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2013 F1

Team and driver race quotes – 2013 Singapore GP

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166987979_PG_2936_E3A8152738F2696B91C8D7F281CCE252Sebastian has won his seventh race of the 2013 season with victory in Singapore, while Mark was frustratingly forced to retire on the final lap after a great effort.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 4th

“I had a good start today and the pace of our car was really strong. The safety car was unfortunate timing for us and perhaps it wasn’t the best decision to stay out but, at the time, we weren’t sure if our tyres would be able to last the distance. I then had some rubber trapped in my front wing after the safety car period which cost me quite a lot of performance for some laps and had an impact on my race because the tyres suffered more than would be normal. We could perhaps have been second today but events in the race just didn’t go our way so it is a little disappointing to only finish in fourth place. We now need to learn from this weekend and focus on the next race in Korea.”

Lewis Hamilton, 5th
“That was a really tough race, probably the most physically demanding of the year. We tried our best and the car felt good but unfortunately we paid the price for not qualifying further ahead yesterday. I didn’t have the best start and had to go wide to avoid Mark at turn one. From there, it was difficult to follow the race and my position. Whilst the timing of the safety car definitely didn’t help us, we need to go back through our strategy and see what we could possibly have done differently in that situation. I’m not sure we could have done what Fernando and Kimi did by staying out on that set of tyres for so long, though. Of course, it’s a little disappointing to come away with only fifth place but I gave it my all out there and we’ll come back stronger. Our aim is to get back ahead of Ferrari in the constructors championship and see if we can get another win before the end of the season.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
“That was a frustrating race after the safety car came out at what was just the wrong time for us. It was a close decision whether or not to pit the cars in order to try and run over half the race distance on a single set of tyres. Our view was that we couldn’t make it, so we left both cars out on track – as did Red Bull – so that we could run a shorter final stint. In the end, we saw that two of the cars who pitted managed to make it work, but most others had to make an additional stop or fell out of the window of tyre performance in the closing laps. The race was further complicated by a front wing problem for Nico, who suffered from rubber build up at a critical stage of the race, which cost him performance through excessive understeer. Fourth and fifth positions allowed us to minimise the points loss to Ferrari in the constructors championship but our car had the performance potential to score more points today.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
“After starting from second and fifth positions on the grid, we cannot be satisfied to finish fourth and fifth this evening. Two of our rivals managed to complete over half the race distance on a single set of tyres, which was something we did not feel we would manage successfully. Therefore both cars stayed out behind the safety car when it was deployed. Congratulations to Sebastian on a well earned victory: he was in a different league for most of this race.”

McLaren
Jenson Button, 7th

“We thought we might have a chance of a podium, but in the end we didn’t have the pace to keep us ahead of the closing cars. It was good fun trying though, and we have to take risks if we want to get podium finishes this year. We expected to spend most of the race on the option tyre, so we’d set the car up for that. The prime tyre didn’t work so well for me, and having to hold Kimi off for so long destroyed my rear tyres and made things very tricky. In the end, as I say, we simply didn’t have enough pace to stop him overtaking. It was a good try though, and a P7 finish isn’t too bad. We couldn’t have done any better with a different strategy, I’m certain of that, and I’m glad we got some good points for the team.”

Sergio Perez, 8th
“I think we should be satisfied with today’s result – as Jenson says P7 and P8 was probably the best we could have achieved today. In my view the safety car came at the wrong time for us, so we had to take a risk by choosing to drive to the finish with two pit stops. It was pretty tough to keep the car out of the barriers – not to crash yet to lose too much lap time – but as I say I think it was the right choice. Last but not least, although P7 and P8 isn’t brilliant, it’s the best we could have hoped for – and I dearly hope it’ll put a smile on the faces of my people, in my country, Mexico, who really need something to smile about at this very difficult time.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Jenson and Checo both drove great, spirited, combative races here this afternoon, and the result was a brace of points scoring finishes for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Our strategy involved an element of risk, but that risk was worth taking. After all, the second placed and third placed finishers both ran the same strategy – and, although our cars didn’t have sufficient pace to beat them to those podium finishes, our drivers boldly embraced the challenge set by a strategy that required them to attack and defend with an impressive mix of aggression and restraint. Checo, in particular, made an extremely good start, moving from his P14 grid slot to P11 on lap one, and thereafter fighting his way through heavy traffic all afternoon to finish eighth at the flag, just behind Jenson in seventh. From here we go to Mokpo, South Korea, where we’ll be aiming to score points with both cars once again.”

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, 9th

“All in all we can be happy. We brought home two points. To be honest, I didn’t expect much more than that. You can’t expect that every weekend will be like Monza now, but we improved significantly. It was a very tough race. I had a very good start and then a racing situation with Sergio Perez. In the end, I did have to give back the position to him and I don’t quite agree with that. There was a Williams in the fight as well, Sergio was on the inside, but I had to leave space and caught the outer kerb. Then my car bottomed and I was off, however, I was in front of Sergio before and after the corner. At the end, it was a pure fight for survival, because the tyres were pretty much gone. Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber were all on fresh tyres and I simply had to focus on staying on track and finishing the race.”

Esteban Gutierrez, 12th
“We expected a better result today. Our pace during the race was not good enough, especially at the beginning as I was fighting a lot with the car. At times I pushed a bit too much, had a lot of oversteer and the tyres were degrading. It was one of the toughest races I have ever had. I did the best I could and this is where we finished. The strategy was not ideal either. Nevertheless, the weekend was a step forward and now I will keep working to improve.”

Tom McCullough, Sauber, head of track engineering
“Scoring points again was obviously very good for the team. The timing of the safety car meant it was very difficult to get to the end from there, but we elected to do that with both cars. Nico managed the tyres and the pressure from behind very well. It’s a shame he had to give his position up to Sergio Perez because he went off the track. However, this was not to gain a position but to avoid a crash. Esteban lost track positions when the safety car came out, and, after that, he suffered some slight tyre degradation. But overall, we take a lot of positives from this weekend to the upcoming races.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal
“After a strong performance in Monza we were able to claim points again, which is very pleasing. Nico drove a fantastic race and was rewarded with two points. We find the decision by the race director to give the position back to Sergio Perez very harsh. He did not gain an advantage, but merely avoided a collision by leaving the track. However, we have to accept this decision. Esteban had a mixed weekend. Now we have to find out why he wasn’t able to clock the expected lap times. We are happy that we were able to perform on a track that usually doesn’t suit our car. That shows we are heading in the right direction with the development of the car.”

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 10th

“It was a tough race and exhausting in the end. So it feels great to come away with a point and it’s a small motivation for the whole team. In the closing laps of the race I was catching the train of cars in front of me – Perez, Button and Hulkenberg. I thought I had a chance to get ahead of at least one of them, but as soon as I reached the back of the train my tyres went off. In fact, we were all struggling with tyres and I couldn’t attack anymore because it felt like driving on ice. So I’m happy to take the point and it’s well deserved by the whole team.”

Paul di Resta, 20th
“It’s such a shame to come away with nothing to show from a race where we had put ourselves in a position to score some valuable points. The management of the tyres was good and the overall performance in race conditions was very strong. Even without the safety car we were in good shape, but as a team we made the right calls and were looking to challenge the train of cars ahead of us in the final few laps. Then I had the incident at turn seven. I’m still not sure what happened, but I took the corner the same way as I had done the previous lap and the car went straight on and wouldn’t stop. The team is investigating what happened.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director
“We come away from Singapore with mixed feelings. The positive is that Adrian picked up the final point and that’s a good effort considering where he started the race. On the other hand we missed a golden opportunity to score some big points with Paul, who potentially could have finished in sixth place. His retirement with seven laps to go proved costly and has not helped us in our battle against McLaren. As a team we must focus on the positives of the competitive race pace, good tyre management, and the calls we made with the strategy. Korea in two weeks’ time will be a chance to regroup and keep up our fighting spirit.”

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 11th

“We recovered two places at the start and after a couple of laps we were pushing towards the cars in front whilst also trying to manage the rear tyres. My tyre management was good throughout the race and I was able to push hard in the final stages on the super soft tyres. We just missed out on points in the end, but we’ll be looking to progress a step further in the next race.”

Valtteri Bottas, 13th
“It was one of the most difficult races of the whole season for me today. Immediately at the start we had a problem with the clutch which meant we lost a few positions. After the safety car we had a few problems with debris in the front wing, which made the car difficult to drive. These limiting factors meant we couldn’t go any faster today and so we did the best we could with what we had.”

Xevi Pujolar, Williams Chief race engineer
“Pastor had a good start, gaining a few positions and managing his tyres well in the early stages. Valtteri was unable to hold position at the start due to a clutch problem and consequently struggled with his tyres fighting to regain position. Valtteri’s race was further compromised by debris in his front wing meaning he didn’t have the pace to challenge for position. Under the safety car we pitted both cars for their second stops to move onto the prime medium tyre. We were looking at the data to see if we could go to the end but when it became clear that we needed to stop again we switched both cars back onto super softs. Pastor was then able to fight to the end gaining two positions in the final stages to finish P11. Both Pastor and Valtteri drove a solid race today in challenging conditions but we need to find more performance from the car if we want to be consistently fighting for points.”

Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 team support leader
“The end result flatters us slightly as we were not as competitive as we would have liked. It is disappointing to miss out on the points again but Korea is a very different track and should play to the strengths of the car more. We’ll look forward to this race now.”

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, 14th

“My start was not the best and, in an effort to compensate for that, we switched from a two stop to a three stop strategy and I believe it could have paid off in terms of getting me back into the points. However, I then found I was having a lot of trouble just keeping the car on track and my tyres were completely worn out at the end, by which time, I had already been told to back off as the car was overheating. This is always a long, tough race and it felt particularly long for me, as I had no one to fight against in the closing stages, apart from working to keep the car away from the barriers. I always try to look on the positive side and in that respect, the updates we brought here seemed to work and we have learned a lot about the car. Therefore I still believe we can have a strong end to the season, starting in Korea, where I expect the car to work very well.”

Daniel Ricciardo, DNF
“The crash was my error, trying to make up for lost ground. At the start, my car just seemed to sit there without moving off the line. It was very frustrating to lose so many places right away. I think I went down five places from ninth on the grid to fourteenth. So I was on the back foot from then on, just trying to do the best I could. In the second stint, my engineer came on the radio and said ‘the pace is good, keep pushing.’ I was aware that for the pace we had, we were not doing too badly and maybe at the end I was just trying to get too much out of it and made that mistake. It’s a delicate corner with not much run-off and I went too deep into the apex. I then braked a bit harder, locked a wheel and went into the wall. It’s not a mistake I’m used to making. I will learn from this.”

Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal
“A very disappointing evening for us, especially after we had produced a good qualifying performance yesterday. Unfortunately, the benefit of our grid positions was cancelled out immediately, as both drivers got poor starts, with Daniel dropping five places and Jean-Eric three. Daniel’s race then ended prematurely with an uncharacteristic mistake which put him in the barriers. With overtaking being so difficult here, we decided to switch Vergne from a two stop to a three stop strategy, as he was so far back. After that, he looked in reasonable shape and we had saved a new set of options for the final stint, believing this would help him catch the cars ahead, that had tried to go for a long stint. However, his car suffered from overheating and we had to turn down his power, which meant he could not pass those ahead of him. This weekend, we didn’t make the most of our opportunities and we will be working hard to put that right in a fortnight in Korea, where the Yeongam circuit should suit us better.”

Marussia
Max Chilton, 17th

“What started off as quite a tough race with the balance then thankfully improved and in the end it was not a bad race for us. Once again we got another two car finish out of it which is good for the team and we maintain our 10th place in the championship. The degradation was quite high and it was a tough challenge to manage the tyres and still try to push for opportunities with Caterham, which came along when Pic stopped late in the race enabling us to gain an extra place. Overall I’m pleased with my first night race and have enjoyed the whole Singapore experience.”

Jules Bianchi, 18th
“I was hoping for better today but the first half of the race didn’t go at all well for me. Just as I was stopping for the first time I lost the gears and I was worried it was mechanical but we stopped again to change the steering wheel and the problem thankfully went away. The second stint was tough because I was so far back by then and it was looking like it would be a very long and lonely race, also hitting the blue flag phase much earlier than usual. When the safety car came out it helped enormously as we were able to catch up and unlap ourselves. After struggling with traction initially I was then able to get into a good rhythm with strong pace. I was quicker but whilst trying to pass my team mate my tyres went away completely and we had to stop again much earlier than plan. After that, having seen the degradation we were incurring trying to push, I had no option but to hold back but at least I was able to gain a place when Pic stopped again at the end. Some difficult points in the race but what matters is the team result.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“Today’s race was a challenging one for the whole team due to a combination of the intense humidity, an early gear shift problem for Jules and a heavy emphasis on tyre management through the whole race. The safety car period benefited us by helping us to overcome the penalty of an extra unscheduled pit stop for Jules and we were able to get back in touch with the rest of the field, which in turn put us back into a good fight with Caterham. They were ahead but the gap was minimal during the second half of the race and at a track like this any opportunity can arise at a moment’s notice and this is in fact what happened when Pic had to stop six laps from the end. We have been extremely close to our nearest competitors all weekend, which is a definite improvement on recent races. Another two car finish for the team and we leave Singapore with our position in the constructors championship still intact, so we will focus on the positives from the weekend.”

 

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