2011 Spanish GP, Race: Driver quotes 

Written by David on May 22nd, 2011 at 7:06 pmLast Update: May 22nd, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Jarno Trulli: “The race was really good. It was another great start for me, another strong start this season, so that was very positive. I gained a number of positions and was right in the race in the beginning. Obviously with soft tyres our car was looking better than it did with the hard tyres and that gave us a very good first couple of stints. Unfortunately towards the middle of the race I felt I had a problem with the exhaust which affected the rear end of the car and meant that my performance was not as good as earlier. But all in all, it was a very good race for me. I fought like a lion and I’m happy with myself and felt that I really got the best out of the car today. There’s still a bit of work to do to catch up with the guys in front, but it’s fantastic that we’ve lapped the guys behind us once again. The overall aero package is good – we just need to focus on developing that for the future and increase the gap even more from the guys behind, and keep on closing the distance to the cars ahead.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “It’s a real shame my afternoon came to an end like that. I made a mistake on the entry to turn four and went off but up until that point the race was pretty good. Both Jarno and I were right in the mix early on and we were fighting in the midfield for a lot of the race but then the tyres started to go off and the early pace wasn’t there for the later stages of the afternoon. Maybe we should have pitted earlier on but we’ve still learnt a lot from this weekend and can take that to Monaco where I think it will be a very interesting weekend for everyone.”

Michael Schumacher: “We managed to make the most out of our possibilities today which is good news, especially for our guys who I am happy for. I had a good start; going right through the middle was tight but fortunately it worked out. Then the race was about holding position from there. We can be happy with the result but other than that, it was just tricky with oversteer, tyre degradation and poor balance to deal with. Still we achieved what we could have, and I look forward to going to Monaco.”

Nico Rosberg: “It was a difficult race for me after I lost radio communication with the team early on which was tough, and my DRS was not working properly which made any overtaking almost impossible. I had fun in the battle with Michael for P6, although I wasn’t able to attack him fully and was therefore stuck behind him for most of the race. I’m now looking forward to my home Grand Prix in Monaco. I love the track and I’m sure we can be closer to the front there.”

Sergio Perez: “It was a tough race today and a hard fight for points. I’m really happy we made it. My first points in Formula One are obviously something special for me, and it is good for the team that Kamui also scored. The team had a very good race strategy and did a perfect job at the pit stops. I feel that for me today is a turning point in this season. We will continue well and score more points.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “I lost a lot of time on lap one today. After the start I was pushed into the gravel and then another car touched me, which resulted in a left rear puncture. I had to pit and was relegated to last, which of course cost us a very good set of the soft tyres. I had to do quite a long stint on the harder tyres, which was not easy, but overall the race pace was okay. I’m happy to have scored for the fourth time in a row, and think we are going in the right direction.”

Paul Di Resta: “I think we can go away quite satisfied with the result today, especially after making up four places on our grid position. We compromised our qualifying by saving tyres yesterday, which was definitely the right approach, but we were just missing a bit more pace to do any more. I also got stuck a few times behind the Toro Rossos in the first, second and third stints, without which I probably could have finished a bit higher up. Still, there are a lot of positives because we made the strategy work, the pitstops went well and I think this result is the most we could have expected without the cars ahead of us running into problems.”

Adrian Sutil: “The end result today is about where we expected to be. I did the opposite strategy to Paul by starting on the prime tyres, which were very slow to start with and the first stint was not that easy. Then, as I ran the options, the race started to come to me and I was able to move forward gradually. It was quite easy to overtake today because when the car ahead of you is struggling with the tyres there is such a big speed differential. In the closing laps the car felt good, but I could have done with two or three more laps to maximise my strategy and probably make up some more ground.”

Sebastien Buemi: “I made a really good start, passing Massa, Button and Maldonaldo, but unfortunately, Button and Massa got by me again as they were quicker. I managed to run at a good pace, but I think we were a bit unlucky to lose a lot of time when I got lapped. Also our strategy was not quite perfect and on top of that, we were generally a little bit too slow and Force India and Sauber beat us fair and square.”

Jaime Alguersuari: “In general, this was not a good race for us. I did the maximum I could, pushing lap after lap, while trying to look after my tyres. After around 12 laps my tyres were gone, which is why I ended up doing a four stop race. Overall, in terms of my lap times, maybe this race was very slightly more positive than the last one in Turkey. We really need to deal with the tyre degradation and there is a lot of work still to do, if we are to be competitive and fighting for points.”

Timo Glock: “I had a reasonable race – although it was a bit of a struggle going into turn one. Liuzzi got past me as he had a better line but I got past him after the first pitstop, which was good as it meant that we could then go at our own pace. In general I think we got the best out of the car today and we had a good strategy in terms of managing the traffic, so overall I’m quite happy with my day.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio: “I think it was a pretty good race for me – better than qualifying yesterday. I had a pretty good first stint but of course when we hit the traffic it turns into a completely different race. Here you lose a lot of time, more than in Turkey, China or Malaysia, but for us it was a good race. We need to look at a small issue with the brakes but apart from that everything went smoothly. The team did a great job again with the strategy. I had some good stints with not too much traffic so overall I’m quite pleased.”

Narain Karthikeyan: “It was a very hard race. The tyres were degrading a lot, especially the rear ones making it very difficult to drive. The first few laps were all right but then the rear started giving me a lot of problems. I also had some trouble with my seat, I burnt my back and at times the pain was unbearable. The positive aspect was that I finished the race although we didn’t get much out of it. We need to find out why we were off the pace, we thought our race pace would improve this weekend but that has not been the case. Qualifying was good but our race pace wasn’t good unlike in previous races. Perhaps this is because of the drastic difference between prime and option compounds which made the setup very difficult and resulted in massive oversteer. So we now need to work on this.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi: “I had a great start to the race passing a few cars into the first corner just like at the last grand prix. Everything was going fine, the balance of the car was good, I was ahead of both Virgin cars and pulling away in the first stint. This confirmed the step forward we’d predicted from the last race. After the first pit stop, with the second set of tyres we lost some grip in the rear just like in qualifying. I also started feeling issues with the upshift, it was getting worse and worse and eventually had to stop. We have to investigate why this happened but it’s still too early to say what the reason was. It’s a real shame because without this issue we could’ve had better pace for the second stint and fight with the Virgins until the end. Narain finished the race which is always positive because it means we can have more data but it’s now time to start thinking about racing and not just finishing because we’re growing and must try and get ahead of Virgin.”

Lewis Hamilton: “I was pleasantly surprised by how fast we were today. In race trim, I actually think we were quicker than the Red Bulls, except through the really high-speed stuff. I pushed as hard as I could all afternoon, and I’m really happy with the result – a few more laps and it might have been a different order at the front, but I just ran out of time at the end. Despite DRS, it’s still very difficult to overtake at this track – you can’t follow through Turn Three or Turn Nine, so that makes it really hard. Also, I was in Sebastian’s Vettel dirty air and the car was sliding a lot – it was incredibly tough behind him. We’re probably still losing out a bit too much in qualifying, but our race pace is right there. So, as you’d expect, we’ll be looking at ways of improving our qualifying pace. I was also really happy to see Jenson come through and finish on the podium – it’s a great result for the team. Now I’m already looking forward to Monaco – it’s a circuit where high-speed downforce is less critical and where the driver can make a difference, so it should be a strong track for us.”

Jenson Button: “I had a terrible start and was on the outside into Turn One and Turn Three, where I lost further places. I was down in 10th at the end of the first lap, which was extremely disappointing. After that, I didn’t think third would really be possible, but as the others all made their pitstops so early, and as my tyres still felt good, I started to think it might be on. After Turkey, it was really fantastic to make the strategy work for me today. We stayed on the Option for as long as possible and I did three stops to the others’ four – and the result was that I had a great race. I overtook Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso within a lap of each other. I knew I wasn’t going to catch the first two, but I pushed as hard as I could just in case something happened ahead of me. Tyre life with these Pirellis is like a switch – once you lose the rears, the lap-times just drop. We got it just right today – and, when I finally got onto the Prime, the circuit was in a good condition and the tyre worked pretty well. I really felt like I raced today. Finally, I want to say a big thank-you to the team today – we chose a fantastic strategy, the pitstops were perfect and we made everything work. This was the result of a superb team effort.”

Sebastian Vettel: “It was pretty tough today. At the beginning of the race I thought I had a good start, I didn’t understand where Fernando came from! He started behind me, 16 metres behind, and half way down the straight he was already side-by-side. He went on the inside of Mark and I went on the outside, so he was leading after the first corner. We couldn’t get close enough to use the DRS, but we got him with the pit stop. Fairly early, everyone was getting the options out of the way, so there was half the race left on the hard tyres. It looked like the McLarens were very strong; they stayed out longer on a different strategy, which bought them up to second behind us. From then on I knew that it would be very, very close; going into the last 10 laps felt the same as in China. My tyres were going away from me and I prayed the same was happening to Lewis, as he was catching up and they seemed so much quicker, especially on the last sector. At the end of the straights he would be right in my mirrors, so you don’t know if you should defend or not. It was very close, but on the last two laps, I could make it stick. KERS was on and off, which meant I was playing around with brake distribution a lot. McLaren and Lewis especially gave us a hard time today. It’s quite a release when you cross the line and you know that you made it, so I’m very, very happy. It was a great result and after yesterday a good confirmation that we are strong but, as expected, McLaren and Ferrari are giving us a hard time and are pushing hard – I’m very happy today. ”

Mark Webber: “I don’t think my start was hideous, but Fernando got a phenomenal one. Obviously from then on it wasn’t the start we had planned and it was a bit of a chess game. People were covering each other’s pit stops and I really didn’t do much racing on track. At the end of the race I finished 40 seconds behind Lewis and Seb. It was an interesting day today and shows how fine the margins are; we were frustrated by Fernando who seemed to pit every time I did! At certain stages I was quick and at others I wasn’t – that’s the way it was today.”

Fernando Alonso: “The best bit of the race was obviously the start. We have worked so much on this area and you could see the outcome. It was fantastic to see the crowd cheering in the grandstands! I tried to do the maximum, keeping the quickest ones behind me for around twenty laps, but after that, there was nothing I could do. It was very stressful having them filling my mirrors all the time and we tried as much as possible to copy or anticipate their moves. That meant doing over the half the race on the hards, which penalised us heavily and made the gap bigger than it is in reality. We lack aerodynamic downforce: here we did not have a wing that suited this track. We must analyse carefully the behaviour of all the modifications we brought to this Grand Prix and understand why, in the space of two weeks, we have lost ground to Red Bull and McLaren. Now we head off to Monaco immediately for what is a special race on the calendar. Anything could happen there. Sure, we know the amount of downforce required at this track is the highest of the year, but that was also the case last year and we were competitive. I am definitely not thinking of giving up on the championship after just five races: the gap in the classification is very big, but everything can still happen, I’m sure of it.”

Felipe Massa: “Towards the end of the race I could not select the gears and I had to stop at the side of the track: it was a fitting end to a terrible weekend. Luckily, we can start again immediately, with the Monaco race, which is something of a second home race for me, given that I live in the Principality. Also luckily, we will not have the hard tyres we had today that really did not work for us. When we went from the option to the prime we began to suffer more and more: there was no grip and I was struggling to keep the car on track. Thanks to the strategy, we had managed to pass the Mercedes and Petrov’s Renault, but it all came to nothing in the end. We did not have enough aerodynamic downforce to get the hard tyres to work properly, as indeed we have already seen at other races, but here it was even more of a problem.”

Vitaly Petrov: “It was an interesting race, and strategically it was challenging for all the teams. I think what really affected my position today was the collision with Michael early in the race. He hit my car and then I was stuck behind some slower drivers after the first pit stop. If this had not happened, my race would have been much stronger and I could have pulled away. However, I was pleased to overtake Sebastien (Buemi) at the end, which took me back into eighth. We must be positive, we have both cars in the points and it’s another ten points for the team.”

Nick Heidfeld: “It’s always good to score points, but I think I could have finished even higher up today, even though I started in P9. I am not totally happy with the race -I was stuck in traffic for quite a while, overtaking was difficult and Vitaly made contact with me- but my pace was good, especially at the end of the race when the car was light on the soft tyres. I also think our strategy was the right one. Overall, to finish in P7 and take six points for the team is good, given that I did not qualify in a higher position.”

Pastor Maldonado: “It was a difficult race. We didn’t have a great start, which is something we need to work on. We then struggled to keep on the pace and unfortunately our strategy didn’t help us. But we finished the race and so we now have more data to work with. We need to push hard and concentrate on improving our race pace for Monaco.”

Rubens Barrichello: “I had a very tough race. Starting on primes meant the base wasn’t good but we had the option so it should have been better at the end. Unfortunately, we had more problems today. First, during the pitstop and then with KERS again, which lost us a lot of time. That’s another race with no points. We need to improve. “

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