World Champion Sebastian Vettel let polesitter Lewis Hamilton lead three laps of the Korean Grand Prix Sunday before Vettel showed him who was the best driver in F1 today by passing him going into Turn 4. The race from there was essentially over.
Vettel won the Korean GP comfortably in his Red Bull-Renault, followed by Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren- Mercedes 12.0 seconds behind and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull in third place, 12.4 seconds behind the leader.
Red Bull and Vettel took their tenth win of the season, Vettel's 20th career victory, tying Mika Hakkinen in the all-time list. Red Bull has clinched the Constructors' Championship with three races remaining.
"Ten wins (in 2011) my friends!" the German said on the radio after greeting the checkered flag 12 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who was wearing a better mood than after securing pole 24 hours earlier.
"It was a good result for me after the races I've had lately," said the McLaren driver.
"I want to also say a lot of thanks to Renault; the engine this year has been faultless," said Vettel, on the day Red Bull announced the deepening of its sponsor deal with Japanese carmaker Infiniti, a sister marque.
Jenson Button finished fourth in the McLaren-Mercedes, followed by Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari in fifth, his teammate Felipe Massa in sixth.
Jaime Alguersuari, in the Toro Rosso-Ferrari was seventh, Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes GP was eighth, Sebastien Buemi in the second Toro Rosso was ninth and Paul di Resta in the Force India-Mercedes in the final points paying position.
|Hamilton gets the jump on Vettel at the start, but his lead would be short-lived|
At the start Hamilton took the lead from Vettel. There was some contact at the back of the field but everyone continued.
Even though both McLarens were the fastest cars all weekend, this was the race and Vettel had his game face on. He was out to demoralize his British adversaries at McLaren even though he was on the harder of two tires. And demoralize he did. On the run to turn three Vettel battled on the outside of Hamilton, and Massa came down the inside of Button to take third place. At the next corner Vettel swooped down the inside of Hamilton to take the lead. He may as well should have given him a wave goodbye as he went past. Webber passed Massa for third on the first lap as well.
|At Turn 4 Vettel passes Hamilton and begins to open a gap. Hamilton is defeated and the race isn't one lap old yet|
At the end of lap 1, Vettel led Hamilton, Webber, Massa, Alonso, Button, Rosberg, Vitaly Petrov, Di Resta and Michael Schumacher in tenth.
On lap 3 Vettel led Hamilton by 1.2 seconds. Alguersuari took 11th place from Adrian Sutil. Reports of some light rain falling surfaced.
On lap 5 Buemi passed Pastor Maldonado for 14th. Schumacher passed Di Resta for ninth.
On lap 7 Alguersuari passed Di Resta in the DRS zone for tenth. Vettel's lead over Hamilton grew to two second lead. The two Ferraris were closing on Webber in third.
Spots of rain continue to fall. Hamilton complains of a vibration, his super soft tires beginning to go away.
On lap 9 Vettel sets fastest lap at 1m44.7s. and his lead grew to 2.9 seconds over Hamilton, followed by Webber, Massa, Alonso, Button, Rosberg, Petrov, Schumacher and Alguersuari in tenth place.
On lap 14 Vettel sets fastest lap again at 1m44.3s. On lap 15 Webber, Massa, Petrov, Schumacher and Buemi all pitted. Button passed Rosberg for seventh at turn 3.
On lap 16 at turn 3 Petrov ran up the rear of Schumacher and the two make contact Petrov breaking his front wing, Schumacher's rear wing was deranged. Petrov had passed Alonso with DRS down the straight and came into the corner with too much speed.
On lap 17 Vettel pitted from the lead and changes to super-soft tires.
The safety car was then deployed for the debris. Schumacher pulled off the track and retired. Petrov pits, the car was pulled into the garage to see if the team can fix it.
The order behind the safety car was Vettel followed by Hamilton, Webber, Button, Rosberg, Massa, Alonso, Alguersuari, Di Resta and Sutil in tenth.
At the start of lap 21 the race resumed, the order of the leaders remains the same. At turn 3 Button looked up the outside of Webber, and then was side-by-side at turn 4 but could not get the pass done. Vettel set fastest lap again at 1m42.5s.
On lap 22 Vettel set fastest lap at 1m42.2s.
At lap 25 Vettel leads Hamilton by 1.1 seconds followed by Webber 2.9s back, Button, Rosberg, Massa, Alonso, Alguersuari, Di Resta and Sutil in tenth place.
On lap 27 Rosberg locked up his brakes at turn 3 and both Ferrari got past the Mercedes. Hamilton started to close on Vettel.
On lap 29 Vettel set fastest lap at 1m42.2s.
On lap 33 Hamilton and Webber battled side-by-side with Hamilton staying ahead. Vettel set fastest lap again at 1m42.0s.
On lap 34 Hamilton and Webber pit at the same time, Hamilton staying ahead.
On lap 35 Vettel, Button and Massa all pitted
At lap 35 Alonso, who still did not stop led Vettel by 4.1 seconds.
On lap 37 Vettel set fastest lap again at 1m40.8s.
On lap 38 Alonso pitted from the lead and rejoined in fifth place.
On lap 39 Vettel now led Hamilton by 10.5 seconds. Alonso lowered the fast lap time to 1m40.6s, and again on lap 41 to 1m40.5s, and was closing on Button in fourth place.
At lap 45 Vettel led Hamilton by 11.7 seconds.
On lap 47 Webber got side-by-side into turn 3 at the end of the DRS zone, but could not get past Hamilton.
On lap 48 Webber closed on Hamilton again, and Button closed on both of them, while Alonso continued to run the fastest laps on the field.
On lap 49 Webber dove down the inside of Hamilton in the first corner, but Hamilton with DRS re-passes the Red Bull.
On lap 54 Alonso, under a second behind Button, said on the radio "I give up, I give up".
On the final lap Vettel set fastest lap at 1m39.6s for good measure and it was over. He defeated the best F1 had to offer by 12 seconds.
Red Bull takes the Constructors' Championship. Both Alonso and Rosberg run out of fuel on the way back to the pits, while the two Red Bulls run side-by-side.
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "Fantastic; a very nice day today and very special for the team. Winning the Constructors' means a lot. It was a phenomenal race, we had so much pace and it was so much fun out there. I knew overtaking Lewis near the start would be difficult and I nearly went off under braking, but he was very fair and it was important for us to get track position. Then I wasn't too comfortable to be honest, there was a lot of head wind and it was difficult to get away. I could see the car behind getting bigger in the mirrors and it was tough to break the tow, but we did it. It's nice to win the Championship today with a fastest lap – it's no points, but it's nice to have. It's difficult for everyone to imagine what winning the Championship means for the factory. It's a boost and not just for those here at the track – it's much more than that. There is so much going on behind the scenes, every day of the year. It's down to the whole team to build two competitive cars and we push it to the limits on track. It was a lot of pressure off the shoulders today when I crossed the line. People now expect us to take it easy, but we are here to win and do our best. We had a chance to win today and we took it."
Mark Webber (3rd): "The battle with Lewis was pretty intense. I was frustrated that we followed him out of the pit lane, so I risked quite a bit to try and pass him on the out lap, before he got settled in. It's not easy to pass a driver of Lewis' caliber. I tried some moves and it was a good battle as our cars had weaknesses and strengths in different areas of the lap, so trying to get the move done wasn't particularly easy. I enjoyed it, but I would have liked to have got that extra position, which I think performance-wise we deserved, but McLaren did a good job and Lewis drove well. There were loads of positives today, it was a good start for me and I got a good result. For the team to get the Constructors' is an incredible effort – when you have two back-to-back Constructors' World Championships, it's phenomenal. For the team, for everyone in Milton Keynes designing and building the car, for everyone in Viry at Renault building the engine which has been 100% reliable so far this year and for everyone in Fuschl in Austria, it's been a great year. I'm sure there will be some headaches tonight."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Phenomenal. Phenomenal for the team, phenomenal for every single member of the Red Bull Racing / Red Bull Technology Group and for everyone working for Red Bull. I'm sure today was a special day for Mr. Mateschitz to see his team defend the Constructors' World Championship, having retained the Drivers' last week. It absolutely makes up for last year and our disappointment here and it was a fantastic race in the end. Sebastian did everything right – he had a good start, made a bold move up the inside into Turn four and then controlled the race. It was a World Champion's drive. All credit must go to Mark Webber as well who tried everything to pass Lewis who in fairness defended very well and despite being considerably quicker, we couldn't get into the right place entering the DRS zone to make it a one-two. However, to retain the Constructors' with a one-three finish is very special for the team. It's a day that every single team member and all the people associated with the team should be very proud of. I'd like to say a special thank you to Red Bull, our engine suppliers Renault and to all of our partners that have enabled us to achieve this fantastic result."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "It's simply a fantastic result today for the team. We've had great results all season. Engine-wise we have been quite strong with reliability and power, so I would like to thank everyone working at the track with Renault and everyone working at the factory in Viry Chatillon Mecachrome. Today is the tenth time that Renault is World Champion as an Engine Manufacturer, so it's a fantastic result for Renault."
Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "This was one of my strongest races of the season. There was so much pressure from Mark [Webber] behind and it would have been so easy to make a mistake, lock up or go wide – but I'm really satisfied that I didn't do so once. I believe that withstanding pressure is the mark of a world champion, and I think I showed that in today's race. Our car started off reasonably well, but the front-end dropped away through the race. By the end, all the switches in the cockpit that could help me were adjusted to the maximum! The differential and front wing were at the maximum possible, and there was still nothing I could do. I was driving into corners with almost maximum lock and the car still wasn't turning – so I couldn't carry the speed through the corners, and that's how Mark was able to catch me. It was only after the race that I discovered we had an issue with debris lodged in the front wing, and that's probably what caused the understeer. This was a good, strong result for the team. The guys didn't put a foot wrong all weekend, so we should be proud of today's result – but, man, it was hard! I really hope we can carry our continued momentum through the next three races. It feels good to be back."
Jenson Button (4th): "On the first lap, I braked into Turn Three, but Felipe [Massa] went inside me and I got stuck on the outside and ended up losing quite a few places. At the end of the first lap, I was sixth, but I don't think that poor first lap would have changed my result. Throughout the race, I didn't have any front-end grip. I couldn't get into the DRS zone either, so it was always tricky to try and close down the car in front when I lacked that straight-line advantage. I was passed by Nico [Rosberg] after my first pitstop when he ended up out-braking himself at the pit exit. The exit here is a bit unusual: if you leave the pits behind another car, then you're probably going to be able to get ahead, because you get the benefit of the DRS into Turn Three. But Nico locked up out of the pits and ran wide, so I passed him, meaning he crossed the DRS line behind me and was able to use it to get past on the straight. I was able to nip back past pretty quickly and was able to close down on the battle for second between Lewis and Mark. But, towards the end of each stint, the front-end would drop away: I just couldn't get close enough in the last sector. I added more front-end at the stops, but I had lots of understeer so I couldn't get close enough to Mark [Webber] to use DRS. I think I only used DRS once in the entire race. Still, if this was a bad day, it wasn't so bad!"
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "I think Lewis' drive today was utterly inspirational. He may be downplaying it, because he's a perfectionist and he wanted to win, but to withstand such enormous pressure, for lap after lap, from a faster car, was a drive absolutely worthy of the great champions. His finishing position may only go down in the history books as another second place, but, make no mistake, this was a fantastic drive; beautifully assured and perfectly judged. To cap it all, the data showed that he was losing a significant amount of downforce from his front wing. After the race, we inspected Lewis's front-wing and discovered that the left-hand slot-gap had become filled with congealed tire rubber, doubtless a result of the marbles on the track. As a result, he was suffering with masses of understeer, which further hurts the tires. In the circumstances, his was an absolutely fantastic drive because it would have been all too easy to have gone backwards when faced with such massive, and constant, pressure. Equally, Jenson posted another brilliant, measured drive. On Jenson's car, too, we discovered after the race that he was also hurting from damage to his car – caused by a rock hitting the front-win. The resulting understeer doubtless also impaired Jenson's ability to close down Mark in the track's final sector, and therefore meant he was unable to mount a sustained attack in the DRS zone and secure third. Nevertheless, today showed that we have a very good racing car. But, more importantly, it showed that we have two brilliant racing drivers, who will fight from the start of the race to the end and who will never give up. Their spirited drives today are a just reward for the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, who have spent the last fortnight away from their homes, families and friends. While we must all acknowledge the great achievement of Red Bull Racing in securing the constructors' championship today, I also want to pay tribute to the efforts and sacrifices made by our whole team over these past two weeks. They enabled us to score 65 world championship points in the last two races – a total that now consolidates our position in the constructors' championship. So, after two fantastic races in Japan and Korea, I want to say a heartfelt 'thank-you' to the whole team. There are three races remaining in 2011 – and I know I speak for everyone when I say we want to win all three."
Fernando Alonso (5th): "It was a very close fought race, as indeed has been the case for much of this segment of the season. As usual this year, Red Bull and McLaren are clearly stronger in qualifying, but then on Sunday we are all much closer. All in all, it was an interesting race, with plenty of action. At the start, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the leaders, because, after just a few laps, the Supersofts were already producing a lot of understeer. On top of that, being in traffic all the time compromised still further the tire performance, because there was less aerodynamic downforce. When we switched to the Softs, the situation improved significantly and, with a clear track, I was able to push as hard as I could, but by then it was difficult to reach the small group that was fighting for the podium: hence what I said on the radio, having given my all for twenty laps, but there was no way I could do more with just two laps to go. We must try and improve our Saturday performance, but we will not give up trying to secure a win in the remaining races of this season. Furthermore, we will continue to work towards next year, trying new things and maybe, taking a few risks with our strategy."
Felipe Massa (6th): "I'm not pleased because small problems prevented me from getting a better result. I got a good start and, on the opening lap, I managed to make up some places, then at the first pit stop, I rejoined the track behind Rosberg and Button. This was mainly because the team had to keep me on my spot because Michael was coming and also because the other two had pitted before me. In the first part of the race, on the Supersofts, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the guys in front, but then, once on the Softs, we managed to go very quickly. Then, after the second stop, I found myself behind a Toro Rosso and a Force India who were fighting amongst themselves and I lost valuable time which allowed Fernando to get ahead of me. Today, our performance level was better than it had been in qualifying, which has been a constant factor this year. Now we are off to the Indian Grand Prix, a new venue for Formula 1. I don't know the country and I am very curious to see what it's like, because I think it has a lot in common with Brazil, given that both are going through a period of strong growth."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Having congratulated Sebastian Vettel last weekend in Suzuka, now it is right and proper that I do the same to Red Bull for taking the Constructors' title: they have the best car in the pack and this result is the logical consequence of that. Logic also dictates our result in this race: we have the third best car in terms of its potential and we finished the race in fifth and sixth places. Our race pace is definitely better than our outright performance in qualifying and that means we end up almost always fighting for a place on the podium, but if one does not start from the two front rows it becomes difficult to target the top places. Now we must try and bring our season to a close in the best possible way, because we firmly believe we should still be able to take at least one more race win. It will be extremely difficult, given how our rivals are doing, but we will definitely be trying."
Pat Fry: "This Sunday is a mirror image of Saturday, with an identical result. We certainly can't be surprised by it: we are well aware that if we qualify on the third row, it becomes difficult to fight for the very top places, unless something happens to those who start ahead of you and everything goes perfectly. Today, these two situations did not arise because we found ourselves in traffic at the first run of pit stops. Everyone was trying to run the tires right to the limit in the first stint to avoid ending up behind slower cars, but if we had brought our drivers in one lap early, maybe it would have been a different scenario, instead of finding ourselves behind Rosberg in the Mercedes, which is always one of the hardest cars to pass. On top of that, traffic in the pit lane itself cost Felipe two very important seconds. In the second stint, Fernando was very quick and so we left him out on track for a few laps longer, which meant he got ahead of Felipe. With a clear track ahead of him, the Spaniard showed what the car could do, but by then it was pretty much too late to attack the cars ahead. We tried a new front wing here and we made the most of that to gather as much data as possible to use on the 2012 car and the very earliest indications are positive. However, we now need to study all the information very attentively. We have to improve our qualifying performance, we are well aware of that, if we want to be at the level of the best."
Nico Rosberg (8th): "I had good speed at the start of the race today but after we changed to the prime tires, it became more difficult as the degradation was too strong. I had some nice battles against Jenson and the Ferraris, and was pushing hard to defend my position against Felipe and Fernando in the middle stint. During this, I flat-spotted my front tires so I had to pit earlier than expected which made my last stint on the primes very long. I didn't have enough grip by the end and so I just wasn't able to defend the position against Jaime. A difficult race for me today but I'm still happy to score some points."
Michael Schumacher (DNF, Accident): "Another unfortunate end to a race which could have been encouraging today. It's a big pity as the car was again very good in race trim and I had already gained some positions. It would have been interesting to see what was possible, and I think we could certainly have taken some points. As for the incident, I didn't see Vitaly coming; I was just suddenly spun into a direction I had not intended to go, and then I saw my rear wing hanging off. It was unfortunate but these things happen when you fight hard – that's racing."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "The early stages of the race looked encouraging and both drivers were making good progress on the option tires, with Nico fighting among the top three teams and jumping the Ferraris thanks to more strong pit work. We fitted prime tires to both cars at the first stop in order to ensure we could complete a two-stop race – something that would have been marginal if we had run options in the second stint. Nico was driving well but had a big flat spot on his left-front tire on lap 27, which forced him to pit out of sequence for another set of primes. From that point on, he had to nurse the tires for over half the race distance to the flag. He did this extremely well, climbing back from P14 to P7, but was unable to hold off Alguersuari on the final lap, whose tires were ten laps fresher. As for Michael's incident, he was driving well, making up positions and minding his own business when somebody simply forgot to brake at turn three. Although we didn't score points to our full potential today, there were encouraging signs of our competitiveness for the remaining three races of the season, and we will aim to build on this in India – which will be a new adventure for us all."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Our race started well, with Nico lying fifth after the first round of stops and ahead of both Ferraris, and he had some thrilling battles with Jenson Button, the winner of the last race. The end of Nico's race was less satisfying. He came in early after flat spotting his front left tire, had to do a very long third stint and was overtaken on the very last lap courtesy of DRS. Michael drove strongly from 12th on the grid, fighting his way through the field and running ahead of Alonso's Ferrari when he was taken out by a very optimistic competitor. Our team can take some positives from this weekend as the beginning of the race with heavy fuel loads on the softest tire looked strong – something we struggled with earlier in the season. Our learning process is certainly guiding us in the right direction, which is one of the targets we set ourselves. Lewis Hamilton's second place is the 100th podium finish in 105 races for our V8 engine, which has won 34 times in the last 86 races. Well done to all our colleagues at Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines in Brixworth for reaching this milestone. Now we are all looking forward to the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in a fortnight."
Bruno Senna (13th): "It was far from the best race I've had. I got a bad start, and from then on it was always going to be an uphill battle. Being stuck behind a number of other cars again restricted my ability to get points today; I don't feel there were any specific weaknesses in my car itself but I was just unable to progress much from where I was. We will now see what we can do to better the situation, and come out all guns blazing in India. That's a culture I've not experienced before and a race I'm looking forward to."
Vitaly Petrov (DNF, Accident): "I tried to defend my position from Fernando but I was in the braking zone on the dirty side of the track which meant I locked my wheels and hit Michael. I was focused on my battle with Fernando as there was potential for me to be ahead of him. We both braked too late as he missed the corner too. Up until that point I was happy with our strategy and how the race was going. I apologize to Michael, it was not his fault, it was absolutely my fault – once my wheels were locked there was nothing I could do about it. But that's racing and tomorrow is another day."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "Again, I have mixed feelings coming away from this race. If I look at the weekend as a whole, we showed some good pace but perhaps did not capitalize on this. It was disappointing for Bruno not to qualify higher than he did yesterday and as a result the race was always going to be tough. Vitaly had a healthy grid position and was looking good until his mistake cost him on lap 16. If he had carried on as he did during the first stint of race – when he was on super soft (option) tires – then we could have expected him to finish at least eighth or maybe seventh. Unfortunately it was not to be, but we'll now look ahead to an exciting fixture in two weeks' time – the Indian Grand Prix."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "A disappointing day, especially with a car which was showing very good pace. To be fighting with Michael and Fernando after the first pit stop was very encouraging. Vitaly crashed into Michael after locking up on the dirty side of the track, which unfortunately put them both out of the race. Bruno had a difficult race. He started quite a way back. We took a bit of a risk to use the super soft (option) tire very early to try to gain positions. It didn't work and basically he stayed where he started. We did ask a lot of the soft tires to do nearly half a race and it didn't work, but equally it didn't cost us anything. Looking at the positives, there is no doubt that the car was working very well with Vitaly and we have more data going forwards."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "Engine-wise, we've worked on giving driveability through the twisty section of the track with good top speed for the long straights this weekend. The performance has been reasonable, but ultimately Bruno's 13th position doesn't pay justice to the pace of the car this weekend. Vitaly's qualifying was again strong and a small mistake meant he couldn't convert it into points. We're going to go over how we can maximize all elements of the car now and hopefully get back to form for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in two weeks."
Rubens Barrichello (12th): "Our pace was good today and I was able to fight with quicker cars. Once again the safety car didn't go my way and that cost me positions. Having said that, I still enjoyed the race and I had fun overtaking. It's just a pity we didn't score."
Pastor Maldonado (DNF, Engine): "I had a good start and my pace was looking ok. Unfortunately, I made a mistake coming into the pits which cost me a drive through penalty. My race ended when the team spotted a problem with the engine and I had to retire. Not a great weekend, but I'll now shift my focus to a better result in India."
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "Initially on split three stop strategies, with Pastor starting on the soft tire and Rubens on the super soft, both drivers made strong progress off the line. Rubens fought hard throughout the race and showed particularly good pace on his last set of soft tires to finish in 12th after switching to a two stop strategy with the safety car. Pastor also fought hard but unfortunately picked up a drive through penalty after a late entry to the pitlane. His race then ended early with an engine-related problem."
Paul di Resta (10th): "It's good to come away with a point, but ultimately we didn't have the performance to match Toro Rosso today. It looked like we might be able to hold off Buemi in the final laps to stay ninth, but we came up six or seven laps too short with the tires and I couldn't hold him back. In terms of tires, we probably should have been a bit more aggressive with the strategy and used my new supersofts at the start of the race, rather than the used set, but I'm not sure it would have changed where we finished. Still, every point counts come the end of the year and we've managed to gain a point on Sauber, which is important."
Adrian Sutil (11th): "It was not the easiest race today and I'm disappointed that I missed out on points. The start of the race was okay, but Schumacher and Alguersuari came by me quite early on. I think our strategy was good and I made my first stop when the safety car came out, but our main competitor today was Toro Rosso and we just didn't have the pace to beat them. It's clear that we have to fight really hard in the final three races because the race pace of our close competitors is strong and we will need to score points to hold on to our sixth position."
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "In many ways it was a fairly straightforward race for us. We initially planned to do a three-stop strategy with Paul, but switched to a two-stopper when the safety car came out on lap 17. We spent the whole race in a close tussle with Toro Rosso and they got the better of us in the end. They were particularly strong in the final stint and that's when Buemi was able to jump ahead of Paul for ninth. We're pleased to have picked up a point, but will work hard to improve our pace for the final three races. Our next stop is the team's home race in Delhi, which is an event that everyone in the team is looking forward to. It will be a historic race for Formula One and hopefully we can deliver a strong showing in front of the Indian fans."
Kamui Kobayashi (15th): "My start was okay, except I couldn't gain any positions. When I was fighting with Sebastien Buemi our cars touched and the front wing was damaged. I changed to supersoft tires after ten laps, as I had started on the softs. When the safety car came out we lost the advantage from the fresh tires, as everyone was pitting then. I also had some damage to the rear wing, but I don't really know where this was from. At almost mid distance Bruno Senna was behind me and was pushing extremely hard, which actually resulted in a damaged front wing. Because of that my car was understeering a lot and the tires were blistering. I then had to pit earlier than planned to replace the front wing. After the second stop I was able to overtake a couple of cars at the back of the field, but there was obviously no chance to score points today. We were just too slow, but we will go and work on it."
Sergio Perez (16th): "Initially my start was pretty good, but then I got stuck behind some other cars and the positions I gained were lost again. In the beginning with the soft tires it was quite good, but then with the supersoft tires I struggled. During the last stint especially they degraded way too much. I had to pit and change them three laps before the end because the front right tire had a hole in it, and you could see the casing. It was a shame, but there was no way I could have finished the race with those tires. However, we didn't have the pace today to finish in the points."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "In qualifying we were already struggling with the pace, and today it was not any better. We had hoped we would be able to fix some of the problems we had in practice with the grip, but we couldn't really improve the situation. For sure we had some incidents, but our main problem really was a lack of performance, as we were just slower than the competition. We tried to find a way through with our strategy, the drivers did a good job, but in the end we were not good enough. Now we have to react quickly."
Jaime Alguersuari (7th): "The reality is that the Toro Rosso team has done a fantastic job, not just this weekend, but also going back to Suzuka, where we introduced some updates on the car. In Japan, we did not make the most of them but in the few days in between the races the team has done really well to move forward for here. In qualifying I did a good lap and then today, I was not concerned about tire degradation and believed our two stop strategy was the right one and it worked perfectly for us. The car had fantastic straight line speed which is how I managed to pass Nico on the final lap. I struggled a bit in sector 2 compared to him which is why I saved all the KERS for after the first corner, in order to be close enough to activate the DRS. I ended up using all the KERS and DRS and it finally paid off right at the end. I must say I did not think I could do it, I did not expect it, but I gave it one last effort at the end I was able to get past, partly helped by the fact he made a small mistake on that lap. Combined with great pit stops, that is how we managed to produce this fantastic result. I am very happy for the team who have worked so hard, especially the mechanics fitting all these new parts. We are closer to Sauber now and with three races remaining, I think we have a chance of passing them, as long as we continue to perform like this, finishing in the top ten."
Sebastien Buemi (9th): "I am extremely pleased with my race. Someone drove into me at the first corner which cost me four places and I'm not really sure what happened. After that, I had to work hard to pass other cars – the two Williams, the two Saubers and both Force Indias – to move up the order. The car was very competitive with good top speed down the straight. The pit stops also went very well, so I want to thank the team who did a great job right from the start of the weekend. Now, I can't wait to get to India, because it seems we have a competitive car and I will be out to score more points in the first ever race there. We are now only a few points off Sauber in the championship and if we continue to work hard, I think we can realistically try and get ahead of them in the remaining races."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Seventh and ninth place is by far our best result of the season, with Jaime matching his finishing position in Monza. It is down to the hard work of the entire team at the track and those back in the factory and at our wind tunnel, because without their efforts which delivered our most recent updates, our performance would not have improved to this extent. It was also the fruit of strong performances from both our drivers. After 55 laps, only the three top teams finished ahead of Jaime Alguersuari. After the start, he dropped one place, before driving a fantastic race, pulling off some aggressive passing maneuvers, while delivering some very fast lap times. His fight to get past Rosberg on the last lap was very exciting. Sebastien lost four places at the start and had to fight his way up the order. He the lost a lot of time behind the Force India, but once he had dealt with that he too showed fighting spirit to move up to ninth. It's a superb result for Toro Rosso to be the first team on the results sheet behind the three top teams in this year's championship. Finally, congratulations to Red Bull Racing on adding the Constructors' crown to the Drivers' title they secured last Sunday."
Heikki Kovalainen (14th): "After the fantastic performance last weekend in Japan this is another big step forward for us – finishing 14th today, ahead of both Saubers and within touching distance of Senna on the final lap is for sure our strongest ever race and it's a great feeling for me and the whole team to see us fighting with a big group of cars right from the very first lap. I had another amazing start, passing a bunch of cars into turn 1 and making it look like they were all in reverse. From there I had a good first stint on the options, managing to look after them well enough to stay out for an extra couple of laps that really helped in the first stop. We went onto the primes, and my pace on them was just fantastic, good enough to help me match the times of the cars ahead right up to about tenth. The second set of primes we put on were exactly the same – the wear rates were totally manageable and I could really push on every lap. We knew there were a few cars ahead who would struggle to get to the end, and if I'd had another half a lap I would have passed Senna for sure. As it was we finished ahead of both Saubers on pace and strategy and that's a very good feeling. We've been strong all weekend and it's great for the whole team that we're heading towards the end of the season with a car that is giving us a chance to really show what we can do. Honestly, I'd like to get straight back in now and do it all over again – now I can't wait for India!"
Jarno Trulli (17th): "That was a really strong race for us, definitely the best of the season, and I want to congratulate the whole team for the work they've done here and back at the factory for giving me and Heikki a car that we can really race with. For me, the start wasn't so good – I lost a few places into the first corner but I made them back up again quickly on the first set of tires, and when we changed to the primes my times were great. Heikki and I were keeping pace with the midfield and easily pulling away from the cars behind, but then in my second stop I had a bit of an issue with traffic in the pitlane which lost me a bit of time and brought me out just behind where we wanted to be. As soon as the blue flags started coming out late in the race I had to slow up, and if I hadn't had those problems I'm sure I could have finished with Heikki ahead of Kamui and Sergio. Despite that it's been a good weekend, and now we have another three races to build on today's performance and finish the season as well as possible."
Riad Asmat, Chief Executive Officer: "What a race! We are all thrilled with how we have performed today, right across the team. Our strategy was good, our pace was strong and the pitstops were excellent. We keep on improving, and to do so as we near the end of the season shows how serious we are about building on the foundations we have laid for future success. We could have settled for where we were – well ahead of the two teams behind us and just about keeping contact with the teams ahead, but today we showed that we can really race. It feels good, right across the whole team, to know that we can mix it with teams whose combined experience and budgets far exceeds what we can work with, and it shows enormous promise for next year and beyond. We want to do this again in India, and in the last two races, and show that we have really joined the fight. After today, I am sure we can."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "A really excellent race and a great performance from the whole team. I know we said that last week in Japan was our strongest ever race but we have managed to improve once again and to beat both Saubers and match the pace of a group of teams ahead is very satisfying indeed. We started both cars on options and then switched onto the primes for the second stint and it was immediately obvious that they were going to degrade much less than we had thought which made the two stop strategy work. Jarno had a very strong middle stint but was unlucky to be held up, dropping him back into the traffic that ultimately meant he finished further back than he could have done. Heikki had a very good start and then drove well throughout the whole race. Towards the end we could see that the Renault's tires had given up and we kept telling Heikki to push. He was making up about six seconds a lap over the last two laps and with one lap more I am sure he would have passed him as well, but that does not take anything away from the job we have done today. We are having a very strong end to the season and now we need to make sure we continue this run in the last three races."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "We can all be delighted with where we finished today. From the engine perspective we definitely got as much performance out of the car as we could, and seeing both drivers matching the times of the cars ahead shows we keep making improvements right across the car. The drivers have given their all today, and it is good that we can help provide them with the right package to extract as much performance as possible, particularly around a track like this that demands high top speed and good traction – we were not losing any time to our nearest rivals in either the high or the low speed sectors, so I think we leave here feeling very pleased with how we have performed."
Daniel Ricciardo (19th): "We had a good race, it's nice to finish considering the weekend we had. We had a strong pace throughout the race and had a good fight with the Virgins so that's two consecutive races where we have been much more competitive with them so we have to be happy about that. I'm a bit disappointed with myself after the safety car because I went to attack Glock but it worked against me with D'Ambrosio getting past me. That made me work hard to get back past him again so, at least we split the two Virgins. Next time we have to work hard to get ahead of both of them."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (21st): "We had a really good start, we overtook a few cars and heading into turn 3 there must have been some contact because there were pieces of carbon flying. I hit something with my front end and after that I had problems locking the front which caused my contact in turn 4 with one of the Virgins. After that I damaged my front wing and was forced to come in which killed my race. We had pretty good pace during the first stint but the safety car came out at the worst time possible, just as the leaders had lapped me, so I was a lap down with respect to my main rivals. The race was very difficult after that and the balance was all over the place, it was really hard to drive. But with all those problems we endured, we still made it to the checkered flag which is a positive thing."
Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "Overall, today I'm quite satisfied with how the race went for us. We only had yesterday morning session to set the cars up, especially Daniel's one after the engine issues. The tire management was going to be key during the race and the team has done a good job. Daniel was faster than D'Ambrosio and even Glock at some stages, fought them and completed a highly competitive race. He has done a very good job and only the traffic management prevented us to finish ahead of both Virgin. It was a shame that Tonio had to pit earlier than we had planned as a consequence of the first lap incident because that, and the safety car, burdened him for the rest of the race. Otherwise I think he could have finished further up. We have been fast and consistent and, on top of that, it is also positive that the difference with respect to the leaders has been the smallest so far this season .It was our best race in terms of performance. We have to continue in this line for the remaining three."
Timo Glock (18th): "It has been a good weekend for us. Strategy-wise I think we made the right choice. I had a very good car the whole race – very consistent to push until the last lap and all the problems that we thought we had before were less of an issue. The Pirellis were very good and very consistent. I had a lot of fun and could push until the end, until the last lap. We had a bit of a fight with HRT in the middle of the race, who were suddenly very quick, and I had to push more and more. Overall I'm happy and got the maximum out of the car. The pitstops were good so we made a big step forward in that area too. Now we're off to our big adventure in India, which I think the whole team is looking forward to."
Jerome d'Ambrosio (20th): "It wasn't a great race today, but I can say that compared to yesterday and bearing in mind that we couldn't do any big changes on the car because of the rules, I think that today went pretty well. We tried to do what we could to compensate with the tools that we had and we went in the right direction. So in general it was good, definitely much better than yesterday."
John Booth, Team Principal: "A positive race on both sides of the garage today, to slightly varying degrees. Timo drove a hard race all the way to the end and we were managing the gap to Ricciardo behind him. With Jerome it is disappointing that we finished behind the HRT, however we must take the positive that the performance today far exceeded that in qualifying. He had a hard battle with Ricciardo, overtaking him after the Safety Car, but only to lose out whilst battling with Kobayashi. On the back of a disappointing weekend last week, everyone in the team stepped up their game for this weekend. The strategy was improved, the pitstops were slick and all this has been borne out of a great deal of introspection and redoubling of effort for the last few races. We'll be back in the UK this week preparing for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix and the whole team – from the engineers to logistics – are looking forward to the challenge of this voyage into the unknown."
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Germany||Red Bull-Renault||55||1h38m01.994|
|3.||Mark Webber||Australia||Red Bull-Renault||55||12.477|
|7.||Jaime Alguersuari||Spain||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||55||49.538|
|8.||Nico Rosberg||Germany||Mercedes GP||55||54.053|
|9.||Sebastien Buemi||Switzerland||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||55||1m02.762|
|10.||Paul di Resta||Britain||Force India-Mercedes||55||1m08.602|
|11.||Adrian Sutil||Germany||Force India-Mercedes||55||1m11.229|
|13.||Bruno Senna||Brazil||Renault||54||1 Lap|
|14.||Heikki Kovalainen||Finland||Lotus-Renault||54||1 Lap|
|15.||Kamui Kobayashi||Japan||Sauber-Ferrari||54||1 Lap|
|16.||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Sauber-Ferrari||54||1 Lap|
|17.||Jarno Trulli||Italy||Lotus-Renault||54||1 Lap|
|18.||Timo Glock||Germany||Virgin-Cosworth||54||1 Lap|
|19.||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||HRT-Cosworth||54||1 Lap|
|20.||Jerome d'Ambrosio||Belgium||Virgin-Cosworth||54||1 Lap|
|23.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Italy||HRT-Cosworth||52||3 Laps|
|26.||Michael Schumacher||Germany||Mercedes GP||15||Accident|
|FL||Sebastian Vettel||Germany||Red Bull-Renault||55||1:39.605|