2010 Chinese GP, race: Team quotes 

Written by Nick on April 18th, 2010 at 2:14 pmLast Update: April 18th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Christian Horner: “It was a very chaotic race today. Both drivers elected to stop early on when the rain came. Unfortunately Mark hit the front jack and damaged his front wing, which ultimately cost both drivers a bit of time. Then, a few laps later as the circuit dried, they ended up coming back in for slicks. Seb got out ahead of Lewis and then they rapidly caught Sutil but, as Seb was passing Sutil, Hamilton got back past him. He lost quite a lot of time at that stage during the race. After the restart, Mark got pushed wide a lost quite a few positions. We took a gamble and opted to put him onto another set of intermediates early. By doing that he was able to leapfrog the cars ahead of him. Unfortunately the tyres were very worn by the end of the race, but it elevated him from twelfth at the time to eighth. Sixth and eighth isn’t the result that we were looking for from first and second, but it is such a lottery in chaotic conditions and they are still valuable points. It’s not often you get a race like that and when you’re first and second you’ve got everything to lose, rather than everything to gain. Things went right for McLaren today, with Lewis on an identical strategy to our guys. So, well done to them and we’ll fight back at the next race.”

Fabrice Lom: “I hope people enjoyed the show. I’m sure it was a very good race to watch from the outside, but for us it was bad. We recovered a small amount of points, but it was much less than we expected to get here. The good thing is that the engine behaved correctly in these difficult situations, which is always good. We now just have to focus on the next race; we have three weeks to find more pace and be stronger.”

Colin Kolles: “A good day for the team completing our second two-car finish in the rain in our fourth race. Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna drove their second wet race after Australia. Again we reached our goal with two cars finishing the race and we gathered quite a lot of data on this track that can be used for the European season. Congratulations to the team. Now in the three weeks to come, we must work on more developments for the team’s home Grand Prix in Barcelona.”

Eric Boullier: “To get two cars in the points today is a great result for the team and I’m very pleased with our performance. To see Vitaly score his first points is fantastic, especially in such spectacular style with a fighting drive where he showed great pace. It’s good for him to have a race distance under his belt and I’m sure he will take a lot of confidence from this excellent result. Robert, too, had another brilliant race, and didn’t make a single mistake all weekend. I also want to pay tribute to the team who have worked so hard recently, both here at the track and back at the factory in Enstone. They have not made any mistakes all season and have made great calls with the strategy: today’s result is a great reward for all their efforts.”

Alan Permane: “What an exciting race and another strong performance from the entire team. Robert drove an excellent race and we can be happy to have picked up some more good points with a strong fifth place finish. It’s great to see Vitaly score points today and deliver such a mature drive. In the closing stages he did an excellent job to look after his intermediate tyres and it was very rewarding to see him overtaking much more experienced drivers. However, we’re a little disappointed because we were in third and fourth places before the second safety car period. Without that, we could probably have finished on the podium.”

Remi Taffin: “Two cars in the points today and a superb performance from both drivers, especially Vitaly who showed good, consistent pace in very difficult conditions. He also overtook lots of drivers today, including a certain former world champion. Robert drove another faultless race and has scored some more important points. As a team there were no problems during the race, which went very smoothly, and we can be pleased to have maximised our potential to come away with fifth and seventh places.”

Mike Gascoyne: “Whilst I’m obviously pleased I want to say first how disappointed I am for Jarno. He’s had a lot of bad luck so far – it seems all our bad luck has been on his car, so apologies to him, but it was a fantastic race from Heikki. We judged all the calls correctly and were on the right tyres all the way through, so congratulations to the whole team for that. I’m also very pleased to see our race pace was very good, especially at the end on the wet conditions. These first four races were always going to be tough, but we’ve achieved what we set out to and now we’re looking ahead to Barcelona and seeing how the updates we’ve been working on help us move forward.”

Tony Fernandes: “I’m really happy today as we’ve accomplished what we said we’d do. We wanted to see at least one car cross the line for the first four races, and we’ve done that, but it’s kind of bitter sweet today. It’s obviously a great result for Heikki but a real shame for Jarno as he seems to take the brunt of the issues – it’s a bit odd as it does seem to be just his car. The conditions today made it very tense out there and it’s very satisfying, and shows how we’re progressing, that today we were racing Williams, who we beat on track. Another great thing for me was to see how the Lotus Racing dream is spreading, in China, Asia and across the world. We saw a load of Lotus Racing flags in the stands, and this time next year let’s hope we see even more fans out there cheering for us – we’ll do our best to give them something to be very proud of!”

Ross Brawn: “We had a very good race with Nico today. He drove extremely well in difficult conditions and the team did everything right on the tyre stops, making good strategic decisions. We lost some of our advantage with the safety car which was a shame but overall an excellent day and a great drive from Nico. With Michael, we clearly had a more difficult time but at least we got a point out of it. We have some issues that we need to understand as the deterioration of his tyres and therefore his pace is a problem that we need to resolve before the next race. We haven’t quite got the car at the moment but when we do, we know that we can get the job done.”

Norbert Haug: “A great result for Nico and everybody at MERCEDES GP today. Well done to all of our team members on the second podium in a row with two third places for Nico and our team. Nico is now second in the points standings after four races and certainly one of the most remarkable drivers of this young season. Congratulations to our friends at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and to Jenson and Lewis for their one-two result. This was the 70th victory for a car with Mercedes power since Melbourne 1997 here in this important Chinese market for Mercedes-Benz. A special thank you from my side and on behalf of our Board to all of the hard-working guys at Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines in Brixworth and Stuttgart. A great job from you all! It was not a good race weekend for Michael unfortunately. We will investigate what the problems were and I am convinced we will all see much stronger results from him rather sooner than later.”

James Key: “Obviously it was a very exciting race today for watching, but frustrating for us. Kamui was unfortunately the victim of an accident that was happening behind him, and was caught out by a car coming across the track. It was not his fault. Pedro was driving an excellent race, he made a great call on the tyres and the team went with that decision. He stayed on the dry option tyres while others changed to wets, which was a very good call by the driver and the team. He ended up fourth – looked fairly strong, was battling with Vitaly Petrov and the lap times were good. Sadly there was a problem with the car. It is engine related but we can’t say whether it’s a specific engine problem or a problem related to the chassis. We still need to analyse that when the car comes back. It was a points opportunity today, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

Nick Wirth: “Following the overnight Parc Ferme, we started the cars this morning and discovered that the clutch on Lucas’ car was not functioning correctly. We changed the clutch before the race, but it still wasn’t working properly even when we eventually got Lucas out and into the Race and ultimately we had to retire him. Timo’s car lost engine valve system air pressure on the Grid, which required us to move him back to the garage. We attempted to refill the air system but it was clear that there was a substantial air leak from the system in a place which was difficult to access quickly, so we were also forced to retire his car. All in all, a very disappointing day, but I know that we will get to grips with the problems and bounce back in Barcelona.”

Franz Tost: “Sebastien made a good start, but unfortunately, he was hit by Liuzzi, who spun under braking. This was the second time this season that Sebastien has been involved in an accident not of his own making. Overall, he performed well this weekend up to that point, recovering from his lack of running on Friday. I’m sure a good result will come his way soon. Jaime drove another good race, even if the changing weather conditions were not so easy for him to deal with. He had to make two extra stops, once after the first lap when he thought he had damaged his front wing, after touching Kobayashi. But when he came in, we did not see any damage, so did not change it. The second stop came when he lost the front wing after a coming together with a backmarker and, but for these two extra stops, I’m convinced he could have finished in the points once again. Our car performance was good here and the team worked well in this afternoon’s complicated conditions, so we are looking forward to Spain.”

Vijay Mallya: “It is disappointing to see our run of points end and not to have been able to make more of these conditions, but that’s sometimes what happens in this type of conditions: it can become a bit of a lottery. There are still some positives from the weekend – Adrian again proved his wet weather prowess and also that we are genuine top ten. We’ve got some work to do now that Renault has opened up a sizeable advantage but we have some developments in the pipeline and the season has a long way to run. We’ll regroup and come back strongly in Spain I’m sure.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “Today’s race was seriously challenging for drivers and teams alike. The strategy was very tricky to call correctly, but in the end we probably selected two different strategies that suited Jenson and Lewis very well. Lewis produced a storming drive characterised by all the passion and flair we’ve grown used to seeing from him – I thought some of his overtaking manoeuvres were simply stunning. Jenson drove like the world champion that he is to record a truly brilliant win in extremely testing conditions. You won’t see many better drives than that, I can tell you – he was very, very impressive today. The team did a fantastic job, too. It was a very busy afternoon for all the pitcrews, but I thought ours performed particularly well. Credit should also be given to Mercedes-Benz for not only supplying the winning engine but also powering the first three cars home – it was the first all-Mercedes-Benz podium in Formula 1 since Aintree 1955. Lovers of Formula 1 trivia may also be interested to know that today’s result marks the first all-British one-two since A1-Ring 1999, where Eddie Irvine led David Coulthard home. Now, we’re hoping to get our cars and ourselves out of China, home, and then on to Spain just as soon as we can. We’re already looking forward to racing in Barcelona, where we hope to be very competitive yet again.”

Stefano Domenicali: “First of all, I want to compliment the pit stop crew, who did an amazing job today, handling three double stops without making the slightest mistake and also helping the drivers to make up places. As for the strategy choices, especially for the first stop, it’s clear from the top four finishers that two drivers made one choice and the other two a different one, which means it is difficult to give an instant assessment of which was the right one. With hindsight, Button’s paid off better, but it can also be said that, but for his penalty for a jumped start, Fernando could definitely have fought for the victory. As for the passing move involving Felipe and Fernando, we only saw it afterwards on the television replay and I think it was just a racing incident and there is absolutely no problem between the two drivers: when you are always racing to win, you can have moments like this. There’s a slight feeling of regret after these first four rounds of the championship. We have definitely ended up with less than we were capable of, sometimes because of incidents beyond our control and sometimes because of things that were down to us. Having said that, we are still fully in the fight for both titles and that is already very important. Now we must continue to push on the development of the car and its performance, especially in qualifying. Starting in Barcelona, we must get back on the podium and that is completely possible.”

Chris Dyer: “An extremely difficult race, affected by the changing weather and, in Fernando’s case, by the incident at the start. After the start of the race, we opted to go for the intermediates, but the track did not stay wet enough for long and so we had to go back to slicks. Then, when the rain came, we went back to wets and both cars proved to be very competitive and the drivers did the best job possible of managing the tyres, better than many of the others, thus managing to gain some places. After the penalty, Fernando drove a great race, just as the pit stop guys did an exceptional job and very well done to them for that.”

Sam Michael: “It was disappointing not to score points today with either car. Some of the calls on our pitstops were wrong, some were right, but overall we weren’t fast enough and didn’t make the right decisions. Rubens made a good start so we have improved in that area since Malaysia. We’re now looking ahead to Barcelona to take a step forward with our performance.”

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