Italian GP: Sunday Press Conference & Team Quotes
1 - Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull Racing)
2 - Jenson BUTTON (McLaren)
3 - Fernando ALONSO (Ferrari)
Q: Sebastian, a great win made possible by that overtake on Fernando early on, and then some tears from you on the podium as well?
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, very emotional. I mean this circuit means a lot to me and has been very special. Obviously, I got my first win here, so when I crossed the line I remembered every single bit and the podium is unbelievable. When you stand up there you feel so blessed. It doesn't happen to many people. So many people underneath and coming all the way, even from Curva Grande, all the way. It is filled with people. It is just unbelievable. A circuit that has been tough for us to be competitive at the last two years and [we] come back this year and, really, the car was amazing. In qualifying yesterday and in the race even better. It was crucial. The start wasn't that good. Fernando [Alonso], I don't know where he was coming from but it took me a while to actually understand we were three alongside going into turn one. I kept second then after the restart I was able to pass him. He didn't give me much room there. I don't know if he still believed I was on that side. I was half-way on the grass but it was just enough. So very enjoyable and after that the car was fantastic. A great race for us and a very special win, 150 years of Italy makes it special for all the people here as well, so thanks for all the fans. Last time all the Italian people were cheering a bit more but still it is very special for me to be at that place here again.
Q: Jenson, you reprised your battle with Fernando from last year but this time you came out in front.
JENSON BUTTON: Yeah, it was a really fun race fighting with Lewis [Hamilton], with Michael [Schumacher] and with Fernando. It was a good race. It wasn't for the lead, which was a shame but it was always to be difficult when we were down in seventh at one point and sixth after the start. A tough start to the race but a lot of fun and the atmosphere here is fantastic, just electric. Another good race. I think we have got to get everything together on race weekends and hopefully we will be challenging Red Bull and Seb. So great job by the whole team. It is just little things we need to work on.
Q: Fernando, you said before the race that the start was going to be crucial. Have you ever done a better start than that?
Fernando ALONSO: Well, we have been doing something with the starts in the last couple of grands prix, but always starting fifth or sixth it is not enough room to overtake. But here in Monza we knew that if the car was in the same feeling of the good starts you have enough space and enough run into the first corner to overtake people, so we maximized the potential in our start and were leading the race for a couple of laps. But obviously we were not competitive enough to fight for the victory, so we tried to manage the podium possibility. It was very close with Lewis at the end but it was a fantastic race, fantastic feeling on the podium. As Sebastian mentioned I think here in Monza it is very, very passionate what the fans at the podium are giving you. Big emotions. Well done to the whole team. It was a stressful weekend, with a lot of pressure here in Italy for them and we managed the race in the best situation possible. No mistakes and I think being on the podium with Mark [Webber] retiring from the race and Lewis behind us, so one Red Bull and one McLaren behind us, I think it is a great achievement.
Q: Sebastian, I think before the race all the talk was of the gamble that you'd taken on the gearing. You must have been a little concerned when you found yourself behind Fernando.
Vettel: Not really. I don't think we took any gamble today. I think we took the gamble yesterday in qualifying. All the people saw our top speed wasn't very high, so gears were probably shorter than the rest of the field, so we were not that optimistic in qualifying as we can't use the speed with the wing open. But for the race we were pretty confident and we were not afraid of the DRS zones if we had to battle other people. I think it worked fantastically well. I was able to pass Fernando without DRS, but with DRS it would have been maybe a bit more comfortable a lap later, but all in all I think we did the right thing. Great race car, great speed all the way through and I think the gearing was just right.
Q: Jenson, tell us about that decisive pass on your team-mate and also Michael Schumacher on lap 17.
Button: I think Lewis got a bad run out of turn two and I used the KERS. I think I passed him on turn two. Used the KERS to my advantage, then got a good run on Michael down into Ascari. I saw Lewis tried a few times on the outside but it didn't work but gave it a go and braked a late as I could and the pass came off. Pretty good pass. Probably one of my best so very happy with that. And again with Fernando I think he made a bit of a mistake out of turn two and now we have KERS as soon as someone makes a mistake you can pounce and make the pass.
Q: Fernando, Sebastian said a minute ago you didn't give him very much room. What's your analysis of the situation" Hard but fair? Lot of pride to defend here in Italy I guess?
Alonso: Yeah, we have nothing to lose in the battles with Sebastian. He is leading the championship by 100 points I think, so when we have to defend we will be a little bit harder with him. Sorry.
Q: Sebastian, you only need, I believe, a podium in Singapore to be crowned a two-time World Champion at the age of 24. Thoughts on that?
Vettel: No thoughts. Wow. I don't know. It has been an incredible year so far to be honest. We have progressed so much as a team and have become so much stronger in the last two years and again from last year to this year made such an incredible step. I think we have put ourselves in a very good position. But I love racing. We enjoy racing as a team altogether every weekend, unpacking the car, you can see the passion and it is great. You can feel the challenge. We want to make sure that we have a very good weekend and we squeeze everything out of ourselves. Of course, it is very nice to win but if we have a good Sunday and we finish third or fifth still you feel that we are very good in optimizing the result so I don't know really. I think we just do Singapore as we did all the other races this year. Go there and take it step-by-step and see what we can do. I love the circuit. It is very interesting. I remember I had a nice race there with Fernando, obviously to his advantage, as he finished first but it was great. I think we had a tough race there. It is a long circuit so I am looking forward and we will see what happens then.
Q: Sebastian, three years between your first ever win here and this one and yet the emotion is just as great.
Vettel: Yeah, obviously the first one was very special. Incredible. To be back here, especially on this circuit, given the memories I have for 2008 and the last two years, where we had a great car but not here. Not disastrous but not competitive enough to be back on the podium, so this year has been phenomenal. Friday already I had a very good feeling. Everyone is carrying quite a little wing around here to optimize the speed on the straight and I think this year the balance was fantastic so I really had a very good race car. Fantastic day today. Great race. The start wasn't that ideal. I don't know where Fernando came from and it took me a while to understand it was three cars going side-by-side down to turn one. After that, a great pass. Not that much room but very enjoyable. very hard but fair so great to be back in the lead and from then onwards the car was fantastic. I was able to pull a big gap and benefit from that for the whole rest of the race. Incredible. It is the best podium in the world. The only thing that could make it better is probably wearing a red suit but all in all great to be back on the podium here.
Q: The car performance was good, but tire performance. Was there much difference between the two types. Did you feel there was any loss of pace?
Vettel: No, I preferred the soft tire to be fair. I think it was a little bit quicker. Not just initially but all the way through but we have to use both compounds. The medium worked similar to Spa. Quite good. I think the pace was not that much slower, so for all of us we had no big problems. The pace seemed to be... seemed to have the usual progression when you burned down the fuel, so no problems from that side. Last race in Spa we were struggling big time with blistering and all sorts of tire issues and this race it seemed to be very good for us whereas others had some problems I was told but for us, as I said, tire-wise very smooth race.
Q: Jenson, just talk a little bit more when you were behind Lewis and Michael as that was a great battle and you had the best seat in the house?
Button: Yeah, it wasn't too bad. At the start of the race I knew I had to catch them. The problem was Lewis is in the DRS one behind Michael so they just pull away massively on the straight and I have to close on them at the corners. It was tricky to catch them but when I did all hell broke loose really. There were cars everywhere. It was a lot of fun. I think Lewis went for a gap with Michael that wasn't there on the exit of turn two and I got the run on him and then set about getting past Michael. I got a really good run out of the second Lesmo and I was able to get him down the outside down into Ascari which I am going to say was pretty brave as Michael doesn't give much room. I don't know how close we were. I didn't look at the mirrors. I pretty much closed my eyes after I turned in but it ended up good and the pace was good. I could chase down Fernando. But I would rather form now on not race from a long way back. It makes it fun. I don't know if we could have challenged Sebastian today, but you are that far down, sixth, seventh position, you haven't got a chance really. A pity we had such a poor start but we will look at that for the next race. It is a little issue but it can cost you a lot of time. Apart from that I think we did a great job at the pit stops and strategy and it is great to get a second but you always want a bit more.
Q: You caught Fernando before the tire stop and then seemed to drop back away from him. Tell us about that?
Button: It is this weird thing with the DRS. Our car here is not very quick in a straight line. Just the strategy we have taken as Lewis found out as well. We get to a point on the straight and we just don't go anywhere. We sit on the limiter so it is very, very tough. Then I made a mistake through Ascari, Fernando pulled a gap, and then I just couldn't get any closer after that. On the hard tire I think Fernando was struggling for grip after the pit-stop, made a little mistake out of two, and I was able to get the run on him and that's the good thing about KERS. You can really catch people out if they make a mistake. Made the move and then it was about trying to break the DRS. that's the biggest thing. Even if you are quicker, the guys tows up to you and you can't get away so it was a tense moment but I eventually pulled the gap and then it was easy to settle into a pace.
Q: Fernando, have to say you fought for everything today. You seemed to fight harder than ever before. What sort of fight would Lewis have had at the end if he'd caught you as he got very close.
Alonso: Yeah, I think it was close. One or two more laps and probably we lose the podium position as he was much quicker than us in the last couple of laps. We were a little bit lucky with Michael and Lewis's battle in the race as Lewis lost maybe 10 or 15 seconds in those battles during the first 30 laps and we managed that gap. Definitely it was an interesting race, especially the start. It was again very good and here in Monza we exploit the potential as turn one is a long way and we knew the potential. I think the race was quite smooth for us with no big problems and in the last stint, as we are unfortunately used to, with the medium tires we were less competitive, and Jenson overtook us and as I said Hamilton was getting very close.
Q: Just tell us a little bit more about that start as we have seen people make great starts but then have then usually gone across the curbs and it has all gone wrong, but you seemed to manage it very well.
Alonso: Well I think we had quite a good start in the last couple of races, but, for example, in Spa there is only 300 meters to turn one and I was starting eighth, so a lot of traffic in front and you have to lift. Here, with clean air in front of us, you exploit the potential as I said. I don't know. The start felt okay, but I think we can do better for next time. It was close with Lewis. At the first moment he was concentrating on Sebastian moving to the left and then when he saw me on the right he put me close to the pit-lane exit and a little bit on the grass but in turn one it was not a problem.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Joris Fioriti - Agence France Presse) Sebastian, you are 112 points in advance. You have got eight wins in the championship. No driver winning eight races in the championship ever lost the championship. When will you allow yourself to say that you are in a great position to win the title?
Vettel: I think I allow myself to say we are in a great position. I think if you ask Fernando or Lewis or Jenson or anybody, Mark, I think they would like to change, swap positions so no doubt about that. But it's over when it's over, not before. I think look at last year as the best proof. You don't know until the last lap of the last race. Obviously, this year it might be a bit different, but there are still a lot of races to go. We go into every race trying to optimize our result as we did here. We knew it might not be the easiest race for us especially after the last two years. This year we can back very competitive so it was great for us. We were in a great position and we optimized our result today I would say so couldn't have done much better. Great race. Great pit-stop. The start was not so good so we need to look into that for the next race. Then we go from there.
Q: (Vincent Marre - SportZeitung) Sebastian, at what stage did you think you had the race won today?
Vettel: Really only when I came out of the Parabolica on the last lap because you never know here. Obviously I knew I would be in a very good position, with the laps going. Some 15 laps from the end I saw that I was 15 seconds in the lead, so in theory, if I'm just under a
second slower per lap I would still be ahead going into the last lap but you never know, it's a long lap here and there are a lot of curbs. You have to be careful not to do something silly: always get the braking right, for the cars it's a tough race. You're often above 300 kph and then you have to stop the car again. I knew that if nothing unforeseen happens, we should be in a great position, but you never know. We've had races where we had something happening at the end, so you always hope that nothing breaks and the car survives. At the end, it was about nursing the car to the checkered flag.
Q: (Matthias Brunner - Speedweek) Seb, you told us in Belgium about the problems at the start. Are we talking about a similar problem here?
Vettel: I would say it's difficult. In Spa I think many people were surprised at the grip level being very high and then they suffered. Mark had a bad start in Spa, he went into the anti-stall, but I think other people as well had a bad start except maybe Nico. Here it was different. I think the grip level was much lower and I had a bit too much wheelspin off the line and lost a bit too much in the beginning, whereas I think Fernando had a great start and was just able to get the traction at the beginning of the start and we were side-by-side so yeah, he had the best start, as far as I could judge.
Q (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) Sebastian, you said your team made a great step forward from last year to this year. What about the car, how can you explain exactly such a good performance today in comparison to last year?
Vettel: I think last year we had a great car, very competitive. This year, obviously, the rules have changed again and it's a different approach. I think the real strength this year is maybe not the raw speed that we have because at some races maybe we shouldn't have won and it was very tight at others. So I think this year - in comparison to last year - we've made big progress. Just that everyone is very disciplined and we allow very few mistakes to happen, so even if we have a problem or the car is not a hundred percent, we're still able to get a very, very good performance out of it. Nobody starts shaking in the garage as I said. In the end, it's full of individuals, the driver, the mechanics, the engineers but we act as a team and as I said, even if the boat starts shaking, I think we all remain calm and we know what to do. I think that's it, if there is a secret to this year.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando, is it true what Jenson said, that you lost second position because of the problem with the medium tire temperatures? Also can you describe, yourself, your fantastic start, please?
Alonso: With the medium... I think we cannot make a big thing about the medium tire or our performance with different types of tires. It's just something that we need to improve and we need to be competitive with all types of tires in all conditions. That's not a particular problem but we were less competitive than Red Bull and McLaren. If we made a good start and found ourselves first, leading the race, that was not our real position, so sooner or later, with one tire, with another tire, on lap 15 or lap 45, they should overtake us, as they did and that's the reality. It's not a problem with one tire or one pit stop or whatever.
If I had to describe the start, it was as usual a big moment in the race, as we know the start and the first couple of laps can change your race because you can be in traffic as we saw today with Michael and Hamilton. So if we concentrate on the start, the car was moving quite OK with no wheelspin and then you have to chose left or right to overtake Hamilton. I was thinking of the left but I saw Sebastian moving a little bit towards Hamilton as well so I thought maybe they were too close, so I went into the pit lane exit and Hamilton saw me and tried to move to the right. At the end, I think I had two wheels on the grass, two wheels on the asphalt for a moment, but I gave full throttle. Braking for turn one, which is always difficult because we arrived three or four cars [abreast] and there is only one that can go through turn one and two and we had the inside part so we were lucky there. It was a fantastic start, very, very similar or a replica of what we did in Barcelona, exactly the same. I started fourth.
Q: (Fabrizio Corgnati) Sebastian, you explained to us how the win was very emotional for you, even if you have beaten the red car which is probably the crowd's favorite. What do you think about the response of the Italian fans to your victory?
Vettel: I think all the people who had a Red Bull shirt or Red Bull flag were very happy but the majority came here this morning dressed in red. Fair enough, it's Ferrari's home grand prix. It's an atmosphere that all the other teams are allowed to enjoy as well, because so many fans... you know, before the race, down on the grid, I thought - looking at the grandstands, seeing so many people, ignoring the color of their shirt, seeing the crowd - life doesn't get much better than this. So many people cheering what we are doing, and being one of the drivers allowed to race; as I said earlier, the only thing that could make it a little bit better on the podium is if you are wearing a red suit, so I guess it was a very special for Fernando here last year. Obviously I know how it feels to listen to the Italian anthem from three years ago. This year it was a bit different, but still, it's very special, it means a lot to me. I remember a lot. Always when I come down here, since I've been a little boy, since we came here for go-karting - I don't know how many kilometers we drove in total coming here - a couple of times every year to race in Italy and therefore it is and was very special, three years ago and today as well.
Q:= (Adrian Rodriguez Huber - Agencia EFE) Fernando, there are six races here. Realistically you should go for victories in races because the championship is really almost impossible. Which circuits do you believe suit you the best? Is there one or maybe more than one on which to win?
Alonso: Yeah, six races to go so obviously the championship is impossible, not mathematically but we are no longer in contention so we try to enjoy every race, we try to go for individual victories, also fighting for second place in the championship. It's always better to finish second than fifth. I think I'm second today after Mark's retirement so I will try to get second place as I did last year. Yeah, of the races remaining I think Singapore is probably the best one for our car characteristics. In Monaco we were fine, we were second. The car was maybe not very competitive in that part of the year so now that the car is a little bit better, on a street circuit we should maybe perform well. I love the Singapore circuit so the next race will probably be it.
Q: (Ian Parkes - Press Association) Sebastian, you could go on holiday from now until Abu Dhabi and still come out of that leading by a fair chunk of points. Any chance of you doing that so we can have an exciting end to the season?
Vettel: I'm contracted to do all the races, so maybe you need a word with Christian. No, I love coming here, I love racing. Obviously we will see what happens during the next races but yeah, we have to go step by step really. I don't know. No plans. I think it's wrong to plan before something happens. It would be wrong for you to plan what you would do with a million dollars if you won the lottery tomorrow. First you have to win, then you worry about what you do with your winnings.
Button: I think you have to plan a bit more if you win the lottery. You don't want to waste it.
Vettel: We will see.
Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto, Motor und Sport) Sebastian, when you overtook Fernando, you had two wheels on the grass in the Curva Grande. Didn't you lose momentum there?
Vettel: Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing it on TV, how much space there actually was, but when I came obviously I had a very good exit so I knew that I had a fair chance down to turn four, to the second chicane. And then going through Curva Grande, I wasn't really sure which way to go, left or right. I thought if I go to the right then I'm sitting on the outside, maybe I might be a bit ahead before we start braking, but then I know that Fernando is an animal so he will brake as late as he can and then manage somehow to take the corner. I decided spontaneously to go left and then I thought, I just hope he has seen me because he kept going left, left, left. There wasn't much space. I stayed on full throttle but fortunately the corner opened up, I had two wheels on the grass, and then once I was side-by-side he was obviously aware that I was still there and then there was another battle getting onto the brakes, who hit the brakes first. I hit first and then he was quite late but I had the inside so I was quite relieved after I was ahead.
Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto, Motor und Sport) Fernando, your car was much faster in top speed in qualifying; was there no chance to defend or did you have the wrong gear ratios for the heavy car at the beginning?
Alonso: Yeah, the top speed is related to the DRS as well. When you activate the DRS, you can reach a certain speed that in the race is not possible. Yesterday, our top speeds were thanks to the DRS, how it works and today, when you put on the normal wing down, we were not so quick on the straight any more.
Q: (Silvia Arias - Diario Libre) Sebastian, you have twice said how nice it would be to win here wearing a red suit. Is this a dream for you, do you expect to win one day wearing a Ferrari suit?
Vettel: Just speaking to Jenson as well, also on the podium, of course there were people who were very happy with our result but I think the majority, after a while, didn't enjoy the fact that we were enjoying ourselves. You could also hear that. Jenson said to me that's normal here.
Button: I've had it for the last two years.
Vettel: I think I had that experience last year as well. I think that the only thing that makes it really special - better than today here - is wearing a red suit, to really be appreciated by all the fans. We will see what happens in the future, but for now I am very, very happy. I think the story has been unbelievable so far. I owe a lot to Red Bull. Without them I wouldn't be here. They gave me the chance when I was just a little kid, 12 years old. It goes back a long way so it's very special for me to race for that team and being able to win races is fantastic, but of course, one day you don't know what's happening. We will see.
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "It was an emotional win today. This circuit means such a lot to me and is very special. I had my first win here, so when I crossed the line I remembered every single bit of it. The podium is absolutely unbelievable here; when you stand up there you feel blessed, as it doesn't happen to many people. There are so many people underneath and you can see them all coming, even from Curva Grande - it's just unbelievable. This circuit has been tough for us for the last two years and so... to come back this year and win! The car was amazing in qualifying yesterday and in the race today it was even better. The start was not that good, Fernando was suddenly there and I didn't know where he was coming from - it took me a while to see we were three going into Turn 1. I kept second place and then after the restart, I was able to pass Alonso. He didn't give me much room there, but it was just enough, so it was very enjoyable. It was a great race for us. As it's 150 years for Italian Unity also, I think it makes it special for every one here, so thank you to all the fans."
Mark Webber (DNF, Accident): "I didn't get the best start, me and Jenson were together, so I lost a few spots there. I think also Sebastian didn't either, so there were a few different starts going on. Fernando made a phenomenal one. Then there was the restart after the safety car; I got a good one that time and managed to pass Jenson straight away. Then, on the next lap, I was lining up Felipe, breaking around the outside for turn 1, trying to get the inside line for turn two. I probably wasn't quite far enough to get completely inside, but when I tried to come out of the move the kerbing on the inside is obviously pretty high; as soon as I touched that I unfortunately made contact with Felipe and that was that. I then tried to get back to the pits, trying to lose the minimum time possible, the car wasn't too bad for the first part of the lap, but at some stage the wing got caught underneath, so I couldn't turn the car or brake. I went straight out of Parabolica and that was the end of my race."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A phenomenal race today. To win in Monza is a dream come true and it was a really dominant performance by Sebastian today. We had great pit work, strong strategy and Seb made a really brave overtaking move to retake the lead from Fernando after the safety car. Thereafter it was a very controlled and well executed race. Unfortunately Mark's race came to a premature end after contact with Felipe Massa. The front wing was tucked under the car on the approach to Parabolica, when Mark was trying to get back to the pits as quickly as possible. It prevented him from being on the podium today, but I'm sure he will bounce back in Singapore. It was a great day for the team and a phenomenal result at a circuit which, on paper, wasn't our best. Very sadly, we lost a team member earlier in the week, Erin Pezzella, a young lady who has been with the team for four years. She lost a very brave fight against cancer and we would like to dedicate this result in her memory today."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "I'm very pleased. To win the race already is something quite fantastic, but for an engine manufacturer to win Monza - well... that's the race to win - so this victory has a very special taste for us. Also with the new agreement we have announced with Red Bull this weekend. We have worked with them for five seasons now and I think this partnership is something really solid. I think it was good race from Sebastian today, his pace was incredible. Unfortunately Mark's race was too short; he had shown good enough pace to potentially finish on the podium. I would like to say thank you to all the people working at Renault and Red Bull Racing for this great result today."
Jenson Button (2nd): "It's nice to have fought my way back through to second - but it's frustrating to have had a problem at the start with the clutch, because it cost me dearly. I dropped back to sixth, then, at the restart, I had no way of keeping Mark [Webber] back, because his straight-line speed was so strong, so I slipped to seventh. Obviously, that enabled the leaders to get a long way out in front, and I was delayed by a further four or five seconds when Mark and Felipe [Massa] tangled in front of me at Turn One. After that, I was able to get my head down and passed Lewis and Michael [Schumacher] within the space of about five corners, which was really satisfying. After that, I set about closing down Fernando [Alonso], it was great to be able to secure second because we got some good points for the team. On the whole, the team's done a great job this weekend, but it's the little problems that are frustrating: if you have one of those, then you're not going to beat Red Bull and Sebastian [Vettel]. Hopefully, we'll have no problems at the next race because if we can get everything together then we can challenge for a win."
Lewis Hamilton (4th): "It was a good race: I finished and I got some points, so I can't really complain. At the restart, Michael [Schumacher] was on my outside; I was looking at him in my mirrors, then, all of a sudden, the guys ahead had gone, so I missed an opportunity to slipstream Sebastian [Vettel]. So they caught me napping. We were a little bit slow on the straight today, which meant it was hard to get past Michael, who was faster along the straight even when I had my DRS activated. I had to really fight Schumacher, but the fact that I finished ahead of him meant everything was okay. That's racing. The support we've had in Italy - the weather, the fans - has all been incredible and I'm really looking forward to coming back here again next year. I doubt it's still possible to beat Sebastian for the title, but we'll keep pushing. For now, I'm looking ahead to the flyaways - they're going to be exciting and I'm really focused on getting some more wins for the team."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Today our cars were the quickest of the lot - Lewis posted fastest lap, while Jenson took second-fastest lap - but unfortunately our drivers didn't get off to good enough starts. The result was that they spent much of the race stuck behind Michael [Schumacher], whose Mercedes-Benz was remarkably quick in a straight line and extremely 'wide' on the approaches to the corners. Meanwhile, Seb [Vettel] was able to pull away, which was deeply frustrating for us because we knew we had the pace to take the race to him, had our guys got off to better starts. But that's motor racing: you've got to qualify well, start well and race well. Well, this weekend we qualified pretty well, we raced very well, but we didn't start well enough. Even so, we scored 30 world championship points this afternoon, consolidating our second place in the constructors' world championship and pulling out a margin of 71 points over our closest challenger. Now, we embark on a tough run of six fly-away races, starting in Singapore in two weeks' time and ending in Brazil in late November. There are still a lot of points up for grabs, and we'll be doing our damnedest to bag as many of them as we possibly can."
Fernando Alonso (3rd): "Returning to this magnificent podium wearing the Scuderia race suit is always very exciting. I said it yesterday: a podium place is within our grasp. We knew we needed to get a great start and we managed it, partly down to a great preparation job done with the engineers over the past two days. The start was really a magical moment, like in Barcelona, although we knew this was not our true position and that sooner or later we would have been passed. However, it was still very nice to see our fans cheering during those laps at reduced speed behind the Safety Car. There was nothing we could about Vettel, he was much quicker than us and passed me easily. The situation was better up against the McLarens: with the Softs, we could defend well, but on the Mediums they still have a significant advantage and I think that if the race had gone on a few more laps, I would have been off the podium. Having said that, I am happy with this result: we were better in the race than in qualifying, but that has been a constant factor since the start of the season. Sure, it would have been fantastic to do the double after 2010, but we must stay cool and concentrate and try to reach targets that are within our reach: today we did just that. It's true the title has gone now, but there is still great motivation: we want to win races and try to defend the position I have just reached in the Drivers' championship."
Felipe Massa (6th): "I can only be disappointed with this sixth place, because today I could definitely have fought for a place on the podium. Unfortunately, the incident caused by Webber cost me too much time and I dropped to tenth place. That meant I had to pass so many drivers to try and catch up to the leaders again, but by then it was anyway too late. The collision with Webber did not do any damage: he hit my wheels and that pushed me into a spin when we were at the second corner. I braked slightly late, taking the inside line and, going round the outside, he would never have got past. I am really disappointed, because the car was not bad today in terms of pace and even when we were running the Medium tires in the final stint of the race, we were reasonably quick and degradation was pretty low. Now we hope to have a bit more luck in the final six races of the season."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Honestly, this result is the best we could have hoped for, given our current technical situation. The fact Fernando is second in the Drivers' championship is amazing and I think it highlights the stuff our driver is made of. Once again today, he delivered a majestic performance, either attacking, as he did at the start, or defending as in the closing stages. Felipe also did well and I am sure he could have been right up there in the fight behind Vettel, if he had not been pushed into a spin by Webber: all the same he delivered a good race. Clearly Ferrari must always aim for victory and a third place is not and should not be something to get excited about, but the team worked well, keeping its cool and concentrating and, step by step, the situation is improving. Our aim for the final part of the season remains the same: we will try and win races and always do our best. We owe that to ourselves and to our fans who once again today, were magnificent. I am sure Fernando felt goose bumps up on the podium: standing there in a red suit is something special..."
Pat Fry: "We expected a very close race and that's what we got right from the start. These twenty three points are more or less in line with what we could have expected from our potential at this track. Over the weekend, we worked a lot to improve the performance of the car and the result of that was there to see, considering where we started from on Friday morning. The drivers were great, always getting the most out of the car and the guys were also impeccable during the pit stops. From a strategy point of view it was a relatively simple race to interpret and, given how the early stages of the race evolved, we tried to cover what our main competition was doing. We knew that on the Medium, the performance gap would be higher than on the Soft, but we still managed to maintain this podium place which was our realistic target going into the race. The European season is over and the final part begins, which will see us travel the world for two months: we will look to do our best and bring home some wins."
Michael Schumacher (5th): "It was an exciting race today, both for me and I think for all of our fans, and that is why I am happy. The fighting against Lewis was big fun, and my mirrors seemed to be very small at times. We are both known for driving on the limit, and that is what we did. I had to make my car as wide as a truck, and had to stretch the possible as much as I could, but in the end, as expected, he was still faster. The start was ideal, I held back on purpose at first in order to use the grip perfectly afterwards, and then the left side was all free. To make the most of your possibilities is the maximum possible at times, and that is why I had fun today, especially knowing that there is more to come in the future, with all the support we have from Mercedes."
Nico Rosberg (DNF, Accident): "It was a disappointing race for me today in Monza. I had a difficult start on my prime tires but still managed to gain a place at the first corner, so it was quite good. Then Liuzzi flew like a torpedo over the grass and put me out of the race. It's a pity because I had a strong strategy and, as Michael's good result showed, our car was very strong this afternoon."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "A fantastic drive from Michael today, and I'm sure he really enjoyed his racing out there. The boys have done a great job with our starts this year, and Michael was able to get away well and show his race craft in the first part of the race. Then he settled into a really tough battle with the McLarens, particularly Lewis, which was great racing and vintage Michael. We haven't quite got a car that's quick enough yet but we are all pleased with Michael's fifth place today. For Nico, it was a short and not at all sweet afternoon. We had an exciting strategy starting him on the prime tires, and looking at how those tires performed on other cars at the beginning of the race, it would have been very interesting to see how it developed. It's doubly frustrating that he was taken out by a car starting in 24th position. If you get tangled up at the first corner because you are vying for position, that's racing, but to be swiped out by someone that far back is hard to take. However, we have shown as a team that when we do have the right car, we will be able to compete at the front, and that's our inspiration for next year."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A thrilling drive from Michael again today - the first half of the race delivered probably one of the best television shows of the year and I am sure lots of people at home were standing rather than sitting in front of their televisions, which was the case for us on several occasions today. Michael repeated his Spa result today and everybody realized during his drive how committed and hard-fighting he is - it was a joy to watch, and certainly not just for us. It was a shame for Nico to be in the middle of a first-lap shunt at Turn One. With two fresh sets of option tires available - which none of the top drivers had today - I am sure he would have been in a good position to fight for a strong result. We all are now looking forward to the Singapore night race where we want to consolidate our recent performances from Spa and Monza."
Bruno Senna (9th): I'm happy to score my first F1 points today, especially as it was only my second race for the team. Although I started 10th, it was not been an easy job to finish ninth. We suffered some bad luck in the first corner; everybody was cutting the chicane which forced me to drive on the outside, and in the process I lost all the places I had fought so hard for in qualifying. It makes me very happy to know that I am able to put myself in the position of scoring points, and also to fight with the guys who have been doing this for a long time. The pace of the car was clear for all to see, but I wish the race was just one lap longer because I may have been able to pass Paul (Di Resta) for eighth. The team chose a great strategy, the tire was fast enough where I needed it to be and I am very happy to get my name on the points board. The team did a great job and I am really looking forward to Singapore."
Vitaly Petrov (DNF, Accident): "Naturally I am very disappointed with what happened today. I had a reasonable start and, as I was heading into the first chicane, Vitantonio's HRT came from nowhere and hit me big time, which brought my race to an end. There's nothing I could have done to avoid this. First of all, I'm happy not to be injured, as the impact was quite strong and it could have been a nasty accident. We have put in so much effort since Spa, at the track, Enstone and Viry, so I'm sorry that wasn't translated into points today. This is part of racing, but I can't help thinking that we could have secured a good result. We must now concentrate on Singapore, which will be a real test for us. We will be bringing another technical upgrade with us, before going on to quicker tracks like Japan and Korea, which should suit our car better. On the upside, the car has felt good since the first practice session here; we definitely made a step forward performance-wise and we should have a strong end to the season."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "I have mixed feelings because that first corner cost us dear today; Vitaly was very unfortunate to be out of the race, and Bruno was in eighth at the end of the first lap. However, the team mapped out a very strong strategy, which helped Bruno come all the way back from to ninth. It is good to see him score his first points in F1, and it is clear that if we have a trouble-free race we can finish much higher. We still have some upgrades to come, and if you combine that with the fact that our car has really been on the pace this weekend, we should be confident we can push on from here. As a sport, Formula 1 has once again put on a good show for fans today and we should all be delighted with the quality of racing we have witnessed."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "It goes without saying that without the first corner incident, it would have been a very different race for us. Vitaly lost his rear suspension and retired on the spot, whilst Bruno lost many places and finished up 15th behind the safety car. We started him on the medium tire because we thought Nico (Rosberg) could start on this tire and we didn't want to get stuck behind him on softs. The early safety car gave us the opportunity to switch strategy with the hope of overtaking others, as they had to go onto the medium tire at the end. It worked up to a point. We were certainly quicker than the cars around us but even with DRS and better top speed, overtaking was difficult. To come from 18th to ninth is not bad, but we could have scored more points today. Having said that, our performance showed that we can have a strong end to the season."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "Monza is the hardest track of the year for the engine, which is why we introduced new units here. Having said that, all weekend the car has been very quick and the top speed, which peaked at nearly 350kph yesterday in qualifying, was particularly impressive. It was a great result for Bruno to score points in only his second race for the team. He demonstrated his speed and reliability, and if he hadn't been caught up in the accident he may have scored even more points. Vitaly was very unfortunate today to get caught up in the incident at the first corner. Singapore is a very different circuit from Monza, but the team will look to build from this and score more points."
Pastor Maldonado (11th): "I had a great start and made up a lot of positions while also avoiding the accident. The pace at the beginning was quite strong, but in the second stint we started to lose time and it was difficult to maintain that good rhythm. At the end of the race we had a consistent pace but unfortunately it just wasn't quick enough."
Rubens Barrichello (12th): "I had a brilliant start, gaining three or four positions as we headed into the first corner, but then I saw an HRT come past. I was lucky he didn't hit me but I was then in the middle of the action and so had to stop the car. I didn't hit anyone, but when Rosberg started to move he hit my nose, it was a difficult situation. It's a shame I got caught in that, as with the pace and the strategy I could have scored some points for the team today."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We didn't have the pace to score points today. Rubens was caught up in the first corner incident through no fault of his own but recovered the car to change his front wing. He then began chasing up to the back of the pack during the safety car, although not making it to the back of the field as the race restarted. From that point onwards, we had him scheduled to make just one more stop to try to take advantage if something unusual happened. Pastor had a great position after the safety car and a decent first stint, but we didn't have the pace in the following stints to hold on to the position. Our focus is now on Singapore to put the next upgrade on the car for the remaining races."
Paul di Resta (8th): "Of course I'm really happy to finish eighth today after what hasn't been the easiest of races. My launch was not great, but the guys around me didn't get away well either. Going into turn one I could see a Williams coming towards me so I moved as far to the outside as possible, but there was no option but to bump across the chicane. After that we went aggressive with the tire strategy and I think we extracted as much as we could because our ultimate lap time in race trim was not quite there today. So it's great to pick up four more points, which helps us move up a place in the championship."
Adrian Sutil (DNF, Hydraulics): "I made a good start, but I was in the middle of a lot of cars and I couldn't really gain any positions. Then the biggest problem was Liuzzi spinning and hitting the field at turn one. I was on the inside and I had to go into the gravel to avoid the crashed cars, which cost me a lot of time. Fortunately my car was fine with no damage so I was still able to continue. I was running on the medium tire so things looked okay and I felt points could still be possible. A few laps later the power steering went so I knew I had a problem. I tried to downshift into turn three and I couldn't so I had to park the car. As we saw with Paul's result, we missed out on getting two car in the points today."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "Another very entertaining race at Monza and a great performance from Paul and the team to finish eighth. We always believed that points were possible, but we had to fight hard and stay out of trouble. Paul did well to avoid a messy first corner and went on to drive a very mature race and beat some cars that were perhaps quicker on absolute pace. The strategy came to us and we made the tires work to score four important points, which moves us up to sixth position in the constructors' championship. As for Adrian, he was out of luck today. He lost a lot of time during the first lap, but that soon became academic when his car suffered a hydraulic problem. So we end the European season full of optimism and look forward to racing in Singapore in a couple of weeks' time."
Sergio Perez (DNF, Gearbox): "Despite our poor grid positions, we were doing well in the race, but then both of us retired, and that is tough. I started 15th and our race strategy was to do a very long stint on the harder tires - the medium compound - and in the end only a short stint on the soft tires. From lap 20 I had been in seventh. I had a gap in front and one behind, so it all looked good, but then first of all I could not use third gear and then after that couldn't shift in any gear. We missed a great opportunity to score points today."
Kamui Kobayashi (DNF, Gearbox): "This is, of course, disappointing for everybody. I had no power anymore no matter which gear I selected. Until then it had been quite an exciting and difficult race for me. I had a set of the new harder tires - the medium compound - for the start and, of course, the plan was to stay out with them for a long time. Sergio proved later that this was possible, but after the accident in turn one, which involved a couple of cars, everybody tried to stop so as not to run into the accident. I touched the car which braked in front of me. Not only did my front wing come lose, but I also damaged a tire and therefore I had to change to a set of used soft tires. Because of this our strategy was ruined, but I was still very confident about scoring points today. It is a true shame."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "We deliberately put all our focus on the race, accepting that this would compromise our qualifying performance. Our performance today proved that this approach worked out perfectly. We were faster than our direct competitors. Today it would have been easy to score many points, but both our drivers were stopped by gearbox problems, Kamui on lap 23, and Sergio on lap 33. Sergio drove an excellent race and was safely in seventh at that time, and running on a one stop strategy which was perfect today. In addition, our car was as fast as expected today."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "As expected, our pace in the race was much better than in qualifying, and the strategy was also very good. Sergio was on a one stop strategy, drove very consistently and didn't suffer on the medium tires in the beginning. Over 33 laps he set very respectable lap times. He was 15 seconds ahead of the competition, and we were just waiting for them to stop and then do the same. In Kamui's case we had to bring him in after his first lap incident. We then changed to a two stop strategy, using two sets of the soft tires, which would also have worked well in his case. Unfortunately the gearbox failures stopped all our efforts."
Jaime Alguersuari (7th): "I am very happy with my race today. I think I would like to start even further back on the grid for the next one, because it seems that whenever I have a poor grid position, I finish in the points! I am also very pleased for the team, as they got both cars home in the points. I am a bit surprised at the way the car performance came good on Sunday in the race, because I did not expect to be quicker than Force India and Sauber. Getting this great result at our home race, also makes it extra special. We need to keep on working like this and try and improve our qualifying performance on Saturday. If we do that, I think we can finish in the points on a regular basis."
Sebastien Buemi (10th): "I am bit disappointed with the way the race panned out. I made a very good start, but then when an HRT triggered a big accident, I took a knock at the back of my car and it was definitely damaged in some way, as it did not work at its maximum potential from then on. If that had not happened, maybe I could have finished ninth or eighth. But while tenth is therefore a bit disappointing, losing out to Senna right at the end, when he was on the Soft tire and I was on the Medium, it's time to look ahead and think about doing better in two weeks time in Singapore."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Our home track always appears to be a lucky one for us, because we seem to finish regularly in the points here at Monza. Jaime's seventh place finish was the best result of his Formula 1 career and it was the team's best so far this season and a good result overall as we got both cars home in the points, with Sebastien Buemi tenth past the flag. The points we got today see us close the gap to both Force India and Sauber in the Constructors' Championship. Jaime drove an excellent race, making up eleven places from his grid position. He was especially quick on his second set of tires, putting in one fastest lap after another. Sebastien was lucky to finish the race, after being involved in a collision when he clipped another car with the left rear tire. Well done to the entire team, who delivered a good strategy and executed it well during the race. This was a good way to end the European leg of the season and I am now looking forward to seeing if we can continue like this in the remaining six races of the championship."
Heikki Kovalainen (13th): "I had a great start, passing Jarno and then seeing the HRT coming into T1 in a pretty hardcore style so I avoided that and was then up into a good position early on. I managed to hold that place for a good number of laps and found the tire degradation pretty easy to manage. The pitstops were really good today - the calls to come in were made at the right times and the whole crew did a great job to get me out so quickly, so thanks to them and the whole team for a good end to the weekend."
Jarno Trulli (14th): "For once I didn't have a great start but I managed to avoid the crash at the first corner and luckily Heikki and I were able to get through that and avoid damaging our cars. While I was racing Heikki, I think Massa got into trouble into the first chicane, so I had to go off track to avoid hitting him. When I rejoined the track he shut the door on me, so I went down the inside, kept flat out and managed to overtake him. Then, going into the first corner I had two faster cars behind me with KERS - they had just pressed the button and while going into the second corner Massa lost the car under braking and hit me which forced me into the car next to me, damaging the front end of the car and the front wing. It was really unlucky as I was basically in a sandwich and I was the only one that was damaged! The team did a great job to bring me in , change the nose and then rethink the strategy, switching me to one stop strategy pretty much straight away. From there my lap times were really good and I enjoyed the whole of the rest of the race. I'm really happy about the performance today and the pace was excellent all afternoon. In fact, throughout the whole weekend I have been very happy with the pace of the car overall and this morning's news about next year's contract has made this a fantastic home race for me - thanks to the whole team for that!"
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "It has been a great day for Team Lotus and, for me, about the best race I have been to so far! To come 13th and 14th at Monza is way above my expectations so I am very proud of both drivers and the whole team. Obviously the race had a number of incidents which helped our final grid positions, but there are two key points for us to take out of today - we were there at the end to take the advantage of the positions that were available and our pace over the race distance was strong enough to keep up with a number of the established teams. Both Heikki and Jarno did an absolutely fantastic job throughout the whole afternoon and they were helped by the pitstop crew who performed brilliantly, and the engineers who made the right calls at the right times. Well done to all. This has been a pivotal few days for our team and we will be making a number of announcements over the next few weeks that will show just how well we have laid the foundations for the future of our team. But now for me it is back to London and Loftus Road!"
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "That was a great race for us. Both drivers managed to avoid the carnage at the start but then Jarno lost a bit of time early on after being hit by Massa. That incident meant we had to bring him in to change his front wing, putting him back a few places but we switched his strategy and put him onto a long stint on the soft tires before changing to the mediums. That change, and the fact he was pushing throughout the whole race, helped him get back in front of his direct opposition and he did well to finish 14th. Heikki was also strong all afternoon and was holding the places he had gained at the start as long as he possibly could - we are all delighted that he brought his car home in 13th without any issues at all as that was the primary goal for today. After a difficult Friday this performance was a great recovery from the team to show how we can bounce back from a difficult start to the weekend. It is been an extremely positive result which sets us up well for Singapore, so well done to everyone."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "From the engine perspective that was a pretty tough race but one that we are very pleased to have finished so well. Jarno's pace today was really good - he was easily able to pull away from Timo once he passed him and to have both cars finishing so closely together after the incident Jarno had is a very positive result. Monza is extremely testing for the engines as the drivers spend so long at full throttle, but we managed to get both cars home without any problems so that is a good afternoon for us and the whole team."
Daniel Ricciardo (Not classified): "The race started as bad as it could, for some reason the car went into anti-stall, jammed in third gear and then the engine switched off. I couldn't get restarted and had to get the car back into the box. The mechanics got it going again and I was back on track but the engine temperature rose and they called me back to check it and it took us a few more minutes until we could rejoin the race. I went straight into a bit of traffic which made it hard to get a bit of rhythm. But at least in the second stint at the end of the race I was able to get in quite a few good laps and we got some data out of that. A little bit is better than nothing but I need to keep pushing for a better result in Singapore."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF, Accident): "I was really looking forward to my home race and, although I knew it was going to be tough, it all ended prematurely. I had a good start getting past both Virgins, Lotuses and Daniel but then I went for another overtaking maneuver and got closed out. That put me into the grass and once I was there I tried to slow down but completely lost control of the car and unfortunately hit other cars. I am really sorry for Petrov, Rosberg and the other drivers who were forced to retire because of this. Now it's over but we are fighters and we have to look ahead to the next race."
Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "This was a weekend to forget after losing both cars before the first corner of the first lap. The mechanics managed to fire up the car and Ricciardo completed 39 laps. We knew that Monza would be difficult but everything was set up for a satisfying race. It is a pity for both our drivers, but let's look ahead to a much better weekend in Singapore."
Timo Glock (15th): "The race today was okay, even though the car was a bit difficult to drive, which is a little disappointing after yesterday's qualifying. Over the weekend we have definitely seen a step forward. The car felt better, but we have to look at why the car wasn't so good in race trim and see how we can develop the package for Singapore."
Jerome d'Ambrosio (DNF): "A really disappointing end to the weekend. I was really looking forward to the race and then during the formation lap I realized that I had no second gear. I started the race but the car was undriveable, so I had to come back into the garage and retire. It's a real shame because today's race looked like a close one but we just have to move on and get ready for the next race, as the initial signs from the upgrade have been positive."
John Booth, Team Principal: "Timo had an absolutely outstanding start and picked his way through the chaos in the first corner to end the lap in 14th position. From this point on, unfortunately we didn't quite have the pace to stay with Heikki, however Trulli's early stop meant that at least we were racing him. We perhaps could have pitted a little bit earlier on the first stop, but overall we didn't quite have the pace to stay in front. Nonetheless, the very fact that we are back racing with Team Lotus shows the improvement we have made for this weekend. With Jerome, it's very unfortunate that the gearbox failed on the formation lap. We had no indication of any issues up to this point, so we will review this back at our technical base in order to understand how this happened. We have a very busy week ahead, with half of the team moving on to an aero test in Vairano, Italy, on Tuesday and the other half will be back at base to finalize our preparations for the final flyaways. The team and the drivers are very much looking forward to heading to Singapore where, if our simulations are correct, this upgrade should yield greater gains."
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