2011 Spanish GP, Race: Team quotes 

Written by David on May 22nd, 2011 at 7:05 pmLast Update: May 22nd, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Thierry Salvi: “We had a good start, particularly Jarno, and in the early stages of the race the pace was ok. Later on we had to manage a couple of small issues on Jarno’s car which somewhat compromised his overall speed so we had to manage those throughout the race, but the point is that we have seen the potential of the car. We have made quite a lot of changes over the weekend and now we need to work hard to understand how to maximise the whole package, in set-up and translating that into performance.”

Mike Gascoyne: “That was a long hard race that was all about managing the tyres. Both drivers started well but Heikki suffered some damage to his front wing that helped Jarno get past. From then on the pace was good. We were trying to stay on three stops and maybe stopped a little late in the first stint, but in the end it was a shame we were not able to get both cars to the flag. Heikki made a small mistake on lap 52 and then Jarno had a cracked exhaust which meant we had to keep an eye on that, but overall we have made real progress this weekend and have amassed a great deal of data on the new package that will help us learn how to get the most out of all the changes, so it is another positive weekend for the whole team.”

Kamarudin Meranun: “The whole weekend has been pretty good for us. We had an excellent result in qualifying and had reasonably high hopes for the race but we always knew it would be tough to replicate what we did on Saturday afternoon over the race distance. We started well and were looking good in the early stages of the race but then Heikki’s accident brought his race to an early end and Jarno was pushing as hard as he could on the hard tyres for the final stint but finished a credible 18th. There are a number of positives to take from this afternoon – we were able to fight with the established teams and have shown that we are consistently improving, little by little. That is the key goal for this year and we keep moving forward so we leave Spain pretty pleased overall.”

Ross Brawn: “It was a tough race today but we achieved everything that we could have with sixth and seventh places. We opted to start Michael on the option tyres as his reconnaissance laps at the start showed the grip levels were marginal. Both drivers had good starts, particularly Michael, and credit to the team for that. Then we had a pretty controlled race with good work on the strategy and in the pits. Obviously we have ground to make up on the cars in front and we will keep working hard.”

Norbert Haug: “We achieved the result that was possible for us today with Michael in sixth and Nico in seventh place. Michael had a great start on new options and gained four places which was the foundation of his final result. Nico suffered from various problems; from a radio which did not work to a rear wing malfunction. Our strategy and our pit stops worked very well but our speed was not where it needs to be. The fact that everybody behind Red Bull and McLaren Mercedes was lapped today shows that there is a lot of work to do for the rest of the field. We are now looking forward to the great Monaco race next weekend.”

Peter Sauber: “It is not easy in this very strong field to get points if you start 12th and 14th. Despite a puncture on Kamui’s car, thanks to a good strategy we managed to get both cars into the top ten. Congratulations to Sergio for his first championship points, as after he lost those from Melbourne he has had to wait a while. Kamui has shown another good fight back from the tail end of the field. I am very happy the new aero package has had the effect that the gap to the top teams did not grow and the gap to those behind did not shrink. I want to send a thank you to Hinwil.”

James Key: “It was a difficult start to the race in many ways. We recovered well and I think both drivers did particularly good jobs to get into the points. It was quite eventful right from the outset when we think Kamui was pushed onto the grass on the first lap and then got a puncture. He ended up coming in at the end of lap one and so was last on lap two. It was a great effort from him to come back and score a point, rather similar to the last race in Turkey, but this time without any tyre advantages. Sergio also drove well. He came in early and then really pushed on the hard tyre. Then we had some reasonably good soft tyres at the end when he managed to get up to the people he was fighting with and overtake them.”

Robert Fernley: “I don’t think there’s any doubt that our decision to save tyres yesterday was the right one and the fresh rubber certainly helped us optimise the strategy today. Both Paul and Adrian did an excellent job – pushing hard and coming through the field. Adrian lost a little bit of time during one of his pitstops, but apart from that I think we got the most we could reasonably expect from the race. However, we know we have plenty of work to do before next week’s race in Monaco and we still need to find some speed if we want to stay at the front of the midfield battle. Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso are all very closely matched at the moment and we need to establish our position at the head of that group and pushing the top ten.”

John Booth: “Timo got a particularly good start on the run down to turn one, but unfortunately Liuzzi got past on the outside. He struggled in the first stint with a set of tyres which had a small vibration issue. We picked this up after qualifying but since we needed to run all three sets of our Option tyres today, we elected to use that set in the stint which we thought would be most plagued by traffic. It looks in general that our pace was a little bit better than we thought compared to the front-runners and we also didn’t see the traffic we expected in the first stint. After stopping for a new set of Option tyres Timo made light work of getting past Liuzzi and was able to run at his true pace for the rest of the race. Jerome struggled a bit with his braking stability throughout the weekend and this seems to have harmed his pace in the race relative to Timo. However, overall, he completed his objective of moving ahead of the Hispanias. In terms of the team performance, another strong weekend in which we have completed the first five-race cycle on the gearbox, which is a huge improvement compared to last year. Now we have our reliability issues behind us, we need to focus on performance developments for the car.”

Colin Kolles: “Tonio started the race very well, he was in a good position, improving lap by lap and creating a bigger gap with the cars behind him. Unfortunately, after the first pit stop, we noticed that the gear box wasn’t running properly so we had to change the gearbox mode. We started losing pressure and had to stop due to a gearbox failure. We don’t know what happened on Narain’s car, we will have to look into it and assess the situation but getting over the finish line is positive. Tonio’s start to the race is proof that we have made the next step and can compete with our closest rivals on the track.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “Jenson was edged down to 10th place on the first lap, and from then on he was always going to be playing catch-up. But, using a three-stop strategy hatched in response to that setback, he did just that. He caught up superbly, in fact, balancing the need for speed with the equally crucial requirement that he look after his tyres, and the result was that he ended up on the podium alongside Sebastian and Lewis. It was one of those drives that marks out a true world champion. As for Lewis, he drove another storming race, taking the fight to Sebastian from lights to flag. It’s probably fair to say that Red Bull are still a little quicker than us in qualifying, but Lewis showed this afternoon that in race spec we’re now able to match them every inch of the way. Indeed, Lewis was looking for a way past Sebastian in the final few laps – their battle must have made for a thrilling finale for TV viewers and trackside spectators alike – but in the end he just couldn’t pull it off. Nonetheless, as I say, he drove brilliantly. In summary, then, we scored 33 world championship points today, which is another decent haul. But we want to win and we intend to win, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing our damnedest to do on the famously challenging streets of Monte-Carlo in just a few days’ time.”

Christian Horner: “A really exciting race. I think we were all surprised to see Fernando come through at the first corner in first position and that changed the dynamics of the race. He didn’t have great pace at the front and it boxed the rest of them up behind. We managed to undercut with Sebastian, but couldn’t do it with Mark because Ferrari could see what we were doing. It was a combination of team-work and strategy. Sebastian had to make the passes on Jenson and Massa to make his strategy work, it was a real risk, but he went for it and made it happen, which is what it’s all about. Unfortunately for Mark, he spent the first half looking at Fernando Alonso’s exhaust and to get him ahead in the end we did a dummy which they fell for. Otherwise it was frustrating for Mark and the complete result would be to have him right up there as well.”

Cyril Dumont: “It was a really tough race – I think it was the toughest of the season so far, but for the team it was a good result again. It was a shame not to see Mark on the podium, but he did really well to finish fourth and get some good points for him and the team. Next week will be important – Mark loves Monaco, so I hope we have a good result there next week – we will see.”

Stefano Domenicali: “There is no denying that being lapped hurts. It’s even more painful after seeing a driver of Fernando’s calibre putting on such a breathtaking display at the start and then fighting like a lion to keep drivers with clearly faster cars behind him for almost twenty laps. We need to provide him and Felipe with a car with which they can fight all the way to the end of a race and not just in the first part. On a track that favours cars that have a lot of aerodynamic downforce, ours are lacking in this area and that was glaringly obvious, especially on the new hard tyres brought here by Pirelli. We never managed to get this type of tyre to work and our pace was at least two seconds off that of the first four. What to do now? Continue to work on improving the car and finding the aerodynamic downforce that is lacking. We now go into a run of three races which will see the use of the soft and supersoft tyres: we will see what happens and assess the situation at that point.”

Pat Fry: “Yesterday, a fantastic lap from Fernando had seen us for the first time get a place on the two front rows of the grid. Today, the Spaniard did it again with an incredible start, which took him into the lead, putting him into a position that was clearly superior to the objective worth of our package. On the soft tyres we could keep the best cars behind us, but then on the hard we did not stand a chance and we could only think of defending our position. Here, Red Bull and McLaren were clearly quicker than us and it was only down to Fernando’s talent that we managed to hold them off in the first part of the race. We did not have enough aerodynamic downforce for this circuit and we could see that right from the start of the weekend, but clearly we did not expect to be this far off in terms of race pace. There is a lot to do to make this car more competitive: we have made a step forward but it has not been enough to let us fight all the way to the end for the top places. From a strategy point of view I think we made the right choices, trying to cover our main rivals throughout the whole race. Sure, it put the pit stop guys under a lot of pressure, pushing it to the limit, usually with a rival car in the pit lane at the same time: all in all, they did a good job.”

Eric Boullier: “Today, going for four pit stops was the right decision. There was no spectacular start from our cars but we pitted at the right time to ensure both drivers finished in the points. We definitely need to work harder on Fridays to understand the tyre degradation, which will allow us to know where we stand for the rest of the weekend. From here, we will push even more as the result today was not as strong as it could have been – we will be striving to get back into the top six.”

James Allison: “Today we opted for a four stop rather than a three stop race, and the balance of the evidence suggests that was the right choice. In all honesty, I feel satisfied rather than happy with today’s performance – satisfied because our finishing places in the race were stronger than our qualifying positions, but not happy because the gap between us and the cars that finished on the podium was too large. We have more improvements planned for the car and we will be aiming for top six finish or better in the coming races at Barcelona and Monaco.”

Riccardo Penteado: “Another double points finish for Lotus Renault GP, which after the issues of the last race is a good result. We planned an aggressive strategy to try and catch Jenson (Button) at the end and fuel consumption was very high, even higher than in qualifying, so we were very tight on fuel with both cars. It almost worked and Nick wasn’t far away – just over a second. It was a shame that we got caught in the traffic and could not get ahead but the most important thing is that we got another 10 points and consolidated our position in the championship.”

Sam Michael: “Although our end positions don’t look like it, we are improving but it is extremely tight in the midfield. If you don’t get it right, you end up 15th instead of 10th. The main thing for us now is to keep focussed and to improve the upgrades we bring to the car. Over the next couple of races in particular we need to get the front and rear wings and the diffuser working. Today we had a problem with the rear jack on both cars so we will look into that before Monaco.”

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