INFINITI RED BULL RACING
#1 Sebastian Vettel “I moved over for Daniel once I knew that we were on different strategies. When I was first asked, I didn’t understand as we were on the same tyre, unlike in Bahrain, so I double checked. When the team said we were on a different strategy, I moved over and then, as the race went on, I saw more and more that I didn’t have the pace. There was no point in holding Dan back. I’m not yet where I want to be with the car, but it’s an on-going process; hopefully at the next few races we will make some more steps in the right direction. Our weakness isn’t in the corners, but on the straights. The first stint today was okay but after that I’m not sure what happened.”
#3 Daniel Ricciardo “I started on the dirty side of the grid and had quite a poor getaway; I was spinning up on the line a bit too long and lost the two places. From then on however, I thought the race was good! With Seb, we were racing and you always want to hold on to your position, but the team radioed and he let me through. I did what I could after each stop and we improved the car; at the end I was doing all I could to catch Alonso and I think we got to within a couple of seconds of him as we went over the line. It’s going well with the team, I feel comfortable here and I did the best I could today. I really want that podium and we’re getting close!”
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS
#44 Lewis Hamilton The team have done an amazing job and all the hard work both here and at the factory is really paying off at the moment. This car is just unbelievable; in the final laps, I was pushing a little bit more to keep up the tyre temperatures and it just felt great to drive. I’m so, so happy today. We had to make a lot of changes after P2 in terms of the set-up of the car but after it rained on Saturday, we didn’t know exactly how it would go today. There was a lot of hard work done, sitting down with the engineers so that we didn’t guess anything and just made the right steps in anticipation for today. I really want to give a big shout-out to the team in Brackley and Brixworth for embracing me last year, for building this amazing car and engine and for continuously pushing forward with so much positive energy in 2014. We are definitely on a roll right now; I’m working hard, the team is working hard and we just want to improve even further when we get back to Europe.
#6 Nico Rosberg That was not a perfect weekend for me. Too many things went wrong, beginning with a technical problem and a less than perfect job from me in qualifying. Today I didn’t have any telemetry, so there was no communication from the car to the pits. My engineers couldn’t see what was going on in my car and therefore they couldn’t set up my clutch for the start. The clutch was completely on the wrong place, which is why I had a really bad start. I had some contact with Bottas in Turn 1 and I thought that was it. Luckily my car wasn’t damaged and in the following laps the pace in the car seemed good, which meant I was able to climb some positions. To finish second in the end, on a weekend of damage limitation, is great. I collected some important points again, which makes me happy. It’s great to go back to Europe with the lead in the Championship. In Barcelona, the aim will be to have a normal weekend and be back in first place. It was again an amazing team result and the whole team can be very proud. Congratulations to Lewis on a fantastic weekend.
#14 Fernando Alonso “After a difficult start to the season, this podium is a confidence boost for the whole team, providing extra motivation for all those who are doing their best to close the gap to the front. And I think this podium should be dedicated to Stefano, as everything we do up to July will also be the result of his efforts. We have definitely made a step forward, because compared to two weeks ago, we have partly closed the gap to the leaders, but we are well aware there’s still a long way to go and we have to keep our feet on the ground. In general, this has been a good weekend for me, as everything went well right from Friday, although the rain made qualifying more complicated than expected. I was on the limit all race long and I really don’t think I could have done any more. This is quite a unique track of its kind and now we must make the most of the long break before the next race to prepare as well as possible for whatever situation arises.”
#7 Kimi Raikkonen “This has been a really difficult weekend. Right from Friday morning, I suffered with problems that we didn’t manage to solve completely and today in the race, I couldn’t get the result I wanted. The start was good, I made up two places but then I couldn’t make up any more ground, as I just didn’t have the pace, nor much grip at the front or the back. In the final stint on new tyres, the car handled better, but then, as the tyres degraded the situation got complicated again. I think the difficulties I encountered here stem from a combination of various factors, from my driving style combined with the low temperatures and the characteristics of the track. Today, we brought home valuable points thanks to the intense efforts of the whole team and now we will continue to work ceaselessly to improve. Fernando’s result is very encouraging and proves we are moving in the right direction.”
#22 Jenson Button “It was pretty difficult out there. It felt a little bit like qualifying yesterday: we just couldn’t get the front tyres working – they just grained. “We’ve got a few upgrades for the next grand prix, in Barcelona, but they won’t be enough to close our performance gap to the fastest cars. But the guys are doing their best, and a result like this is disappointing for everyone, especially for the mechanics and the guys back at the factory, because they’ve all been working so hard.
#20 Kevin Magnussen “It felt like a long race, because there wasn’t much I could do out there. “Our car lacks downforce – that’s its main problem. The way it’s set up, and how it feels, has always been positive; it’s just low on grip, that’s all. So, clearly, we need to work as hard as we can to create that missing downforce. “I know the guys back in Woking are doing their best, and I have faith that they’ll deliver that downforce before too long.”
SAHARA FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM
#27 Nico Hulkenberg “Finishing in sixth and bringing both cars home in the points again was a very positive result for the team. It was actually a pretty straightforward race for me after we got in front of Massa: I had to manage my tyres, my pace and avoid mistakes, and it only got tricky at the end when Bottas was getting a bit closer. We have beaten all other customer Mercedes cars, which are our main competition at the moment, but we have also seen some other teams up their game so we will need to keep pushing.”
#11 Sergio Perez “To start from P16 and finish in ninth place is a good recovery after a difficult qualifying session yesterday. I made a good start and after that I just focussed on making the two-stop strategy work. I think everybody suffered with tyre graining and I picked up a few flat spots, but we still made it work. It was not easy to overtake today, even the cars on a different strategy, so I think ninth place was the maximum. It means I’ve scored points in three out of four races, but I was hoping for more today after the weekend we had in Bahrain. It’s also clear that all the teams around us are finding pace so we have to keep working hard to be ready for Barcelona.”
SAUBER F1 TEAM
#99 Adrian Sutil “Unfortunately it was a very short race for me. During the formation lap I already had problems. As it was a quite slow formation lap, I was not able to identify what the problem was. I just realised the engine was not working properly. At the start I had almost no power. Going into the first corner I noticed there was a problem with the engine. I lost a lot of positions during the first lap and fell back to last. I did a few more laps, but then went back to the pits. The team tried to solve the issue, but we could not do it quickly. I had to retire. However, I am still positive and looking forward.”
#21 Esteban Gutierrez “It was a very complicated race in terms of tyre management. With these kind of temperatures the prime tyres were not really working for us. We had to do a three stop strategy, which ended up as a disadvantage for us. With our current pace we could not have higher expectations in terms of our results. I have total faith in my team, everybody is putting their best efforts into everything. I believe that Barcelona is the place where we can recover, make a step forward and fight for better positions and points.”
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO
#25 Jean-Eric Vergne “First of all, congratulations to Daniil for his good race and another point for him and the team. As for my race, I had a bad start and a bad first lap. We need to understand what happened exactly to improve this aspect. After that, I could not make the best out of the option tyres because I was stuck behind Button, so it was not possible to build a gap and pull away. It was definitely a tough race but we should not have to forget some positive aspects: we had a really good qualifying yesterday, the general pace was not bad and we know exactly the direction to take in order to improve. This is the reason why I’m convinced that we can be stronger in a few weeks’ time in Barcelona.”
#26 Daniil Kvyat “It felt great today and I’m very happy with my performance. I had a good start and I managed to make up some positions during the first lap. Our pace was very strong today and I enjoyed the fight with Jenson pretty much throughout the race. We did a good job with the tyre management, so we were able to stay out longer. Even though it all went very well today, I think there’s still a lot more to come from the car, so I’m really looking forward to starting the European part of the season, where I hope to get some more points.”
WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING
#19 Felipe Massa « I had another great start today and we were fighting at the top. I felt some contact with Fernando but luckily the car wasn’t damaged so I could carry on. There was a mistake at the first pitstop and that effectively lost me the race as I came back out on track in last position. It is a frustrating situation and something we need to work on to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. We have time now to work hard and improve the car for Spain. »
#77 Valtteri Bottas It was a good race for me despite some hard contact at the start which cost me a few positions. I also had to drive the whole race without telemetry which isn’t the easiest thing to do. We made progress over the whole weekend which is good. It’s great to make steps forward and we are looking to do the same in Spain in a three weeks’ time.
MARUSSIA F1 TEAM
#17 Jules Bianchi “I had a good fight with Kobayashi throughout the race and I’m very happy to be leaving China having finished ahead of him. This was my first straightforward race of the season so far and it is a big relief I have to say. The start was good and I got ahead of Kamui off the line but he regained position quite quickly. I stuck with him until the second stint when with Maldonado between us I dropped back a little but then I caught up again and we continued to enjoy a good battle. When he stopped for a third time for the option tyre we saw the opportunity to manage my tyres and stay out to get ahead. On new option tyres he was catching quite quickly and I had to work really hard to keep in front and not lose the place. Unfortunately, he caught me with only two corners left but in the end we keep the position, so I’m happy and have a good feeling with which to end the first long haul rounds of the season.”
#4 Max Chilton “It was a tough race but I’m pleased to have passed and kept Ericsson behind me and, of course, to secure my 23rd consecutive finish. The start went well – I got past a couple of cars actually – and the car felt good in that early stint. On the medium tyre I struggled a bit more with the balance and we changed the strategy, before changing back at the end when we pitted for a third time, basically to ensure that we were not going to be subject to a late charge by Ericsson on fresh rubber. A good race and a nice way to head into the start of the European season.”
CATERHAM F1 TEAM
#9 Kamui Kobayashi “Finishing 18th isn’t the final position we’d want, but after a really good battle with Jules I’m relatively pleased with how today’s race went. However, it’s a real shame that my move on him on the last lap now doesn’t count due to the mistake with the chequered flag, something we had nothing to do with. We’d had a really good battle for the last few laps of the race and I got him on what was the last lap, until it turned out the chequered flag had been waved a lap too early by mistake – until we found that out after the race it had been good to see what a small victory like that does for the team as it lifted everyone at the end of a very tough first four races of 2014. “I didn’t have a great start but still made up a couple of places on lap one and was having a good fight with Maldonado until lap 18 when he got past. The guys did a very good pitstop when we
came in for the first time for new mediums on lap 11, helping me stay ahead of him until halfway through the second stint, but our car is simply not competitive enough on options tyres to hold him and once he was ahead I didn’t have the pace to fight back, so from that point we were focused on beating the Marussias. “We stuck to the original three stop strategy and that gave us a few interesting moments, particularly with Vettel who I was told I could pass as he was fuel saving and on old tyres and I was on new softs on the third stint. I hear he wasn’t too pleased about that but relative to him I had the pace then to immediately pull away and did so to avoid compromising our plan. “Obviously though the real battle for us was with the Marussias and when I came out on new softs after my final pitstop I was able to catch Chilton quickly and then closed the gap to Bianchi in a few laps, despite the traffic at that point in the race which always makes our own race very difficult. It was a really good battle with Jules, clean racing and I finally passed him going into the hairpin at the end of the back straight, having feinted left in turn 11 so I had a better run on him onto the straight which set him up for the pass into turn 14. As I say, through no fault of our own that result now doesn’t count but we’ll just have to dig deeper in Spain and fight back there. “Even though we had good race with Maldonado for the first third of the race it’s clear we don’t have the outright pace to fight Lotus or Sauber yet, but we have a good package coming for Spain and we are determined to try and close the gap. The first four races have been hard, but having both cars finish today shows the progress we and Renault have made with reliability. Now we have to build on that and use the next couple of weeks to recharge ourselves so we can come back stronger in Barcelona.”
#10 Marcus Ericsson “For me the whole race was dominated by understeer. On every set of tyres the balance just wasn’t there and that meant I couldn’t really push at all. It’s good that we got to the end of the race, but if I hadn’t had that understeer I’m sure I’d have been quicker. “My start wasn’t perfect and I was behind both Marussias at the end of lap one. We did the first stint on softs and they started graining pretty quickly so we boxed for mediums for the second stint on lap 10. We added a bit more front wing to try and help with the understeer but it didn’t really help so I just couldn’t push any more than I was. It was the same for the third and fourth stints which we did on softs but by that point I was pretty much on my own so just focused on getting to the end of the race. “This is obviously the last of the early season flyaways and when we start the European season in Spain it’ll be back at a track I know really well. As a rookie that’s obviously good for me and with the amount of time I’ll be in the factory and in the simulator between now and then, and with the new parts we have coming in Barcelona, I’m sure we’ll come back stronger there and ready to make progress there and in the next few races.”