It was a dream race for Rubens Barrichello
who secured his long awaited and very much deserved first Grand Prix win with Brawn Mercedes on a day when McLaren slipped up in the pits, Kimi Raikkonen
kept his head down and ground out another solid result and the three championship leaders
failed to shine. Here's what the 20 drivers had to say.
1 . R. Barrichello - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
Impressive run with a smart strategy to record his tenth Grand Prix win.
"What a fantastic day. I am so delighted with the win after what was a really tough race out there. It's just amazing and a weekend that I will never forget. Even after five years, you don't forget how to win and the feeling is so good! Although we were fuelled heavier than the McLarens, I knew that I would have to push really hard throughout the race. My engineer Jock (Clear) was great today, he really encouraged me and helped me to maintain the pace, and the team did a fantastic job with two excellent pit stops. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and this victory is dedicated to the whole of Brazil but particularly to my great friend Felipe Massa. I hope he is back racing against me soon."
2 . L. Hamilton - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
Dominated the early stages with help from Kovalainen but under pressure from Barrichello, the team lost Hamilton the race in the second pit stop.
“This is my second podium in a row, and I’m very happy to be here. We did the best job we could today. Am I disappointed? Yes, I think we all are – but that’s simply an indication of just how hard everyone in this team is pushing to win. We’re never satisfied unless we’re winning. But, ultimately, we didn’t really lose anything today – it was always going to be tough to beat Rubens and what we tried wasn’t quite enough. Before my second pitstop, I’d been saving fuel and was a bit unsure if I had enough for that extra lap or not. The pitwall had initially asked me to pit – but, just when I was coming in, they told me to stay out and do an extra lap – however, I was already inside the white line and committed, so it was too late.
“In those circumstances, it’s always better to be safe and to pit, because the last thing you want to do is run dry out on the circuit. But the call was a marginal one – the team was pushing the envelope, as I say – and it came just a little too late for me and the mechanics, who weren’t perfectly prepared. Make no mistake, I think those guys are the best in the business; what happened was simply a result of the team trying everything in their power to turn a safe second place into a possible win. In any case, our overall performance this weekend confirmed the huge improvement we’ve made recently, but we still lack a bit of race pace compared with the very fastest cars. You can be well sure we’re working on fixing that, though. Congratulations to Rubens – he drove a fantastic race today and really deserved this victory.
3 . K. Raikkonen - Ferrari F60
Used KERS to his advantage off the line and then picked up the final podium position in the pits. Another solid run from the 2007 champion.
“I am happy about this result. Already on Friday we saw that the car was pretty competitive over a distance and we therefore thought we could fight for a podium finish. We were also aware that, in qualifying, we might have struggled, especially on light fuel. Both these predictions proved correct and today we were once again able to get on the podium. I managed to make up a few places at the start and my first aim was to pull out a bit of a gap over Rosberg, who was going to stop after me.
“In the second part of the race, I realized that I could close on Kovalainen and try and make the most of the run of pit stops to get ahead of him and I managed it. Now we go to Spa, a track that I like a lot: we must wait for Friday to see how competitive we can be. At this point in the season, if we manage to get everything right, then we can aim for the podium and if anything was to happen to those ahead of us, we can try and do even better. We must do all we can to hang on to third place in the constructors’ championship.”
4 . H. Kovalainen - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
His best result of the season but a disappointing result after starting second.
“To start second and finish fourth isn’t ideal. But I’m more pleased with my overall performance in this race than in Hungary. We showed good performance throughout the whole weekend, and I really want to thank the whole team for helping us to achieve that – it’s good to see things improving like this. We don’t yet have the pace of the frontrunners, but everyone has done an incredible job to get us to where we are. We’ve scored more points in the last three races than any other team – but I still want to score more. I’m already focusing on Spa; it’s a circuit I love and I really want to be on the podium there.”
5 . N. Rosberg - Williams Toyota FW31
Another strong race from Rosberg, his seventh straight points scoring result.
"I did enjoy the race, but the heat really took most of the fun out of it. It wasn’t nice, but it was still a good result for the team. Fifth again, after starting seventh, is not bad, and gives us more points. I was hoping to beat Raikkonen today but he was too fast. Our car seems to suit every track we go to, and the team is doing well to keep development going from race to race. It’s nice that we are always up there and I hope we continue like this, and possibly make a step forward onto the podium soon."
6 . F. Alonso - Renault R29
Racing for the lower points, Alonso made best of the Renault package as ever.
“Sixth place is the best I could do today for my home Grand Prix and the three points are a good result considering that we started eighth. It was a very tough race: first of all because of the heat but also because it was a very competitive race and I had to push all the way, constantly fighting to keep my position. But we have been quick all weekend and therefore I’m quite confident we can keep this pace and deliver an even better result in Spa.”
7 . J. Button - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
Too cautious off the line, a poor race from the championship leader.
"Rubens did a great job this weekend and he deserves the victory. It's been a long time so I'm happy for him although of course I would rather be on top of the podium. The small mistake in qualifying and a difficult start caught behind Vettel really cost me today as I got caught in traffic and it's really tough to overtake around this circuit. Still we did what we came for this weekend and beat the Red Bulls, our main title rivals, so I'm not too disappointed with seventh position. We'll go to the next race in Spa positive and ready to have a good race."
8 . R. Kubica - BMW Sauber F1.09
Made best of a poor car to score a much needed point for the deperting German-owned team.
"I had to start the race from a very bad position as I was in the middle of the pack and we were all very close together in the first corners. Unfortunately I was not able to make up positions at the start, and I even lost a place to Nick. But then during the race my pace was good. Although my stints were shorter, I was even able to overtake Mark Webber during his final pit stop, which was very good."
9 . M. Webber - Red Bull Renault RB5
Struggled all weekend and to his credit, owns up to the fact as the title challenge slips away.
“No gains for us today, which is the first time in a long time. The long and short of it was that I wasn’t quick enough today – it was a tough race. I’ve been struggling all weekend and I think I got the result I deserved, which was no points, unfortunately. We were a little bit unlucky around the pit stops with Lewis coming back out in front, but that’s the way it goes. The pit stops weren’t great, as I might have been a bit long on positioning – so not the best day for us. But, we will dust ourselves down and move on to Spa.”
10 . A.
Sutil - Force India Mercedes VJM02
Raced the BMW duo hard but still chasing the first elusive point of the year.
"Today was a good performance with no mistakes, good lap times and we showed a clear step forward. I think tenth was the maximum we could do from 12th position on the grid. It was a very tough race, very hot, but everything worked perfectly. I was behind the two BMWs for my first stint and couldn't get past on the track but the team did a really good stop and I could pass Heidfeld in the pitlane. I'm really looking forward to Spa now - I love the track and with the pace we've shown this weekend it's looking promising for a good result there."
11 . N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber F1.09
Started 11th finished 11th. An uninspiring showing.
"For me the result is rather disappointing because it doesn’t reflect what I was able to achieve today. After a good start I was able to match the pace of the guys in front of me, but I let Robert by because he was on a lower fuel load. Then I had to defend my position against Adrian Sutil and lost contact with the front group. This turned out to be crucial, because after his pit stop Heikki Kovalainen came out in front of me and I could not take any advantage from my car being lighter at this stage."
12 . G. Fisichella - Force India Mercedes VJM02
Made up ground from his start position and held off Trulli to the flag.
"It was a difficult race as the grid position was not as good as we had hoped so we used a one-stop strategy, which gave us an opportunity to gain some positions. I made a very good start, keeping clear of the collision and was running in 13th at the end of the first lap, right behind Adrian. The first stint on the hard tyres was very consistent with a good pace. Then we changed to the soft tyres and it was a bit tricky as there was some graining. I could keep a good pace though I had to watch the tyres to keep them until the end. Twelfth is a good result for us. We made a few positions and now seem to be ahead of Toyota and some other cars. We need another step like we made this weekend and we can easily score points."
13 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF109
Contact with Grosjean on lap one in a disappointing weekend for Toyota.
"The start wasn't great and the car didn't improve from qualifying, when I was struggling a lot with a lack of grip. So I had the same problems again today and the grip was nowhere close to where it had been earlier in the weekend during practice. I did my best but there was nothing I could do to improve my position. I hope for a better weekend in Belgium."
14 . T. Glock - Toyota TF109
Contact with Buemi, showed good late race pace but a poor result for the team despite the fastest lap.
"It was a pity the race started like that because over a race distance we were pretty quick, just like we were in Budapest. At the first corner I had to dive down the inside because the cars in front were braking heavily so I had to avoid them. Then I was hit from behind and basically any hope I had of getting a decent position was finished there and then. But I pushed as hard as possible for the rest of the race to at least get some more data and we showed what might have been by setting the fastest lap right at the end."
14 . R. Grosjean - Renault R29
Solid Grand Prix debut but unfortunate to lose time on lap one.
“Unfortunately the first lap didn’t go well for me, but during the race there were a lot of positives and I gained some valuable experience. At the start of the race I had to really concentrate and pay attention to everything that was happening around me and after that I just tried to be consistent and set some good lap times. It’s clear that I must do better next weekend in Spa and I will aim to put the experience I have gained in Valencia to good use.”
16 . J. Alguersuari - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4
Poor second Grand Prix. Off the pace in race conditions with the lap times fluctuating wildly.
“This was much tougher for me than Hungary, because of the heat and humidity. With ten laps remaining, I had a problem with my drinks system which meant I couldn’t get anything to drink. It was really tough and I just did my best to finish and bring home the car. On the plus side I have now done a lot more kilometres and I therefore hope this will help me do better in Spa, where at least it won’t be as hot.”
17 . L. Badoer - Ferrari F60
As expected, a tough return to F1 with a spin and drive through penalty, but at least it was better than qualifying...
“I said when I arrived in Valencia that this Grand Prix would be a time for me to dust the rust off my back and get confident in the role of race driver again. It was important for me to complete so many kilometres without making any serious mistakes and I managed that. From the physical point of view, I feel fine and that is another cause for satisfaction. I got a good start, making up a few places but then I was hit by Grosjean and that dropped me back down again. I tried to run my own race, but it was not easy to maintain a consistent pace, especially when I had to let the leaders by. At the first pit stop, I made a mistake which cost me one place and then I was just a whisker over the white line and so I picked up a drive-through penalty.
"Now I am looking forward to Spa with confidence: it’s a track I know and I will also be able to count on the experience gained this weekend. Thanks to the whole team, who did everything they could to make me feel comfortable, without putting me under any pressure and to Michael (Schumacher), who was a great support throughout the weekend.”
18 . K. Nakajima - Williams Toyota FW31
Made progress before a puncture effectively ended his race. Good pace but still no points.
"It was another disappointing afternoon for me. It was all over in qualifying really. I was in 13th when I had the puncture and that really finished my race. Just a few laps before the end, I then had some kind of problem so I had to stop early."
19 . S. Buemi - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4
Forced to pit for a new wing on lap one after contact with Glock, ran at the back until the brakes failed. Poor race from Toro Rosso all around.
“My race was more or less over immediately after the start. I will have to watch the race to see exactly what happened. I moved to the inside to try and avoid the bottleneck and as Glock accelerated, he drove over my wing which obviously broke and the time I lost coming back to the pits to replace it meant my race was done. I carried on pushing to see what lap times I could do and what the car was capable of, but I soon had braking problems and eventually the disc broke and I had to park the car. The last few race weekends have not gone well, but you have to stay positive. The car seems to have improved, so we have the potential to do better. Let’s see at Spa.”
20 . S. Vettel - Red Bull Renault RB5
Ran fourth from the start before a fuelling problem and then an engine failure. The title challenge is slipping away for Vettel.
“The biggest problem today was the first stop – we weren’t able to get fuel in the car, so we had to come in again. We were lucky to make it back for a second stop. The race was lost already at that point but then, a couple of laps on, I had a problem with the engine and I had to retire. It’s not good. In terms of the Championship, I will fight until the last breath, but it’s not good to have retired when you’re hunting and want to get more points than your opponent. You’re in a position to do it, but then you don’t finish the race.”