|Fernando Alonso and Pat Fry|
Fernando Alonso beat Sebastian Vettel winning the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring. The Ferrari outpaced the Red Bull-Renault by 3.7 seconds, finishing the race from the pole, and continued the streak of the last five German Grand Prix to have been won from the front row. Sebastian Vettel second place finish is being followed up by race officials for his move in over taking Jenson Button. Replays show that Vettel was fully off the circuit as he used a wide line over the run-off to make his way past button. Sebastian Vettel could be faced with a time penalty.
Note: After finishing second on the track, Sebastian Vettel was penalized 20-seconds – "Car 1 left the track and gained an advantage when he rejoined. Breach of article 20.2 of the FIA Formula 1 sporting regulations. Drive-through penalty, imposed after the race in accordance with article 16.3 (20 seconds added to the elapsed race time."
Alonso won his third victory of the 2012 season and 30th career victory, and stretches his lead in the World Championship by 34 points over Mark Webber, with Vettel in third, and Kimi Raikkonen jumping ahead of Lewis Hamilton in fourth and fifth. The win marks Alonso's 22nd consecutive points paying race. Red Bull now leads Ferrari by 61 points in the Constructors Championship, McLaren retakes third over Lotus.
Fourth place went to Raikkonen in the Lotus-Renault, followed by Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber-Ferrari in fifth, his team mate Sergio Perez in sixth, Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes GP was seventh, Webber in the second Red Bull was eighth, Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India-Mercedes was ninth, and Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes finished in the final points paying position.
How Alonso Won it
The F1 dictionary is beginning to run out of superlatives to describe Fernando Alonso’s performances this season, so let’s describe his win in today’s German Grand Prix, as superlative! Having taken pole in the rain yesterday, keeping the advantage through 67 dry laps today was never a foregone conclusion, but fighting off intense pressure, the Ferrari man actually led from start to finish to record his third win of the season. His team-mate Felipe Massa was less fortunate: starting in the always risky mid-field, the Brazilian was involved in an accident that meant he had to make an immediate visit to pit lane, on the opening lap, to change the nose on the F2012. He worked his way back up to twelfth at the flag. For his third German GP win, Alonso was joined on the podium by Sebastian Vettel, second for Red Bull and Jenson Button, third in the McLaren. However, later events would prove that Mr. Vettel had finished lower down than he thought and that Button was back in second place!
Finally after all that rain, as the cars lined up on the grid, it looked something like a perfect summer’s day with sunny skies and some fluffy white clouds and an air temperature approaching the mid-twenties. As the lights went out, Fernando made the most of the F2012’s great launch off the line and led away almost unchallenged, but Felipe required a nose change at the end of lap 1 following a collision. Hamilton also had to bring the McLaren in with a puncture on lap 3.
On lap 4, Fernando had Vettel’s Red Bull in close formation behind him and then there was a gap of almost four seconds to third placed Schumacher in the Mercedes, and behind came Hulkenberg in the Force India, then Maldonado, Webber, Raikkonen, Di Resta and Perez, the Mexican making up seven places, completing the top ten. Lap 8 and Button got his McLaren ahead of Hulkenberg to take fourth. Button then passed Schumacher for third on lap 10, as Di Resta began the first run of pit stops. At the front, Fernando had a 1.3 lead over Vettel, while Felipe’s early troubles saw him down in 19th place.
Hulkenberg, Webber and Rosberg all pitted on lap 12 while Maldonado came in from sixth on Lap 13 in the Williams. Schumacher pitted on lap 14 from fourth place in the Mercedes, coming out to get the better of Hulkenberg, which also saw Raikkonen get past the Force India. Fernando ran a bit wide at a corner on lap 17 so the team brought him in immediately for his first tire change on the F2012, taking on the harder Medium tires for a longer second stint. Lap 19 and Button brought his McLaren in, followed by Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso. Vettel pitted on lap 20 which meant he was still second, 3.3 seconds now behind Fernando, while Sauber’s Kobayashi was third, the only driver who had not yet changed tires until he eventually came in on lap 22. Felipe came in from 16th place on lap 24 to change tires.
In this part of the race, it seemed that Vettel was faster than the Spanish Ferrari driver and on lap 27, only one second separated the two leaders. One lap later, the German was close enough to start using his DRS and on lap 29, the gap was just 0.7 and closing. On lap 31, the two men came up to lap a Marussia which gave Fernando a bit of breathing space as the gap went back to 1.1. Profiting from this Spanish-German battle was Jenson Button in third, who had brought his McLaren to within 2.8 seconds of the Red Bull and was lapping faster than the leaders. On lap 34, just over half-distance, Felipe was having a lonely race in fourteenth. Lap 35 and now Fernando’s mirrors went from blue to silver, as although well down the order, one lap down, Hamilton, on fresher tires, got his McLaren ahead of Vettel to take station behind Alonso. Schumacher was the first of the front runners to make his second pit stop from fifth place on lap 36. Lap 41 and Button pitted, followed by Perez from fifth and Webber from eighth.
The next lap was a key moment as Fernando dived into pit lane with Red Bull covering the Ferrari move bringing Vettel in at the same time. But as the two men emerged from pit lane, Button was able to pull alongside the German to take second place, with the three leaders all on the Medium tire and set to go all the way to the checkered flag. Button was now close enough to use DRS and with 20 laps remaining, the McLaren was effectively riding on the Ferrari’s rear wing, while further back, Felipe made his third and final stop on lap 48. While Vettel drifted back from the leading two, Button was only 0.6 behind Fernando with ten laps remaining, but after dealing with some backmarkers, Fernando managed the gap, extending it enough to look comfortable for the final laps. However Vettel had put together a late charge and on the penultimate lap, he got past the McLaren, using rather more than just the race track to do so to take second place. However, after the race, the Stewards penalized Vettel with a 20 second penalty as they deemed his move on Button had contravened the rules. This dropped him to fifth, with Button taking second place. So although he never saw the podium, Kimi Raikkonen actually finished third for Lotus, with Kobayashi moved up to fourth in the Sauber.
Red Bull still heads the Constructors’ classification, with the Scuderia second, slightly closer to the leaders and pulling further away from McLaren in third. As for Fernando, he now has 154 points at the top of the Drivers’ classification, 34 more than Mark Webber who came home in eighth place today.
We have now completed half the season, but the F1 circus cannot pause for breath just yet as it now moves further east to tackle the Hungarian Grand Prix in just seven days time, the final race before the summer break.
Sebastian Vettel (5th* – penalized 20 seconds for passing Button off the track): "We had a decent race today although there wasn't enough pace when we got close to Fernando and we also lost a position to Jenson who had a good pit stop and came in earlier. A couple of laps before that, I lost some time with Lewis as he un-lapped himself. At the end of the race, Jenson's tires were gone and we were able to close the gap again. It was then a question of when, rather than where, and I tried to outbreak him. He opened the break again and then was up the inside; I wasn't sure where he was, I couldn't see him in that moment, so decided to give enough space and went off line on the slippery paint and I was able to stay ahead and get past him. The only intention was not to crash and to give him enough room. I have respect for him and I didn't want to squeeze him. It was good to be on the podium at the home race, but I have to respect the steward's decision."
Mark Webber (8th): "I had no pace today and wasn't quick. I couldn't stay with people that I normally can, so we'll look into it and come back in Budapest. I'm disappointed, as I expected to get more out of today's race. Normally Sundays have been ok for me, but not today. After the first lap it wasn't too bad, I got Lewis, but after that I was just hanging on. This is a completely different track (to Silverstone), but we have to be quick in all conditions and today we weren't for whatever reason."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "An interesting race. It was really close between Fernando, Sebastian and Jenson throughout, what turned out to be, a two-stop race. We lost a bit of time in the middle stint, when Lewis was un-lapping himself, which possibly allowed Jenson to get ahead at the pit stop, but then Sebastian gave it everything and made a move to get ahead a couple of laps from the finish at his home race. Mark's afternoon was always compromised by the gearbox penalty he had yesterday. We were aggressive at the first stop; it didn't work out as we hoped and he seemed to struggle a bit with the long run pace on the harder tire today with Mark. I think that possibly the lack of running on Friday and key set-up time cost us there. It was also disappointing to receive the penalty after the race but we accept this. We leave Germany with points for both drivers and we maintain our lead in the Constructors'. We will now focus on the next race which is only one week away."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "It was a very interesting race today, very tight between the three front cars. I think Seb did a very good job and had a strong drive. For Mark, he started eighth and finished eighth, so it was a long race for him. Regarding the discussions this morning, we were pleased with the Steward's decision that we had not breached a regulation. Formula One is a tight environment and we have to try to find every hundredth (of a second) that we can. We're not racing lawn-mowers and we were pleased to show that our package was very strong today – our pace was not far off the win."
Jenson Button (2nd): "I had a really good race and really enjoyed myself out there. I made a good start, pulled off some good moves on both Nico [Hulkenberg] and Michael [Schumacher] and had strong pace all afternoon. Sebastian [Vettel]'s pass was a pretty straightforward matter: the rules state that you can't go off the track to gain an advantage. The thing is, there would have been more opportunities for him before the end of the race as my rear tires were damaged. That's because I had to push hard to try and catch Fernando [Alonso], which meant I had nothing left for the end of the race. We pretty much ran out of rubber two laps before the checker. There are two strong positives to take away from today: firstly, although it proved very difficult to overtake, we're right up there with Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of speed. Our upgrade package is working well: if we can sort out qualifying, we're in the mix, and we'll have a really good chance of winning races this season. Secondly, although there's previously been some negative talk about our pitstops, the boys did an unbelievable job today. My fastest stop was a 2.31s – the blink of an eye, and, I'm told, the fastest pitstop in history. They were phenomenal and gave it absolutely everything today – all our effort is really paying off now. I'm already looking forward to Hungary – it's a special place for me, and I feel really encouraged that we can have another great race next weekend."
Lewis Hamilton (DNF, Handling): "My second-lap puncture was incredibly unfortunate: there was debris scattered across the full width of the track and I didn't have any option other than to drive straight through it. What's more frustrating is that, at the time, I was the eighth car through – so to be the one to get the puncture is just cruel luck. It was immediately clear that my car didn't feel the same after the puncture. However, after a few laps, I was able to adapt my driving style, and the car had good pace during the middle stint. However, with the damage to the rear, I think we were lucky to get that far, to be honest. At least I was able to have some fun out on track – my pace was good enough to be able to match the leaders during the middle stint. And that's encouraging for me, because we know our car's been genuinely quick this weekend. A big thank-you to everyone back at the factory for all their efforts to get a lot of new parts onto the car this weekend – every little bit helps, and we know there's even more in the pipeline. We'll put that pace in our pockets and take it to Hungary next weekend. I'm back in the car in five days' time – and that's the best possible news for me after a day like today."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "A great drive from Jenson today – a little frustrating to have started sixth, which meant he lost time at the start of the race [behind Hulkenberg and Schumacher], but he drove brilliantly to catch and battle the leaders. He wasn't quite able to bridge the gap to Fernando because, frankly, we were saving fuel at that stage, his rear tires had gone off a little bit because he'd been behind the Ferrari for some time, and also because Fernando's never an easy driver to overtake. Indeed, Ferrari are doing a great job at the moment – but we know they're beatable. I think it's important to place some of the credit for Jenson's second place with our pit crew: their second stop for Jenson was the fastest Formula 1 pitstop of all time, with a stationary time of just 2.31s. That's quite unbelievable and not only a testament to our belief in the processes and equipment we put in place to improve our performance, but also to the commitment and determination of the guys on the ground to improve and refine their technique. Well done to everyone for a quite phenomenal achievement! Lewis was incredibly unfortunate to be a victim of the Turn One debris – there wasn't anything he could have done to avoid it. Unfortunately, the puncture damaged the rear of his car, prompting us to monitor the data carefully to track all the vital signs. He had a good push in the middle of the race, but the car got worse and worse so it wasn't safe or sensible to keep him out there. It's a terribly disappointing conclusion to his 100th grand prix. Looking ahead to Hungary next weekend, we know we've got a good car and a good recent track record there – we won in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. Winning just before the shutdown is always positive because it provides you with great momentum across the summer break. The underlying news is that we were very competitive this afternoon in the Santander German Grand Prix. There's a lot of races ahead and I think we can have some great results."
Fernando Alonso (1st): "It was a very close race from start to finish. We did not have the quickest car. McLaren and Red Bull had a little bit extra but not enough to get past. The team took a few strategic decisions that were spot on, at the time of both stops and I knew that I had to concentrate, especially at Turn 6, defending my position by using the KERS. Then, in the third sector, there was no room for overtaking. I tried as much as possible to manage the tires at all times. Clearly, I didn't have a moment to relax but I think I was calmer than the team in the garage and on the pit wall and our fans sitting in front of their televisions! If I think back to where we were in Jerez, or Australia at the first race, I have to thank everyone at Maranello for the fantastic way in which they reacted to the situation. After yesterday's pole, in the wet, the car seemed to be very strong, as we expected. We must keep focused, avoid problems with reliability or with the pit stops and I know that when it comes to that, I can count on the best team, a team that is used to winning a lot. All I have to do is think about driving and helping the team. I always want to give 100% and work day and night towards this goal. I don't want anyone to come to Hungary better prepared than me, physically or mentally or more motivated than me and I always try and win this competition that runs alongside the one on the track. I expect to go well in Budapest and there is no reason to be pessimistic. However, I am not forgetting that Red Bull and McLaren were quicker. I said that the month of July would be crucial, with 75 points up for grabs in four weeks and so far we have brought home 43, so we will try and finish the job in Hungary."
Felipe Massa (12th): "It was a very hard race for me, conditioned by the problem at the start. I got away well, but then a Toro Rosso slowed suddenly in front of me and, despite trying to avoid him, I touched him with the front wing. I lost so much time coming back to the pits and my race was practically over at that point. The tires worked well, matching our expectations. A real shame, because again today the car was very competitive, as Fernando demonstrated, having a perfect race to take a well deserved and great win, which is extremely important for him and for the whole team. Obviously, I am not happy today, but the fact that I can count on a car that is getting better all the time in terms of performance, gives me confidence for the rest of the season. We must improve the situation in qualifying, trying to start further up the order: it's the easiest way to avoid problems at the start, like the one I was caught up in this afternoon. I think we should be on the pace in Hungary, as has been the case in the last few races."
Luca di Montezemolo: "I wish to thank the whole team and Fernando for this fantastic victory! Hockenheim is in a country that is home to some of the greatest car constructors in the world and that has a great Formula 1 tradition and a Ferrari was in the number one position on track, yesterday in the wet and today in the dry. I am proud of the amazing job the team has done at the track and the factory over these past few months. We must continue like this."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "It was like a 67 lap qualifying run! I find it hard to remember watching from the pit wall such a tight race from the start to the checkered flag. Fernando was perfect: not one mistake, not one hesitation, pushing to the maximum for an hour and a half. What a driver! The team were also great, managing everything to perfection. We expected to face some stiff opposition and that was the case: to keep ahead of them, we had to do a better job. A shame for Felipe who definitely had the pace to finish in the points: his race was ruined by the collision at the start and he is definitely not going through a lucky time at the moment! Now we come to what will be a key race, in just a week's time, in Budapest and then we will be able to pause for breath for a moment. We know we still have a lot of work to do, because we are still not the fastest. We have seen how quickly things can change this season, therefore we must keep concentrating to the maximum, especially on the reliability front. Finally, I wish to spare a thought for Valerio Catelani and Daniela Bertoneri, who lost their lives this morning in a tragic accident in the City of Lucca Rally: motor sport is still a sport where risk is ever present and one must never drop one's guard on the safety front. This has been the case in Formula 1 now for many years, thanks to the efforts of the FIA."
Pat Fry: "Once again, Fernando was fantastic. He made the most of pole at the start, then he waited until he had built up a useful window in which to make the first stop and managed to do so ahead of his main rivals. Once he was on the Mediums, the first few laps were rather difficult: both Vettel and Button were able to close up but our driver was brilliant in managing the situation and never once left himself open to an attack. Then it was Button who pitted early, but we had enough of an advantage to be able to react immediately without running the risk of being overtaken. The team was equally adept in the pit stops and the remote garage back in Maranello played an important part too, as was the case yesterday in qualifying. We are disappointed for Felipe who paid a high price for the collision at the start. We tried to get him back in the race by seeing if we could do just one stop, but it was clear that wasn't possible. A shame, because the pace he showed throughout the race would have definitely seen him finish in the points, even starting that far back on the grid. We still do not have the quickest car: we were aware of that and we saw it again today. We must carry on working hard to reach that objective, but it is definitely gratifying to end the first half of the season with our driver heading the classification…"
Michael Schumacher (7th): "There are nicer ways to finish a home race than falling back from third to seventh place. I squeezed everything I could out of the car but, unfortunately, that's everything we could manage today. It's a pity because I would have loved to have given something more to all our Mercedes-Benz colleagues who were supporting us today. Before this weekend, we expected to be racing between P5 and P7, and of course fifth place would have been the better option, but seventh was our maximum in these circumstances. I got a decent start and the short battle with Sebastian was fun. After that, unfortunately, there weren't too many highlights, apart from setting the fastest lap, perhaps. However, we couldn't maintain that pace for very long. Now we have to look forwards and do our maximum at the next race."
Nico Rosberg (10th): "It feels ok to have scored one point today after such a bad qualifying yesterday and starting right at the back. We had a good strategy and I had great fun out there at times overtaking so many people to move from 21st to 10th place. Some of the guys I had to overtake a couple of times and there were some nice maneuvers. Thanks to our fans here in Hockenheim for their fantastic support, even though the weekend didn't really run to plan. Now I look forward to Budapest in just seven days and hope for a better weekend, and we will keep working very hard towards this."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "We ran the race as well as we could today, in the knowledge that we would have to make three pit stops. Some of our rivals on two-stop strategies faded towards the end but the drop-off was not sufficient for our drivers to be able to take advantage on fresher tires. Michael and Nico put in consistent performances, pulled off good overtaking moves and we delivered six clean pit stops. Our strategy enabled Nico to climb eleven positions from his starting place, while Michael finished in seventh place for the second time in two weeks. We made the right decisions this afternoon but, after 67 laps, Michael found himself 29 seconds behind the winner. That shows we need to find more pace from the car."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Of course it is not pleasant starting third and coming home seventh. We were convinced that a three-stop strategy would be the fastest race for us, and we will evaluate whether a two-stop strategy could have brought us more. In any case, a podium was out of reach for us today and we certainly need further improvements. Nico put in a great drive, gaining 11 places from 21st to 10th. Like in Silverstone, our best-placed car came home roughly 30 seconds behind the winner, so we are missing about half a second per lap. We are now looking forward to doing a better job next weekend at the Hungarian Grand Prix."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "We did the best we could today from the position we started. My start was okay, but then I think Lewis [Hamilton] had a problem in front of me and I had to slow down to avoid hitting the back of his car. This let Paul [Di Resta] through in the DRS zone and from there we had a big hill to climb as it was tricky to get back past. Maybe if we had found a bit more pace in the wet yesterday we could have started higher and pushed the leaders, but it is what it is. For sure we were hoping for a bit better here, but the car worked well all through the race and we still brought home some good points for the team so there are some positives to take to the next race."
Romain Grosjean (18th): "We were on the back foot from the outset after the grid penalty and nothing went right today. It's a shame as I had a good start and took a few places in the first corner. Then on the straight there was contact and that was the race pretty much ruined for me. I'm not sure exactly what happened – we'll have to look at the on-board footage to get a better idea – but my car was badly damaged with a broken front wing and a puncture. By the time I managed to get back to the pits the race was as good as over. You never want to have these kind of weekends, but it happens. It will make us enjoy the next good race even more."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "We saw a great recovery from Kimi after yesterday's issues. It was a very strong and experienced drive coupled with a good strategy from the team. Starting in tenth and nineteenth positions we were always going to have our work cut out, so it's good to see Kimi score big points again and display strong race pace. With Romain it was a difficult first lap and he had to fight with a damaged car from then on. We have all seen him have very good weekends, so we need to ensure that he has solid weekends even when circumstances mean he starts from the back of the grid. As a team we had the same pace as the frontrunners so there is no question about our capacity to score podiums and maybe a win one day."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "Romain was compromised by his first lap incident which severely damaged his floor, losing him a lot of downforce. With Kimi moving tenth to fourth we saw the strategy work as we wanted it to. We were hoping to be able to get on the podium but the first few laps cost a bit too much time. Ultimately we could run at the pace of the leaders, but we were just too far back to make the top three today. It's a familiar story we know all too well ; we have to qualify better to get stronger results. The wet weather of Saturday really hurt us in qualifying here, so hopefully we can bounce back in Budapest and do a good job."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "Hockenheim is a tough race on engines, with high top speeds around the first part of the lap but a twistier section in the back stadium section. Fuel consumption is also very high which was something we needed to watch throughout the race. It was a great performance from Kimi. He had the same pace as the top three, but starting in tenth he was not going to be able to realistically fight for the lead. Romain had a long race after the first lap incident so we decided to run some safer engine settings to be able to be more aggressive in the race where the engine will be used next."
Nico Hulkenberg (9th): "We always knew it was going to be tough to hang on to fourth place because we did not look especially strong in the dry conditions on Saturday morning. But when you're in that position you hope for the best and actually the first part of the race was strong for me and I had some good battles. In terms of strategy, doing three stops was the way forward because a two-stop race was not possible with the way the tires were degrading. So it's good to come away with some points but I was certainly hoping for a bit more from my home race."
Paul di Resta (11th): "A tough race today and ultimately we didn't have the pace to match teams like Lotus and Sauber. The story of the race was deciding whether to stop two or three times and with hindsight we probably could have been more aggressive. But it was hard to understand the tires and we seemed to struggle for pace in the middle of each stint. I think we have the baseline speed in the car but we just couldn't demonstrate it today and that's why I missed out on points. Hopefully we can find the sweet spot next weekend before the summer break."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "Two important points scored today, but we were hoping for more considering our strong starting positions. We split the strategies with Nico stopping three times and Paul doing a two-stop race, and there was little to choose between them in the end. Both drivers battled hard, but it was difficult to defend on such an open track where it is easy to overtake. With today's result we have moved within a point of Williams in the championship and hopefully we can continue our points run in Hungary next weekend."
Kamui Kobayashi (4th): "I am very happy for the team that we have managed to get a good result again. We have been unlucky in the two most recent races, and also had a bad qualifying yesterday. The performance of our car, especially in the dry, is really strong. If we only had qualified better we could have achieved even more today. At the beginning of the race it was a bit difficult on the medium tires, but our strategy was good. Considering where we came from, 18 points is an excellent result."
Sergio Perez (6th): "I am so pleased for all of us that we have recovered after we had such a bad qualifying. We have shown a strong pace in the race. However, my strategy was a little bit compromised because I had to do my first pit stop a bit earlier than planned. I felt something strange on the left hand side of the car – perhaps it was a puncture – but I don't' really know yet what it was. This obviously meant we had to extend the later stint and I ended up with quite old tires. The team did a great job today and this will give us a good boost for next week's race in Budapest."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "We started from P12 and P17 and finished fifth and sixth. I think it's fair to say this performance was outstanding, and it was rewarded by 18 championship points. Congratulations to the drivers who both did an excellent job, and thank you to the whole team."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "Considering where we started, I think we can say this was an excellent race from the team. On the driver side and the team side everything worked as it should. Possibly we were paid back in the race for the trouble we had yesterday in qualifying. Our approach yesterday was more biased towards dry conditions. The drivers were on different strategies, because we wanted to cover every possibility in the race. In the end both strategies worked out fine. I think today's race proved our car is very, very quick."
Daniel Ricciardo (13th): "I had a normal start and held position on the opening lap, so at least we did not make life more difficult than it needed to be. However, it was clear in the opening laps that I could not patch the pace of those cars around me and I was fighting quite a bit with some understeer. After that, I lost places to the Saubers and Rosberg and could not stick with them. At the first stop, I asked for some more front wing to get rid of the understeer and the second stint was a little bit better. I ran the final stint with even more wing and that was the best the car had been all afternoon and I was hoping to catch Di Resta, but with eight laps remaining, I started to lose grip at the rear end and that was it. We tried a bit of everything today, but unfortunately we did not have any answers."
Jean-Eric Vergne (14th): "I am at the same time disappointed and happy at the end of this race: happy because the performance was quite good and disappointed as we were unlucky to have a puncture, which meant I had to make a very early stop which ruined the race. Actually I had a bad start, dropping to 20th but still, I managed to cross the line 13th at the end of the first lap. The car was running well enough to get a better result. The car definitely seems to be working better than it did in the last few Grands Prix, so that gives us hope that we can improve still further at the next race. We only have a few days to go till Hungary where I have usually gone well in the other formulae, but this is Formula 1, so we will have to wait and see."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Yesterday, we saw that as expected, we were more competitive in the wet, which meant Daniel started from eleventh and Jean-Eric from fifteenth. However, in the dry, our car is lacking some pace at the moment, so to finish thirteenth and fourteenth is about the best we could have expected from a race with just one retirement and no possibility to gain any advantage through strategy. Jean-Eric's race was further complicated by an early puncture which meant he had to pit a total of three times rather than two. Back in the factory and wind tunnel, we are pushing hard to deliver new upgrades and we hope these will allow us to make a step up in performance terms."
Pastor Maldonado (15th): "It was a difficult race today. We started okay but the car lacked pace in the second stint and I didn't have the grip needed to maintain my position due to some damage caused in the early part of the race. The car improved a bit in the final stint on the soft tires but we need to go away now and understand why we were not as quick as we were earlier in the week in time for the next race in Hungary."
Bruno Senna (17th): "I had a stronger pace in the race than the result suggests so it's disappointing to finish where we did. It was unfortunate because I lost almost a minute on the first lap after I had to pit after making contact which put me right at the back, and from there it's always difficult to make your way through the pack. Nevertheless we do have good pace in the car and if I can qualify higher up the grid next time then we stand a good chance of getting points in Hungary."
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "We had a difficult day today with both cars races being compromised by damage. Pastor had good pace at the start of the race but on lap 12 he ran over debris that was lying in the middle of the track. The debris substantially damaged the left hand side of his car which lost him a significant amount of down force and ruined his race. Bruno had contact with Grosjean on the first lap and picked up a puncture. He pitted for new tires and a new front wing and pushed hard in order to try and stay on the lead lap. His pace was good throughout the race but ultimately he lost too much time on the initial lap. We now need to focus on next weekend and make sure we come back stronger in Budapest."
Laurent Debout, Renault: "While out of the points today, it is good to get a two car finish. Pastor's race was affected by an early incident where he lost some bodywork and therefore downforce, as was Bruno's with the front wing change, but engine-wise we've not had any issues. We will now go back to Viry to prepare for Hungary next weekend."
Vitaly Petrov (16th): "I am pleased with my performance today. It was a pretty quiet race for me and the car felt good right from the first lap, so I think I got as much out of it as I could today. The last stint was particularly good – I knew Senna was on the softer tires behind me and I had to make sure I stayed ahead, so I just focused on getting it to the flag without making any mistakes and I'm pleased for the team with where we ended up. It's encouraging that the car did feel better today. Our pace in the early laps was good, as it has been all season, and hopefully we can carry that through to Hungary – we certainly have a lot more data to work through now from having both cars finish today so that should help us more next weekend."
Heikki Kovalainen (19th): "The early part of the race was good for me. The car felt better than it has for most of the weekend and I was able to push, but then it felt like we had a problem after the second stop and from that point the front tires were graining much more than they should have been. We stopped pretty late for a nose change to see if that could sort the problem out and it did as after that the car felt back to normal, but from then I was just focusing on getting the car to the end of the race. It's pretty clear that the hotter the temperatures are the better we perform, so hopefully we'll be able to show more speed in Hungary. It's a circuit I like and obviously I had my first win there so let's see what happens next weekend."
Mark Smith, Technical Director: "We started both cars on the soft compound tire and Heikki and Vitaly had good pace in the first stint. They were running with the pack ahead and managing the degradation levels well. In the first stops we put them both onto the medium compounds and again both cars looked strong, certainly quicker than we have been for much of the weekend. Just after halfway through the race Heikki started reporting understeer and much higher wear rates on the front tires than we had anticipated so we brought him in earlier than planned. However, it was clear he had a problem with the car as we then had to being him in again on lap 53 for a nosecone change, in an attempt to sort the issue out, but that did not work and he hung on to finish 19th. Vitaly finished 16th after a very good performance, particularly towards the end of the race as he came under pressure from Senna who was on the soft compound tires while Vitaly was on the mediums. He stayed calm, did not make any mistakes and his final position is a decent result for the work he put in today."
Riad Asmat, Chief Executive Officer: "We were looking good for about half the race, just about keeping pace with the cars ahead and both drivers managing their tires well. From around the second stops the pace started to drop off and we were not able to maintain the speed we had for the first couple of stints. It is fair to say this has not been our strongest weekend. Both drivers gave as much as they could today but we just did not give them enough performance to really fight. We have work to do before the next race in Hungary to return to the level of performance we know we should be aiming for and that will need a big effort from the whole team to allow us to head into the August break on a positive note. What is encouraging is I know how determined everybody is to do that and we will not stop fighting until we have achieved what we set out to, so let's see where we are in a week's time and then take stock of what we can do to keep progressing in the second half of the season."
Pedro de la Rosa (21st): "I had a lot of fun in today's race. Everything went well, we maintained a good rhythm and the tires held out without any problems, but above all I'm happy about the fight I put up on the track. I was hunting down Glock's car from start to finish and right at the end, when I saw that his tires had nothing left in them, I overtook him in a place he didn't expect. I'm very happy because, for the first time, we were able to beat a Marussia and overtake it on the track. The race wasn't easy because I started to see blue flags very early on. It's a big let down because once you see the first one you know many come behind. From then on you try to get out of the way, maintain your pace and not get your tires dirty. And I think we achieved it. I hope we maintain this level and even improve on it in Hungary."
Narain Karthikeyan (23rd): "It was a good race for us because we battled with our immediate competition from the first to the last lap. In this sense I think it was our best race of the season so far. I lost too much time with the blue flags in my last stint, but I didn't finish far off Pedro or Glock. Our pace and rhythm was good and the best thing about it is that we achieved this with no upgrades on the car, so we've definitely got good potential."
Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "Today we took another small step forward and that's always satisfying. We weren't able to run as we would have liked on Friday or Saturday but today both Pedro and Narain completed a very good race. The pace of both drivers was very good and consistent, and they fought throughout the entire race, which was a square off between Pedro, Narain and Glock. In the end, Pedro managed to overtake Timo and Narain was just about to do so but just came up short. We can say that we're very happy with the outcome and we hope to continue in this line at the Hungaroring next week."
Charles Pic (20th): "The start did not work well for me, so we have to understand that and learn for the next time. After that the first lap went really well, so I was able to recover well. The pace was good and although we have not changed position, we continue to improve versus the Caterhams and pull away from the HRTs. This is positive, but not sufficient, and we have to keep working away at this to find more. I am quite happy with my race and our direction. The boys in the team have had a tough weekend but responded well and I would like to thank them for that. Now on to the Hungaroring. There is not much time but we will use these next days well to study the race today and I hope make some small improvements for next weekend."
Timo Glock (22nd): "Not a great weekend for me. Even though it was my home race, quite early on it became one to put behind me and that was quite difficult I have to say. Since lap 10 the balance of the car did not feel right and it became very difficult to drive. We struggled for top speed on the straights and then towards the end of the race there was a problem with the differential and the last few laps were so tough. I couldn't do anything with the car and was dropping back quite quickly. A race I won't think about for very long."
John Booth, Team Principal: "A tough weekend on Timo's side of the garage did not improve today and it is frustrating for us that we were unable to conquer the problems for him ahead of his home race. The package generally is performing well and without the specific issues that Timo has been experiencing with his car, we know we are making good progress. Charles drove a very impressive race and the lap times show clear progress in line with our objectives for this batch of races following the introduction of the new package at Silverstone. That will provide little comfort for Timo, we know. There isn't much time before the next round in Hungary, but enough to undertake a thorough analysis of all the information available to us and work hard at resolving the problems to try to give him a better weekend there."
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Germany||Red Bull-Renault||67||23.732*|
|7.||Michael Schumacher||Germany||Mercedes GP||67||28.970|
|8.||Mark Webber||Australia||Red Bull-Renault||67||4.941|
|9.||Nico Hulkenberg||Germany||Force India-Mercedes||67||48.162|
|10.||Nico Rosberg||Germany||Mercedes GP||67||48.889|
|11.||Paul di Resta||Britain||Force India-Mercedes||67||59.227|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||67||1m16.829|
|14.||Jean-Eric Vergne||France||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||67||1m16.965|
|15.||Pastor Maldonado||Venezuela||Williams-Renault||66||1 Lap|
|16.||Vitaly Petrov||Russia||Caterham-Renault||66||1 Lap|
|17.||Bruno Senna||Brazil||Williams-Renault||66||1 Lap|
|18.||Romain Grosjean||France||Lotus-Renault||66||1 Lap|
|19.||Heikki Kovalainen||Finland||Caterham-Renault||65||2 Laps|
|20.||Charles Pic||France||Marussia-Cosworth||65||2 Laps|
|21.||Pedro de la Rosa||Spain||HRT-Cosworth||64||3 Laps|
|22.||Timo Glock||Germany||Marussia-Cosworth||64||3 Laps|
|23.||Narain Karthikeyan||India||HRT-Cosworth||64||3 Laps|
|FL||Michael Schumacher||Germany||Mercedes GP||57||1:18.725|
* After finishing second on the track, Sebastian Vettel was penalized 20-seconds – "Car 1 left the track and gained an advantage when he rejoined. Breach of article 20.2 of the FIA Formula 1 sporting regulations. Drive-through penalty, imposed after the race in accordance with article 16.3 (20 seconds added to the elapsed race time."