Like he has done so many times this season, World Champion Sebastian Vettel took off from his pole position and was never headed as he won the inaugural Indian Grand Prix from Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.
Pole position, fastest lap, it was Vettel's 11th win of the season. He also set a F1 record for leading the most laps in a season – 711 – clearly cementing himself as the best F1 driver of this era.
Mark Webber came home 4th in the 2nd Red Bull and Michael Schumacher was 5th for Mercedes, once again beating his teammate Nico Rosberg who was 6th.
|Sebastian Vettel simply just outdrove everyone else again|
Lewis Hamilton was 7th for McLaren after having yet another incident with Ferrari's Felipe Massa, the two coming together when Hamilton tried to pass him under braking on lap 25. Hamilton was about 1/3 alongside when Massa moved down to take his normal line under braking and the two collided.
Massa was hit with a penalty from the stewards for not giving Hamilton a line and would later retire on lap 35 when his left front suspension collapsed.
|Sebastian Vettel leads from Webber and Button at the start|
Vettel jumped out from his pole position to lead into the first corner from his teammate Mark Webber and Jenson Button. Button would later pass Webber on lap 1 but could never get close enough to Vettel to use his DRS.
For the majority of the race Vettel controlled his lead over Button from between 4 and 5 seconds.
Former seven time world champion Michael Schumacher, was very happy with the results of the first Indian Grand Prix.
The German was impressed with the event as a whole, and liked the circuit a lot, as did most drivers. The tire battle were not so evident as in some other races, but Schumacher was able to keep a good temperature in his tires for longer.
“It worked out perfectly. My plan was not to use any KERS [power-boost system] around the first few corners and save it for the straight, that worked perfectly and I was able to take some positions. Normally the guys who pit first have the advantage as they can take the fresh tires first but my tires were in such good shape I was able to pull a gap. I have big compliments to make to India, I am pretty sure things have been difficult but the circuit is a good challenge to drive and a good spectacle."
|Vettel hugs his design genius Adrian Newey|
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "It was very good race for us and I enjoyed it. I had a bit of a fight with Jenson in the distance who was always around 4 seconds away, but strangely he kept closing in around the pit stops. I was pushing very hard into the box, but we seemed to lose a little bit there, which we need to understand. On the circuit it was crucial to manage the tires and make sure we had enough left at the end, but it was a very smooth race. The car was very well balanced and it was a fantastic race today. Thanks to the whole team and to Renault, who have done an exceptional job so far this season. But I have mixed emotions today. I'm very proud to be the first winner of the Indian Grand Prix, but on the other hand we lost two of our mates recently. I didn't know Dan Wheldon, but obviously he was a big name in motorsport. I got to know Marco Simoncelli this year and our thoughts are with their families at this time. We are ready to take certain risks, but obviously we pray that nothing happens; sometimes you get reminded and that's the last thing we want to see. It's a very impressive country here, very different to what we know in Europe, but very inspiring. If you keep your eyes and ears open, you can learn a lot from the way the people handle things here. It's a big country with a lot of people, but they are happy and enjoy life, which is what it's all about. At the end of your life, it's friendships, emotions and thoughts that you take with you, rather than what's in your bank account. So, even though people don't have a lot here, they are a lot richer in many ways and we can learn from that. It's been a great race, a great event and the circuit is fantastic, so thanks a lot to all the people in India."
Mark Webber (4th): "We lost the podium in the middle of the race really. It's pretty much the general story of this year; I just don't have the pace at the end of the stints, so I run out of tires and then lose strategy, it means I have to pit earlier and it makes life harder. In the end, I wasn't quick enough. I had a reasonable pace at the start of the stints, but as they go on, we go back into the clutches of the other guys. We were struggling a little bit with the balance at the end of the stints. It was a good fight with Fernando, but the McLarens and Ferraris were pretty strong in the first sector, Jenson got me on the first lap on the back straight. I was quick against him in the first few laps, but after that, as soon as you fight you chew up the tires. So that's the way it goes, disappointing, but now we go to Abu Dhabi."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A brilliant result for the team to win the first ever Indian Grand Prix. Sebastian was inch-perfect today and drove an immaculate race with great strategy, good pit work and everything came right for him. Despite a lot of encouragement not to, he still managed to set another fastest lap on his final lap of the race. For Mark, it was more of a frustrating afternoon. Having initially made a good start, unfortunately Jenson managed to get past on the first lap and then he found himself in a race with Fernando. Approaching the second stop we were in a little more trouble with the tires than Fernando, so we needed to pit and unfortunately the outlap performance of the hard tire wasn't strong enough to keep him ahead. Despite his best efforts, he didn't manage to pass Fernando. Nevertheless first and fourth still retains our 100% reliability record. After claiming the team season pole position record yesterday, Sebastian has claimed a second record this weekend, by leading the most laps during the course of a grand prix season."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "Fantastic. I think again we had a magic Vettel this weekend. He did the first hat trick of his career – fastest lap, pole position and winning the race. I think he was on top of his game today and led the race from start to finish. I would also liked to have seen Mark on the podium today; I think he had the pace for that, but unfortunately the race was not that easy for him. I think it's a fantastic result for the Renault Group also, to get the win at the first Indian Grand Prix is very important."
Jenson Button (2nd): "In terms of team effort, we did everything right today – our car just wasn't quite quick enough to actually win. I got a good start, made up places on the first lap and then settled down to keep Mark [Webber] behind me for five or six laps. Eventually, I think we 'broke' his rear tires, which enabled me to establish a gap. Then I could set about Seb [Vettel] – but it was very difficult to close him down. At the final stop, it was a risk going to the harder tire earlier than Seb, but we had to give it a go and it worked pretty well as I was able to close him down by a further three seconds. My car felt really good: before Seb could find his rhythm on the Prime, I was able to get the gap down to 2.8 seconds, but it wasn't quite enough. Still, this was a very good result for us – and I think we delivered the maximum possible. I loved the whole experience this weekend. And I think every driver will be excited about coming back here because it's such a phenomenal circuit; fast and flowing with a bit of everything. It gets a big tick from me. The Indian people have really welcomed us to their country; I've never seen so many people smiling before. And the crowd has been wonderful. I hope that Formula 1 grows in India in the future and that we get an even bigger crowd here next year."
Lewis Hamilton (7th): "The contact with Felipe [Massa] was just one of those things. I really didn't feel like I was at fault – it was a racing incident. On the grid, just before the one minute's silence, he and I were standing next to each other and I put my arm around him and told him: 'Have a great race today.' I've still got great respect for him. During the race, it felt like there was a vibration in the car through the right-handers: it felt like the floor was scraping on the ground, in fact. I was pushing as hard as I could, but couldn't find the performance, so we'll have to look into that. It's been an eventful year, but there are more races ahead and I'll try to score as many world championship points as possible in both of them. Jenson did a great job today, so clearly we were quick enough. I just need to try to pick up on that for the next race."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Jenson made a great start and then drove a brilliant first few corners, working his way from fourth on the grid to second by the end of the first lap. He followed that with a truly excellent race-long performance, managing tire wear where necessary yet still managing to keep up impressive race pace throughout. He didn't ever have quite enough race pace to mount a concerted attack on Seb, but he got the maximum out of his car and beat everyone else fair and square. Lewis had a frustrating afternoon, but recovered well from his coming-together with Felipe to score a very useful half-dozen world championship points. We don't yet know whether contact with the Ferrari caused damage to Lewis's car – other than to the nosecone, obviously, which we changed in the pits – but, as I say, as a result of the 24 world championship points that he and Jenson notched up today, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has now secured second place in the 2011 Constructors' World Championship. It's always our aim to go one better than that – to win – and second isn't good enough – but we're pleased to have consolidated that position nonetheless. Last but far from least, I want to say that I thought the 2011 Indian Grand Prix was a fantastic success: a glittering spectacle and a marvelous addition to the international sporting calendar. Next, we go to Abu Dhabi, and then to Brazil, and we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be doing our utmost to win both those grands prix."
Fernando Alonso (3rd): "It's nice to jump on the podium for India's debut in Formula 1 and I'm pleased to have a new trophy to take home. However, today was a special day, full of contrasting emotions. In fact, the satisfaction at getting a podium finish cannot cancel out the sadness which has been with us for several days, because of the deaths of two of our colleagues, two special people – Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli. After this race, second place in the Drivers' championship is still possible, but it will be very difficult because McLaren is on great form at the moment, even if the gap is only 13 points. We are aware that on paper, we are behind the two Red Bulls and two McLarens: then, if something unusual happens, we can make it to the podium. Today, the team was fantastic, managing to fix a problem on the front wing which was only identified twenty minutes before the start. At the start, I did not get away particularly well and so Button was able to pass me. Then I tried to stay close to Webber and when he slowed down a bit, I closed right up and, staying out on track a few laps longer than him, I was able to get ahead of him. Being patient paid off. Now we head for Abu Dhabi, a race that is a bit unusual…Maybe I will go to the Ferrari Park to play golf to relax prior to the race and then, on Sunday night, I will try and bring home the only trophy not yet in my collection."
Felipe Massa (DNF, Suspension): "There's not much to say at the end of a weekend like this. I am really unhappy that I was not able to finish a race in which I showed I had the pace to fight for the podium. As for the collision with Hamilton, I can only say I do not share the opinion of the Stewards who inflicted the punishment. I simply stayed on the ideal line, braking on the limit and staying on the part of the track that was rubbered in. What else could I do? It's the umpteenth time that Hamilton runs into me this year and it seems it's some sort of fatal attraction…In the past, I tried to talk to him but he did not seem to be interested in doing so. Now it's best to immediately turn the page and think of the final two Grands Prix of the year. They are both special, because Abu Dhabi is a sort of second home race for Ferrari, with that amazing theme park which sits alongside the circuit and then comes Interlagos, which is always special for me. I will try and forget this trip to India as quickly as possible, but that will be absolutely nothing to do with the country!"
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "The result of this grand prix could be described as bitter sweet. On the one hand, there is the satisfaction of seeing Fernando on the podium, which given our current situation in this last run of races, represents our most realistic target. Once again, the Spaniard drove a great race, fighting lap after lap to bring home another trophy to add to his collection. On the other hand, there's disappointment for what happened to Felipe, who could have got a good finish, given the pace the Brazilian was demonstrating. As regards the incident with Hamilton, as usual Ferrari respects the decision of the Stewards, even if, in this case, we have a different view to theirs. It's true we did not have the pace to fight for the win, but I think everything we are doing in these final races will have a great importance when it comes to the 2012 season. We are learning a lot and we have to continue like this for the two remaining Grands Prix this year. Finally, let me say that seeing a Ferrari on the podium at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix was very pleasing, given what this market could represent in the near future."
Pat Fry: "There are many elements worthy of note that have come out of this weekend in India. Again today, we had a suspension failure, this time the front left on Felipe's car: first analysis indicates the break was generated by a series of factors, starting with the collision with Hamilton. After that came the punctured tire and it ended with the impact with the curb. As for the front wing used on Felipe's car which has generated so much interest, we knew that in certain conditions, we could have been on the limit and when we saw that this situation might arise, we decided to change it for a different specification of wing. As for the race, we managed with our strategy to stay out on track longer than our closest opponent, taking back from Webber the position we had lost at the start to Button, thus getting Fernando to the podium. Honestly, our performance today did not allow us to fight for the win. On the Hard tire, which we have not raced on since Barcelona, the pace wasn't bad, which is a sign that improvements introduced during the year on the car have seen us make progress in an area that was very difficult for us at the start of the season. We are working on two fronts and everything we can learn now will be useful for the future: these are all opportunities which should be exploited when they present themselves."
Michael Schumacher (5th): "I am obviously happy about the race today. We achieved the maximum that we could hope for, and as a team we maximized our potential. Fifth and sixth places are a great result for us. On top of that, my car was very nicely sorted for the race and very stable. At the start, everything worked out according to my strategy as I deliberately didn't want to use KERS in the first two corners and save it for the long straight where I knew that I could make up some positions. In the second stint, I managed to maintain my tires so I could stay out longer and that was enough for fifth place. What's really important at the moment is that we keep pushing and trying to improve, and that is what we achieved today. To the organizers of the first Indian Grand Prix, I would like to send a big compliment; I'm sure that I am not the only one to say that this was a very positive debut."
Nico Rosberg (6th): "We can be happy with a good team result and that's what the boys in the garage deserved. I'm also pleased to have gained one place on my grid position. However my strategy was not perfect today and I lost some time in the second pit stop which meant that I wasn't able stay ahead of Michael. I had good pace at the end of the race and pushed very hard but it was impossible to catch him over the last laps. I'm confident that we can repeat this good result in the last two races. All in all, it has been a good Indian Grand Prix debut for us and I hope all the fans enjoyed the race. I'm looking forward to coming back next year."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "A very solid race from the drivers and team today, and we are very pleased to have achieved fifth and sixth places. Michael, Nico and the engineers did an excellent job to focus on getting the car right for the race, and making the best use of the tires. We certainly got everything that we could out of our current car this weekend. It was an exciting race from our two drivers with Michael coming out on top this time, however you could see just how closely matched they are during the race. Nico's second set of tires faded a little bit more on him whilst Michael was able to stay out longer which was enough to take fifth place. It was a very good result for the team today and I'm extremely pleased with how we have worked this weekend."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A strong result today for our team considering the possibilities that our technical package currently has. It is satisfying for everybody to extract the maximum and to achieve the best possible result. Our lap times looked consistent throughout the race which shows that we handled the tires well and found a set-up which suited the track. Of course, our drivers did a very good job today. To come home in fifth place after starting in 11th is certainly satisfying for Michael. His start, when he gained three places, and his second long and consistent stint were decisive for him to get in front of Nico. He also did a good job today with both our drivers doing similar lap times throughout the race which shows that they achieved what was possible. This inaugural Indian Grand Prix was a remarkable event. This is a fantastic and challenging race track, and saw packed grandstands and great enthusiasm from the fans. Formula One could not have wished for more during the first race in a new country. So a big thank you to the organizers, the Jaypee Group, and to Bernie Ecclestone and FOM, who have worked very hard to make this new event happen. We now are looking forward to the next Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, the home of our co-owners and partners Aabar, where we hopefully can achieve a similar result. Fifth and sixth paces are not what we are ultimately striving for but it is satisfying to get the best possible results and we can build on that in order to make a good step next year."
Vitaly Petrov (11th): "My start was good especially as I started with the hard tires. I made an early pit stop but made a mistake with the clutch which lost me time as I couldn't pull away. This disrupted our plan as I was supposed to come out in front of Sergio (Perez) and the Force India but didn't manage to achieve this. The speed on the straights of those cars was higher than mine which made it impossible for me to overtake but I kept attacking like hell to try to pass. I had a lot of oversteer which made it difficult to drive and I did lose the car in Turn 9 after hitting the curb, touching the grass and I almost lost the car, but luckily I was able to control it. It was quite a big moment."
Bruno Senna (12th): "It was a very mixed race for me today. I got a very strong start where I jumped four places so I was delighted with that. But, unfortunately I suffered a KERS problem, so I had to fight the race without it which made things very difficult. After my strong start, the remainder of the first stint was poor but I managed to follow this up with a good second stint when we put another set of tires on. We could have had a chance to get in the points, but we must now look forward and see what happens in Abu Dhabi."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "Today was disappointing and overall this was a weekend of squandered opportunity. It's very clear that we had pace at this track which provided a real opportunity for the team. At times during the practice sessions we managed show what we were capable of but we were not able to pull the quick laps out of the bag when it mattered. We now need to pull ourselves together for the last two races so we can close this season on a better note."
James Allison, Technical Director: "Disappointing to come home with no points when really our car had the pace to finish eighth or ninth today. We were on the back foot with both cars after poor qualifying runs coupled with the penalty Vitaly had carried over from the previous race. Good starts with both cars undid some of this damage, but the subsequent race unfolded poorly for both drivers. We chose a reverse strategy for Vitaly to give him a chance of running more of the race in free air – this is a decent way of allowing good underlying pace to be rewarded. However, any benefit that this might have brought him was rendered null and void by his finger trouble on the clutch at the first stop. This resulted in him coming out behind Perez on lap four and being stuck there for the remainder of the race. Bruno's pace at the start of the first stint was not good, and this was compounded by a KERS failure on lap 8. He picked up the pace in the last 20 laps of the race, but by then the damage was done leaving him to trail home behind Vitaly and out of the points."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "The Buddh International Circuit has been a challenge for the RS27. The track requires good top speed coupled with drivability and responsiveness through the banked turns, but the high levels of dust have made it even harder to get right. Nevertheless engine performance has been good, despite a KERS issue on Bruno's car in the opening stages. However it was ultimately a frustrating end to the first Indian Grand Prix. The pace was there in practice but qualifying was disappointing, which compromised race performance. We were very close to scoring despite the starting positions, but ultimately close isn't good enough so it's more hard work before Abu Dhabi."
Rubens Barrichello (15th): "I lost my nose going into the first corner at the start so I had to come in for an unscheduled pitstop. That ruined my race from the outset because I came out of the pits so far behind. After that, we had to change our strategy to a one stop to avoid losing more time. We dragged it back a little bit, but not enough to score points. It's a shame because our times were strong and tire degradation was ok so we could have done better."
Pastor Maldonado (DNF, Gearbox): "We had a problem with the gearbox today, but we don't know the exact cause yet so we need to have a look into it. My pace was looking good before that and the tires were working well. Just bad luck. We need to look forward to the last two races now."
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "At the start, Rubens clipped the rear of Pastor's car while trying to defend his line to Kobayashi. Rubens damaged his front wing and pitted, changing from the soft to the hard tire. His pace was strong throughout, on both the prime set and final soft tires, showing a definite performance improvement over previous Grands Prix. Pastor drove a strong race too but stopped early with a gearbox problem, the cause of which is yet to be identified."
Adrian Sutil (9th): "It was quite a good race and I think we can be happy with the two points today. In the early laps I struggled with the rear of the car, with a bit of oversteer, and could not hold off the Toro Rossos who were a bit quicker today. But in the second and third stint the car balance improved and I was able to keep the Sauber [Perez] behind me in the closing laps. We were also fortunate that Buemi retired, which gave me another position. I think ninth was probably the maximum today and I hope Vijay will have a smile on his face tonight."
Paul di Resta (13th): "We went for a fairly aggressive strategy today – starting on the hard tire – and it was always the plan to come in early with the hope of a safety car. It was a gamble to get rid of the hard tire early on, and if it had worked we would have gained a pit stop and done the race on three sets of softs, which was the quickest way. We had to do three stops because of the tire wear, which was quite high to begin with, but got better later in the race. It's good that Adrian has picked up a couple of points, which are valuable for the championship, and that was the reason why we split the strategies."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "Today's Indian Grand Prix was a great event and I hope that all the fans enjoyed the day as much as I did. We targeted points and that's exactly what we delivered with Adrian's excellent drive to ninth. As for Paul, he performed well, but we went very aggressive with the strategy to cover the chance of a safety car. In the end it didn't work out, but we needed to cover our bases. These two points are important for our championship battle and I'm delighted that Sahara Force India will go down in the record books for scoring points in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. Regarding my decision about the 2012 drivers, I have said this week that I will give an answer to the drivers before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I already have three excellent drivers, who are all in the running, and the decision ahead will not be an easy one."
Sergio Perez (10th): "I'm very happy to have scored that point today. At least this way I can pay back something to the team after I made that mistake on Friday, for which I received the grid penalty of three places. We had a very good strategy today. It was a risky one as well, but it paid off, the team did a good job on that. I used the hard tire only for the first lap. After that stop I was then stuck in traffic. Actually I expected the safety car to come out because in the first sector there was a lot of oil on the track. However, after I had passed Paul di Resta I was able to push. The first set of soft tires was good. With the second I struggled a bit to warm them up, Adrian Sutil was really fast, and I couldn't catch him. Overall I think in qualifying we clearly didn't exploit the potential of the car, and we all know that we have to improve."
Kamui Kobayashi (DNF, Damage): "Unfortunately today my race is a very disappointing and short story. After the start I was hit from behind and immediately I saw smoke and fire coming from my car. Obviously there was severe damage, so I had to stop and switch the car off."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Chief Executive: "We are very happy with the point we scored today, particularly considering from where we started. Sergio drove an excellent race and showed a lot of fighting spirit. I'm sorry for Kamui as his race ended in the first corner. We proved today that we can fight, and this is exactly how we will approach the last two races. Congratulations to the organizer for setting up this great event and thanks to the Indian fans for their warm welcome."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "It was a pity for Kamui who was involved in an incident in corner one. This damaged his radiator, and he lost all the oil and had to stop immediately. For Sergio we went for an unusual strategy. He started on the hard tire and pitted after lap one. He drove a strong race and made up one place after the other. It was the right decision yesterday not to use new soft tires in Q2, so he had two fresh sets today and could attack all the way along. After a bad day yesterday we fought back today. That's good for the morale in the whole team."
Jaime Alguersuari (8th): "I am very happy with the performance of the team overall as this race was another good one for us, with a pace that was as quick as the one we had shown in Korea. I managed to pass Senna and then Sutil because of this. I was also ahead of the Saubers and I think this result reflects where we should be in the order. It is encouraging that we could out perform the Renaults. Once again the team did a great job in preparation work, in the sessions and in the pit stops and it looks like we are on the right road. I am very happy to have scored four points which puts Toro Rosso on the same total as Sauber. I am looking forward very much to the next two races as I think that if we do a good job we can end the year ahead of them. It's a shame that Sebastien did not finish, both for him and for the team. But I am sure he will back in the points soon."
Sebastien Buemi (DNF, Engine): "I am very disappointed with what happened this afternoon, because I was having a very good race, after an excellent qualifying yesterday. When the car stopped, I had just passed Hamilton, I was lying eighth and I think we could have finished in the top eight. So when you go from that promising situation, to a non finish with no points, it's a bit difficult to take. However, if we look on the positive side, our pace all weekend has been good, confirming the step forward we showed in Korea. So now we have to work hard and keep going in this direction for the final two races when I hope to be back in the points again."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Starting from ninth and tenth, after one lap Jaime was eleventh and Sebastien was twelfth. Then they both did a good job, passing Senna on lap 10 and 12 respectively, before making another passing move, this time on Sutil, on lap 14 and 15. From then on, Buemi had a strong pace and was doing quite good lap times until he was sidelined with a technical failure that we are going to investigate. Once Jaime was in front of Sutil he was able to up his pace and did a really good job from then on, as did the team in the pit stops. The four points we get today means we have caught up with Sauber, equal on points although they are officially ahead still in the Constructors' classification. It means we are also a bit closer to Force India. We must concentrate for the last two races, as the opportunity to do well and score more points is within our grasp. Finally, well done to the organizers of the first ever Indian Grand Prix, which was an interesting debut event and suggests that India has a real future on the Formula 1 map."
Heikki Kovalainen (14th): "I had another good start, maybe not quite up there with the last two races, but avoided the problems in turn 1 and 3 and from there I had a really strong race. At one point I was running 10th and the car felt great all afternoon. I was still in it after the first stops and as the fuel level dropped I was able to keep pace with Senna ahead, and keep a gap to the cars behind, but when I went onto the hards it was much harder to keep up the pace. I was also seriously held up by the HRTs when they had blue flags shown to them. I think they held up Lewis as well and they definitely cost me quite a lot of time. I probably wouldn't have finished any higher, even without them holding me up, but when we're pushing as hard as we are, and fighting with midfield cars, it's a good feeling, for me and the whole team."
Jarno Trulli (19th): "The bad luck struck again. I had a pretty good start but then one of the HRT's hit me from behind as we came out of turn three and that was basically the end of my race. I had a puncture and had to do almost a full lap to get me back to the pit, so from that position there wasn't anything I could do. I think the car suffered some damage to the floor when I was hit as the balance had completely gone for the rest of the race and I just couldn't put any decent times in. Despite that this has been another good weekend for the team. Our reliability has been strong, Heikki's pace in the race was good so I just hope I have better luck in the last two races and help make sure we secure tenth in this year's championship."
Riad Asmat, Chief Executive Officer: "First I want to say on behalf of the whole team what a great job the Jaypee Group and everyone here has done to put on a truly spectacular first Indian Grand Prix. From our perspective we leave here reasonably pleased with how the race went – Heikki had another fantastic drive today and made the most of the opportunity to race with the cars around him. Jarno was unlucky to be hit by the HRT after he had made a good start, but the main thing for us this weekend is that we have crossed off another race and are a step closer to finishing tenth. That is the primary goal for us this season and we are nearly there."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "A mixed result today for us. Unfortunately Jarno's race was effectively ended on the first lap when an HRT crashed into the back of him, causing a rear puncture and causing damage to the rear floor, so all he could do today was make sure he brought the car home. Heikki drove a very strong race on a two stop strategy, running the soft tire for the first two stints and then going on to the hard to the end of the race. He was fighting with the midfield all the way through and brought the car home to record another strong finish. Yet again we showed the progress the team has made throughout the season and we are continuing our strong end to 2011. Now we have two more races to look forward to – two more chances for us possibly to score our first point, but, more importantly, to finish tenth."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "For us that was another strong performance from the whole team on a track that pushed the engines pretty hard. Obviously it was a shame that Jarno's race was compromised so early on but with Heikki he was able to race as high as tenth up to the halfway point which is very encouraging. It looks like we found balance we were working on, with good top speed for the first half of the lap and maximizing the drivability and responsiveness of the engines for the second part of the lap, so we leave India feeling pretty satisfied with the job we have done on this new track."
Narain Karthikeyan (17th): "I had a great grand prix and I really enjoyed myself, it was an amazing experience. To finish 17th in my home grand prix is the best I could have wished for with the car we have and beating my teammate and one Lotus on the way makes it all the more satisfying. It's a shame I faced the penalty and, perhaps, we could have had a much better race without it. But I made a good start and then suffered some damage to the front wing but afterwards I picked up a good rhythm and was able to complete a good race. It's an awesome feeling to have completed the first ever Indian Grand Prix and to have been competitive with our main rivals which proved a lot of points."
Daniel Ricciardo (18th): "The first laps weren't great but then I managed to pass a few people. Some laps later I got past Narain and set a good rhythm; I was happy with the first stint as everything was going well, the balance was good and the tires were performing well. In the second stint I felt a strange feeling in the front of the car after a couple of laps, the car was moving quite a bit from left to right, I still don't know the reason for this but it might have been a puncture. It's a shame because as a cause we had to do an extra pit stop and lost quite a bit of time with that. In the third stint, once we found our pace we were quite competitive. It ruined the rhythm of our race but hopefully we can avoid it from happening next time."
Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "The team has done a very good job this weekend and this is the most important. Despite the penalties, we were going into the race with high hopes because both Narain and Daniel proved to have a pretty good pace. They did a lightning start and saved the first lap incidents. Their pace was good and it was fantastic to see both HRT cars in the middle of the field. Because we ran on the dirty side of the track as a consequence of the blue flags, the tire degradation became too big and we were forced to change our strategy. Additionally, Daniel had a problem on the rear right wheel hub assembly forcing him to have a longer additional stop. This prevented us to finish further up but, overall, I am satisfied with how things went this weekend and I'm really happy for Narain because racing at a home GP for the first time is a once in a lifetime experience. I'm proud that he had a fantastic weekend and managed a great result. Daniel has done well too over the three days and he also did well in the race going one step further."
Jerome d'Ambrosio (16th): "In the end we did what we had to. The team did a great job with the strategy and I pushed hard to close the gap. But it wasn't an easy weekend for me. It was a bit strange in terms of the tires. On the one hand this was good because we could do very long stints without any degradation, but on the other hand it wasn't optimum for the beginning of the race and qualifying. Generally, I think we can all be happy with where we got to in the end today."
Timo Glock (DNF, Damage): "An unlucky day again today after a disappointing qualifying yesterday. I just came down into Turn 1 on the outside and all of a sudden I saw bits flying around. I braked a bit earlier than normal and when I turned, suddenly Kamui Kobayashi drove straight into me and I couldn't avoid the crash. My front wing was damaged so I came back in to change it, and we realized that we also had quite a lot of damage on the left side of the car, so we decided to stop."
John Booth, Team Principal: "After a challenging start to the weekend, it all came good in the last few laps of this incredible circuit, where our strategy came to fruition for Jerome. In most of our pre-event work, we had identified that only a handful of laps on the Hard tire would be the way to go, however, in a racing situation, sometimes it is difficult to hold your nerve. Nonetheless, the engineers selected and executed the best direction and having trailed Karthikeyan in the mid part of the race, we certainly made the right call to stop on the penultimate lap in order to get ahead of him. Jerome did a great job in the laps leading up to this point to ensure we built the gap we needed whilst he still had the benefit of the Soft tire.
|8.||Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+1 lap|
|9.||Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||+1 lap|
|13.||Di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||+1 lap|
|20.||Massa||Ferrari||DNF on Lap 33|
|21.||Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||DNF on Lap 25|
|22.||Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||DNF on Lap 13|
|23.||Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||DNF on Lap 3|
|24.||Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||DNF on Lap 1|
Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:27.457