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Sunday race report – Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari – 2011 Belgium

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Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel: “I’m very happy; today was a very good race for us, although it was not easy with the tyres. The beginning of the race was more research and science than racing and we sacrificed a lot by topping
very early. We had a good feeling though and I came in again when the safety car came out, just to see how they were. I can judge a bit from looking at the inside, but when you’re doing 300kph or more and the tyres are always spinning rather than stopped, you can’t really take the time to see, so it was crucial to come in and have a closer look. I’m very happy with the result. It’s a big relief after all the discussions we had going into the race. This morning disturbed our normal rhythm, as normally you know what you do when you arrive on Sunday morning, but today we had a lot of discussions which doesn’t make it easy to keep focused. Before the race, we decided the priority was simply to finish the race today and not think too much about where, so that’s why I am so happy with the result. It couldn’t have been any better. The car felt fantastic and with each lap we learned more and more about the tyres, which made us more confident to push when necessary.”

Mark Webber: “The lights went out and I got anti-stall at the start – I don’t know whether it was due to the start being uphill or not. We were worried about the tyres going into the race and had a lot of meetings this morning. In the end, the right decisions were made and the team reacted incredibly well and did some good research overnight to work out how we could best get through the race. We did a lot of damage to the tyres in qualifying and had to stop pretty early to protect ourselves from any issues from the tyre which put us out of position. We picked some people off, but in terms of the result I was after I was frustrated at that point. Then the safety car came out. The team wanted me to pit, but when I got the instructions of what to do in the pit lane I was the wrong side of the pit wall – I never heard the call to come in. I was worried, but we kept going and the car behaved well. I drove well from then on and we got a good result in what was one of the team’s best ever one-two finishes. It was a great weekend for the team and they deserve this result.”

McLaren

Jenson Button: “It wasn’t as simple as just going from 13th to third today. At the start, somebody hit me at the rear and damaged a rear-wing endplate. At the exit of Turn One, there was debris everywhere, and somebody else’s front wing went through my front wing and sliced my right-side mirror off. I also had to make an early pitstop, so it was hardly perfect! The team had a look at the data and saw that the damage was manageable, so I held on for a few more laps in order to make the strategy work. Then, after that, I drove flat-out to the end of the race. I think everybody had an issue with the front-left tyre, so it was tricky to know when to push. But my pace was pretty good considering the damage we had, and I really enjoyed attacking and passing people. Our car is the best it’s been all year, and I feel better than I ever have in Formula 1. We just need to stop the little mistakes from happening so that we can win even more races. Hopefully, we can go out and fight for the win in Monza.”

Lewis Hamilton: “I was in a good position and I’d already got past one of the Ferraris, but then I was hit by Kamui [Kobayashi]. I don’t really know what happened, but I hit the wall pretty hard and my race was immediately over. I was ahead, so I don’t know why I got hit. There have been quite a few races this year where we’ve not finished, and this is another – but that’s motor racing. At least our pace was reasonably good this weekend, so let’s hope we can win more races in the remainder of the season.”

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso: “It would have been difficult to do better than this fourth place today, especially given how much we suffered on the Medium tyres: in these conditions, we are a second and a half slower than the best. Honestly, I didn’t think I had a real chance of winning, but a podium was within our grasp. The strategy saw me lead in the early stages, but then, we knew that in the final part, we would have struggled more. I had fun in the first stint: the start was good and then I had some nice duels. A shame about the podium: it was our target and was possible, despite qualifying eighth yesterday. Compared to the gap we saw yesterday in qualifying, the situation was very different today, but we are well aware that, with temperatures which were definitely not very hot for summer time, we paid too high a price. At the moment, we must congratulate our opponents, who are doing a fantastic job, but we will not give up, at least until the mathematics tell us otherwise: we will always try and win, giving it our best shot, starting in Monza, a very special event for Ferrari and for all its fans, and then in all the other remaining races this season.”

Felipe Massa: “It was rather a strange race for me. In the opening phase I was absolutely in the fight for the top places, but then I started to have tyre problems and the car seemed to no longer be so well balanced. With the Mediums, the situation improved, maybe also down to an adjustment to the front wing which we made at the pit stop, but we were not quick enough, as was clearly evident and by then it was too late. On top of that, I also had a puncture on the left rear tyre which meant I had to make another stop. When I found myself behind Rosberg, I could not pass him, despite the DRS, because their top speed is very good. Furthermore, I was struggling especially in the slowest corners – the final chicane and La Source – and that stopped me from getting as good a tow as possible. The next event is the home race for the team, but it is also very important for me and I really want to get a good result there.”

Images © Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari


All material and photos are copyrighted material and owned by their respective owners. Use or depiction of images or trademarks throughout this website is for illustrative and editorial purposes only.Images come courtesy of; ferrari.com, mclaren.com, forceindiaf1.com, redbull.com, mercedesgp.com, renaultf1.com, toyota, bmw-sauber, williamsf1, lotus, virgin, Daylife.com, getty Images/LAT and AP Photos.


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