2010 Belgian GP, race: Driver quotes 

Written by David on August 29th, 2010 at 7:04 pmLast Update: August 29th, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Heikki Kovalainen: “I had a bit of a problem at the start when the engine bogged down, and I activated the anti-stall, but I was already being passed by the time I could get up to speed. The rain had started and unfortunately I damaged my front wing in the last turn so I had to pit. We took a gamble with the inters but the rain stopped, so I had to come back in and I lost out to the group ahead of me. After that it was a question of doing the best job I could, and keeping us in with a chance of taking advantage of the rain at the end, and as it turned out we managed to pick up a few places at the end and finish 16th.”

Jarno Trulli: “It was pretty exciting out there, an eventful race where lots of things happened, but that’s normal for Spa! At the start I went wide to avoid Heikki and unfortunately was overtaken by a couple of other cars. After that I was struggling a bit in the early stages with my rear tyres overheating – fortunately they came back so I could started pushing and managed to pull away from the guys behind, so that was a good stint until the rain came. I had quite a big margin over my nearest competitor so I was looking pretty good, but then the safety car came out. At the restart I was following the other cars but obviously the visibility was very poor and I made a bit of an error on a high speed corner, touched the white line with the rear end of the car and it just slipped away from me, which meant I lost places. I continued, but then the race was over from there. I’m glad we got both cars home, and it’s good to see we’ve still got an advantage over our nearest rivals, so bring on Monza!”

Jaime Alguersuari: “I have had a good weekend and already I was happy with my performance in qualifying yesterday while today, I had the most exciting race of my career. It was very difficult to make the right call on tyre choice. I think that within our team’s potential, today’s performance was not too bad and I am delighted to have picked up another point. I can’t wait for Monza now and the chance to put on a good show for all the people from our factory who will be there to watch the race.”

Sebastien Buemi: “I managed to get a very good start, but then at the first corner someone ran into me, which cut my left rear tyre and damaged the diffuser. I tried all sorts of things like locking the differential and changing the front wing settings to compensate, as I was oversteering a huge amount. It cost me a lot in terms of pace, because at times the car was undriveable. So unfortunately, I could not do better than this, which is a shame, as this was a race where I could have been in the hunt for points. That’s racing.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “Pretty early on in the race I had a throttle control problem which made the car very difficult to handle, so we made an unscheduled stop, but the engine died in the box and had to be re-started. As a result I dropped position and then had to cope in the rain without the full engine control, which caused some spins. We took some tyre gambles at the end to try and recover something.”

Rubens Barrichello: “Despite my experience, it was very difficult to know how wet the track was on the opening lap, but it was fully wet when I came into Blanchimont. I was closing the door on Rosberg and when I touched the brakes, even though it was quite early, it wasn’t sufficient to stop the car. The car went straight on into Alonso, for which I’m sorry. It’s also sad for the team. We’ve had such a positive weekend that a good result would have been a nice conclusion. Despite not having a good outcome in my 300th race, I’m confident we will go well in the 301st!”

Robert Kubica: “This is a great result for the team after a weekend when we were competitive in every session, and we were racing with McLaren and Red Bull. Nobody was expecting us to be at this level in Spa, so I think we can be pleased with the work we have done. The conditions were very difficult at the start, and the track was damp before and after the Safety Car came out. I was running in fourth place when Button and Vettel collided, and I think I could have gone quicker than Jenson during that part of the race. When the track was clear, I was able to push to the limit and the car felt really good. Webber stopped before me to change onto the prime tyre, but the mechanics did a great job to get me out in front of him and, although it was very close up the hill after Eau Rouge, I held onto the position and then even pulled away a little bit. When the rain came again, the circuit was very slippery, but I was catching Lewis on the lap when we stopped. As I came into the pit lane, I told myself to take it easy because it was so slippery, but there were a number of controls I had to change on the steering wheel. I was distracted doing this and that was my mistake: when I looked up, it was past the braking point, I locked up the front wheels and collided with some of the mechanics – fortunately without hurting anybody. That cost me one position, but it was a race in which mistakes were very easy to make, so we can be happy that I maintained my position from the start and that our pace was very competitive.”

Vitaly Petrov: “Scoring points was the target today, so it’s good to finish ninth. My start was okay and I then tried to push hard and come through the field, which is what I did. The race was nice, but the conditions were very difficult and it was hard to choose which tyres to use. The team made some good decisions and I stayed a long time on the slicks, so I think we made the best of it. After my mistake yesterday in qualifying, I showed that we have the pace to always be in the top ten and I hope next time I can qualify much better so I don’t have to overtake so many cars. We also had the f-duct this weekend, which gave me good speed on the straights and helped me in my battle with Rosberg, so it looks good for the coming races.”

Adrian Sutil: “Another fifth place so I am very pleased as I started in P8. I think that was the best we could do. It was very tricky conditions out there and you never knew what would happen with the weather. When the rain came it was sometimes light in places and heavy in others and I had to really concentrate to drive it home safely. Of course I was racing closely so I had to keep pushing, particularly after the safety car periods when the field bunched up, so we had some great racing and overtaking. The upgrades worked well and we can still improve – it was just the start of the development, which looks good for the next race in Monza as well.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi: “It was a tough race and it was a shame we couldn’t get any points here today. We had a good start but I suffered a lot of front and rear graining on the soft compounds early on and also some damage to the front wing. We decided to pit earlier and do a long stint with the hard tyres and it was a pretty good decision as we had a good pace on this set and were in P11, not that far from getting into the points. But then Vettel tried to overtake me at the last corner and took my front wing off and that cost us points in this race. We lost more than 30secs changing the wing and without this I am pretty sure we could have finished in eighth or higher. But the race pace was still good, the car has been consistent and better than it has been all weekend so we could be proud of that. I’m now looking forward to my home race in 15 days time in Italy.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “It was a very difficult race, but for me everything worked out fine. The team made very good decisions in choosing the right tyres at the right time, and the pit stops went well. For parts of the race the track conditions were changing every lap, and that was not easy. Especially after yesterday’s qualifying, I am very happy I made no mistakes, brought the car home and scored four more points after starting the race 17th.”

Pedro de la Rosa: “It was a very interesting race. After I had to start last I should not complain about finishing 12th, but two laps before the end I was tenth and just in the points. I was on full wet tyres, the rain was not heavy enough and there was not enough water on the track to stop destroying those tyres. They went off quite quickly and when I tried to catch Vitaly Petrov I made a mistake. I went into the gravel and lost two places. Nevertheless for me it was the right move to go for full wet tyres. We had to take our chances today. It was more or less the same at my first pit stop when we fitted intermediates, but then had to change back to slicks. But, as I said, we had to take our chances.”

Nico Rosberg: “My rain set-up finally worked out towards the end there and I made up two places on the re-start. Sixth place today is ok and it really is the most that we could have hoped for from this weekend. Michael and I had a couple of battles out there which was fun. We respect each other and you just have to be careful and it all worked out ok. It was a good recovery today but we really need to continue to try and improve our car to have a stronger end to the season.”

Michael Schumacher: “I am reasonably happy with today’s race, especially for the team. Coming where Nico and I started, I think we can all be pleased with the result, sixth and seventh places from 14th and 21st on the grid is not too bad, and it is important points for the Constructors’ Championship. For some reason, the number seven is somehow connected with me in Spa, so there is a further special feeling here. Without the weather being even crazier, we could not have achieved more today in my view. I ‘met’ Nico twice out on the track today. The first time, I had the better go in a nice racing duel and the second time was right after the re-start where I had to lift a little up into Eau Rouge due to the car in front which Nico used to fly past me. All in all, Spa turned out to be nearly as enjoyable as I had hoped for.”

Mark Webber: “The start was a mess, it wasn’t ideal to lose that many positions, but fortunately it’s not Monaco or Barcelona where the positions often don’t change during the race. I was able to overtake a few guys on the first few laps and get some of the positions back – I knew the race would be quite long after that and to get second place was a good result. It was very challenging in the last part of the Grand Prix and it was difficult to keep the car on track. I can’t believe the top three qualifiers finished on the podium with all the changing conditions! It was a good day for me. It was unfortunate for the team that we didn’t get some more points, but we’re still leading the Constructors’ Championship and hopefully we will do in Monza.”

Sebastian Vettel: “What happened, happened and we can’t change it now. Obviously I’m not proud of it, I lost the car going over the bump as I was braking and unfortunately hit Jenson, so he couldn’t continue. I’m sorry for him. We’ll have to see what we can do at the next races.”

Bruno Senna: “It was a bit of an unlucky race for us unfortunately. We had a really good start, probably the best we’ve done. But then into the first corner it got a bit tight, they got my front wing broken. So we came in and put the intermediate tyres which we need to change back after one lap as the rain stopped. One lap later, the rear left suspension failed. So we had everything going against us today. But this is how it goes in motor racing, we just have to look forward to Monza and hopefully it will be better there.”

Sakon Yamamoto: “A lot happened in the race, where I had a good start and I could win some positions. It was difficult to push on the option tyres, so we changed on the primes. At the end of the race, the rain came back and we needed to change the tyres and played it as a gamble and changed to wets. With the low intensity in the beginning of this rain shower, the tyres got used too hard and started to grain. So, I lost a bit of performance when the rain was heavy. But I am happy and I want to thank the team for being able to finish the tough race again.”

Lewis Hamilton: “After the DNF in Hungary, this last push in the championship couldn’t have started better for me; this victory was the perfect way to bounce back. Spa is always one of the most challenging races on the calendar, and I’m ecstatic that I’m now able to tick it off and say that I’ve won here. At the start, I was able to pace myself and maintain the gap – every time the cars behind increased their pace, I was able to answer. Then, when the conditions changed, I had a wide moment at Turn Eight – and I was on the edge of my seat! Fortunately, I got out of it, took a step back, regained my focus, and took control again. I was so relieved to cross the line at the end of the race – it was an overwhelming feeling! I feel really sorry for Jenson, though. He did a great job. I got around Turn One, looked in my mirrors, saw him picking up places, and thought, ‘That’s good, that’s good.’ Then he got up to second, and I thought, ‘That’s fantastic – another opportunity for a one-two.’ Then, cruelly, he was taken out through no fault of his own – which was really unfortunate for him, and for the team, because he did everything he could to get us the most points in the constructors’ championship today. But he’ll bounce back even stronger. It may sound an obvious thing to say, but I’ll say it anyway: I love racing. It’s in my blood, and I missed it so much during the summer break. So to finally get a win here at Spa – in the trickiest of conditions – is fantastic. I couldn’t have done it without the team though. Without them putting in such a great effort, we wouldn’t be here today. It almost feels like this is my first win – it’s just phenomenal!”

Jenson Button: “It was looking really good this afternoon. I got up to second easily enough, but my left-hand front-wing endplate had been damaged on lap one, which meant I had to dial maximum angle into it, and that made the rear twitchy without giving me any more front. As a result, it was pretty tricky to keep the others behind, but I was having a good fight in the wet conditions, and I seemed to be able to find grip better than the other people around me. I was doing a decent job of keeping my position, and doing it fairly. Then, as everyone knows, I had an incident with Sebastian [Vettel]. I certainly didn’t brake any earlier than usual. All I know is I suddenly felt a big bang in the sidepod, which ripped the radiator out, and then I lost drive. I’ve watched it on TV now, and I’d say it was a very strange incident. Clearly, he didn’t do it on purpose, and I gather he’s now apologised, but I have to say I’ve got no idea what he was doing. It’s a massive blow to my world championship hopes. All I can do now is look forward to Monza. I love that track, and I’ll be doing my best to score a lot of points there.”

Lucas di Grassi: “A very good race overall. I’m very pleased with my drive and the team did a great job. They were very difficult driving conditions due to the weather changing so much from dry to half wet to full wet during a whole race. The team did a great job calling me at the correct moment and choosing the correct tyres. From my point of view it is very clear that Kovalainen cut the chicane at turn 5 and we have brought this to the attention of the race officials. Hopefully we will know more about this soon.”

Timo Glock: “Quite an eventful race, I have to say. I got a good start but again someone pushed me off the track and I lost two places. Then when Barrichello and Alonso had their incident I had to go wide and I went through the 50 metre board and damaged my front wing. I had to pit straight away and I lost quite a lot of time to the others. I then had to catch up to Trulli and Lucas again and at the end I took the gamble of having wet tyres which didn’t pay off and the rain came just too late – I’ve been too unlucky in the races this year. They were difficult conditions over the weekend, which made for quite an interesting race. It paid off for us in qualifying but not in the race.”

Felipe Massa: “I think this is a positive result and, given the way the race went and the accidents that put Vettel and Button out of the game, we can even say we were a bit lucky. This weekend, Red Bull and McLaren were stronger than us, but we worked well as a team, making the right choices before and during the race. Our set-up was a bit more efficient in the dry, while we suffered a bit in the wet, especially in the middle sector, while in the first two we were reasonably competitive. Now we go to Monza, for our home race: we hope to do well at a track where speed and stability under braking count for a lot. We will continue to fight right to the end, even if the situation in the championship is ever more compromised.”

Fernando Alonso: “The first of the seven “finals” went badly for me and for two of the other five finalists, while the remaining two got the maximum results: that means we will have to make up the ground lost today somewhere else. At the start, I immediately made up some places and the signs were that I could have a good race. Then, I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time, when Rubens could not control his car under braking and crashed into me. I came straight back to the pits to change the tyres and to check the car was alright, when we fitted intermediate tyres, expecting more persistent and harder rain, but that was not the case. Yesterday we were hoping for rain, but when it came it was already too late to be of much use to me; on the contrary it prevented me from getting the chance to overtake the cars which would have had to stop to fit the soft tyres. Then I went off the track, when I went over a kerb and that was my race over: a shame even if the points I could have brought home would not have been a lot. It is very disappointing, because this is a bad result, but it does not mean I have given up on my chances of winning the title.”

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