2008 Chinese Grand Prix, race: Team quotes 

Written by David on October 19th, 2008 at 2:01 pmLast Update: October 19th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

2008 Chinese Grand PrixTadashi Yamashina: “Today got off to the worst of starts when Jarno was put out of the race by another car. His motivation was very high today and he could certainly have made the top six. But instead he suffered damage to the whole of the right side of his car, including the bodywork and aerodynamic parts so it was undriveable. Timo did a great job, especially considering how practice and qualifying had gone for him. He drove well and the one-stop strategy was the right one. So now both drivers should now be very focused on the last race in Brazil. Of course we will never give up and try to come away with the best possible result.”

Ross Brawn: “We opted for a reasonably aggressive strategy with both cars on two stops, as we had seen through the weekend that the tyres would struggle on heavy fuel. Rubens had a very good start and his pace was good throughout the race. It would have been nice to pick up a point or two but nonetheless we are very pleased that we beat several cars that have been faster than us of late and on merit alone. Jenson’s race was compromised in the early stages when he was held up behind a one-stopping David Coutlhard but this was always the risk of an aggressive strategy from the back. Even without any developments on the car we have had quite a good weekend here. The team and cars worked well. We have nothing new for Brazil but by working well, as we did here in China, we will be aiming to make the most of every opportunity to pick up one final point before the season draws to a close. Interlagos is a challenging track and it is destined to be an exciting race there, so who knows?”

Christian Horner: “Unfortunately yesterday’s grid penalty was always going to be a massive handicap in the race today. Mark drove a good first stint, passing several cars, he made progress in the second stint until he got stuck behind Nakajima, which killed his chance of progress. With one further stop before the end of the race, 14th was as much as he could achieve today. David drove a good race on a one-stop strategy, but unfortunately we just weren’t quick enough. He got close to Vettel at his last stop, but tenth was all that was possible.”

Stefano Domenicali: “Today, we did the best we could at the end of a weekend when our main rival proved to be superior to us in terms of performance, both over a single lap and in terms of race pace. These fourteen points are very important for the Constructors’ championship, in which we have increased our lead. Felipe has lost a bit of ground but now has nothing to lose, and he will give it his best shot in his home race, where he can count on the warm support of his fans. We will try and give our drivers a car with more performance than we had today. To do that, we need to analyse what did not work on this track, also taking into account that things can change very quickly: at Fuji and in Singapore we were better than our competitors in terms of performance, while here it was the opposite. Felipe passing Kimi? Our drivers are well aware what is in the best interests of the team and they acted accordingly. Indeed, events like this have already happened this season in other teams, which is a normal state of affairs in a sport like Formula 1.”

Luca Baldisserri: “Our opponents were better than us today which we must do something about. We suffered from a chronic lack of traction, on both types of tyre. We worked on the car all weekend to try and improve the situation, but evidently our efforts were not enough to fight at the highest level. Therefore, second and third places represent the maximum we could do in these conditions, although it does allow us to make a step forward towards the Constructors’ title, which is very important for us. Now we must concentrate on analyzing our performance at this track and on preparing for the Brazilian Grand Prix, where we will do our utmost to pick up maximum points, as in fact we do at every race.”

Fabrice Lom: “A very tough day. Mark had a great race, but with the penalty he received, he was too far back for it to make any impression. He had a very good first stint and overtook several cars, but we had to make a pit-stop quite early. He then got stuck behind Nakajima and it wasn’t possible to overtake. For David, it was a difficult race on a one stop strategy – but he drove well. The same engines will do Brazil, so they have still a long way to go.”

Flavio Briatore: “It’s was a good race for us today. We were able to show our true level of performance and that we are stronger than BMW and very close to Ferrari. Our result means we have secured fourth place in the constructors’ championship and confirmed our recent progress.”

Pat Symonds: “Another strong race for us today. Points scored by our both drivers have now secured our fourth position in the championship, which was the target we set ourselves in the middle of the season.”

Franz Tost: “If you start from sixth and eighth and don’t score points then something must have gone wrong. Bourdais’ race was lost at the first corner after a collision with Trulli, but after that some competitive lap times showed the car performance was good. Vettel’s race was badly affected by graining in the early stages of his second stint, which cost him time and we also lost around 3.5 seconds in his pit stop. These factors kept us out of the points. Fortunately, our closest competitors in the Constructors’ classification are still behind us, so now we hope to finish the season in fine style in Brazil in two weeks time.”

Mario Theissen: “Coming fifth and sixth is a good outcome after yesterday’s disappointing qualifying. Both drivers put in the ground work for this result at the start, and after that drove fine races without any mistakes. The strategy was good, all pit stops worked out perfectly, and we had no technical problems.”

Willy Rampf: “If you start from ninth and 11th on the grid and finish the race fifth and sixth you do have to be satisfied. The drivers gained three positions each right at the start. Robert, in particular, reacted perfectly when a car spun right in front of him. During the race both drivers were doing well with the strategy. Thank you to the whole team for the good work, especially during all the pit stops.”

Mike Gascoyne: “It was disappointing not to get two cars to the finish today, but Giancarlo did a good job to get the car home in what’s been a difficult event for us. Adrian was on a two stop strategy but unfortunately had a failure, which we believe was an electronic matter related to the gearbox. Giancarlo was on a one stop strategy and while the first stint on the harder tyre was OK, with the lapping in the second stint he couldn’t really improve his position. We’ll now move onto the final race and hope to be more competitive there.”

Vijay Mallya: “It has been a challenging weekend for the team and to get one finish is at least some small consolation. Giancarlo did everything expected of him, keeping out of trouble and bringing the car home. While 17th position is not something we can get excited about, it is a finish and in an extremely reliable field we need everything we can. Adrian was again unfortunate to be struck by a problem early on. It is a shame but we have to learn from this and move on. I am sure he and the team will be expecting more in Brazil.”

Ron Dennis: “No one will be surprised to hear me describe today’s Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team performance as a tremendous one, because that’s exactly what it was. In difficult circumstances we never allowed our focus to waver, and we paced ourselves carefully throughout. Lewis did a truly fabulous job, as did our entire team. Our race strategy was extremely solid too, but the key message from China that we take forward to Brazil is that we qualified extremely well despite the fact that our cars were fuelled longer than those of our principal opposition, which clearly demonstrates the inherent pace of our car. Heikki’s first stint was compromised by the fitting of a set of mismatched tyres, which caused his car to understeer. After his first stop, a punctured tyre then forced an unscheduled pitstop before an air pressure problem with his engine caused us to retire him in order to avoid risking an engine failure.”

Norbert Haug: “Great – a more convincing win is hardly possible. What an excellent victory for Lewis and the team, and what a well deserved one. Pole, win and fastest lap, Lewis demonstrated his skills and was clearly the man of the race and the whole weekend. He made a perfect start and controlled the field, never putting a foot wrong and the team executed a perfect strategy. I am sorry for Heikki, he first had a puncture, which cost him a lap, and later we had to call him in as a precautionary measure as the air consumption in his engine was too high. We are now looking forward to an exciting finale in Brazil and everybody in the team is working hard to score enough points to win the world championship.”

Patrick Head: “It was not a strong result today, but I thought Kazuki did a good job defending his position. As we qualified poorly, we had to do something a bit adventurous with our strategy, so we split our options on the cars, but unfortunately the two stop route we took with Nico didn’t work. Having not attended a race for some time, I must say I am very impressed with the professionalism of the race team. The car is reliable, but the problem remains that on this type of circuit it is just not quick enough.”

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