2010 Singapore GP, race: Driver quotes 

Written by David on September 26th, 2010 at 7:21 pmLast Update: September 26th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Nick Heidfeld: “Of course I would have hoped for a better result and wanted to finish the race. But, in my view, Michael (Schumacher) was braking a bit too late and knocked me out of the race. My race was compromised soon after the start anyway. Vitantonio Liuzzi wanted to pass me from a long way off on the outside in corner four. Then I believe he braked early and unfortunately I crashed into him. The car wasn’t easy to drive with the missing rear wing endplate and, anyway, the set-up had not been ideal because you are not allowed to change anything after qualifying. However, having said that, the lap times were not too bad for a while in the race. I’m now looking forward to my favourite circuit, Suzuka.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “It was clearly my mistake. After I overtook Michael Schumacher I knew I had to push very, very hard to score a point, but meanwhile the tyres were completely gone. I misjudged this in that corner and crashed into the barrier. Then Bruno Senna crashed into my car as well. The overall damage is quite bad. At the start it was very close and I lost one place to Vitaly Petrov. Against Mark Webber I had no chance, and then I was tenth behind Michael. I could have gone faster but had no chance to overtake. When I saw an opportunity I attacked him and it worked. Then, as I said, I pushed like hell and ended up in the barrier.”

Jenson Button: “At the start, I thought I’d take it easy on the rear tyres, because we saw earlier in the weekend how quickly they were going away, and I think doing that helped me towards the end of my first stint when I was pulling in Lewis. On the Prime tyre, I had a similar issue with rear-end stability, so not being able to challenge a Red Bull car that had 30 extra laps on its tyres showed us that they were very quick around here today. But it’s a circuit where we knew they’d be competitive, and probably one that was going to be difficult for us, so I go to Japan pretty happy. We’ve got a good upgrade for Suzuka: we’ll have something that we tried to put on the car this weekend but couldn’t – for reliability reasons. Coupled with our planned-for-Suzuka upgrade, it should hopefully be a bit of a double-whammy. My championship hopes were dented a little bit by Mark [Webber] finishing ahead of me, but the points gap to the front is just a race victory away. It shows there’s still everything to play for – one bad race can cost you a lot of points.”

Lewis Hamilton: “I’m still not exactly sure what happened with Mark and me. But, telling it from my point of view, I saw that he’d made a mistake, and had got caught up with the backmarkers, so I was in position to slipstream him. I was on the outside going into Turn Seven, and he was in my blind-spot, just behind me. I thought I’d got sufficiently past him, though. I braked, turned in, and tried to leave enough room for him on the inside – and the next thing I knew I’d got clipped, my tyre was blown, and that was it. But, as the saying goes, I guess that’s motor racing. So, there are still four races to go. I’m 20 points behind Mark, and that’s a reasonable gap, but it’s not an insurmountable one. I guess I’ll just have to keep my head down and hope for the best. I’m not going to think specifically about the world championship right now, I’m just going to try to enjoy the rest of the season – and whatever happens happens. But I’ll keep fighting to the end, because it’s the only way I know.”

Jaime Alguersuari: “I am satisfied that I finished the race, but to be honest, it was possibly the most boring race of my career. I was stuck in a train of cars and there was virtually nothing I could do. It should have been a good opportunity for us to score points today, having qualified eleventh, but it went wrong before the start with a coolant leak on the car, which meant I started from pit lane after the others had gone by. At that point, my hopes of having a good day disappeared. At least I managed three overtaking moves. Looking on the positive side, I think our car has improved in terms of performance and it’s not so bad to start last and finish twelfth.”

Sebastien Buemi: “It was a very tough race. I made a good start, but on the opening lap I had a contact with Kobayashi, which I think might have done some damage because from that point on I had a lot more understeer. So we decided to stop and change the front wing to be on the safe side and at the same time we also changed the tyres. I came out behind Petrov and spent most of the race behind him. Later on, I had to pit another time to pressurise the hydraulic system and we again changed tyres, which meant I was able to catch and pass Jaime and close on Petrov again. I tried to pass him, I didn’t manage it and I was caught by Kubica, who was on fresh tyres. Another pit stop was needed, where we fitted the soft tyres and after that I was able to do some good lap times. I am disappointed because I think that, without the difficulties I had, tenth place should have been within my grasp. However, generally the car has improved which is encouraging for the next race.”

Christian Klien: “I really enjoyed being back in Formula One again even though a comeback here in Singapore might be one of the most difficult. Due to the humidity and the challenging circuit, it has been a tough race today. At the beginning I got off to a good start, could win some positions and was 18th in the meantime. I want to thank the whole team for their great job and also for giving me the opportunity to race.”

Bruno Senna: “As soon as I came out of the corner and into the braking area the flags came out, but it was too late and there was no way to avoid the accident. The marshals were just too late and I didn’t have any notice of what was going on. It’s just one of those days. But we have to keep on working hard for Japan.”

Nico Rosberg: “It was extremely tough out there but we achieved the best possible result for us today. Our aim for the last few races is to finish as the best behind the top three teams and today we were able to profit as two of them had issues with Felipe in qualifying yesterday and Lewis in the race today. So fifth place is good for us and it’s very satisfying for the team. I could push Jenson a little at some points which was good to see. We will be aiming to finish the rest of the season as strongly.”

Michael Schumacher: “I am not particularly happy about my first experience of racing in Singapore this evening. I had two encounters with other cars which were racing incidents and meant that I had to make my stops at times which were not ideal and consequently my race was heavily compromised. I suffered with the rear tyres on my first set of options which made me slide rather than drive through corners which was tough, so I would probably say that I only enjoyed the second part of the race.”

Adrian Sutil: “It was a really hard race today, in the heat and the humidity and having to race the whole way – I always had a car following really closely behind! Starting from 15th on the grid, I think this was the maximum we could have done. It’s a fantastic result, particularly after the disappointment yesterday. I said before it is very important to score every single point we can so we can keep ahead of Williams in the Constructors’ Championship. That’s why I tried so hard to keep Hulkenberg behind – any points we get are very important. We now go onto Suzuka, one of my favourite tracks, where I’ll try my best to keep everything on track until the end of the season.”

Tonio Liuzzi: “It was a difficult first lap. I had a good start and I was trying to overtake Heidfeld, who went straight on into turn seven side by side with Adrian. I was holding my line but after the corner they both came back on the line and I was squeezed into the wall. I had some contact with Heidfeld and damaged the front wing a little and then I must have cracked the rear suspension as well as the lap after it broke completely and I lost the rear end. It’s really disappointing as looking at how the race developed I think we could have picked up a good finish. Anyway, it will be onto Japan now where I hope we can have a much better race.”

Robert Kubica: “The last few laps were definitely the most exciting part of the race. The engineers spotted a right-rear puncture on the data – it must have been some debris that cut the tyre, because I didn’t touch the wall and couldn’t feel anything in the cockpit. That stop dropped me from sixth to 13th position. I had much fresher tyres than the cars in front in those last laps, but it’s still not easy to pass in Singapore, so it was good fun picking them off one by one. In the end, I got back to seventh place, which meant we only lost one position compared to our maximum this afternoon. Ultimately, if somebody had said that I would finish seventh today, and make one more pit stop than the cars around me, then I’d definitely have taken it.”

Vitaly Petrov: “I made a fantastic start and was running in 10th position early in the race. We stopped under the first Safety Car period and I was the first runner on prime tyres behind Webber, so things looked good. I need to look at the video to see what happened afterwards with Hülkenberg and why he pushed me out in turn seven, but his move cost me three positions. I was then stuck behind Massa, in the queue behind the Force India, and it just wasn’t possible to overtake because we had all changed tyres at the same time. It was a tough race, but my luck went away from me yesterday in qualifying. I hope things will come back in my direction starting in Suzuka, so that I can put together a consistent weekend in qualifying and the race.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “That was not quite how I thought my race would end! Until the fire, I was having a really strong run and the car had felt good throughout. We were looking good for 15th, but then I had a coming together with Buemi towards the end of the race. I spun the car to get back onto the track which I think cracked the fuel tank pressure release valve and it looks like that caused an airbox fire. I didn’t want to come into the pits as it definitely wasn’t safe enough to do so, and pulled over on the main straight. A couple of guys from Williams gave me an extinguisher, so I put the fire out on my own – I told Tony and Mike that they maybe need to pay me more as I’m now a fireman as well…”

Jarno Trulli: “I had a very good start and was running well with Heikki but then the problems started. I had a puncture just after the first safety car which brought me back in early, and then the hydraulic problems that have affected me quite a few times this season struck again. It’s been a difficult weekend to be honest, but now we go to Suzuka which is a track I really look forward to, so hopefully I’ll have some better luck there.”

Lucas di Grassi: “A very good result overall and I have achieved my target for Singapore. We opted to pit during the first safety car period but we were very unlucky with the second, which made us lose a lot of time in the race. After that I just focused on getting to the finish. The car was feeling better and better and I was improving my lap time, so overall I’m happy with my performance today.”

Timo Glock: “I got a reasonably good start to the race but both Lotus cars were able to overtake me. I was then able to retake Trulli at turn 7 and it was quite good putting pressure on Kovalainen. At the first safety car we tried to stay out, which worked out okay and I was running as high as P10. I stayed in front of all the other guys for a few laps but when Sutil overtook me there was no chance to keep the others in the pack behind me. When he passed I couldn’t recover quick enough because the tyres were dirty as a result of having to go offline. We were just unlucky with the second safety car. I had to come in for tyres and we just ended up behind. Then a few laps from the end we had a problem with the hydraulics and our race was over. So now we look forward to the next one in Japan where we have more of our upgrade package and that should help us a lot.”

Rubens Barrichello: “It was a good race and a good collection of points today. It was a pity to drop places off the line, but while my brakes were hot, the lap times were good and I was catching Kubica, but with the interruptions of the Safety Cars I kept losing brake performance, so it was difficult to make any more headway than we managed. In summary, though I think we can be pleased with our performance this weekend.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “If someone had offered me eighth place and some points after how qualifying went yesterday, I would have grabbed it! It has been a hard day’s work out there, huge concentration needed for a long race with a car close in front and another close behind for pretty much the entire race distance. But I am pleased with fighting my way through from the back to eighth place and helping the team to move ahead in the championship.”

Sebastian Vettel: “Towards the end of the first stint my soft tyres were pretty much finished, so the car was sliding a lot. We came in on the same lap as Ferrari and unfortunately I made a little mistake at the pit stop; otherwise I think it would have been very close. That’s the story of the whole race. I tried to push Fernando as hard as I could into a mistake, but he didn’t make a major one and it’s hard to overtake here – it would have been too risky. In the end we got second and some good points. The most important thing is that the car was quick and competitive all weekend. There was something missing yesterday in qualifying, which is the only thing that affected us today. Some people had been commenting on our starts, but I had a very good start, so we made excellent progress with that. It’s good to get points for the team, it helps us a lot in the Constructors’ Championship and the Drivers’ Championship is still open.”

Mark Webber: “Our start was very good, so well done to the team for that. It was good for us to get away well, as it sets you up well for the race. I settled into the first stint and we had an early safety car. The team told me to pit, which I questioned, but they assured me it was the right thing. I wasn’t sure and knew it was going to be a long stint on the primes, but when we came out and re-queued behind the safety car I realised I was in a reasonable position. I passed a few guys, then got to Rubens (Barrichello) who was driving very well and I couldn’t clear him. We then had another restart and it can be difficult to get away cleanly when you have back-markers involved. I got caught up behind one the Virgin cars, he was doing his best, but Lewis (Hamilton) got a good run on me and unfortunately we made contact. It’s obviously not desirable, as it was a key part of the race for me to maintain my position. Fernando (Alonso) and Sebastian (Vettel) drove fantastic races today. They drove well all weekend and it was a good race for everyone to see, I’m very happy with third.”

Fernando Alonso: “This win is very significant. We wanted to confirm our success in Monza at a completely different type of track and we succeeded at the end of a very hard and extremely stressful race, both for me and for the car, on a track that I like a lot and which is well suited to my driving style. After the earlier gift – the Easter surprise, as I called it – of getting pole yesterday, today it was important first and foremost to make a good start: that is what happened, even if Vettel might have been slightly quicker away than me, but here the run to the first corner is not so long and so I was able to close the door and keep the lead. On the soft tyres, we were going very well, but on the hards, the Red Bull seemed to be quicker than us. The pit stop went off perfectly, both in terms of strategy and in the way it was done in pit lane. In the second part of the race, I tried to avoid taking any sort of risk, especially when getting past the backmarkers at the same time as the yellow flags were out. There are four races to go and the championship is very open. In Spa, Sebastian, Jenson and I came away empty handed, then in Monza it was Hamilton’s turn: the dance towards the title sees the contenders see-sawing up and down, although Mark is still holding on to a slight lead. We must stay calm and concentrate on our own job, without thinking about what the others are doing: what is certain is that we will leave nothing to chance, fighting right to the very end. The F10 has improved a lot thanks to the work of all our engineers in Maranello and here at the track, and I am happy for that because now we can be on the pace at every type of circuit. We are not considered favourites for the races that lie ahead of us, but none of them are anything to be frightened about.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a very difficult race for me after everything that happened in qualifying yesterday. We chose a strategy similar to the one used for Fernando in Monaco, hoping for some help from a Safety Car which unfortunately, came out on track too early. So I was not able to overtake that many cars and then I found myself in a train behind Sutil and Hulkenberg: one or two laps later and I could have made up two or three places and had a different sort of race. The car was not too bad, given that I was always on the same set of hard tyres: only towards the end did the situation get worse and I could feel the tyre degradation which is why Kubica managed to get past me so easily. I can’t say I had much fun driving, given that I was always stuck behind another car. I had a new engine and now I only have three left which have each done one race, to rotate over the last four races of the season. I hope I will have more luck in those races than I have had this weekend!”

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