Vettel wins world title with perfect drive in Abu Dhabi
Hamilton's teammate Jenson Button finished third ahead of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes.
Sebastian Vettel cried into his radio under the Abu Dhabi lights on Sunday as he crossed the finish line and became F1's youngest ever world champion.
And icing on the cake was the fact Red Bull won both the constructor's and driver's title - their first, without using team orders to do it.
The 23-year-old German, now leading the standings for the very first time in his career, had entered the race as the underdog, behind Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber in points and dogged all weekend with suggestions he should move over and let his teammate past.
But Vettel won commandingly from pole position, while a crucial strategy mistake triggered by an early safety car, and an unmovable Vitaly Petrov in a Renault, left Ferrari's Alonso stranded in seventh place.
Spaniard Alonso let his emotions spill over as he gesticulated angrily at Russian Petrov after the checkered flag, but he later congratulated the new champion and said Petrov "drove very well" in defense.
Asked by the BBC if he will be back in 2011, he answered simply: "Yeah."
It is hard to believe that Fernando Alonso missed out on taking the Drivers’ title. How could this have happened, when on Saturday evening, the odds, although not terribly big, did seem stacked in his favor? The short answer is that it was mainly down to the Spaniard losing a place at the start and then, by the team’s own admission, a mistake when choosing the strategy regarding when to make the one compulsory pit stop. Having started behind pole man Vettel, from third place, Alonso immediately lost a place to Button. On the very first lap, the Safety Car came out after Schumacher spun and was hit hard by Liuzzi. A few drivers, including Rosberg and Petrov immediately came in for a tire change, which would prove very significant later. Vettel was out in the lead, pursued by Hamilton, Button and Alonso, with Webber and Massa in fifth and sixth respectively.
Having made contact with a wall hard enough to throw sparks up from his right rear wheel, Webber in the Red Bull was the first to make a “planned” stop on lap 11. However, this was really not the ideal time, given that the soft tires were not degrading as much as expected. Nevertheless, the Scuderia took the decision to bring Massa in on lap 13 and Alonso on lap 15: in other words, Ferrari had decided to cover Alonso’s closest rival for the title, not just with one car but with both its F10s. It was a serious mistake. Overtaking at this track is very difficult and while the two Ferrari men moved up the order passing the much slower cars, they both butted up against cars with good straight line speed – Felipe stuck behind Alguersuari and Fernando behind Petrov. Instead, Alonso’s strategy should have been based on what was going on at the front of the field, given that having also stopped early, Webber was just as badly baulked by the traffic.
There are some pundits in the sport who believe that when a championship is going down to the wire at the final race, then even if you are fighting one of the contenders for the title for a place in the race, you let him by. This was evidently not something that Petrov believed in and, well within the sporting regulations, he defended his position to the end.
As the number of drivers ahead of Alonso who had yet to change tires got smaller, it was clear that seventh would be the best he could do, three places short of taking the title if Vettel took the win.
"After the race it is always very easy to see the best strategy," Alonso told the BBC. "As I said now you need to cover from someone and if we didn't stop I think Webber probably would have overtaken us, if we stopped we cover from Webber but let Petrov and Rosberg in front so it was a very difficult call I think.
"It was obviously a tough difficult race," he added. " I lost a position at the start and then when the first safety car came out Petrov and Rosberg came in so... We saw some problems with the soft tires, Webber pitted and then we tried to cover from him.
"When you cover someone probably you give something away to the others. So it was then a choice between covering Vettel or [racing] Petrov and Rosberg, so we covered Webber and then it was difficult to overtake Petrov. The Renault is very quick on the top speed so it was a frustrating race behind him. But this is a sport, this is motor racing. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Congratulations to Red Bull and Sebastian but next year we will try again."
It’s time to think about 2011 and that starts on Friday, here in Abu Dhabi, when all the F1 teams will try tires provided by the sport’s new supplier, as Pirelli takes over from Bridgestone, the Japanese company with which all the teams have enjoyed such a successful relationship over the years.
Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "We've ended this year on a high - to get both of us onto the podium and to clinch runner-up spot in the constructors' world championship represent a great achievement for the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. I was able to match Sebastian's [Vettel] pace in the early part of the race - but, after my pitstop, I was stuck behind Robert [Kubica]. It was just impossible to get past him - he made no mistakes - so it wasn't possible to resume my attack on Sebastian. But that's the way motor racing goes sometimes. The team has been pushing so hard for the whole season - I'm so proud of everyone. Now, though, I'm already looking ahead to next year, when I hope our car will be even better, so that we can do battle at the very front from the first race of the season. There are 15 weeks to go until the 2011 season starts - it can't come soon enough!"
Jenson Button (3rd): "It's been an exciting year for Formula 1. We've all had our ups and downs, including the new world champion Sebastian. But he's a very talented driver and he thoroughly deserves his success. It was nice to be on the podium with the new world champion, and with Lewis, who was of course the 2008 world champion. Our main aim today was to clinch second place in the constructors' world championship, and we did that comfortably. During the year I've had some very good Sundays but some difficult Saturdays - and that's something I'm going to work on over the winter. Overall, however, I'm very happy with my first season at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. I want to say thank you to the entire team. It didn't turn out quite as we'd hoped, but there have been a lot of good days and a lot of good experiences that we can use to benefit our 2011 campaign."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Both Lewis and Jenson drove brilliantly in Abu Dhabi this evening, and it was very gratifying to see them both take their places on the last podium of the year. Aware that it was unlikely that Lewis was going to be able to wrest the race win he needed from Sebastian on a circuit on which overtaking is notoriously difficult, we decided to call him in for an early pitstop and leave Jenson out for longer. It was a more or less risk-free strategy, because we were already running second and third and we still ended up second and third at the finish; but, given Sebastian's pace and given the nature of the circuit, it was our only real chance of going for the win we needed for Lewis. As things turned out, it didn't gain us anything; but it didn't lose us anything either. Having said that, Sebastian drove an excellent race today, and on behalf of all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes I want to congratulate him on winning the drivers' world championship. This evening's podium was a significant one from a historic perspective: the three most recent world champions, standing shoulder to shoulder, and I'm glad to say that two of them were in Vodafone McLaren Mercedes colors. Last but very far from least, it shouldn't be forgotten that we notched up 33 world championship points this evening, which is more than any other team scored today. That hefty points haul more than consolidated our second position in the constructors' world championship and indeed lifted us to a comfortable 58 points clear of our friends at Ferrari, who, as is so often the case, took the battle to us again this year. We're delighted to have beaten them in 2010; let battle commence again in 2011!"
Nico Rosberg (4th): "I'm very pleased with fourth place and it's the best that we could have hoped for from my grid position. Special thanks to Ross and James Vowles for a great strategy today. We had a good pace on the hard tires, just like in qualifying, and I was able to make the most of that performance when it mattered. Thanks to everyone here at the track and back at the factory for all of their hard work this year. Although we didn't get the results that we wanted on track, I am sure that we will improve massively for next year and have more fun then. Congratulations to Sebastian today and he deserved the title. Next up, we have the test later this week which will be very important to get a head start on adapting to the new tires."
Michael Schumacher (DNF, Accident): "First of all, big congratulations to Sebastian for his great victory and taking the title today. That was extremely well done after his season was so mixed but he was able to come back strongly in the last few races. As for me, I am totally fine and was not hit by anything in the incident. I had to go to the Medical Centre just for a precautionary check. I went off the line, spun and because of the dirt there, the back of the car just came around. It's a shame obviously as I would have liked to finish the season with a more positive ending but I am already looking forward to fighting again next year. I would like to say thank you to everybody in our team for all of their hard work."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "That was a fantastic performance from Nico today and a perfect way to finish the season for us. As a team, we achieved the absolute maximum with the car that we have with a great call on strategy from the guys on the pit wall and a well-executed pit stop. Then it was an excellent and controlled drive from Nico who found the pace exactly when he needed it. Michael unfortunately made a mistake on the first lap and got caught out which is a shame. I'm very excited about next year with the team and drivers that we have and we will have a lot more fun competing where we want to be. Congratulations to Sebastian on his first Drivers' title today, to the Red Bull team for a great job and to Dieter Mateschitz for the vision and commitment that he has shown over the last five years."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Our sincere congratulations to the new World Champion Sebastian Vettel and to Red Bull Racing for a well-deserved victory in both Championships this season. From our race today, the good news is that Michael was not hurt after his spin and Tonio was also ok after crashing into him, which was not Tonio's fault. The resultant safety car and our very smart strategy to bring Nico in for the prime tires was crucial for the race and for Nico's well-deserved fourth place which came after a brilliant drive during which he posted the third fastest lap of the race. We have finished this long season with a good result with Nico beating two of the World Championship contenders. Thank you to everybody at MERCEDES GP PETRONAS for the relentless work in 2010 when we achieved the best possible results with our technical package in the last third of the season. We are looking forward to the new season and our plan is to improve our new car in order to compete with the top three teams after having finished in fourth place this year."
Sebastian Vettel (1st):
Mark Webber (8th):
Christian Horner, Sporting Director:
Fabrice Lom, Renault:
Fernando Alonso (7th): "All things considered, I am pleased with this result. We have only lost three points to our closest rival and, given how things turned out yesterday in qualifying, it went well: if this morning, I had been told it would finish like this, I would have happily signed for it! I want to congratulate Red Bull and Renault for the Constructors' title: to reach the top in just a few years is a great achievement. We were very cautious in the very first corners, because everyone was very aggressive and we did not want to risk touching anyone. Then, we immediately lost too much ground to Vettel and Webber: it took me several laps to get past Hulkenberg, while passing Hamilton is never easy. My race pace was good, as we had seen on Friday. When the safety car came out, we thought it might be an opportunity to attack, but there were too many backmarkers between me and Mark and it took too long to get past them: a shame , because at that point, the car was really very competitive. Now, we go to Abu Dhabi: we know what we have to do and taking the title depends on us."
Felipe Massa (10th): "Everything happened to me today and it is a real shame that I was unable to obtain the result that was within my grasp, even after yesterday's qualifying and by that I mean a good finish. When I went back out on track after the first stop I immediately felt that something was strange with the right front wheel and I had to come back to the pits immediately to change tires again. From then on, my race was pretty much over. Towards the end, the Safety Car presented me with an opportunity and in fact, I managed to make up a few places. Then came the collision with Buemi which knocked me back again and, with the cars that had to lap me, several times I lost contact with the drivers I was fighting for position. When I had a clear track ahead of me, I managed to do competitive lap times, which confirms that the potential was there. I would have liked to have been fighting it out at the front here, but it wasn't possible: I will try and make up for it in Abu Dhabi at the final race. We still have a very important target to reach and we will do our utmost to succeed in that."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "First of all, I want to congratulate Red Bull Racing and Renault for taking the Constructors' Championship title, which is a very important achievement. We said the Drivers' title would go down to the final race and we will now arrive in Abu Dhabi with Fernando currently heading the classification. We knew it would be a hard task to bring home the title, as our main rivals are very strong and they demonstrated that once again this afternoon. Now we face eight crucial days. We know what we have to do and we will prepare everything with the maximum attention to detail: each one of us knows we have to give a hundred percent at our specific tasks and, maybe even a little bit more. As for the race, I think Fernando did the most he could after yesterday's qualifying: his opening laps were exceptional and he managed to pass first Hamilton and then Hulkenberg in decisive fashion, but without taking excessive risks. Then he had to manage his race and he did that in impeccable fashion, even after the Safety Car, when the situation could have turned out to be very tricky. Felipe was unlucky at his pit stop, when a problem in fitting the front right meant he had to come straight back in for another tire change. That was a shame as he could have finished in a good position. Lastly, I would like to thank the Brazilian crowd for their continued support: going into the race there was talk of the atmosphere being a bit tense for Ferrari. In fact there was nothing of the sort, confirming the great passion and sporting spirit of the fans in this country."
Chris Dyer: "We are very disappointed for Felipe, who had everything in place to have a good race. Unfortunately, there was a problem at the pit stop which meant he had to immediately come in again, which pretty much put him out of the running. As for Fernando, he got the maximum result he could, in the light of how qualifying went yesterday. The way he ran his race was perfect, with some fantastic opening laps, during which he managed to deal with first Hamilton and then Hulkenberg, and after that he managed the car and the strategy in just the right way. There was some tension at the restart after the safety car period, because the two McLarens had opted to fit new tires: we knew there was a chance of tire degradation, which might have put us in difficulty. Fortunately, at that moment our race pace was very good and we were able to manage our advantage over them. Our aim was to arrive at the final race still fighting for the title and we have done that, even getting there with a driver leading the classification. It will definitely be tough but we will do all we can to bring home this championship title."
Rubens Barrichello (12th): "Our main goal today was to cover Force India and ensure our championship position, which we did. I had a better car than the results show, but we did the best we could with the strategy we followed. I had a really good battle with Sutil who ran long into the race, and he left his pit stop in front of me, but I dived past him on the outside of turn 4. It was a huge move, exhilarating and really the best part of a race that was pretty flat out, so in a way it was a surprise to finish so far back."
Nico Hulkenberg (16th): "That was a difficult race. Strategy-wise, I started on the prime and did a long first stint and then a shorter one on the option but car pace wasn't good so it didn't work out for us. I lost position at the start, and then while avoiding the first lap incident, but I don't think it made much of a difference to the overall picture."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "To finish 12th and 16th from seventh and 15th is not something to be pleased about. Our race pace clearly doesn't match our qualifying pace, so that's something we need to improve over the winter for 2011. Ultimately, of the various goals for the weekend, the main one was to finish ahead of Force India and retain sixth in the championship, which we achieved. Thanks to the whole team for doing a good job over a long season and many congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for tying up the drivers' championship."
Robert Kubica (5th): "It was a very good race to round off the season. I had a problem with a clutch at the start, and I was running in 14th position after turn two. When the Safety Car went in, I managed to overtake Sutil, which was important. I then found myself stuck behind Kamui (Kobayashi), who was braking very late which made it difficult to attack him. Eventually, I got a run on him out of turn nine and he covered the inside for turn 11 - so I was able to pass round the outside. That was a key moment, and afterwards I just concentrated on getting the maximum from the car and setting quick laps. The car was still difficult to drive this afternoon, but I pushed really hard because I had nothing to lose - and I'm very pleased to finish fifth after starting 11th."
Vitaly Petrov (6th): "This was a tough race, on a circuit where we know it is very difficult overtake. We have been quite fast all weekend, and I am proud of my team and the good job we did. I made a good start and could have gained some positions at the first corner, but I wanted to avoid having any problems like last weekend in Brazil. We pitted under the Safety Car, which was the right decision, and after that I just tried to push while looking after the tires, because I knew that the plan was to go to the finish. I had a long battle with Fernando, but the car had good top speed today so I was able to control the situation: I just did my job. If he had tried a move, then I didn't want to crash with him, but it didn't come to that. I came here to fight, and race every other driver, and I think I showed today that I can fight."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "We were delighted with a very solid race from both drivers. Robert did a great job to pull off the overtaking maneuvers that made his strategy work. He pushed throughout, had good pace and I think he put in a strong performance. As for Vitaly, he drove well, with no mistakes, and once again benefited from the engineers getting his strategy spot on. It's a good way to round off the season with both cars in the top six. We have worked hard this year to move forward, the development rate has been strong and, although our ultimate aim is to win races and championships, we produced a good car for the end of the season. I am very optimistic for the future, and I am sure this team and these people can take another step forward in 2011. Congratulations, also, to Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel on their world championship victory today."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "After a difficult day in qualifying yesterday, we're very pleased to finish the race in fifth and sixth positions. Overnight, we had a long think about the strategic options for Robert, who had a free choice of tires starting from 11th position, and we decided that it was a justifiable risk to start the race on the prime. Ultimately, that paid off well. Although the early Safety Car period gave the options an easier time, it also helped the prime tire too, and it just got faster and faster as we went further into the race. With Vitaly, we had planned to stop on lap one if there was a Safety Car, to put him on the prime tire. We did exactly that, and he put in a solid performance to climb from tenth on the grid to sixth at the finish."
Remi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations: "This was a very solid performance. Both Robert and Vitaly drove strong races, we got the strategy absolutely right, and to finish fifth and sixth is a very pleasing result: I hope we can carry this momentum through to next season. Thank you to everybody at Renault F1 Team, who have done a great job all year, and the same to our colleagues at both Viry-Châtillon and Mecachrome. And of course, congratulations to our colleagues at Red Bull-Renault who secured their second title today."
Adrian Sutil (13th): "Not such an exciting race for me today as I was driving alone for a lot of the time and then had a late stop as we tried to make up some positions. I came out side by side to Rubens and lost a position, falling into 13th. It wouldn't have made any difference as we needed points today and unfortunately we couldn't get them. It was a good effort from the team and we tried our best, just the safety car period at the start was unlucky for us. But thank you to the team for all their hard work this year and a big well done for getting 7th position. It's our highest position as a team - and my highest in the championship - and shows just how far we've come in the last three years. Congratulations also to Sebastian for his great win today."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF, Accident): "For me today was a bit of a disappointing end to what's been a fantastic year for the team. I had a good start, gaining a couple of positions and had got into a good place for the first stint, but then I came round the third corner and saw a cloud of smoke in front. I couldn't move anywhere as there were cars all around me and then when the smoke cleared I saw Michael the wrong way round and stopped on track. I couldn't do anything but thankfully we were both OK after the accident. I am sorry that we could not score any points today to get back to sixth in the championship but even so the team has worked so hard today and for the whole of the season. But congratulations to Sebastian on his first world title."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "Sixty eight points is something I, and the whole team, can take great personal pride in. When we bought the team we scored zero points the first year, then 13 last year and now more than five times that in 2010. We've really achieved our racing stripes and I hope that next year, with the Indian Grand Prix as a target, that we can go bigger and better. This is just the start for us. Lastly I must extend my congratulations to Red Bull and to Sebastian Vettel on their wins this season, they have had a fantastic year."
Jaime Alguersuari (9th): "I am very happy with this result, my third points finish of the season. To be honest, I am not quite sure how I ended up ninth, having started seventeenth! I was very lucky not to be involved in the Schumacher accident on the opening lap and after that, it was a good strategic choice to change tires immediately the Safety Car came out. After that, the tires worked very well for the whole race with no degradation at all on the rears. I could feel the track condition improving all the time and that meant I was able to have an edge over Massa in sector three and maintain the distance in the first two sectors, even though he was probably fractionally faster than me. I am very happy with the team because they did a good job on the strategy so for everyone, this ninth place is well deserved and a nice way to end the season."
Sebastien Buemi (15th): "Even if the result is not fantastic, I still think I drove a very good race. I got a super start and managed to pass five cars. The team decided to bring Jaime in for a tire change and keep me out during the Safety Car period. I think my team-mate's strategy proved to be the better one as there was no tire degradation, as he was able to pit and catch up behind the Safety Car. So I'm a bit disappointed, because I feel that if I had been on a different strategy I could easily have finished in the points."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Congratulations to Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel for winning the Drivers' Championship. It was the most competitive team throughout the season and Sebastian was the best driver, therefore deserving to take the title. As for our efforts today, Alguersuari had a really fantastic race, making a good start and then defending his position very capably. I think this was Jaime's best race of the entire season. As for Sebastien, he also made a good start and despite not feeling quite at ease on the Option tire he too did a good job. Finally, as this season comes to an end, we would like to pay tribute to Bridgestone and thank them for the close cooperation we have enjoyed over the past years and we wish them the very best for the future."
Heikki Kovalainen (17th): "What a fantastic end to our season. The race itself was just great, right from when the lights went out. I got the best start of the season, made up places immediately and from that point on I just got my head down and got on with it. Everything went perfectly according to plan. The tires weren't really degrading and as the car got lighter and the fuel burnt away I was able to keep putting in what felt like qualifying laps throughout the whole race. I was able to pull away a gap to the cars behind me and we managed the traffic really well all race. After I came out of the pits I had to let a few cars past which cost me several seconds, but that wasn't a problem as I could keep pulling away from my direct rivals. This is the perfect way to end our first season, and gives us a huge boost for next year. We finished on a high, achieved all our goals and we have a very exciting future ahead of us. Thank you to the whole team for a fantastic season - I can't wait for next year."
Jarno Trulli (21st, Rear wing failure): "First of all congratulations to the whole team. Everyone has done an amazing job this year and while it's been long and tough, for a brand new team it's been special. My race was one of the ones I'll want to forget. I had a problem with the front wing to begin with, and then a rear wing failure finished the race so I'm pretty glad it's over! This year I've had all sorts of bad luck but I'm very confident about next year as the package that's been put together is very good and it gives everyone in the team a chance to take the next step forward."
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "I am completely relieved, completely ecstatic, completely happy and completely vindicated in making the decision to go into F1™. What we have achieved today is what dreams are made of. To complete 19 races after having just five months to build a car and finish in tenth in style is something that is truly magical. It shows you that even in the modern age where money and power counts for so much, there is a chance for ambition and dreams to shine. 2010 is a year that we can be proud of. We brought Lotus back into F1™™ after many had talked about it, but we did it. I can confidently say that everyone associated with the Lotus history can be very proud of what we have done this year. This is the first chapter of a long career ahead and we will create our own future, destiny and history from here. I am thankful to all the incredibly special staff we have in Hingham, Malaysia and here in Abu Dhabi for what they have done this year and my abiding memory of 2010 comes from one of our engineers, who told me he had achieved higher grid positions with other teams, but never with a team that feels as special as this. To all the Lotus fans thank you so much for your support - we could not have done it without you. I am thrilled that Lotus Racing has opened up F1™™ to everyone out there, and we cannot wait to see you next year."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "Job done. When we started out on this project the first target was to be best of the new teams. When you think how late our entry was confirmed that was always going to be a good challenge, but we have done it. We gave Tony, Din and Nasa tenth place and that makes me very proud of the whole team. On a personal level I'd like to thank my partner Silvi. We did this together and I could not have done it without her or the whole team. However, this is just the beginning. Next year what is important is the steps we take forward, but for tonight we will enjoy the achievement. We have earned it."
Bruno Senna (19th): "Today was a good but very tough race here in Abu Dhabi. I tried to push and get close to our competitors in front but then I was in traffic, so that didn't help us end further up. I enjoyed my first season in Formula 1 and I want to thank the team for their hard work they did during the year. I really have learnt a lot and it was a good preparation. You learn so much by actually racing that I can't wait to put all this experience into practice next season."
Christian Klien (20th): "It was a tough race today and it was very hot inside the car. The car was difficult to handle with a lot of fuel, but the lap times got better with less fuel. It was a positive race weekend for the team, as there were no technical problems. We could see that the gap to the other new teams got smaller and we could go at a constant pace. I want to thank everyone in the team for the extraordinary job they did all over the season and for giving me the opportunity to compete in the Singapore, Brazil and Abu Dhabi races."
Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "We are happy about our ninth double-finish of our first season in Formula 1. We were on a good strategy when we decided to do our pit-stops during the safety car period and could win some positions then. Unfortunately, we lost too much time due to blue flags during the race but both drivers showed a good performance. At the end of a hard first year in Formula 1, we became more and more reliable and constant in our results. I want to thank the whole team who managed the impossible and made us become part of the highest series in motorsport. We are going the right way and we are fired up for the next season in 2011."
Nick Heidfeld (11th): "My start was okay, and I was able to pass Robert (Kubica). But then I lost that position when I had to go round Michael (Schumacher) and Vitantonio (Liuzzi) after their accident. After that I was stuck in traffic, and we had agreed before the race that in this case I would come in and change tires straight away. It was a very good move, even better than expected as it put me three positions further up. I was then able to close the gap to Felipe (Massa), but I had no chance to overtake him. It would have been nice to score in the last race of this season, but it didn't work out. Congratulations to the new world champion Sebastian (Vettel)!"
Kamui Kobayashi (14th): "I am disappointed with the result, as I definitely wanted to score in the final race of the season. I did what I could, but there was no way to overtake. My car was okay, but we had bad luck with our strategy. It didn't work out with some cars stopping early when the Safety Car was out after the accident. I had a good start gaining two positions, but later I could never go at my full pace, as I was always stuck. I also want to congratulate Sebastian (Vettel) for his great success!"
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "First of all congratulations to Red Bull and Sebastian (Vettel) who drove an excellent race today and deserved to win the title. Unfortunately, we finished the final race of the season outside the points. Both drivers did a very good job. Nick was able to keep the Williams and the Force India behind him. Kamui was unfortunate to get stuck behind Rubens Barrichello for almost the whole race. This was the end of a very challenging season for us. We had a very bad start. After eight races we had just a single championship point because the car wasn't fast enough and, even more importantly, not reliable, which was very unusual for our team. We finished the season with 44 points. This is certainly not satisfying for us, but it was not possible to make up for the losses from the earlier races. Nevertheless there are also positive aspects to review: Since James Key joined us we have significantly improved on the technical side. Furthermore Kamui has shown a great development during the season, so I am very happy he drives for our team. I want to thank the entire team for their efforts, which goes for the people at the race track as well as for those in Hinwil, and especially for our drivers Kamui, Nick and Pedro."
James Key, Technical Director: "It's a little bit disappointing not to get into the points, because this would have been a nice way to finish the season. It was a fairly hectic race with the early safety car, during which time we decided against coming in, but it looks like the people that came in were able to capitalize. We brought Nick in at what we felt was about the right time for the change from option to prime tires. He drove an excellent race, but was stuck in traffic for most of the time. We left Kamui out to see whether he could make up time after Rubens Barrichello pitted, because we were held up by him. But by the time Rubens came in we had lost too much time to the people behind, and unfortunately Kamui came out behind him again. So he ended up in traffic as well, which was frustrating for him. This meant we finished outside the points. Thanks to the team and the drivers for the season and for pushing so hard, particularly during the difficult start of the season. Congratulations to Sebastian (Vettel) and Red Bull."
Lucas di Grassi (18th): "A very unusual race with a safety car at the beginning. We decided to go for the pitstop straight away in order to change to the Prime tires. We had to do more than 50 laps with the same set of tires, which seemed like a difficult task, but we managed it. I am ending the year with a feeling of 'mission accomplished' - I did the best I could with what I had and only one or two mistakes during the whole season, so I feel that the effort and quality of my work have been much better than is reflected in the raw results. I would like to thank everyone in the team for this year. Everybody has behaved like a very close family, so well done to all of us for our first year in Formula One for us."
Timo Glock (DNF, Gearbox): "The last race of our debut season was quite interesting. I had good pace and was able to keep speed with Lotus. In the end, unfortunately the gearbox got too hot and failed in the closing stages of the race, so it was disappointing but I still had a good pace and that is a reflection of how much we have developed the car over the year. I would like to thank the whole team and in particular my car crew. They did a very good job and I'm looking forward to working hard to get us in good shape for next year."
John Booth, Team Principal: "The Option tire was a bit of an unknown quantity today, so we decided to split our strategy and start one car on each type of tire. Both drivers had strong races and we were in a good battle amongst the new teams. Unfortunately Timo's gearbox overheated, forcing him to retire soon after his pitstop. Lucas finished strongly, despite being on the same tire for almost the entire race. I would like to congratulate the entire team on an incredible debut season. After a tough start everyone pulled together so well and I am immensely proud of the team we have all built together. It has been an honor to work with such a fantastic bunch of people. I would also like to thank our Partners for their faith and unfailing support. Cosworth provided us with a very reliable and competitive engine and it has been a real pleasure to work with Bridgestone in their final year of Formula One competition. We now look forward to our new partnership with Marussia and a very promising 2011."
Fastest lap: Hamilton, 1m41.274s
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