2010 Chinese GP, race: Driver quotes 

Written by Nick on April 18th, 2010 at 2:15 pmLast Update: April 18th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Rubens Barrichello: “The race didn’t go as planned. I was called into the pits for the intermediate tyres early on, it was a hard call and the race developed from there. I think we made good calls after that but by that time it was too late to recover.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a tough race and obviously not very satisfying for the team. Looking at the positives, it was good experience for me to complete the full race distance and experience all of the different conditions that we faced today. In particular, it was helpful to see how the car and tyres handled and we now have some good data for any races which might be similar in the future. Results-wise, though, this is nowhere near close enough to where we want to be.”

Adrian Sutil: “It was a real strategy race this time. At times it was difficult to know which was the best tyre to be on, as it would rain and then dry and then rain again. We started on the dry tyre and then pitted for inters under the safety car on lap one. At this point it was the right decision as it was raining quite a bit and it was easy for me to overtake a lot of cars. Then it eased and we switched to the dries for a few laps but then there was more rain.On the second set of inters we put on on lap 19 I was able to fight with the top guys, including Lewis, Sebastian and Felipe for quite a few laps, but then the tyres grained up and I had to pit again. I lost a couple of positions in this final stop and that was what dropped me back to 13th. Although we could close to within a second of Michael I just ran out of laps to get past. But that’s how it is, sometimes you win in this type of race and sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”

Tonio Liuzzi: “Unfortunately I had a problem warming up the brakes on the formation lap due to the cold and the rain and then when I went into corner four on the first lap and braked, the rear completely locked and I lost control of the car and went off. It was a shame as we had had a really good start and gained three positions in just the first corner and it could have been a very interesting race, particularly with how the conditions panned out. But that’s how it is, it didn’t go our way this time, but we will keep pushing for the next races.”

Robert Kubica: “It was an exciting race today and it’s good to have scored some more points. At the start of the race I made a bad start and lost a lot of positions, but we made the right decision to stay out on slicks when it started to rain and I was able to move up through the field into third place. However, the critical moment of my race was when the safety car came out, which ended my hopes of a podium because I lost the big lead I had to the cars behind me. So although I’m happy to finish fifth, I still feel a bit frustrated to have missed a podium.”

Vitaly Petrov: “I’m happy to finish my first race in Formula 1 and to score my first points. It was a difficult race and it wasn’t easy to make the right decisions today. In the beginning, when it started to rain, some drivers came in for intermediates, but we decided to stay out on slicks, which was the right decision. Then I kept talking on the radio with the team to decide when we would change to intermediates, and again we got the timing right. When I changed to my second set of intermediates, I knew it would be important to look after the tyres, but we didn’t know if it would continue raining or if the track would dry out. But I kept pushing, the engineers told me that I had good pace, and in the final laps I had some good overtaking moves, especially with Schumacher and Webber, to gain some more places.”

Jaime Alguersuari: “I tried to get points today, but in the end it wasn’t possible as I made a mistake lapping a Hispania, who was slower than me and was shown the blue flag, but he moved from side to side. I tried to get past on the right, but he came back on me and touched my wing, which is how I lost it. We tried to switch to Intermediates before everyone, but in the end I had to pit for an additional set. I did what I could in what was a crazy race. On the slick tyres, we were really fast and I got past Sutil and there were some good passing moves, but I’m disappointed with the result. Now we go to my home race in Barcelona where I hope to challenge for points again.”

Sebastien Buemi: “Not running on Friday was my first problem, because that means you don’t qualify so well and once you have to start the race from the middle of the pack, the risk of this type of accident is always greater. I don’t want to blame anyone for the crash, but Liuzzi lost his car and crashed into me. It has been a very difficult weekend and now we need to work and see what we can do in Barcelona. I also need a bit more luck.”

Fernando Alonso: “In a race like this, anything can happen. We did five pit stops to change tyres, which is definitely unusual: all in all, I think we took the right decisions at the right time. In a race like this you only understand at the end what would have been the best thing to do, as neither on the pit wall nor in the car do we have a crystal ball! I made a serious mistake at the start as my reflexes let me down and I left early. It’s never happened to me before and I am very disappointed with myself. Luckily, despite the penalty, I managed to finish fourth. The passing move on Felipe? If he was not my team-mate, there wouldn’t be so much talk about it and for me it was a normal move and it definitely won’t compromise our relationship. We have a great potential and we must hope we get some normal races like the one in Bahrain. The start of the championship has gone well: we have shown we are competitive on all the tracks and we have what it takes to win the title. Clearly, we have to up our points tally and improve our qualifying performance. McLaren deserve the top spot, because even though they might not have the best car they have got the most out of it every time.”

Felipe Massa: “This was a very complicated race and clearly I can’t be happy with the result. Of course, two points are better than nothing, but in the upcoming races we have to do better and that means working on the development of the car. Right from the start, it was difficult to make the right choice in terms of what tyres to use because of the changeable weather. As for the passing move Fernando made, I ended up on a puddle of water coming out of the hairpin and slightly lost control of the car: he managed to get inside me, passing me going into the pit lane. I lost some places because of it, as I had to wait for his stop to be finished. In the closing laps, I was struggling a lot with the tyres, but Michael was suffering worse than me and I managed to pass him. We have seen how the situation can change radically from one race to the next: we need to work as hard as possible to try and get the most out of the potential at our disposal.”

Lewis Hamilton: “First of all, congratulations to Jenson – he did an incredible job and made an excellent tyre choice in what were very tricky conditions this afternoon. It was very tough at the start – it started to rain right away, and it was a difficult call to decide to pit for intermediate tyres. I made a very late call when I thought I’d heard a comment over the radio, and pulled into the pits when I was halfway round the final corner! Unfortunately, it wasn’t the right choice – the tyres started graining almost immediately and I needed to stop again, this time for dry tyres. But, after that, I got my head down and made up a lot of positions before the rain got heavier. I want to thank the team for making not only some pretty impeccable strategy calls, but also for executing some fantastically slick pitstops. I think the team was operating right at the top of its game today, and I want to thank all the guys for such an incredible effort. Towards the end of the race, my tyres really weren’t in good shape. So, while I was able to get past a lot of cars, I wasn’t able to catch Jenson. But we both had an absolutely fantastic afternoon, and I think the whole team deserves this incredible one-two result. I hope the spectators and viewers enjoyed it, too! We know we still have to make some improvements to our car, but two wins from four races and the lead of both world championships only make us even more determined. The team is very strong at the moment, and it’s just fantastic to be a part of that. We’re confident of making an even bigger step for the Spanish Grand Prix next month, and I want to pass on my thanks and encouragement to all the men and women working so hard in Woking and Stuttgart: your efforts are enormously appreciated, and today’s result could only have been achieved with all your incredible efforts.”

Jenson Button: “This was my best victory in Formula 1. Every race you win becomes your best, but this was an extremely special win in very tough conditions. And it’s especially satisfying because it was a really dominant victory for the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. We scored a one-two today, and the reason we did so was that every single element within the team worked perfectly. From the strategy calls to the pitstops, you need to get everything just right if you’re going to win in conditions like these. And today we did indeed get everything just right. It’s not luck that brought us out on top today. We made the right decisions – the guys on the pitwall and back in Woking made the calls brilliantly, and I couldn’t have asked for better support. My first few months with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes have been extraordinary – I really feel a real part of the team now – so today’s result gives us great excitement, encouragement and enthusiasm as we head to Barcelona, and the start of the European season. We hope to be even stronger there.”

Nico Rosberg: “It’s fantastic to be on the podium for the second race in succession. It was an eventful race and we made very good choices which put us in contention for the result today. Following advice from Jock and the team, I decided to stay out on slicks and give it a go when the first showers hit. I was out there just thinking please stop raining! But it was the right call and it was a nice feeling to be leading the race for a while. When it started raining again, I suffered quite badly from tyre degradation on the intermediates and Jenson was able to get past. We didn’t seem to quite have the pace on inters but third place is great and we’ve made a step in the right direction this weekend. There’s more to come from the team so it’s really good to be heading into the European season with some strong results and second place in the Drivers’ Championship.”

Michael Schumacher: “Today was one of those races that you do not want to remember, just like the whole weekend really. It was not good for me and not good from me. You have to take it as another experience and accept it even if it is frustrating that I was not able to get my tyres together better. My strategy in that respect was not very impressive as in the last 10 laps my tyres were just gone and seemed to be more slicks than intermediates. I was one of those drivers who had gone onto the last set quite early and we should have done that differently and positioned the tyres better. In general I had some good and tight fights which was fun but with my last stop being probably too early, in the end I just couldn’t do anything and my fights were quite hopeless then. Congratulations to Nico who made it to the podium and at least one of us scored good points. I am looking forward to going home now but let’s see if we manage to!”

Karun Chandhok: “I am fantastically happy to have finished this race again today after our difficult debut in Bahrain and it was not easy today with the rain. Because of a necessary change of hydraulic components on the car, I had to start from the pit lane. This change was profitable as the car was fully operational until the end of the race. It was a bit difficult as we had less front grip and I was struggling with it. Because of the rain I went off a couple of times but I made it to the finish. For the team it is encouraging to finish with both cars again. A great thank to the team. To finish was very difficult today but I am happy I have done it.”

Bruno Senna: “I am very happy to finish the race again. We had no experience in really wet conditions like today and the car was a bit difficult to drive. The ceiling was low and it got a bit dark. Overall, my visor was a bit too dark for those conditions. I enjoyed racing on the wet track. I’m happy for the team who did a great job again to have another two cars finishing the race.”

Timo Glock: “A very difficult day for myself and the whole team. Everything was going well until late into the grid procedure, so the problem came out of the blue and there was nothing we could do to make the start. It proved to be a great race – one that we would obviously have wanted to be part of. At times like this, when things are so disappointing, you just have to make use of the frustration and get something good from it. I know everyone will want to get to the bottom of what happened for us and fix it and I think that process will ensure that we have a much better start to the European season.”

Lucas di Grassi: “This is obviously not a great way to end our weekend and that is very frustrating because we had two very good days of running on Friday and Saturday. I know we will work hard to identify the problems, fix them and get back to the kind of performance we experienced in Malaysia because we have what it takes to continue to be the best of the new teams.”

Pedro de la Rosa: “Of course I am deeply disappointed. We made all the right tyre decisions. I started on slicks and managed to stay out in the drizzle. I enjoyed overtaking and then I was in fourth. When you are in a situation like this you really have to finish. We missed a great chance today. I don’t know what exactly happened. I felt there was something wrong with the engine and then stopped in turn nine.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “It is such a shame. The track conditions were difficult today and this always opens up chances, even if you are not high up on the grid. I’m sure we would have scored points today. My start was good, but after a few corners Vitantonio Liuzzi’s car just flew into mine and I was out.”

Sebastian Vettel: “It was a difficult race – on nearly every second lap there was a car to pass or I got passed. I lost quite a bit of time with the first pit-stop, but we fought our way back and ended the race in sixth. We started on pole, with a one/two actually, but we didn’t finish there. I think today it was very chaotic and to take sixth can be quite important. Obviously our main competitors finished ahead, so that’s not nice. We struggled quite a lot in some of the conditions with the car, it was okay when we were in clean air, our pace was decent, but it’s very on and off in these conditions. It’s a lot just to maintain your track position. I had battle with Lewis (Hamilton) in the pit lane. At the stop I was ahead; I don’t know why he pulled to the left and was keen to touch me. I hoped I didn’t get a puncture from that – I don’t really understand why he did that as I was a bit ahead of him and had the advantage anyway.”

Mark Webber: “It was a difficult race for us and we got a bit blown away – we weren’t quick enough, simple as that. There were very changeable conditions during the race, I know it’s the same for everyone, but the cars are very sensitive when it’s not going one way or the other. So, an interesting grand prix. We know where we lose out in these difficult conditions and we will improve it. I went for another set of intermediates towards the end of the race to try and make up some places. I thought it might work, it did, but then we weren’t quick at the end.”

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