• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Post-race driver and team reaction

ESPNF1 Staff
November 14, 2010

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso - 7th: "It's a shame to get to the end of the season and then lose the title at the final moment, but that's racing, that is sport. Everything went wrong today, from the start itself to the strategy. With hindsight, it would have been better not to pit so soon, but it's easy to say that when you have all the facts: however, it was definitely not an easy decision. I want to congratulate Red Bull and its drivers: over the course of the season they have had a little something extra than us and they deserve to be where they are today. I had said it over the past few days: this is still a great season. There have been some very intense months and I found myself in a team that has an amazing atmosphere. Now there is some sadness, but I am sure that in a few hours, with a clear head, we will begin to appreciate better what we have achieved. We have to continue like that, staying united and determined. We have to face next year with the same will to win which has characterised this one and, something I learned very quickly, is also in the Ferrari blood. We must improve the car and ensure that the mistakes that all of us - we drivers and the team - have made during the year, are not repeated."

Felipe Massa - 10th: "It's a real shame the way things went in this race. We had decided to pit early to try and stay ahead of Webber, but we did not manage it and we were then stuck in traffic for almost the whole race, both myself and Fernando. Unfortunately, the cars ahead of us were very quick in a straight line and it was impossible to overtake. At a fantastic venue like this, it's a shame that overtaking is so difficult. For me, it has definitely not been a great season, as I had expected a lot more out of it. Now we need to react and try to prepare as well as possible for the next season. We made mistakes and we must try not to repeat them. Already, we have two days of testing next week with the new tyres: I am curious to see how they behave."

Stefano Domenicali: "There is a great sadness at this moment, because to come so close to our goal and to see it slip away for just a few points really hurts. We made a wrong decision in terms of strategy for three reasons: we marked a rival with two cars, we were unduly concerned about the wear rate of the soft tyres and we did not take into consideration the difficulty of getting past other cars on the track. Now, there is no point in discussing the whys and wherefores of how we arrived at this choice: win or lose, we do everything together as a team. At this time, I would like to thank our fans who have always demonstrated their great affection. This was probably the worst race of the season, but when you lose by just a handful of points, it's clear that the title was not lost here, or at least not just here. I want to congratulate Fernando, who is an extraordinary driver and an extraordinary person. He demonstrated powers of leadership from both inside and outside the cockpit and we will do all we can to give him and Felipe an even better car next year. I wish to thank the team for the great effort they have always put into their daily work, at the track and at home: few people outside the company would have thought in mid-July that we would have made it to Abu Dhabi leading the world championship. Sure, and I repeat myself, now we are sad, but we have to keep our heads held high. We are Ferrari which means we are condemned to having to win, so a second place is a defeat: but this is also part of sport and we have to accept it. Finally, congratulations to Vettel: he had the quickest car and in the end, he was the best, which the points table proved."

Force India

Adrian Sutil - 13th: "Not such an exciting race for me today as I was driving alone for a lot of the time and then had a late stop as we tried to make up some positions. I came out side by side to Rubens and lost a position, falling into 13th. It wouldn't have made any difference as we needed points today and unfortunately we couldn't get them. It was a good effort from the team and we tried our best, just the safety car period at the start was unlucky for us. But thank you to the team for all their hard work this year and a big well done for getting 7th position. It's our highest position as a team - and my highest in the championship - and shows just how far we've come in the last three years. Congratulations also to Sebastian for his great win today."

Tonio Liuzzi - DNF: "For me today was a bit of a disappointing end to what's been a fantastic year for the team. I had a good start, gaining a couple of positions and had got into a good place for the first stint, but then I came round the third corner and saw a cloud of smoke in front. I couldn't move anywhere as there were cars all around me and then when the smoke cleared I saw Michael the wrong way round and stopped on track. I couldn't do anything but thankfully we were both OK after the accident. I am sorry that we could not score any points today to get back to sixth in the championship but even so the team has worked so hard today and for the whole of the season. But congratulations to Sebastian on his first world title."

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal: "Sixty eight points is something I, and the whole team, can take great personal pride in. When we bought the team we scored zero points the first year, then 13 last year and now more than five times that in 2010. We've really achieved our racing stripes and I hope that next year, with the Indian Grand Prix as a target, that we can go bigger and better. This is just the start for us. Lastly I must extend my congratulations to Red Bull and to Sebastian Vettel on their wins this season, they have had a fantastic year."

HRT

Christian Klien - 20th: "It was a tough race today and it was very hot inside the car. The car was difficult to handle with a lot of fuel, but the lap times got better with less fuel. It was a positive race weekend for the team, as there were no technical problems. We could see that the gap to the other new teams got smaller and we could go at a constant pace. I want to thank everyone in the team for the extraordinary job they did all over the season and for giving me the opportunity to compete in the Singapore, Brazil and Abu Dhabi races."

Bruno Senna - 21st: "Today was a good but very tough race here in Abu Dhabi. I tried to push and get close to our competitors in front but then I was in traffic, so that didn't help us end further up. I enjoyed my first season in Formula 1 and I want to thank the team for their hard work they did during the year. I really have learnt a lot and it was a good preparation. You learn so much by actually racing that I can't wait to put all this experience into practice next season."

Dr. Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "We are happy about our ninth double-finish of our first season in Formula 1. We were on a good strategy when we decided to do our pit-stops during the safety car period and could win some positions then. Unfortunately, we lost too much time due to blue flags during the race but both drivers showed a good performance. At the end of a hard first year in Formula One, we became more and more reliable and constant in our results. I want to thank the whole team who managed the impossible and made us become part of the highest series in motorsport. We are going the right way and we are fired up for the next season in 2011."

Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen - 17th: "What a fantastic end to our season. The race itself was just great, right from when the lights went out. I got the best start of the season, made up places immediately and from that point on I just got my head down and got on with it. Everything went perfectly according to plan. The tyres weren't really degarding and as the car got lighter and the fuel burnt away I was able to keep putting in what felt like qualifying laps throughout the whole race. I was able to pull away a gap to the cars behind me and we managed the traffic really well all race. After I came out of the pits I had to let a few cars past which cost me several seconds, but that wasn't a problem as I could keep pulling away from my direct rivals. This is the perfect way to end our first season, and gives us a huge boost for next year. We finished on a high, achieved all our goals and we have a very exciting future ahead of us. Thank you to the whole team for a fantastic season - I can't wait for next year."

Jarno Trulli - DNF: "First of all congratulations to the whole team. Everyone has done an amazing job this year and while it's been long and tough, for a brand new team it's been special. My race was one of the ones I'll want to forget. I had a problem with the front wing to begin with, and then a rear wing failure finished the race so I'm pretty glad it's over! This year I've had all sorts of bad luck but I'm very confident about next year as the package that's been put together is very good and it gives everyone in the team a chance to take the next step forward."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Job done. When we started out on this project the first target was to be best of the new teams. When you think how late our entry was confirmed that was always going to be a good challenge, but we have done it. We gave Tony, Din and Nasa tenth place and that makes me very proud of the whole team. On a personal level I'd like to thank my partner Silvi. We did this together and I could not have done it without her or the whole team. However, this is just the beginning. Next year what is important is the steps we take forward, but for tonight we will enjoy the achievement. We have earned it."

McLaren

Lewis Hamilton - 2nd: "We've ended this year on a high - to get both of us onto the podium and to clinch runner-up spot in the constructors' world championship represent a great achievement for the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. I was able to match Sebastian's [Vettel] pace in the early part of the race - but, after my pitstop, I was stuck behind Robert [Kubica]. It was just impossible to get past him - he made no mistakes - so it wasn't possible to resume my attack on Sebastian. But that's the way motor racing goes sometimes. The team has been pushing so hard for the whole season - I'm so proud of everyone. Now, though, I'm already looking ahead to next year, when I hope our car will be even better, so that we can do battle at the very front from the first race of the season. There are 15 weeks to go until the 2011 season starts - it can't come soon enough!"

Jenson Button - 3rd: "It's been an exciting year for Formula 1. We've all had our ups and downs, including the new world champion Sebastian. But he's a very talented driver and he thoroughly deserves his success. It was nice to be on the podium with the new world champion, and with Lewis, who was of course the 2008 world champion. Our main aim today was to clinch second place in the constructors' world championship, and we did that comfortably. During the year I've had some very good Sundays but some difficult Saturdays - and that's something I'm going to work on over the winter. Overall, however, I'm very happy with my first season at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. I want to say thank you to the entire team. It didn't turn out quite as we'd hoped, but there have been a lot of good days and a lot of good experiences that we can use to benefit our 2011 campaign."

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal: "Both Lewis and Jenson drove brilliantly in Abu Dhabi this evening, and it was very gratifying to see them both take their places on the last podium of the year. Aware that it was unlikely that Lewis was going to be able to wrest the race win he needed from Sebastian on a circuit on which overtaking is notoriously difficult, we decided to call him in for an early pitstop and leave Jenson out for longer. It was a more or less risk-free strategy, because we were already running second and third and we still ended up second and third at the finish; but, given Sebastian's pace and given the nature of the circuit, it was our only real chance of going for the win we needed for Lewis. As things turned out, it didn't gain us anything; but it didn't lose us anything either. Having said that, Sebastian drove an excellent race today, and on behalf of all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes I want to congratulate him on winning the drivers' world championship. This evening's podium was a significant one from a historic perspective: the three most recent world champions, standing shoulder to shoulder, and I'm glad to say that two of them were in Vodafone McLaren Mercedes colours. Last but very far from least, it shouldn't be forgotten that we notched up 33 world championship points this evening, which is more than any other team scored today. That hefty points haul more than consolidated our second position in the constructors' world championship and indeed lifted us to a comfortable 58 points clear of our friends at Ferrari, who, as is so often the case, took the battle to us again this year. We're delighted to have beaten them in 2010; let battle commence again in 2011!"

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg - 4th: "I'm very pleased with fourth place and it's the best that we could have hoped for from my grid position. Special thanks to Ross and James Vowles for a great strategy today. We had a good pace on the hard tyres, just like in qualifying, and I was able to make the most of that performance when it mattered. Thanks to everyone here at the track and back at the factory for all of their hard work this year. Although we didn't get the results that we wanted on track, I am sure that we will improve massively for next year and have more fun then. Congratulations to Sebastian today and he deserved the title. Next up, we have the test later this week which will be very important to get a headstart on adapting to the new tyres."

Michael Schumacher, DNF: First of all, big congratulations to Sebastian for his great victory and taking the title today. That was extremely well done after his season was so mixed but he was able to come back strongly in the last few races. As for me, I am totally fine and was not hit by anything in the incident. I had to go to the medical centre just for a precautionary check. I went off the line, spun and because of the dirt there, the back of the car just came around. It's a shame obviously as I would have liked to finish the season with a more positive ending but I am already looking forward to fighting again next year. I would like to say thank you to everybody in our team for all of their hard work."

Ross Brawn: "That was a fantastic performance from Nico today and a perfect way to finish the season for us. As a team, we achieved the absolute maximum with the car that we have with a great call on strategy from the guys on the pit wall and a well-executed pitstop. Then it was an excellent and controlled drive from Nico who found the pace exactly when he needed it. Michael unfortunately made a mistake on the first lap and got caught out which is a shame."

Sebastian Vettel celebrates winning his first drivers' title © Getty Images
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Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel - 1st: "I'm speechless. I don't know what you are supposed to say in these moments, it has been an incredibly tough season for myself and all of us, physically and mentally. We always kept believing in ourselves - no matter what people said - in the team and in our car. I kept believing in myself and today was a special day all round. I got up this morning and tried not to think about anything; I tried to avoid contact with people and just tried to do my own thing. I knew all I could try to do was win this race and do my best. We only led this Championship once this season, but it was when it mattered. The car was phenomenal today; the start was very tight with Lewis (Hamilton), and I had some graining in the first stint, but then the car stabilised and was a dream. To be honest, I didn't know anything until I passed the chequered flag. I was wondering, because my race engineer Rocky was trying to give me advice every lap to help me carry the car home and I was thinking 'Why's this guy so nervous, we must be in a bloody good position!' Then crossing the line he came on the radio and very silently said 'it's looking good, we have to wait until all the cars finish'. I was thinking 'what does he mean,' as I hadn't seen the screens - I just wanted to make sure I didn't get any distractions during the race and focused on myself. Then Christian came on the radio and screamed at me that we had won the World Championship - I have to say thanks to so many people. To start with, the team: that's all the people here at the track and all the people in Milton Keynes - they are pushing like hell and I think they will be enjoying this moment as much as last week. Also everyone back in Austria, who has supported me from the beginning - it's been an incredible journey with Red Bull and, after all the ups and downs this season, to come here now and win the Championship is unbelievable. Thanks to everyone I have known from the early days in karting and those in my home town of Heppenheim to now, thank you so much."

Mark Webber - 8th: "It was a big day and we had the chance to do something incredibly unique, but in the end it didn't turn out for us. Earlier in the race we knew we had to roll the dice and go for it with the strategy, but it left us exposed and Fernando (Alonso) covered us. I tried my absolute hardest and we did everything we could, but in the end it wasn't enough. You've got to take your hat off to Sebastian, he's done a great job all year and to lead the Championship at the last race, he's got the timing right and I fully congratulate him on the World Championship. I was in with a chance of winning the Championship until the last race, so I must have been doing something right and in the end there are a lot of positives. I feel I have driven very well for most of the season and that's the most important thing to me. This weekend didn't turn out and it's a shame, but it's a good time to reflect in the next few weeks and look back at the highs and the lows but that's the way the sport is sometimes. There have been quite a few emotions over the last couple of weeks; when you come so close to the top and just miss out, it's a shame, but I tried my absolute hardest and I have great guys around me. I think two championships for the team is not bad and I'll be fighting again next season."

Christian Horner: "It's an unbelievable outcome. The first time Sebastian has led the Championship is at the last race of the year, but arguably that's the only time you need to lead it. He's stuck with it though this year, he's had some tough times and he's had his issues with reliability here and there, but he's never lost his focus. He's the youngest ever Formula One World Champion and a very deserving World Champion. It's down to what he's done on the circuit and the whole team is hugely proud of what he's achieved today. We mustn't forget Mark in all this and what an incredible job he's done this year. He's driven superbly well, he's won four grand prix victories and has taken the Championship to the final race. It could have gone to either one of them this year and it's a great privilege to have these two guys in our team. But today belongs to Sebastian Vettel and it's fantastic to have Mr Mateschitz here to witness our first Drivers' World Championship. It's been a very big and emotional week for the team and I'd like to thank every single member, all our suppliers, everyone at Red Bull and Dietrich Mateschitz for his unfaltering support. It's been a very, very big week."

Renault

Robert Kubica - 5th: "It was a very good race to round off the season. I had a problem with a clutch at the start and I was running in 14th position after Turn 2. When the safety car went in, I managed to overtake Sutil, which was important. I then found myself stuck behind Kamui [Kobayashi], who was braking very late, which made it difficult to attack him. Eventually, I got a run on him out of Turn 9 and he covered the inside for Turn 11 so I was able to pass round the outside. That was a key moment, and afterwards I just concentrated on getting the maximum from the car and setting quick laps. The car was still difficult to drive this afternoon, but I pushed really hard because I had nothing to lose - and I'm very pleased to finish fifth after starting 11th."

Vitaly Petrov - 6th: This was a tough race, on a circuit where we know it is very difficult overtake. We have been quite fast all weekend, and I am proud of my team and the good job we did. I made a good start and could have gained some positions at the first corner, but I wanted to avoid having any problems like last weekend in Brazil. We pitted under the safety car, which was the right decision, and after that I just tried to push while looking after the tyres because I knew that the plan was to go to the finish. I had a long battle with Fernando, but the car had good top speed today so I was able to control the situation: I just did my job. If he had tried a move, then I didn't want to crash with him, but it didn't come to that. I came here to fight, and race every other driver, and I think I showed today that I can fight."

Eric Boullier, team principal: "We were delighted with a very solid race from both drivers. Robert did a great job to pull off the overtaking manoeuvres that made his strategy work. He pushed throughout, had good pace and I think he put in a strong performance. As for Vitaly, he drove well, with no mistakes, and once again benefited from the engineers getting his strategy spot on. It's a good way to round off the season with both cars in the top six. We have worked hard this year to move forward, the development rate has been strong and, although our ultimate aim is to win races and championships, we produced a good car for the end of the season. I am very optimistic for the future, and I am sure this team and these people can take another step forward in 2011. Congratulations, also, to Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel on their world championship victory today."

Sauber

Nick Heidfeld - 11th: "My start was okay and I was able to pass Robert (Kubica). But then I lost that position when I had to go round Michael (Schumacher) and Vitantonio (Liuzzi) after their accident. After that I was stuck in traffic, and we had agreed before the race that in this case I would come in and change tyres straight away. It was a very good move, even better than expected as it put me three positions further up. I was then able to close the gap to Felipe (Massa), but I had no chance to overtake him. It would have been nice to score in the last race of this season, but it didn't work out. Congratulations to the new world champion Sebastian (Vettel)."

Kamui Kobayashi - 14th: "I am disappointed with the result, as I definitely wanted to score in the final race of the season. I did what I could, but there was no way to overtake. My car was okay, but we had bad luck with our strategy. It didn't work out with some cars stopping early when the safety car was out after the accident. I had a good start gaining two positions, but later I could never go at my full pace, as I was always stuck. I also want to congratulate Sebastian (Vettel) for his great success."

Peter Sauber - team principal: First of all congratulations to Red Bull and Sebastian (Vettel) who drove an excellent race today and deserved to win the title. Unfortunately, we finished the final race of the season outside the points. Both drivers did a very good job. Nick was able to keep the Williams and the Force India behind him. Kamui was unfortunate to get stuck behind Rubens Barrichello for almost the whole race. This was the end of a very challenging season for us. We had a very bad start. After eight races we had just a single championship point because the car wasn't fast enough and, even more importantly, not reliable, which was very unusual for our team. We finished the season with 44 points. This is certainly not satisfying for us, but it was not possible to make up for the losses from the earlier races. Nevertheless there are also positive aspects to review: Since James Key joined us we have significantly improved on the technical side. Furthermore Kamui has shown a great development during the season, so I am very happy he drives for our team. I want to thank the entire team for their efforts, which goes for the people at the race track as well as for those in Hinwil, and especially for our drivers Kamui, Nick and Pedro."

Toro Rosso

Jaime Alguersuari - 9th: I am very happy with this result, my third points finish of the season. To be honest, I am not quite sure how I ended up ninth, having started seventeenth! I was very lucky not to be involved in the Schumacher accident on the opening lap and after that, it was a good strategic choice to change tyres immediately the safety car came out. After that, the tyres worked very well for the whole race with no degradation at all on the rears. I could feel the track condition improving all the time and that meant I was able to have an edge over Massa in sector three and maintain the distance in the first two sectors, even though he was probably fractionally faster than me. I am very happy with the team because they did a good job on the strategy so for everyone, this ninth place is well deserved and a nice way to end the season."

Sebastien Buemi - 15th: "Even if the result is not fantastic, I still think I drove a very good race. I got a super start and managed to pass five cars. The team decided to bring Jaime in for a tyre change and keep me out during the safety car period. I think my team-mate's strategy proved to be the better one as there was no tyre degradation, as he was able to pit and catch up behind the safety car. So I'm a bit disappointed, because I feel that if I had been on a different strategy I could easily have finished in the points."

Franz Tost: "Congratulations to Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel for winning the drivers' championship. It was the most competitive team throughout the season and Sebastian was the best driver, therefore deserving to take the title. As for our efforts today, Alguersuari had a really fantastic race, making a good start and then defending his position very capably. I think this was Jaime's best race of the entire season. As for Sebastien, he also made a good start and despite not feeling quite at ease on the Option tyre he too did a good job. Finally, as this season comes to an end, we would like to pay tribute to Bridgestone and thank them for the close cooperation we have enjoyed over the past years and we wish them the very best for the future."

Virgin

Timo Glock - 24th: "The last race of our debut season was quite interesting. I had good pace and was able to keep speed with Lotus. In the end, unfortunately the gearbox got too hot and failed in the closing stages of the race, so it was disappointing but I still had a good pace and that is a reflection of how much we have developed the car over the year. I would like to thank the whole team and in particular my car crew. They did a very good job and I'm looking forward to working hard to get us in good shape for next year."

Lucas di Grassi - 25th: "A very unusual race with a safety car at the beginning. We decided to go for the pitstop straight away in order to change to the Prime tyres. We had to do more than 50 laps with the same set of tyres, which seemed like a difficult task, but we managed it. I am ending the year with a feeling of 'mission accomplished' - I did the best I could with what I had and only one or two mistakes during the whole season, so I feel that the effort and quality of my work have been much better than is reflected in the raw results. I would like to thank everyone in the team for this year. Everybody has behaved like a very close family, so well done to all of us for our first year in Formula One for us."

John Booth, Team Principal: "The Option tyre was a bit of an unknown quantity today, so we decided to split our strategy and start one car on each type of tyre. Both drivers had strong races and we were in a good battle amongst the new teams. Unfortunately Timo's gearbox overheated, forcing him to retire soon after his pitstop. Lucas finished strongly, despite being on the same tyre for almost the entire race. I would like to congratulate the entire team on an incredible debut season. After a tough start everyone pulled together so well and I am immensely proud of the team we have all built together. It has been an honour to work with such a fantastic bunch of people. I would also like to thank our Partners for their faith and unfailing support. Cosworth provided us with a very reliable and competitive engine and it has been a real pleasure to work with Bridgestone in their final year of Formula One competition. We now look forward to our new partnership with Marussia and a very promising 2011."

Williams

Rubens Barrichello - 12th: "Our main goal today was to cover Force India and ensure our championship position, which we did. I had a better car than the results show, but we did the best we could with the strategy we followed. I had a really good battle with Sutil who ran long into the race, and he left his pitstop in front of me, but I dived past him on the outside of Turn 4. It was a huge move, exhilarating and really the best part of a race that was pretty flat out, so in a way it was a surprise to finish so far back."

Nico Hulkenberg - 16th: "That was a difficult race. Strategy-wise, I started on the prime and did a long first stint and then a shorter one on the option but car pace wasn't good so it didn't work out for us. I lost position at the start and then while avoiding the first lap incident, but I don't think it made much of a difference to the overall picture."

Patrick Head, director of engineering: "To finish 12th and 16th from seventh and 15th is not something to be pleased about. Our race pace clearly doesn't match our qualifying pace, so that's something we need to improve over the winter for 2011. Ultimately, of the various goals for the weekend, the main one was to finish ahead of Force India and retain sixth in the championship, which we achieved. Thanks to the whole team for doing a good job over a long season and many congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for tying up the drivers' championship."

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