Interlagos - Team reaction after the race
NB: This page will be updated throughout the day
Toro Rosso Ferrari
Jaime Alguersuari - P11: “This was a difficult race right from the start, with low grip in the first stint on the softer tyre, especially in terms of traction and at the exit to slow corners and I was struggling a lot to follow Buemi and Perez. The second stint on the harder tyre was much better, but it’s hard to understand in general why we seem to have lost performance in the last two races. Overall, I am happy to finish the season on 26 points whereas last year I had only five, so hopefully I can continue this improvement by doing better next year.”
Sebastien Buemi - P12: “Of course, we were hoping to score points today, but we were not competitive enough, finishing 11th and 12th. I got a good start, passing Jaime and Barrichello but after that I soon suffered with tyre degradation partly because we did not have the best set up for these conditions, but in terms of my own performance I feel I did the best I could. I am disappointed we could not get ahead of Sauber, but that’s racing. Overall, the season has not been too bad and I had some good races, but I lost points with various mishaps and problems. The team has worked well but we need to improve still further next year if we want to do better than this.”
Franz Tost: “At the start of the season, we set ourselves the target of finishing at least eighth in the Constructors’ championship and that is where we have finished, 36 points ahead of those in ninth place. However, having come so close to challenging for seventh place when we picked up a significant number of points in Korea and India, we cannot be happy with missing out on overtaking the team ahead of us, failing to score in the last two races.
As for today’s race, Sebastien got a good start, while Jaime dropped a couple of places and then on the Soft tyre, we struggled to match the pace of the Saubers who had got ahead of us at the start and therefore Kobayashi pulled away a bit. Once back on the Medium compound, Jaime was able to close the gap but not enough to get past. As for Buemi, he did not have the pace today, which was partly due to the fact we opted to give him a set-up that would have been more suited to a wet race. Work is already well underway on our next year’s car and as from tomorrow, the entire team’s focus switches to 2012.”
Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher finished the final round of the 2011 Formula One season, the Brazilian Grand Prix, in seventh and 15th places today, at the end of this afternoon’s 71-lap race in Interlagos.
— Nico ran a two-stop strategy of option/option/prime, stopping on laps 16 and 42
— Michael was forced to run a three-stop strategy after a puncture on lap 10, pitting further on laps 32 and 51
— Three of the team´s four clean pit stops were under 21 seconds this afternoon
— With a total of 731 points, Mercedes-Benz is the highest scoring engine manufacturer of the 2011 season
Nico Rosberg - P7: “Today wasn’t an ideal ending to the season, and although I scored some points, I expected to finish higher than P7. I didn’t get a good start, and I had problems with my tyres overheating as the track temperatures were very high. So I had to manage my tyres very carefully during the whole race which impacted on the pace. Now I’m looking ahead and I hope we can do better in 2012. I look forward to an exciting time in the winter as we work hard to develop a better car for next year.”
Michael Schumacher - P15: “It was a bit of a shame today with the incident with Bruno, which was caused perhaps due to some lack of experience, but then those things happen. Otherwise I think we could have had a nice race with some solid points. After the collision, all I could do was try to fight as much as possible, and hope for rain which did not come. In the first stint after the incident, my car was not well-balanced with a lot of oversteer. Unfortunately we could not change this at the pit stop which handicapped the balance in the second stint, whereas in the last stint the balance was good. We very much look forward to next season now. With all the effort that is being put into the development of the car, I am confident we can make another step forward to where Mercedes belongs; fighting at the top.”
Ross Brawn: “Nico didn´t have a great car balance today, struggling with oversteer, and he had to look after the tyres very carefully. He experienced high levels of degradation and consequently had a frustrating afternoon trying to manage the balance, in a situation where the tyres were particularly sensitive. Michael had a good battle with Senna in the early laps, and his pass at the start of lap 10 was clear-cut. However, Senna showed his inexperience trying to defend a position that he had already lost, and the contact ruined Michael´s race. After an unplanned stop to replace his punctured tyre, Michael was able to demonstrate the car´s innate pace, thanks to a better car balance, and his lap times looked reasonably competitive. I want to say thank you to all the team in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart, whose efforts have not waned at any point during a long season. There are accomplishments we can be proud of this season, such as our consistently strong pit stops, and we know that we need to put everything together next year. Finally, I would like to highlight the excellent support we have enjoyed from all our partners in 2011. Formula One is a true team sport, and they have played an integral role in helping us build towards a more successful future.”
Norbert Haug: “It was certainly not a perfect end to our season and not the results we had wanted to achieve at this final race in Brazil. We need to investigate why Nico´s speed over the major part of the race, suffering from a less than optimal car balance, was quite different to Michael´s, who had an unfortunate coming-together during his second passing move of the race. This cost him dearly as he had to do a whole lap with a punctured left-rear tyre, but his pace afterwards did not look bad at all. I would like to take the opportunity at this season´s final race to say thank you to all our team members in Brackley, Brixworth, Stuttgart and Fellbach for their dedicated work and relentless efforts. Also, I would like to thank all the partners and families of our team members - without their fantastic support, our colleagues could not get their demanding jobs done. There will be a short and well-deserved break for most of our team around Christmas before attacking next year with a better technical package, and the clear target of closing the gap to the top of the field.”
The Sauber F1 Team finished the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship seventh in the constructors’ championship. Kamui Kobayashi managed to improve from 16th on the grid to finish ninth in the Brazilian Grand Prix. He scored two points, which meant the team stayed ahead of Toro Rosso by three points. Sergio Pérez, who had started from 17th, had a spin at half distance and finished the race in 13th place. Kobayashi scored points in nine out of the 19 races in his second Formula One season. Pérez, who had to miss two of his rookie season’s races after his accident in Monaco, finished in the points five times. The Sauber F1 Team’s best result of the year remains Kobayashi’s fifth place at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Kamui Kobayashi - P9: “The team did a very good job to recover from a really bad qualifying. I had a good start and also a good race pace. We worked a lot on the race pace and I’m happy that I was able to score in the final two races of the season. It was important for us to finish ahead of Toro Rosso and I’m glad we managed to do that. The strategy was good and the car was as well - many thanks to the guys. After we have struggled a bit in the second half of the season, we have a lot to work on over the winter. I think it is good that we will have the same team with the same drivers again, but we want to become stronger.”
Sergio Pérez - P13: “The team’s main target for today was to make sure we finished the season in seventh, and I am very happy that this was achieved, although I couldn’t contribute this time. As a team I think we are all already looking forward to the next season. After all that has happened I am happy with my rookie season. I have learned a lot and with this experience I want to do a good job in 2012. However, my race today wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be. The start was fine, but we had opted for wet conditions and the result was that the rear tyres tended to overheat. The car was quite difficult to drive and I’m sorry for the spin at half distance.”
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: “It was an important result today. We were able to move up one position in the constructors’ championship compared to last year, which is good for the morale of the team. Kamui drove a fantastic race, making up positions in the early laps and then driving fast and consistently to take two championship points. Thanks to the whole team at the track, in Hinwil and to our partner Ferrari.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “Everything went according to plan today. Both drivers were able to make up positions in the early stages of the race. It was important that Kamui was immediately in front of Sébastien Buemi and Sergio directly behind him and in front of Jaime Alguersuari. This is want we wanted. After that it was a matter of controlling the race. Our strategy was to be ready for some rain, which was predicted but in the end didn’t happen. So for both drivers the tyre choice was soft, soft and medium. As it has been for most of the time this year, our pace was good in the race. Congratulations to the whole team.”
Team Lotus Renault
Heikki Kovalainen - P16: "Thank you to everyone for another excellent weekend for the team where I don’t think we could have got anything more from the whole package. All afternoon the car felt great and we managed to make the most of the performance we put in yesterday in qualifying. I had another great start today, they’ve really been excellent for some time now, and from there I got straight into a good rhythm right throughout the whole race. I had a few issues with the blue flags towards the end, with so many cars coming around it kind of messes with your own race, but that’s just something you have to deal with. All year we’ve kept on progressing and we’ve finished on a real high with that tenth place so we’re set us up perfectly for next year where we can take another step forward in the development of this team."
Jarno Trulli - P18: "For me it was a pretty standard race. I didn’t have a great start but was easily ahead of the cars we needed to beat today and it was really just about getting the car home in one piece so we could seal our place in the championship. I want to thank the whole team for the work they’ve done this weekend and all year. We keep on progressing and it’s great to be part of something that shows real signs of where it can go."
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "That was a good race for us. Both drivers were able to maintain their positions which was not such an easy task because of the amount of activity on track, but they finished where we aimed for and that was what was all important. What I do want to talk about is the relationship between Team Lotus and Renault Sport F1. We have had a very good year in terms of how our partnership has developed. The whole team were very easy to work with right from day one and we have put ourselves in a very good position to keep moving forward next year."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "I think that is a great way to end the season and secure tenth place. It was a tense afternoon for us with all the possible weather changes, but the conditions held off and we had the sort of race we have been putting in for much of this year. Both drivers were pushing all afternoon - with Jarno we put him on a two stop race which meant he had to look after his tyres. That might have ended up costing him some time, but with Heikki we ran a three stop race and he brought his car home where we thought he could. Really though today is about doing the job for our shareholders and our partners, in particular Renault Sport F1 and Red Bull Technology who have played such a key role in today’s success. Congratulations to our shareholders for the rewards we have now gained from finishing tenth for two seasons running. They deserve this success for the incredible support they give us every day and we will keep working hard to make them proud."
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "Almost tears for me today! I am absolutely overjoyed. Two years of hard work have paid off today and it was great to see both cars home safely, helping us win tenth place. The icing on the cake was beating a Renault - that meant a lot to me as I have always said the good guys do win. We have a fantastic little team here, and some incredible partners in GE, Dell, Intel, APC and CNN and I know how much it means to each and every person associated with us to have finished this season where we wanted to. Now we look forward to our new life as Caterham F1 Team and we say goodbye to Team Lotus. Colin - we hope we did you proud and we hope you keep an eye over us as Caterham F1 Team. We know we will do you proud there as well."
HRT F1 Cosworth
After nine months which have seen 19 races take place in four continents, the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship has finally reached its end today after the completion of the final Grand Prix of the year in Brazil. The weather forecasts indicated rain but, in the end, it wasn’t to be and the race took place in dry conditions. Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo, who started from 21st and 22nd place, encountered problems at the start and lost their position but Liuzzi was able to overtake Glock before the first lap ended. The times of the four drivers were quite similar so D’Ambrosio was able to maintain the gap ahead of both HRT’s throughout the whole race, leaving Liuzzi in 20th and Ricciardo in 21st. But ultimately an alternator failure put an end to the Italian driver’s bid at the final stages of the race. Having completed 61 of the 71 laps Liuzzi was unable to classify as Ricciardo finished in 20th.
Vitantonio Liuzzi - DNF: “At the start my car went into anti-stall so when I dropped the clutch the car stopped and everyone passed me and, therefore, I was last coming into the first corner but then during the first lap I managed to make up for it. Everything went well in qualifying and during the race we had a good pace and competed well with the Virgins so it’s a great shame that I suffered an alternator failure towards the end which forced us to retire. It’s unfortunate because we wanted to finish the season with a strong result. It’s a shame because we could have achieved it. Now we have to work hard for next year and try to recover from this problem and make up for it in the future because we need to be strong and competitive in every race”.
Daniel Ricciardo - P20: “The race was a bit up and down because the pace was a bit mixed. In the first stint for the first laps it seemed that I was quicker than Tonio and Glock but then a few laps later they were pulling away so it was hard to know if I was quicker or not. In the second stint we went with option tyres again and our pace wasn’t bad but I think we abused the tyres a bit too much and I had to pit a bit earlier for the primes because the tyres were finished. It took a few laps for the primes to start working but once they did the times were better than ever. At that stage D’Ambrosio was too far in front but the positive thing for me was that I was able to continue producing good lap times towards the end of the race. It’s been a really good six months and I’m happy with how the season has gone, you always want a bit more but realistically it has been really good and I have learned a lot. I want to thank HRT and Red Bull for giving me the opportunity to come and do it”.
Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "After yesterday’s performance, we were hoping for a better race. Neither Tonio nor Daniel had a good start and we lost the position to the Virgin but from there both drivers had a good pace throughout the race. The pit stops were also good but, unfortunately, we couldn’t finish the race with both cars due to an alternator failure on Tonio’s car at the final stages. It has been a hard and difficult season but I want to say thank you to Tonio, Narain and Daniel, but also all the mechanics and team personnel for their efforts and commitment to the team. I’m proud of them all”.
Force India Mercedes
Sahara Force India equalled its best result of the year in Sao Paulo as Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta finished in sixth and eighth places in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Those results confirm the team’s sixth place in the constructors’ championship.
Adrian Sutil - P6: “I’m really happy about the result today. It completes a great weekend where everything went to plan. I had a good feeling in all the sessions and the team did a brilliant job to give me such a good car today. We also made the right calls with the strategy because we knew there was a chance to beat Mercedes, and that’s exactly what we did. So I’m very happy with my sixth place – it’s the best way to end the year and it also means that I move up to ninth place in the drivers’ championship, which was my aim.”
Paul di Resta - P8: “My eighth place today is a great result after quite a tough race for me. There was a concern with the gearbox around half way through the race so the team told me to just try and bring the car home. In the final stint it was just a case of managing the gap to Kobayashi behind me and we had enough to do that quite easily in the end. So that’s the end of my first season of Formula 1 and it’s been a great year, especially now we have finished sixth in the championship. It’s well deserved for the entire team and I want to thank everyone for their help and support during this amazing year.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: “Today’s result is the perfect way to end what has been a tremendous season for Sahara Force India. Adrian and Paul drove brilliant races to add 12 more points to our tally and confirm our sixth place in the championship – our highest finish to date. I’m also very pleased that we could move Adrian up to ninth in the drivers’ standings. As a team we have taken great strides forward this season and now is the time to congratulate everyone who has contributed to that. We head into the winter in good spirits and determined to come back even stronger next year to pick up where we left off.”
Jenson Button - P3: “I couldn’t really get the soft tyre working around here – we had massive degradation on each set – and that prompted the decision to run two sets of Primes in my final two stints. My pace on the Prime was great – and using two sets really meant I could find a good balance and work out where the grip was.
“Earlier in the race, it was disappointing to be passed by Fernando [Alonso]. Out of Turn Five, I saw lots of debris on the circuit, and I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t want to drive over it, and I couldn’t pull to the left because Fernando was there, so I had to back out of it and fall behind. It was a pretty easy move for Fernando to make after that.
“But the Prime was working really well and that helped me chase Fernando down in the final stint and pass him out of Turn Three. Ideally, I wanted to get him into Turn One, because it’s more fun to pass someone without using DRS, but I set him up and got him out of Turn Three after getting a good run along the straight.
“We gave it everything today – and a podium is a great way to end the year. I’ve had 12 podiums from this season’s 19 Grands Prix – and I didn’t finish two of them due to reliability issues. All in all, it’s been a good, consistent season for us.
“There are a lot of positives to take away from this year. We’ll have a strong winter and come out fighting from the first race. We’ve just got to start the season a bit more strongly, that’s all, and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do. We want to make it hard for Red Bull in 2012.
“Finally, I want to say a big thank-you to the whole team – we’ve really grown together this year. I really feel like I’m part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes family now: there’s an awful lot of passion in our organisation, and I’m proud to be part of it.”
Lewis Hamilton - DNF: “At the start I wanted to avoid any aggro, and that meant I lost a position to Fernando. After that I had reasonably decent pace, and I was able to stay close to Fernando and Jenson until I encountered a gearbox problem.
“It occurred quite early on – I was having problems with first and second – and it meant I started losing quite a lot of time and Fernando and Jenson were able to pull away from me. The problem meant I stopped being able to make good, clean gearshifts. Then I lost seventh, and then the whole thing just let go.
“Of course, it’s not the way I’d like to have ended the season, but it wasn’t so bad. I enjoyed my race while it lasted. I was challenging Felipe and I was hoping I’d get him, but then the gearbox failure stopped me.
“It’s been a long year, and I want to say a huge thank-you to the team. They’ve never given up, and they’ve worked incredibly hard all season. We didn’t get the ultimate result we wanted, but we had some great times along the way.
“I’ll be attacking next season; 2012 will be my year.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal: “Today we saw yet another brilliant performance from Jenson, who has driven magnificently all season but particularly in the second half of it. It was his eighth podium finish in the past nine grands prix – and the odd race out in that splendidly consistent sequence was the Korean Grand Prix, in which he finished a fighting fourth.
“Today he drove cleanly, shrewdly and patiently – but forcefully too – and the way he optimised his pace on the Prime tyre was masterful. He drove his two final stints on the Prime, in fact, which enabled him to hunt down Fernando’s Ferrari in the closing stages of the race to take a beautifully judged third place.
“Lewis drove extremely well today too, but unfortunately he was let down by gearbox failure. Quite early on, we noticed a loss of oil pressure, then he lost seventh gear, and then he lost all drive and was forced to call it a day. But prior to that he was improvising intelligently and never gave up. Moreover, his typically combative approach played a significant part in the afternoon’s entertainment, and surely thrilled TV viewers worldwide.
“Lewis has had a challenging year – but his gutsy performances here and, in particular, in Abu Dhabi, where he took his third win of the season, represent an eloquent testimony to an emphatic return to form on his part. He’s already focusing on 2012, and I’m sure he’ll prepare for the new season with his customary determination and will to win.
“The same can be said for all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, in fact. We’ve been concentrating our energies on MP4-27 for some time now, and we’ll maintain that intensive effort throughout the winter months.
“All things considered, 2011 was a pretty decent year for us – we finished second in the constructors’ world championship, 122 points ahead of the third-placed team and 332 points ahead of the fourth-placed team – but we aim to win outright.
“Next season we intend to do just that.”
Marussia Virgin Racing Cosworth
Marussia Virgin Racing’s Jérôme D’Ambrosio finished in 19th position in today’s final race of the 2011 Formula One season at the Interlagos Circuit in São Paulo. Unfortunately Timo had to retire after a problem with the left rear wheel during his first pit-stop on lap 22.
Clouds were threatening before the start of the race, but the showers kept away from the track, allowing Jérôme and Timo to start the race on the Pirelli P-Zero Soft tyres. They both got off to a good start, running 21st and 23rd respectively.
Jérôme pitted for the first time on lap 20. Timo followed him in one lap later, but his left rear tyre wasn’t properly fitted and he was forced to retire.
Jérôme’s second pit-stop was on lap 41. He drove a strong race to maintain and increase the gap to the HRTs until the end of the race.
Jérôme D’Ambrosio - P19: “I think today was a great race and a great way to finish the season for me. We did a good job in qualifying yesterday and today was one of my best races so far. I’m happy this has happened here in Brazil, as I love this track. I’m also glad to finish ahead of HRT - definitely a very positive way to end the season. I want to thank the team for all their hard work. I have really enjoyed working together with them this year.”
Timo Glock - DNF: “A very disappointing way to end the season. It’s a real shame to have had to retire after losing the left-rear tyre after my first pit-stop but unfortunately these things happen. So it wasn’t the way I would have liked to end the season but, anyway, I want to thank the team for all the effort they have put in during the whole year. It has been great to work together.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “Both drivers had excellent starts and were it not for Timo being over to the left into Turn 1 I’m sure they would both have emerged n front of the HRTs. Jérôme drove another strong race and really proved that yesterday’s qualifying positions were an anomaly for us this season.
“We apologise to Timo for the incident in his pit-stop which cost him the chance to end his season on the high note that would have been reflective of his commitment all year.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our team on their hard work and dedication right through to the end of what has been a long and challenging season. We may have suffered one final disappointment here today, but ultimately we have achieved a great deal in terms of laying important foundations for a more successful future.
“I would also like to thank our Partners for their unfailing support and we look forward to rewarding their faith in the steps we are taking to ensure we can all look forward to some very positive times ahead.
“Our thanks also to Cosworth and Pirelli for the positive working relationship we have shared this season.”
Lotus Renault GP
LRGP concluded a trying 2011 season with an additional point to the season tally thanks to a measured and composed drive from Vitaly Petrov as rain threatened but never arrived at Interlagos. Bruno Senna meanwhile, endured a frustrating race with loss of fourth gear and a drive through penalty for contact with Michael Schumacher.
— Both cars started on the soft tyres. Vitaly then went soft-medium, whilst Bruno went soft-medium-soft.
— Bruno’s contact with Schumacher did not affect the performance of his R31. His lack of fourth gear did.
— Tyre performance dictated at least a three stop strategy for both cars, with rival cars able to manage a two stop strategy.
— Vitaly went from 15th on the grid to 12th at the end of the first lap.
— Bruno maintained 9th position until his first pit stop on lap 12.
Bruno Senna - P17: “What can I say – it’s been quite a difficult day and the overall feeling is one of disappointment. I started the race in a healthy position on the grid and I was hoping to capitalise on that. There were many difficulties preventing us from having a better race, namely the incident with Michael and the gearbox problems. I would love to have given my home fans something to smile about, but unfortunately it was not to be.”
Vitaly Petrov - P10: “Definitely it is good to finish with a point, which was a good response to yesterday’s qualifying position. My race start was good and my speed was not too bad and I was quite happy with the car. We came in quite early and I think we lost out being behind both Toro Rosso as it was very difficult to overtake them. I lost quite a lot of time like this, otherwise I think I could have been ahead of Kamui Kobayashi and it would have been better to finish in P9 instead of P10. The pit stops were better, with one very good one – my crew were working well right up to the end of the season. I wanted more points this year. It was not a fantastic season but I want to say thank you to all the team who have supported me and believed in me. Next year is another season and I hope we can work even better together and achieve much better results.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director: “There are positives to take from today. On the surface, 10th and 17th positions would not seem good enough but we took a point from the final race of the season. Vitaly did this for us from a lowly 15th position on the starting grid, so that has to be commended – he drove a reasonably good race. Bruno was unfortunate not to have a better time of things in front of his home fans. The team have once again put in a lot of hard work this weekend and I’m very thankful to everyone for that.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “A tricky race for us as those we were racing were able to run to two stops and our tyre wear meant that we had to make three. Vitaly drove strongly to go from 15th to 10th, whereas Bruno’s race was totally compromised with a gearbox issue leaving him without fourth gear. Bruno didn’t suffer from his wing making contact with Michael’s car and it would have taken longer to change the wing than we would have gained from replacing it. Bruno’s contact with Michael looked like a racing incident so we were surprised at the penalty, but of course we respect the stewards’ decision. Overall, it’s certainly been a trying season and I can’t wait till next year.”
Ricardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1: “The Brazilian GP is not a tough one for engines, but on account of the high altitude the RS27 engine can be around 8% down on power. We tried to compensate for this with an aggressive engine strategy on both cars and it paid off for Vitaly as he gained five positions and finished in the points, which is quite satisfying after a challenging second half of the season. Unfortunately Bruno had a few issues in the race which meant he couldn’t capitalise on his strong starting position, but the most important is that we consolidated fifth in the constructors’ championship.”
AT&T Williams ends 2011 with a 14th place finish for Rubens Barrichello in today’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Rubens drove a consistent race on a three stop strategy to conclude an impressive weekend on track. He also closes the season with a new landmark in his sporting history having reached 50,000 raced miles, done in front of his home crowd. Pastor Maldonado’s race, meanwhile, was cut short on lap 26. While running in 16th from 18th on the grid, Pastor was put out of contention after an unrecoverable spin.
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: Rubens had a difficult start which cost him a number of positions. We then changed his planned two stop strategy to a three as we were experiencing higher tyre wear than expected. Rubens continued to push hard to finish in P14, having held Schumacher off for the last few laps of the race. Pastor ran wide in turn 6/7 on lap 26 and had to stop having damaged the car. Rubens and Pastor fought hard today but ultimately did not have the pace to finish in the points. I’d like to thank the team for all their efforts this season.
Rubens Barrichello - P14: We thought it was going to rain today so we were running a long first gear. I started at the bottom of the hill, and as it was a dry start, I slipped back. It was a fun race but we don’t have a car that can finish in the points just yet. I want to thank the team for all their hard work this year. We have had a tough season but we’ve pushed together. There’s been a lot of talk over the weekend, but I believe I will be back again next season.
Pastor Maldonado - DNF: I had a good start until I lost position fighting for space on track. Our overall pace during the race was fine, but the rear wing setting slightly held us back on the long straight. My retirement came after I passed Senna on lap 26. The car had too much oversteer and I just lost control of it.
Red Bull Racing Renault
Mark Webber - P1: “It feels very good; it’s always nice to win. The battle with Sebastian wasn’t a strong battle in the end because he had a problem, but even so, my pace was strong and I felt very good in the car. It’s a nice way to finish the year. I felt good in the car and getting the fastest laps at the end was very rewarding. Looking back, it wasn’t the greatest season for me, but also not the worst. I had a weak start to the year and wasn’t able to capitalise on misfortune from others or put myself in a situation to win fair and square, which is what you want, but in motorsport you take the victories when they come. So, it was a very important win for me today and for the team to finish on a high is great. I really enjoyed the last few laps. This is a great track for the team and we have gained three wins in a row here.”
Sebastian Vettel - P2: “I got the message we had a problem, which was a shame as we had a great start to the race. After that, it was obvious that that I had to shift early and save the gearbox. I hoped it would recover so I kept pushing, but it didn’t happen and then the target was to see the chequered flag. Mark had a great race and deserved to win. I got second and I’m happy to have a trophy. It was a great end to the season; to finish with both cars and a one two is very good. I would have loved to have won the race, but nonetheless we had a great season. It’s really incredible – going into the season we thought we had a competitive car and that maybe we could win some races, but it has been phenomenal. The team has been faultless most of the time and raised their level massively compared to the last two years.
We enjoy what we do and it’s nice to come into the garage each day and see everyone
with a smile on their face being happy. That’s the main thing – we love what we do and are
passionate about it.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “It was an incredible race. To sign off the year
with a one-two finish is a fantastic way to end the year. The race was dominated by trying
to manage the problem that Sebastian had; he did an unbelievable job to keep his car alive to the end of the race. The problem appeared on lap 5, due to a gearbox that was losing oil. Temperatures were therefore creeping up, but he adopted his driving technique and did an awesome job to get the car to the end. Mark was not far behind at the time and
Sebastian conceded the lead. Thereafter Mark drove a fantastic race and had a very
deserving victory to sign off what has been an unbelievable year. To have won 12 grand
prix and defended both World Championships is fantastic and the timing’s right to thank
every member of the team for all their hard work. I’d like to also thank Renault and all our
partners and obviously a very special thank you to Red Bull and Mr. Mateschitz for all the
tremendous support they have shown us all year, without which none of these results would have been possible.”
Cyril Dumont, Renault: “A fantastic result. To finish this season with a one-two finish
was the result we deserved today. I’m happy for Mark and to see him back on the top step
of the podium is great – it’s really important for him for now and next year. I would like to
thank of course Red Bull but also all the people from Renault, as clearly the reliability has
been there all year – so a big thank you to everyone at Viry Chatillon and Mecachrome. I
would also like to thank my team here at the track, they have done a wonderful job and
now I think they deserve some good holidays.”
Twenty two points for Scuderia Ferrari in the final race of the season, through a fourth place for Fernando Alonso and a fifth for Felipe Massa.
Despite the adverse weather forecast, the race was run entirely in the dry.
The two Ferrari men ran different strategies, but the difference was more down to circumstance than to choice, given that Felipe had one less set of Soft tyres than his team-mate. The result of this race means Fernando has dropped off the last podium position in the Drivers’ Championship to finish fourth, while Felipe ends the year sixth.
Stefano Domenicali: "We had hoped and wanted to end the season with at least one more podium finish, even if we knew it would be very difficult given the quality of opponent we had ahead of us after qualifying. Fernando came close to achieving our wish, fighting to the bitter end, but he had to settle for looking up at the podium, which along with Webber’s win, means he won’t be off to India to take part in the FIA Gala for the top three finishers in the Drivers’ Championship: it’s a shame because given how he performed this year - he even scored more points than in 2010 - he definitely deserved better.
Felipe was forced to adopt a strategy which looked slower on paper, but he had a good race all the same and would have finished fifth on track even without having to wait for the retirement of the second McLaren. Now we can definitely file away a year where our performance was insufficient by our standards and think only of next season. Once again, we congratulate those who did a better job than us and we look forward to facing them again next year, when we will try to be the best of the lot. That is our target and we have no intention of hiding the fact. We have weeks of hard work ahead of us and we will only start to see the fruits of our labours in February, when it’s time to fire up the engines again. Finally, let me say I am happy to hear that Lewis came round to see Felipe during his press meeting, which thus puts an end to all the recent misunderstandings."
Fernando Alonso - P4: "Yet another race in which we did everything to perfection, from the start to the strategy and the work of the team. The final result is more down to the performance of the others than our own, because we could not have done more. Once again today, we got a very good start, putting a nice passing move on Button, but then, on the Medium tyres, we no longer had the speed to fend him off. I also had a problem with the DRS which would not
activate: I was not fighting closely with other drivers, but it would certainly have helped me gain a few tenths while overtaking. This Grand Prix produced an accurate reflection of the season: we have almost always done our maximum, fighting for a podium finish in a car that was not as good as the top two. In terms of team work we grew a lot in 2011 and we must absolutely make this the starting point for a very different 2012. If I had to score our performance, I can but repeat what President Montezemolo said, giving us something between a five and six, but all the same I am proud of what the team was able to do. We need a car that is about five or six tenths
quicker: achieving that won’t be a walk in the park, but I have every confidence in our engineers and in a team that dominated the last decade in Formula 1 and holds every possible record in this sport. Let us not forget that I managed to get on the podium ten times and to score more points than last year. Losing out on third in the Drivers’ Championship is definitely not a big problem: first place is the only one that really counts."
Felipe Massa - P5: "It was a difficult race, at the end of a weekend that was not the best from a technical point of view. We never managed to find the right balance and then came the sting in the tail of the puncture we discovered yesterday, which robbed me of a set of Softs for the race and thus meant I had to make only two stops. I knew it would be penalising because I would have to do a lot of laps on the Medium, a tyre with which we have a bigger performance gap than on the Softs when compared to our closest competitors.
Sure, I would have liked to celebrate my one hundredth Grand Prix with Ferrari with a much different result, but I have to accept the way things went. In fact, the race pretty much summed up the season: reasonably good on the Soft, then struggling on the harder compound. I was very pleased to feel the affection of the crowd, who supported me from the start to the end of the weekend. It’s been a difficult year for me and the team and now we can turn the page. We must work on improving the car and I will do all I can never to have such a disappointing season again. I want to say I was pleased that Lewis came round to see me while I was talking to the journalists: it was a very nice gesture on his part. What do I want from Father Christmas?
Along with Felipinho, I will be writing and asking for a fantastic car right from start to finish in 2012."
Pat Fry: "A logical outcome to a not particularly exciting race. We had expected rain but it did not come, even if it occasionally circled the area around the track. Another surprise, unfortunately a negative one, came last night, when we discovered that the right rear tyre from the first set of Soft tyres that Felipe had used in qualifying had a puncture: this meant he had to run a two stop strategy, which we knew would penalise him in terms of overall race time compared to those who were three stopping. Both drivers got great starts: they could have even gained another place but at that point the track ran out! Fernando was fantastic in the first half of the race, passing Button with a very nice move and then he managed the gap in impeccable fashion. Then, once he switched to the Medium tyre, he paid the price we usually do with the harder compound, when compared to McLaren and he was not able to fend off Button’s comeback. A shame, as it would have been nice to finish on the podium, but I have to say Fernando has had an incredible 2011, if you just think how often he managed to finish in the top three. Now it’s up to us to give him and Felipe a much more competitive car than this one. That is our aim, which we have been thinking about day and night and on which we are pushing as hard as we can. I want to congratulate the entire team for the way they have worked at the track this year. We have made significant steps forward and we must continue down this route for next year. We can expect some busy months ahead when there will be plenty of opportunities to improve still further."