itself today was pretty horrible. I got a great start and was really working my way up, but then we were really struggling with the tyres, both Valtteri and I. I was just trying to hold on and bring the car home. Honestly, I am just so grateful. To my family back home, I love you, thank you for all the support. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all the hard work my dad did and my family. This is a very humbling experience!

Valtteri Bottas

Big congratulations to Lewis! He’s had another strong season, especially in the second half, and really deserved this title. When I lost my opportunity for the title this year, I tried to help him a little to win the World Championship, but I’m already looking forward to fight again next year. I’m really happy for Lewis, but we can’t be satisfied with today’s race, it was very difficult. The start of the race was actually pretty good, but then we started to struggle with the tyres. The tyre life on this track was really poor; I ended up doing three stops, which is two stops more than we predicted. I tried to manage the tyres, I made sure not to slide, but they still just fell apart. I don’t know yet why we struggled so much and on all three different compounds, so we will have to look into that and find out why we ran into these problems. I think most teams struggled a bit, but maybe not as much as we did, so we will have to investigate. Again, congrats to Lewis – now we need to make sure to keep pushing and claim the constructors’ championship as well!

Toto Wolff

Usually, we don’t acknowledge greatness until someone’s career is over, but we need to take a moment to recognise its presence – Lewis has now equalled Fangio’s record and there aren’t many like him out there! Lewis has been the differentiator this season – our car was the fastest at times, but not always; sometimes, like today, it was only the third-fastest. And yet Lewis’ performance was always was very stable, his race craft was absolutely great. It has always been one of his strengths, but this year it was definitely one of the key factors of his success. We’re very happy about Lewis’ fifth drivers’ title and our fifth in a row as a team, but the job is not done yet. There’s a constructors’ championship out there that we still want to win and that won’t be easy as we saw today. We had a very bad race, we really struggled with the tyres, I don’t think we actually switched the tyres on today. We don’t know yet what the issue was, but we will dig deep, put the finger in the wound and find out why we struggled so much. Now all our focus is on the constructors’ championship, we need to perform strongly in Brazil and make sure we keep pushing until the end.

James Allison

After being on the receiving end of quite a whipping in the race today, it is extremely easy to overlook the scale of the remarkable achievement that Lewis and the team have put together. Lewis’ fifth world championship, his fourth with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport – in a season which has tested all of us to the limit, considering that our car has not always had the pace to win from the front. Lewis’ contribution to keep us in the fight and to carve out his very, very well deserved championship will go down in history as one of the great performances in our sport. Of course, we know we haven’t actually finished our work for the season yet; we still have the constructors’ championship which is every bit as important to us and we haven’t yet managed to get the points necessary to seal it. We don’t want to limp across the line with performances like we delivered today, we want to come back firing on all cylinders in Brazil and win it from the front in a fitting manner. So all our focus now turns to that and we’re looking forward to having a stronger day on Sunday in Brazil.

Ferrari

Two Ferraris on the podium – Seb ahead of Kimi – after a difficult qualifying. With two races to go, the Constructors’ championship is still up for grabs, after the Scuderia has closed the gap by 23 points in the last two races.

FILM OF THE RACE.

The top six on the grid were all on Ultrasoft tyres, the middle compound available. Seb was fourth and Kimi sixth on the grid, a bit bottled up after the start as Ricciardo’s Red Bull was slow off the line. Bottas made the most of it to pass Seb, who fought back to retake the position at turn 4. Kimi was seventh but soon got back ahead of Sainz.

Tyres were the key to this race and Mercedes changed theirs on lap 12, going on to the prime Supersofts, the hardest available. Then Ricciardo came in, while Sebastian stayed out. Verstappen pitted and the number 5 car was leading, followed by the other Ferrari. However, Kimi was struggling with graining and could not match Max’s pace on fresh tyres. Then came a fight with Hamilton and Ricciardo, which gave his team-mate a bit of breathing space, and he pitted on lap 18 followed by Kimi. At the end of the first run of pit stops, the positions remained unchanged, but the Reds were on fresher tyres, although everyone was on the same Supersoft compound.

With a third of the race completed, was it best to save the tyres as much as possible and go all the way to the end, or to push hard and make a second stop? So at this point, Seb stopped attacking Ricciardo. The two of them were mired in back markers, with everyone using DRS down the straights. Lap 31 seemed like the right moment, but the Virtual Safety Car came out after Sainz parked on track.

Two more laps and the race was on again. On lap 34, Seb pulled out all the stops and made the most of the backmarkers t make the decisive attacking move at turn 2. He was now the quickest man on track and closing on Hamilton.

Laps 38/39: Seb was glued to his rival in the stadium section, flipping open the flap down the straight to pull off a clean passing move at the first braking zone. He was now second. “Try and go with Plan A as long as you can,” he was told over the radio. Meanwhile Kimi had massively closed down Bottas by 15 seconds, so the gap had dropped to just two. Hamilton ran wide, under attack from Ricciardo and lost the position.

It was time for Seb’s second pit stop and Hamilton did the same. The Ferrari was now on new Ultrasofts, while on the Mercedes they were worn. Then came a fight between Kimi and Bottas, which produced a carbon copy of their team-mates’ clash as the Mercedes man ran wide. A great move from the Iceman to put Ferrari in third and fourth places. Ricciardo was on used rubber, but Seb was unable to close on him because of traffic.

Ten laps to go: “Ricciardo’s car’s smoking,” Sebastian is told over the radio and a few moments later the Ferrari was promoted to second. The Virtual Safety Car was out again, Kimi stayed out in third place, as Bottas pitted.

That’s how it ended with the two Ferraris behind Verstappen and Hamilton coming home to take the world championship title. We have not won, but we have shown what can happen if you never give up.

Maurizio Arrivabene

”Today’s result reflects the determination of the entire team, after a less than ideal qualifying on a track where aerodynamic downforce and tyre management are fundamentally important. Seb and Kimi both drove great races. Thanks to the efforts of the team, both here at the track and back in Maranello, the Constructors’ Championship is still undecided and the team has closed the points gap over the past two races. We are therefore determined to fight all the way to the finish, starting with the next GP in Brazil. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton on his fifth Drivers’ World Championship title.”

Sebastian Vettel

“I’m glad that Kimi and I were on the podium today and also because the atmosphere here is always great, but obviously I am disappointed for the result of the drivers’ championship. At the beginning of the race I was looking after my tyres a little bit. Then, after passing Lewis, we thought about putting some pressure on Max, also trying something different in case they would start to struggle with their tyres towards the end, but he was too quick to catch. I want to congratulate him for this race and Lewis on winning the championship. This is not a very happy day for me, but one thing is being down and another is not being able to get back up, and I know that in two weeks I will be back up and try my best to finish the season well and fight for the Constructors’ championship.”

Kimi Raikkonen

”Today I was pretty happy with the car. Obviously the result is not ideal but from where we started we did our maximum. We got two cars on the podium and some more points for the team. The first set of tyres was a bit tricky, for sure the second one was better, but that’s what we expected to be. In the first stint we tried to pass the Mercedes, but we did not manage and the tyres suffered from this attempt. Then we changed from two stops to a one-stop strategy, knowing it would be a long race; the tyres were actually really good in this phase. In the end we ran out a little bit with the left front, but it still worked pretty good. Hopefully we can close up in the Constructor Championship in the last two races. Congratulations to Lewis; he has done the best job of any of us this year and he deserved to win.”


28 October 2018 - 23h40, by Olivier Ferret 



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