• Australian Grand Prix

Driver and team reaction

ESPNF1 Staff
March 28, 2010 « Barrichello calls for better mirrors | »

Ferrari

Felipe Massa "I am very happy with this result, for myself and for the team. Given everything that happened, rain at the start, the safety car, the switch to slick tyres when the track was still very slippery - we did a great job. These points are very important for the classification: I have never been very lucky here and in the past, I have often struggled in the early part of the season. The key to getting on the podium was the start. I managed not to spin the wheels, while other drivers struggled for grip and I managed to move up to second. Then I lost some places in the early stages, when I had a few problems with grip, but thanks to the strategy, I then managed to make up some. I was able to close on Kubica but I never had a real chance of passing him, while behind me Fernando got very close on more than one occasion, making the most of a few errors. I think the spectators in the grandstands and in front of their TV screens had fun today: you could hardly call it boring!"

Fernando Alonso "I am pleased with this result. I got an awful start, because I had wheel spin on a white line and was last after the first corner following a collision with two other cars, so to finish fourth is very significant, especially given what happened to some other drivers, meaning we have increased our lead over some of our closest rivals in the title fight. Thanks to the strategy, we managed to get this result. The car was perfect and we were able to run a very long stint with the soft tyres. When I found myself behind Felipe, maybe I could have gone a bit quicker, but we know it's very hard to pass in Formula 1 and between team-mates, one should not take any unnecessary risks. If we had managed to get past Kubica, then it might have been a different story, but it wasn't possible, apart from the fact I also had to defend my position against Hamilton and Webber, who were on fresher tyres than us. For sure, after an exciting and action packed race like this, I don't think we'll hear much more talk about boring races!"

Stefano Domenicali "We can be satisfied with this result. At the end of an incident packed race we managed to get one driver onto the podium and the other - who had been last after the first corner - into fourth spot. Fernando staged a fantastic climb through the field and might have got an even better result, but we know overtaking is always difficult, especially when it involves cars with similar performance levels. He was perfect when defending his position against Hamilton in the closing stages. Felipe got a really good start which formed the basis of his final result: he had a difficult weekend and I am sure this second consecutive podium is pleasing for him. Reliability however is the key factor, as we saw again today. In terms of the championship, today's result is very positive: those who are our strongest competitors at the moment picked up just a few points and even when compared to other drivers, we have extended our lead. Now we must remain focussed and prepare as well as possible for the next week's race in Malaysia, where we will again find different conditions to those we have experienced in the first two Grands Prix."

Force India

Adrian Sutil - DNF "We seemed to have a problem with the engine very early on in the race. I was driving on just four cylinders and then lost the power and that was it really. It was a shame as we were looking good after the start. The team looked to try and get me out again after I came into the garage as we were in such a good position and I was the quickest car on the circuit at one stage. We missed out on a big chance here today but what can you do. It's good news for the team that Tonio got some more points and I'll be looking to bring my points on board at the next race."

Tonio Liuzzi - 7th "Another great race and another great result for the team. It's a confirmation of the pace we showed in Bahrain and the work the team did over the winter. We worked hard all weekend for this seventh place and it's a brilliant result at the end of what was a crazy race. At the beginning of the race on the intermediate tyres we were struggling a little and lost a few positions but after I pitted for the dry tyres I was able to recover and stay on the race pace. Towards the end of the race the rear tyres were going off a lot as I had been on them for a long time, but it was just enough to hold onto the position. I think it was another perfect weekend and now we can look forward to Malaysia."

Karun Chandhok takes a shortcut © Sutton Images
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HRT

Karun Chandhok "A great thanks to the team. To finish was very difficult today, and all the more satisfying because of that. I dedicate this race result to all the mechanics and engineers who worked so hard since Bahrain, without any pre-season testing. This is a fantastic day for the team and a great step forward. I am proud to have ended our first race. At the start, I could see a big accident developing ahead of me and tried to keep to the inside to avoid trouble. I was able to avoid getting caught up in the aftermath and was in 16th position. I pitted on my 8th lap like the Ferraris and it was comfortable until mid-race where I was 15th. Later I changed tyres on my 51st lap, only 7 laps before the end. We achieved the best result we could do today. We have to keep pushing and working and we will manage to finish even higher."

Bruno Senna "I didn´t intend my second Grand Prix to end with an hydraulic failure, but that´s racing. I made a good start and was in 14th after the big crash in front. It's fantastic for the team to make it to the finish and we have got a great deal of data to work from for Malaysia. I hope we can finish with two cars next race."

Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen - 13th "I enjoyed it today, I had good fun out there. Our target was to finish the race and from the start we were quite comfortably ahead of the new teams. When Glock dropped I just focused on keeping up a decent rhythm, not making any mistakes and bringing the car home. It's difficult to say whether a different strategy would have worked better - if we'd stopped once more and put a fresh set of tyres on, that might have been better way to go, but our target was to finish the race and we achieved that again. Now we go to Malaysia with a good feeling and we're all looking forward to that."

Jarno Trulli - DNS "Unfortunately we couldn't start the race today because we had a hydraulic failure on the grid and, despite the team's best efforts, we couldn't fix it in time to make the race. We'll work now to fix that for Malaysia and I'm looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do in Sepang."

McLaren

Jenson Button - 1st "What a fantastic weekend! From the first lap here, I felt comfortable in the car. Qualifying was good - we weren't on the pace of the front guys, we were five or six tenths off - but our race pace was better. And in these tricky conditions, I think we made some very good calls and we came away with a victory. You might say we were lucky in some ways, but I think we just made the right calls - and that's so important nowadays. It's not just about speed, it's about making the right calls, being consistent and conserving the car. It was a necessary move to pit for slicks. I was struggling for grip on the inters, and the rears were destroying themselves very quickly, so we figured it must be time for dries. As I drove down the pit lane, I could see it was soaking wet and I feared it was a massive mistake on my part. When I left the pits, I went off the circuit and just thought, 'Oh no!'

"But I got to grips with it pretty quickly, and soon started to feel really good in the car. I caught up behind Sebastian [Vettel], I conserved the tyres, I built a useful gap and I want to say a massive thank-you to the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team: they've done a brilliant job. To not only be on the podium, but to be on the top step, after just two races, is amazing. It's crucial to get the big points when perhaps we don't have the out-and-out pace: these are really important points to us. Now we've really got to get our heads down and hopefully turn up in Malaysia next week with an even better car.

"This victory means so much to me. A grand prix win in a McLaren. Sounds good, doesn't it? Right now, I just want to run around and scream. It's just the most amazing experience."

Lewis Hamilton - 6th "This was probably one of the drives of my life. Okay, it's possible that the decision to make a second tyre stop wasn't the right one, but my team are a brilliant bunch of guys and they usually get it spot-on. I guess things can't always pan out right every time, but that's motor racing.

"It was disappointing to be taken out by Mark Webber, but I hear he apologised for it after the race so I appreciate that. I'm happy with the job I did - I drove my heart out today and the car felt good. Could Jenson and I have had a one-two today? Maybe, yes, but you can't say for sure. One thing I can say for sure, though, is that he drove a great race. Congratulations to him for an excellent first win for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes - it's a good feeling! As for me, I'll just keep fighting. It's the only way I know."

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg "Fifth place is a good result after a mixed-up race today. I had a bad start in the wet and after that we lacked pace and I struggled with the option tyre. The rear degradation was pretty bad so we decided to go for a second stop and get some fresh tyres to try to attack the group ahead. Even with the tyre advantage, it would have been difficult to pass once we caught up and therefore it was good to make up a couple of places when Mark and Lewis had an incident, so I'm pleased with that. We need to keep on taking the points whilst we improve the car so overall it was a decent weekend."

Michael Schumacher "I could have had a good race today so it was a pity that I was hit right after the start. That incident decided my race obviously. But things like that happen and you have to just say 'that's racing'. I had to take the remainder of the race from last position but I have to say that I was still having fun as our pace today was promising and for part of the race, we were going quicker than the top group. It was nice to pick up a point and we can take that good feeling into the next race where we will look forward to another challenge."

Ross Brawn "Nico did a very good job today and pushed hard to get fifth place. He was in a reasonable position halfway through but we began to get concerned about his tyres. He had lost a position to Lewis and it looked like Mark would get past so we took the decision to bring him in. As expected with fresh tyres, he caught up with the pack towards the end and was able to take advantage of the ensuing incident with the cars ahead. Whether we gained from bringing him in or whether his original tyres could have held out is difficult to know. Michael had the first lap incident which made his race very difficult thereafter and he did a very good job to keep at it and score a point. Overall I'm pleased with how the team performed this weekend. We got the most out of the car but clearly need to find some more performance. It's not out of reach and we have a lot to look forward to over the next few races. Congratulations to Jenson on a great performance and victory today."

Mark Webber skids across the grass © Getty Images
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Red Bull

Mark Webber - 9th "My start was tricky with a lot of wheel spin, but I was happy to get away with third. After the safety car, the race was going well. I wanted to get in on the lap that Sebastian pitted to change to dry tyres, but obviously whoever's ahead has the call so I had to do an extra lap on the intermediates, which lost me a lot of time. Leaving the pits I couldn't get second gear and went wide. I knew I had to make the moves on track. We then decided to pit which worked out okay. At the end of the race we caught the leading guys, but then we had the incident. I apologise to Lewis about that. I lost all down-force in the front of the car when I got close to them, the car lifted and I slid into the back of him. Unfortunately it had looked like a good finish, but it's still very difficult to follow in these cars. I went down fighting, I wasn't happy with sixth place and wanted to get a podium, but in the end it was a tough day for the team. We'll be back."

Sebastian Vettel - DNF "I felt that something was wrong one lap earlier than I went off. I had some sparks coming up from the front left wheel; we didn't know what it was and so wanted to pit. Then, a couple of corners before, I had huge vibrations building up and as soon as I touched the brakes, I had some sort of failure going in to Turn 13 and ended up in the gravel. There was nothing I could have done, I lost the car and that was it. It's a shame as I think we had the race in total control at every stage, even though the conditions were difficult. But to win you have to finish. It breaks my balls not to get the win, but there's still a long way to go in this Championship. We're working hard to get on top the reliability issues and we hope to have a solid race and see the chequered flag in Malaysia."

Team principal Christian Horner "Ultimately an extremely disappointing day. Having been in control of the race, the second in succession, Sebastian unfortunately retired with what looks like a wheel related issue (front left), which certainly cost him a comfortable race win today. It was cruel luck for him for the second year in a row here in Australia. With Mark, at his home GP, he dropped a place at the start, but then was making progress in the damp and tricky conditions. We had to leave him a lap longer than Sebastian to change to dry tyres, as he would have lost too much ground pitting immediately behind him. As the circuit went from intermediates to slicks, he made a couple of good passing moves on Massa, but then, unfortunately, he got tangled up with Hamilton for the first time in the race. After everything had settled down and with the position he was running in, we decided we had nothing to lose by putting another set of tyres on to let him have a go in the last ten laps, which Rosberg and Hamilton also elected to do. We got Rosberg at the stop but Lewis and Mark got tangled together which resulted in Mark having to pit again for a nose change. Ninth place after starting the race with two cars at the front of the grid is massively disappointing."

Renault

Robert Kubica - 2nd "Second place today is a fantastic result for the team after all the hard work we have done over the winter. It was a difficult race to call in terms of strategy and I pitted to change my intermediates for slicks as soon as we saw Button's pace. I managed to jump Massa in the pits and I came out ahead of Button, but it was my first lap on slicks so I could not hold him off. I thought I would pit again later in the race, but the team said we didn't need to if I could look after the tyres until the end of the race. I tried to take care of them as much as I could, which wasn't easy because I had Hamilton behind me and then Massa, but in the end my tyres lasted and we managed to get this great result. We have put in so much hard work this winter, and we know there is still a long way to go before we are really competitive with the fastest teams, but this is a brilliant boost for everybody in the team."

Vitaly Petrov - DNF "I made a good start to gain eight places and enjoyed the first few laps in the wet when I was inside the top ten. We made a change to slick tyres at the same time as most of the field, but when I was on the slicks I got caught out in the braking zone for turn three and got stuck in the gravel. I'm very disappointed because I think I could have scored points today. Still, this is a great day for the team and Robert's second place shows the potential of the car."

Team principal Eric Boullier "The second place today is a fantastic result for Robert and the whole team in Enstone and Viry. We worked really hard over the winter and we can be very proud of this result. Although we still need to improve the car, this podium gives us all a lot of motivation to keep pushing. Robert drove a perfect race, looking after the car and fighting hard. I also have to say a big well done to the mechanics, who did an excellent job to get Robert out ahead of Massa in the pits, which was crucial for the final outcome of the race. It was a disappointing end to the race for Vitaly, but he is still learning about F1. His start was very strong, and with his strategy he could have been challenging for points."

Fernando Alonso goes sideways on the first corner © Sutton Images
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Sauber

Pedro de la Rosa - 12th "For a while the race went okay, I managed to stay out of trouble and there was a good chance to get our first points. But, I'm afraid, we underestimated the tyre degradation. In the end I really had no rear tyres left. For the last 15 laps it was just a question of how to keep the car on the track. I was absolutely helpless when Michael and Jaime came in the end to overtake me"

Kamui Kobayashi - DNF "It looks as if I touched a kerb or another car in turn three. Everything was very close and I don't really remember anything major, but on the data it looks like there was something. I had no worries about the front wing, but a few corners later it went off and got stuck under the car. At first I had no idea what had happened. I had no control anymore."

Team principal Peter Sauber "Looking at how the race evolved, it's a disappointing result. For a third of the race Pedro was able to defend ninth against Rubens Barrichello, but then he lost out, and in the penultimate lap he was also passed by Michael Schumacher and Jaime Alguersuari. Kamui's race didn't even last one lap. Following contact with another car his front wing broke, and he went off, unfortunately hitting other competitors."

Toro Rosso

Jaime Alguersuari - 11th "I think on the one hand I'm quite happy as I had a long fight with Michael (Schumacher) which was nice. I was under a lot of pressure, but I was able to keep him behind me for many laps until I made a small mistake at Turn 13 with a few laps to go and he managed to pass me. That mistake might have cost me a point, but we have to be happy with the progress we made this weekend, especially as I feel there is still a lot more to come."

Sebastien Buemi - DNF "Today went really badly for me as I was involved in someone else's accident on the opening lap and I don't really know how it happened; I guess Kobayashi must have braked really late. I did not get the best of starts but I was still holding position. Then I was hit from behind at Turn 6. It's a very disappointing end to what had looked like a promising weekend with a very real chance to score points at the end of Sunday. But that's racing and at least we only have to wait a few days to try again in Malaysia."

Franz Tost "This was a fantastic and very interesting Formula 1 race and a lesson to those who seem to want to change the rules of the sport every five minutes. Unfortunately, Buemi was involved in an opening lap incident with Kobayashi. As for Alguersuari, he did a solid job right from the start of Friday and it was by far the most competitive race weekend of his F1 career. His performance continues to improve with every race and he would have deserved a point today. He also learned an interesting lesson from Michael Schumacher, in that if you lose concentration for just one tenth of a second, he will pass you. Overall, I am quite confident for the forthcoming races, as when compared to our work in Bahrain, the team made a significant step forward here in Melbourne."

Virgin

Timo Glock - DNF "The start of the race was okay. After leaving the pit lane I was able to catch up Chandok and some other cars and we had a bit of fun fighting with Michael. The car felt reasonably good in the wet and dry conditions. It was a little busy with all the traffic when we became lapped. So it was a real shame that we had a problem just 15 laps from the end of the race when I started to feel that there was something wrong with the way the car was feeling. I came in and we found a problem which we now know to be a camber shim having worked loose, and this was causing the suspension to move around on the left rear. Had we not had the suspension issue I think we would have been looking good for our first chequered flag. So we have to take the positives and see that in some ways we have made progress, albeit there is still a lot of work ahead."

Lucas di Grassi - DNF "The early part of the race was okay for me. The car was behaving quite well at the beginning. Unfortunately, we didn't time the strategy well to change to slicks but otherwise things were going okay. So it's a shame that we were hit by another problem - a hydraulic problem - and we had to retire after 26 laps. For sure we will find the problem, fix it and be better for the next race. These are small steps that maybe other people can't see but they are good steps for us. We are working very hard to improve our situation and I have confidence that we will."

Technical director Nick Wirth "With the fuel pick-up problems we'd seen on Saturday, it was unfortunately necessary for us to break Parc Ferme this morning and convert our fuel system back to the specification that we had tested on Friday, albeit with further modifications. The team did a great job to get that done in time as we weren't allowed to start that work until midday today. Both cars therefore had to start from the pit lane and we were immediately into a very aggressive fuel-saving strategy, which we'd practised in the Simulators last week. The drivers and the team coped well with the unusual driving style that this called for, as well as the tricky conditions, and overall they both did a brilliant job for the team today. Lucas' race ended with an internal hydraulic leak, the cause of which we have yet to identify. We got to 70% distance with Timo and were on target to finish the race fuel-wise when it seems that a rear suspension bracket came loose and allowed some setting shims to eventually fall out, which ended his race. So ultimately we leave here yet to finish our first Grand Prix but with clear signs that our performance is improving."

Williams

Rubens Barrichello - 8th "It was a good race, but we should have finished in seventh really. We took the chance to change tyres when we did and go for it. I thought everyone else would also come in, which is why I went for that route. More points for the team today is positive though. The car is good enough; we will just be picking up more points before we get podiums."

Nico Hulkenberg - DNF "Today was obviously pretty disappointing. I was already in the corner when I was suddenly hit from behind by Kamui Kobayashi. It was quite a big impact. I'm not sure what caused it, but it's frustrating because I was looking forward to my first race here."

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