Brazilian GP: Sunday Quotes
Felipe Massa (1st): "It was an exciting day. We did everything to perfection and we almost managed to pull it off. Then, as I crossed the line, Rob told me that Hamilton had finished fifth and therefore he took the title by one point. Sport is like this and one has to accept that. Congratulations to Lewis: whoever gets the most points deserves the title. I am very proud of the whole team and how much support they have given me during this fantastic season. Now we must be happy with what have done, namely bringing home the Constructors' title which I know is so important for the team. It was a season of highs and lows and we have learned a lot, from the good moments and from our mistakes. I can leave Interlagos with my head held high because once again I have won in front of my home crowd and because this is an unforgettable day. Now I want to celebrate with my family, my friends and my team. We deserve it!"
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "I am happy that the team has managed to win the Constructors' title and I am sorry for Felipe, who has lost the title by a single point. That's racing and we have to live with it. I am particularly happy for Stefano, in his first year as team principal as I know how much pressure he has had to deal with and I think that this result is a good reward for that. My race was not particularly exciting. At the start the track was wet, especially the first three corners, where I was being very careful not to make a mistake. Then, my first set of dry tires gave me a lot of understeer and I was struggling to match the pace of the leaders. On the second set, things gradually improved and I managed to close up on Alonso. Then, when we went onto wets, I got very close but the team told me to avoid taking any risks as Felipe had a chance of winning the title and so I gave up on attacking him. A not very positive season for me has come to an end, but I will do all I can to make up for it next year."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "It was an incredible day and we are happy with what we have achieved. Eight out of ten: that was the target set us by President Montezemolo at the start of the season and we achieved it, at the end of a difficult, complicated and incident-packed season. The entire team, both at the track and back home always work with great intensity and it deserves to be congratulated for this. Of course, there is disappointment that we did not get to see Felipe realize his dream, especially given how the race turned out, but I think that nevertheless, days like this are important. Felipe has grown so much, year after year, demonstrating his talent and personality, answering his critics with his driving and with his mind. He has had an amazing season and would have deserved the title. That's sport, it can sometimes be cruel. Last year we won the Drivers' title by a point and this year we lost it by one. I wish to congratulate Hamilton, the new world champion. In conclusion, I wish to thank first and foremost, President Montezemolo, who is always close at hand, especially in the most difficult moments. Then I also thank our technical and commercial partners and of course, the FIAT Group, of which we are proud to be a part."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Last year we won both titles at the last race and this year we lost one, with just a few meters to go. We had a perfect race, without making the slightest mistake in difficult conditions, with the rain playing its part at the start and at the end. Once again, we have won the Constructors' title which is in itself a great achievement. It confirms that this team, considering also all the changes it has undergone in the last two years, is still the best. I wish to congratulate Felipe, for yet another amazing race: he has had a fantastic season, as a driver and as a person."
Nick Heidfeld (10th): "My biggest problem today was the start. I just had too much wheelspin, so I literally stuck on the spot. Then I had a few good overtaking maneuvers and gained positions. Later the balance of my car tended to become very difficult and, especially when I was behind Jarno Trulli, I lost downforce. Later in the race I was behind Mark Webber and tried to fight him, which ruined my tires. When the first raindrops appeared with eight laps to go I gambled and pitted for intermediates. There was nothing to lose. I was tenth, but unfortunately I stayed tenth. Anyway we didn't have a good race today, but nevertheless we had a good season. Congratulations to the world champions!"
Robert Kubica (11th): "Losing third place in the drivers' championship in the last race is definitely not the best situation. We made too many mistakes during the weekend and this is the result. Unfortunately I started on dry tires, as we had the wrong information about the track conditions. During the race I was stuck behind Adrian Sutil for quite a long time. I managed to make up some positions in the final laps of the race, but it was too late. Congratulations to Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton!"
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "As last year, it was a dramatic finale. Lewis Hamilton clinched his title literally on the last kilometer of this race - congratulations, also to Ferrari! For our team it was a disappointing finish to a very strong season."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "For our team this was an end of season to forget. With Robert we gambled at the start with dry tires, but the track was too wet. Therefore he pitted immediately for a tire change, and after this found himself at the end of the field. From here there was nothing he could do. Nick lost position right after the start. Even pitting earlier than others at the end of the race did not change the situation. Nevertheless it was a very successful season for our team, and this race doesn't change this. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and to Ferrari for winning the championship."
Fernando Alonso (2nd): "I am very happy with this second place. The conditions were difficult but we were able to take advantage of them. We did our maximum, the team made the right decisions at the right times, and I managed to keep Raikkonen behind me until the finish. It's a fantastic result for the team and a great way to end the season."
Nelson Piquet (DNF, Accident): "I don't really know what happened: if I was touched or if I simply lost control of the car, but I couldn't see that much and I lost the rear of my car in turn 3. It's really frustrating not to complete my home Grand Prix because a lot of things happened in the race and we could probably have taken advantage of them. But we should not look back and I want to thank the team for their support this weekend."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "What a fantastic way to finish the season, not just for the team but for Formula One. Our result today reinforces the fabulous job our staff have done over the year. We now really look forward Australia 2009. Congratulations to Ferrari and Lewis."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "It's a super result and a great way to end the season so a big thanks for the whole team. Our second half of the year has been superb and in the last eight races Fernando has scored the most points of anyone. It was important to show to Renault that we could fight back and I'm proud of the efforts of the team this year. Congratulations also to Fernando and Nelson for the job they have done this season."
Nico Rosberg (12th): "I am generally quite pleased with my race. Starting 18th on the grid and finishing 12th in such difficult conditions is okay. I think I drove a good race, I had a great start and everything worked well. A long season is over and I am now really looking forward to the winter. Thanks to the whole team for their efforts in a difficult year and congratulations to Lewis for winning the Championship, he really deserved it."
Kazuki Nakajima (17th): "That was a very disappointing race and pretty much over for me in the first corner. The car took a lot of damage to the bodywork and to the suspension which compromised my pace a lot. It looks like it was a great Championship fight between Hamilton and Massa, my congratulations to Lewis."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Well done to Lewis for what I suspect will be the first of many Championships! It was an interesting race for both our cars; there was potential, but ultimately no points today. Both drivers had decent starts and Nico gained several positions around the outside at Turn 1. Unfortunately, Kazuki was hit from the side and then spun but luckily the damage was not terminal. Although we have had some strong races this year and a couple of podium finishes, development of the FW30 was not enough to remain competitive. Reliability was again solid, with only one mechanical DNF in 36 starts. Some time ago, we arranged our internal resource to concentrate on development for '09. Everyone at the factory is now fully focused on next season in order to ensure we have a much more competitive car next year taking into consideration the new aerodynamic rules, slick tires and KERS. Thank you to all our staff, partners and technical partners for their efforts this season."
Mark Webber (9th): "The car was pretty difficult to drive today. We had a long middle stint, but the pace wasn't there and I struggled. We knew some of the problems we had from practice and we tried to cater for those in the race, but in the end most of them were still there. It's disappointing to finish ninth."
David Coulthard (DNF, Accident): "I'm pretty gutted, it's not how I wanted to end my career. I took a cautious approach into Turn one and left plenty of space for the car on the inside, but unfortunately I think Rosberg hit me though Turn two, which spun me round. I thought it would be okay, but then Nakajima ran into the front of my car and took off the front corner. I felt good on the warm up laps going to the grid, I had no problem with it being wet and I wanted to get to the checkered flag. I was going to do some doughnuts for the crowd, which is something you normally get fined for, but it didn't work out. I can't complain though, I've had a good career, so thank you to everyone who has supported me. Thank you also to the efforts of every member of the Red Bull Racing team for the last four years, which have been a lot of fun, I look forward to continuing to work with them in the future. I've been overwhelmed by the level of support I've had from the paddock this weekend, it means a great deal to me that so many people have taken the time to say 'nice career and good luck with the future'. And, in the absence of a World Championship, I think if I can leave with that, then that's a good ending."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It's a great shame for David to be eliminated from his last Grand Prix at the first corner, but he can look back on a long and illustrious career where he's achieved a great deal. He now moves on to a different phase in his life and will continue to have a close relationship with Red Bull Racing. We're looking forward to working with him outside the cockpit. Mark drove a good race in difficult conditions. We took the opportunity to fill the car at the first stop and he didn't make any mistakes throughout. We also elected, like several others, to use intermediate tires for the last few laps, but unfortunately ninth place is a frustrating position to finish."
Timo Glock (6th): "I was on dry tires at the end of the race when it was raining quite badly and it was just impossible on the last lap. I was fighting as hard as I could but it was so difficult to just keep the car on the track and I lost positions right at the end of the lap. Finishing in the top six is a decent result for me because I'd been struggling with the car earlier in the weekend but we were very close to fourth place so I am a bit disappointed. It's the end of my first season with Toyota and I'm happy with it as a whole. It was not easy for me early on but we improved the car a lot and I also improved myself during the year. Since Hockenheim it's been positive for me; beating my target of 20 points and finishing on the podium as well is a good achievement. Now we have to work even harder for next year to make another step forward."
Jarno Trulli (8th): "It was an eventful race. We had a good start and the first laps were pretty good, when I was following Felipe Massa. It started to dry up and we went for dry tires. Unfortunately I got stuck behind Fisichella who was much slower than me. I didn't have the top speed to overtake him so I lost a lot of time over those laps. As soon as I got away from him I was one of the quickest on the track, I was recovering quite a lot and closing the gap to the guys in front but it was not enough. When it rained we took the choice to stay on dry tires and we got a point. Having started second we missed an opportunity but overall we have done a good championship and I am pretty happy with that. Now we are aiming to make even bigger progress for next year. Finally I would like to say that my five years working with Richard Cregan has been fantastic and I wish him all the best with his new career."
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "It's good to finish the season with both cars in the points even if that was a mixed day for us. Timo drove very well and his strategy paid off in these uncertain conditions. He stayed out on dry tires at the end but just failed to hold on to fourth place. Clearly we came in with high hopes for Jarno after his excellent qualifying yesterday but the weather didn't work in his favor. There was a problem at his first pit stop and he lost some time, so that cost him position. He did well to score a point in difficult conditions. Overall it is good to finish a positive season for us with a double points finish. We are happy with the progress we have made but our ambitions are higher than this and we want to make more progress. Now we can head into the winter with confidence that we can take another step in 2009."
Sebastian Vettel (4th): "It was a difficult and chaotic race and it's great to end the season on a high with this fourth place. I didn't make any mistakes and I feel we deserved this result, even if I was hoping for a podium. It was great to be racing against Massa, Alonso and Hamilton. Great fun! Towards the end, I was concentrating on staying on the track and I didn't know where I was in terms of position and I just tried to pass Lewis like any other guy and I succeeded. I passed Timo just at the last corner, as he was struggling on dry tires. Lewis was behind me at that moment, but as I wasn't sure where I was after the final pit stop for rain tires, I was definitely not aware that I might be influencing the world championship. It was hard to know who was a backmarker or not and as it got darker and darker it was even difficult to know who the cars in front of you were. The important thing is that I scored five points. It's been a fantastic season."
Sebastien Bourdais (14th): "I had a fairly good start, holding my position, but after the switch to dry tires, the car was a bit difficult to drive. Timo passed me, benefiting from a mistake I made. We caught Fisichella, but I couldn't get a good exit out of the final turn so couldn't pass. This allowed the others to close on me. Jarno decided to go for it, which was fine, except he out-braked himself and pushed me towards the grass and I lost six places. It's the second time in a row that Jarno has upset my race. After that, I was stuck in traffic, with some graining and I was unable to attack anyone as I continued not to get the last corner right. At the end, the team gambled on heavy rain and put me on extreme wets, so I lost another position to Kubica on intermediates. Not a great weekend!"
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Both drivers made a good start: Vettel was fifth, Bourdais eighth. Lap nine saw the first pit stop for Vettel, a short one to keep him ahead of Alonso, which worked well, although as he stayed out longer than us, he got us back. In the opening laps Seb drove very well, first of all pushing Massa and then keeping Alonso behind him, without making any mistakes. Towards the end he passed Hamilton and Glock in very difficult track conditions. Bourdais was unlucky to collide with his old friend Trulli! This cost him the chance to score another point for us. It's a shame the season is ending because, for the last few races Scuderia Toro Rosso has shown a very strong performance and we would have liked to continue in this manner. The team did a fantastic job and ran an effective strategy today. I thank both drivers, well done to the entire team, both here and back in the factory and thanks also to Red Bull. We are already looking forward to the 2009 season."
Jenson Button (13th): "I had a good start to the race, making up three positions out of the first couple of corners, however from there we suffered from being held up in traffic. We made an unusual call on my strategy, pitting early and switching to what would have been a three-stop program to avoid the traffic situation. When I did have clean air, the car's performance was actually not bad, however unfortunately the strategy didn't really work out for us. We then needed to stop again for wet tires at the end of the race anyway and fitting the extreme wets didn't pay off for us. This weekend brings a difficult and frustrating season to a close for our team but I am proud of the way in which we have persevered and maintained our motivation right to the last race."
Rubens Barrichello (15th): "It was a crazy race with the weather playing a big role in the result today. It was actually quite a competitive race for us in the context of the car's performance and I was running just outside the top ten before the final pit stop. When the rain came right at the end of the race, we took a gamble by fitting the extreme wets, thinking that it might pay off if the rain was particularly heavy. That didn't work out for us and I dropped a few places when I was forced to stop again just three laps later because the tires completely overheated. We've always done our utmost to extract the maximum performance from the car this year and it is a credit to us that this resulted in a podium finish at Silverstone. Thank you to everyone at the team for keeping their heads up during a difficult year."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "The sudden shower just prior to the start of the race set the tone for what was always going to be a very exciting race here today. We fitted the standard wet tires, which was the correct choice by the time we began the race following the delayed start. When the conditions improved, we were amongst the earlier cars to stop for dry tires and both drivers gained positions because of that. In the ensuing laps, the cars were running together and being held up in traffic so we decided to pit Jenson early and split the remainder of the race, leaving Rubens running to plan. In the end, as the race continued to unfold, this strategy favored Rubens. With the advancing rain at the end of the race we pitted both cars and fitted the extreme wet tires. This was a large roll of the dice in anticipation of a potentially torrential downpour which, had it paid off, could have moved us much further up the field. Unfortunately the level of rain did not exceed the limits of the standard wet tire that everyone else had opted for, however from where we were in the field it was a risk we could afford to take. Today we close the book on a difficult season for our team and look forward to concentrating all our efforts on 2009. Finally, I would like to congratulate Lewis Hamilton on winning the Drivers' Championship and Ferrari on securing the Constructors' title. It has been a very exciting season for the sport and today's race was a fitting finale to a fantastic championship fought with a great spirit."
Adrian Sutil (16th): "I think it was a good finish for this season - at least we could see the checkered flag. We had two cars behind us too, which was a good effort. It was quite difficult at the beginning to get the strategy right with the tire choice. We started on the intermediates and then went back to drys and it worked out quite well for us. On the first set we had a lot of graining but the second was quite alright. We gambled at the end with the extreme wets as it was very dark and looked like it would rain very heavily. The rain didn't come soon enough though and we struggled, but overall we did the maximum we could."
Giancarlo Fisichella (18th): "It was an exciting race, with so many things happening. It was a good decision to go to the dry tires after the Safety Car came out and then it was looking very good. This part of the race was fantastic, even though it was very difficult through the first part of the circuit. Turns one and two were particularly bad, almost undriveable, but the rest of the circuit wasn't too bad as there was a dry line. The lap time was getting much better, then for a while I was in the first three and was keeping a good pace. Unfortunately in the first pit stop I had a problem with the clutch and dropped right back. In both stops there was no clutch and I lost a lot. In the rain at the end we tried to gamble with the extreme tires as there was nothing to lose. Despite the result though it was an incredible start to the race and we can be pleased with the performance."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "All our congratulations to Lewis and to McLaren for clinching the championship in such dramatic fashion. It would have been a dream result for us to get points in our last race of the year and for some time it looked like that dream would come true. Unfortunately it just did not go our way, but we showed we could make the calls and race competitively. I would like to thank my team, my drivers and all our valued sponsors for sticking with it, not losing faith and pushing right until the very end. We know things can only get better now."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "First and foremost congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for winning his first World Championship in such difficult conditions. For us, it was a disappointing end. Giancarlo drove a fantastic race after he made the call to stop and go onto dry tires. It was very wet on the main straight and through sector one, so we were taking a risk but it was the right call and he drove a very, very competitive first stint. We would have scored points, which would have been an apt result for what's been a difficult season. Unfortunately in his first pit stop Giancarlo had a clutch problem and had a series of stalls, which dropped him right down. Adrian drove a steady race and fended off Kubica for the greater part of the race to get a finish in the final event of the year. Thanks to all the team at the track and back at base. Although we do not have any points, everyone has worked very hard."
Lewis Hamilton (5th): "The most dramatic race of my whole life. It's pretty much impossible to put this into words: I'm still speechless. It's been such a long journey, but I've always had the support of my family, the team, our partners and the fans. We did a fantastic job throughout the whole year and, with all the sacrifices we made, I'm so thrilled to be able to win this for everyone."
"Before it started to rain I was quite comfortable, and I was just focused on having a clean race. Then it started to drizzle and I didn't want to take any risks - but Sebastian (Vettel) got past me and I was told that I had to get back in front of him. I couldn't believe it. Then at the very last corner I managed to get past Timo (Glock) - it was just amazing."
"This was one of the toughest races of my life, if not the toughest. I was shouting, 'Do I have it? Do I have it?' on the radio. It was only when I took the checkered flag and got to Turn One that the team told me I was World Champion. I was ecstatic."
Heikki Kovalainen (7th): "The most important news today is that Lewis pulled it off; he did exactly what he had to do to win the championship. Everybody in the team deserves this title, particularly after what happened here one year ago, but the guys stayed focused throughout so congratulations to everyone. I'll now work even harder over the winter and hopefully next year's World Champion will be on the other side of our garage!"
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Well, that was a really tough race. We never pushed hard, we never did anything silly, but of course the late rain made things extraordinarily tense. Even so, even when Sebastian got past Lewis, we never gave up, and Lewis never gave up, because we knew that Timo was on dry tires. Lewis took his chance brilliantly, and the result was one of the most thrilling finishes in sporting history. I'm so proud of Lewis; I'm so proud of the team; everyone - every single one of them - did an absolutely fantastic job. Thanks, also, to Mercedes-Benz and all our partners - and, last but not least, congratulations to Ferrari on winning the constructors' championship."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "I am really, really happy for all of us at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Everybody in the team worked so hard throughout the year. Thank you all, guys. Lewis finally won the title with one point ahead of Felipe Massa after he lost it by one point last year to Kimi (Raikkonen) in his first one in Formula 1. Congratulations to him. Lewis showed a very disciplined race today and I can imagine how hard it was for a driver like him who wants to win every race that he had to drive carefully to just get the necessary points. Congratulations to Ferrari on the constructors' title; this was a truly remarkable year for Formula 1."
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