• Hungarian Grand Prix

Who said what after the Hungarian Grand Prix

ESPNF1 Staff
July 31, 2011

Read what the drivers had to say after the Hungarian Grand Prix

The race started in wet conditions but dry line soon appeared © Getty Images
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Ferrari

Fernando Alonso - 3rd "Another podium finish, the fourth in a row: we have been competitive on four tracks with different characteristics and certainly this July, in weather that definitely does not suit our car. So that gives me confidence for the rest of the championship, even if now I can't wait to pause for breath. It has been a very busy and stressful July and I think that everyone, especially the team members, deserve a couple of weeks holiday. When we start again, let's hope we finally get some warm weather, even though that cannot be taken for granted at Spa. I got away well at the start but then, at the first corner, I had some difficulty in terms of traction and Michael managed to pass me. After that, various incidents in the early stages cost me valuable time behind the Mercedes and then Webber. At that moment, we decided to pit early and switch to a four stop strategy: the plan worked out and that was how we made it to the podium. Sure, even the others had some difficult moments but we did a good job of staying on track with the dry tyres when it began to rain again. At that moment, we were not very fast on the Super Soft, but we did not panic and then we switched to the Soft. It was a very interesting and exciting race and I want to congratulate Jenson, who celebrated his two hundredth Formula 1 race in the best way possible."

Felipe Massa - 6th "It was a difficult race with the rain coming and going. My afternoon was ruined when I went off the track on lap 8. The back end of the car hit the barriers and I was scared the car might be too damaged to continue, but my engineer told me I could keep going. I lost so much time because of that and even if I made some nice passing moves and moved up the order, I am still annoyed at not having been able to fight for a podium finish as I probably could have done. When it began to rain after lap 40 - but also at the start - the conditions were very difficult: you had to absolutely avoid the white lines because they were extremely slippery and it was like driving on ice. Now we have a bit of a holiday: I will head back to Brazil to be with my family and I always enjoy spending time in my country. I am sure that when I come back to Europe, it will mark the start of a second part of the championship, a better one than the first."

Stefano Domenicali, team principal "All things considered, we can be reasonably pleased with the way things went. Certainly, going into the race, maybe we had hoped to get a little bit more out of it, but this seems to be the wettest July in the history of Formula 1! I don't know if that is really the case, but it's a fact that the last three races have all been run in the conditions that suit us the least. Having said that, the race was marked by incidents which, for better or for worse, made the difference. Therefore having managed to get to the podium in these circumstances is still positive and we can consider that our glass is half full. I am confident in the belief that, after the summer break, we will have every chance of getting some nice results. The championship would be very open without Vettel, but we will continue to fight for the title until it is mathematically impossible. Now we will push on as hard as we can next week, before the summer shut down, to be as well prepared as possible for the Belgian Grand Prix."

Pat Fry, technical director "It was an incident packed race, run in weather conditions that definitely did not suit us. We lost the chance of fighting for the top slots, losing time in the first part of the race, but then, thanks to an aggressive strategy - four stops for Fernando and the same for Felipe - we managed to make up some places. Of course, we also profited from the problems of others, but that's racing. As for the pit stops, at Fernando's first one, we had to keep him on his spot because a Mercedes was coming and we could not risk a dangerous manoeuvre. In another couple of moments we also lost a few tenths compared to the optimum standard, but these glitches did not cost us anything in terms of position. It's an area in which we can and we must continue to improve, as indeed we should in terms of the car's performance. Here, we were reasonably competitive, as can be seen by the fact Felipe set the fastest race lap, but we need to make another step forward, especially in the slower corners. Qualifying performance also needs to get better because starting from the second or third rows definitely means you struggle more in the race. Now we must prepare for Belgium and for Monza, two races at different types of track, where we will bring some new aerodynamic components. The others will do the same, so we will see who has done the best job."

Force India

Paul di Resta - 7th "I'm very happy with the seventh place today. It was quite a mixed race with rain at the beginning, but I made a good start and felt comfortable in the conditions. Then it was a matter of which tyres to choose. We went to supersofts for the middle two stints, and then ended the race on the primes. We lost track position at the last stop, but I was able to pick through the cars and get back up to seventh place in the final few laps. Finishing seventh is the best way to respond after a series of races where, for various reasons, we didn't get the results that were possible. So it's nice to go into the summer break with a smile on my face having scored points that are so important for our position in the championship."

Adrian Sutil - 14th "It wasn't a particularly good start for me and my chance of points ended on the first lap when I locked up the rear into the chicane. I was right behind Paul and to avoid an accident I had to go off the track and lost a lot of positions. After that, it was a case of trying to recover what we could and so when it started raining in the middle of the race we immediately switched to intermediates. We were running outside the points at the time so we felt it was worth the gamble. But there was not enough rain so I had to switch back to the option tyre a few laps later. It's a shame not to convert the strong qualifying into points, but I'm pleased for Paul and the team with his result today."

Dr. Vijay Mallya, team principal "Once again I am pleased that we have come away with six important points to consolidate our position in the constructors' championship. Paul drove an excellent race, didn't put a foot wrong and really deserves this result. He also made the right call on the tyres when the rain returned because it wasn't clear whether we should switch to the intermediates. Paul's decision to stay out on the prime tyres really paid off. Adrian's race was compromised on the opening lap and although we tried to bring him back into contention for points, things didn't go his way today. Overall we can be happy with our performance this weekend and can go into the summer break optimistic for the remainder of the season."

HRT

Vitantonio Liuzzi - 20th "It was a tough race. We got off to a good start until someone hit me from behind coming out of the chicane, causing me to spin. I lost a lot of time there and then the balance of the car wasn't ideal. The set up for wet conditions was kind of a lottery since all previous sessions were held on dry conditions. We suffered again a problem with the front wing and the front tyres were suffering a lot as a result of this. We replaced the nose and the tyres but we still were suffering from massive understeer. We switched to intermediates when it started raining and then back to soft tyres at the end, but the balance didn't improve much. We knew from the start this race would be a hard one and it has been but we fought until the end. Now we need to look forward to the summer break where we must keep working for upgrades for Spa".

Daniel Ricciardo - 18th "Overall, I'm satisfied with my race and the best finish in three races. During the race, I wasn't really sure where I was on track because a lot of cars made quite a few pit stops so in all honesty I didn't really know how I was doing. Towards the end I felt we had quite a good balance in the car and I was able to do some good times. I'm sure there are things I could have done better so we'll look into that to keep on improving. But again I feel we are progressing well; Silverstone to Nürburgring was a very big step and this time we have taken another good step. I want to be ahead of our main rivals and prove I can go the distance in the race. The most positive thing today was that we made the right decisions with pit stops, so we need to try and stay in this path. Today's race certainly gives me something to smile about coming into the summer break".

Colin Kolles, team principal "Hungary is traditionally a long race, this time even more tricky in changeable conditions. It was important to be on the track until the end. Liuzzi had a problem in the early stages which moved him from 21st to the back of the field. The pit stops all went smoothly, unfortunatelly Tonio had more pit stops and a nose change. Overall a difficult race where rain arrived on several occasions but we maintained a good pace throughout the race. On a positive note, Daniel Ricciardo had his best result so far in a race and it was his third solid race in a row. He is a fast learner. We are looking for new updates for the fast tracks in Spa and Monza which require a different aerodynamic configuration".

Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen - DNF "A weekend of real ups and downs for me. I struggled to find a decent balance in the practice sessions but then it all came good in quali where I put in a really good lap after finally getting comfortable with the setup. I started the race well and was keeping pace with Maldonado, Sutil, Perez and the guys around me, and right through the early stops I was able to push them, and keep pulling away from the guys behind. We came in for inters when the rain really started again about two thirds of the way through the race, then back in pretty shortly afterwards for options again, but then I was given the instruction to shut the engine off due to a water leak. Having seen how close we were in race pace to the midfield I'm not disappointed - it's just another step in the growth of the team and we'll pick up where we left off in Belgium in a few weeks time."

Jarno Trulli - DNF "My run of bad luck in Hungary seems to have struck again! The car has been great all weekend and even though I didn't have the best start I was really enjoying myself out there. I got past Timo pretty early on and then had a good first stop but it looks like a water leak brought my race to an early end. Despite that, the steps forward we've taken here have been really positive, so after the break I'm sure we'll be back fighting again at Spa."

Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer "A disappointing end to a strong race. Jarno stopped with a water leak and it looks like the same problem also ended Heikki's race later on, but we need to get the cars back and take a closer look before we can be sure what the problems were. Until they stopped both Jarno and Heikki were having strong races, particularly Heikki in the middle stint when he was keeping a lot of cars behind him. So, overall it is disappointing to end like this, but we have definitely taken a step forward here so now we can go into the well deserved mid-season break which the whole team, here at the track and back at the factory, definitely deserve, and come back refreshed and ready for an even better second half of the season when we return in Spa."

Riad Asmat, chief executive officer "What a shame our weekend ended like that. Heikki had driven a fantastic race and had been fighting right up until the end with the guys ahead - his pace was better than we have seen all season so it is obviously very disappointing that through no fault of his own he could not bring the car home. Jarno's race was also cut short which, after such a strong weekend for him, compounds the disappointment, but sometimes these things happen and we just have to make sure we learn from it, build on the positives and keep on pushing forwards."

McLaren

Jenson Button - 1st "I want to say a big, big thank you to the team today. The car worked a treat in all conditions, and we made all the right strategy calls. We deserved this win and it felt great to stand alongside my race engineer Dave [Robson] on the occasion of his first appearance on the podium. The race was a brilliantly eventful one. I had a good battle with Lewis when we were running one-two. We were both driving on the limit and the gap ebbed and flowed, depending on the traffic. It was good fun and I was sorry that we weren't standing up there on the podium together at the end of it all. This was the perfect way to celebrate my 200th Grand Prix, and the team can enter the summer break with a spring in its step. We know we have a good car, so let's enjoy our holidays and come back even stronger at Spa-Francorchamps. I'm excited about that race already."

Lewis Hamilton - 4th "Big congratulations to Jenson. He pushed me hard and he deserved to win the race. I felt sorry for the team that we didn't get a one-two, but at least one of us got the victory. The car felt very good to drive today. I think the cooler conditions helped us, but the team has done a fantastic job to get us where we are. We've now won two races in the space of a week, which is a great way to enter the summer break. I'm disappointed in myself for spinning. I had to do a doughnut to get myself facing the right way and that forced Paul [di Resta] onto the grass, which is why I got the drive-through penalty. I've apologised to Paul and I'll put the penalty behind me and move on to the next race."

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal "What a way for Jenson to celebrate his 200th Grand Prix! Just brilliant! Fantastic! Those were very, very difficult conditions this afternoon, and it was easy to get it wrong, but Jenson drove a great race. His measured yet combative drive was a testament to how naturally smooth and smart he is on the racetrack, and he really deserved this win. Lewis was in the pits six times this afternoon and he got his drive-through penalty for putting Paul on the grass. He'll be disappointed because he'd like to have been standing on the top step of the podium alongside Lewis, but he accepted his penalty well. He kept his cool and overtook another couple of cars as a result. His resulting fourth place gave him - and us - 12 valuable world championship points. This was McLaren's 10th win in Hungary - a record - and it comes on the back of Lewis's win in Germany last weekend. We've won three of the past five Grands Prix, and have scored 119 world championship points over the same period. The team can now take a well-deserved break before attacking the second half of the season."

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg - 9th "I had a decent start today and gained three positions which was encouraging. In the middle of the race, the prime tyres no longer had any grip in the increasingly damp conditions so we took the decision to put on intermediates. Unfortunately the rain shower proved not to be very strong and we had to switch to slicks which cost me a few positions. I pushed very hard to catch Buemi and Di Resta, and managed to close the gap, but it was impossible to overtake them in the last corners. So I collected just two points, but still more than last year. Now I'm looking forward to the next two races after the break. Spa and Monza are high-speed tracks where the Mercedes-Benz engine power in our car should be a benefit."

Michael Schumacher - DNF "An unfortunate end to my race today when we suffered a gearbox problem which forced my retirement. As far as we know, this had nothing to do with the spin I had when fighting with Felipe which was mainly caused by avoiding contact. At the start, we gambled a little with low tyre pressures as we were expecting the track to dry quite quickly, but that turned out to be very slippery to drive. I came in for dry tyres one lap too late, but we can only handle one car at a time obviously. From then onwards, the race developed normally, but I would not have been able to make a very big step forward from the position I was in when I retired."

Ross Brawn, technical director "Our race began well with good starts from both drivers and generally looked quite encouraging, particularly when we made the move to prime tyres at the right time. We were planning on a two-stop strategy, however the shower caught us out as we expected it to get much heavier, which didn't happen. So that was clearly the wrong move and spoilt the race for Nico who had to try and recover from there. Michael unfortunately had a gearbox problem which forced the early retirement of his car. It's not been a particularly auspicious weekend for us but we will take a lot of lessons from here for when we have a better car to work with."

Norbert Haug, motorsport director "In the end, it did not pay off to put Nico on intermediates when we were expecting more rain. He would have finished in seventh place which he missed by one and a half seconds after his four stops, rather than in ninth position. Nico showed good speed in the last part of the race, and the team will build on that after the summer break. Michael's car suffered from a gearbox problem which we still have to investigate. Congratulations to Jenson Button and McLaren Mercedes for winning this dramatic race; well done and victory number 77 with Mercedes-Benz power since the start of the new era in 1997 and the 253 races since then. A well deserved summer break now for everybody and afterwards we are looking forward to the Belgian Grand Prix which will mark Michael's 20th anniversary in Formula One."

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel - 2nd "I was struggling a little in the first stint on the intermediate tyres. Lewis was a bit faster and then I went into Turn 2 too deep, it was quite tricky - he was pushing quite hard and I tried to be on the edge. At some stage I realised it would be too late, so I opened the car because I know the white lines and the green paint afterwards is very slippery, so it's easy to have a spin, and I lost the lead. After that the track surface was drying. I think we could have maybe come in a lap earlier and then I was on the super-softs - I was feeling quite good initially, but there was quite a lot of drop off, I think it was the same for all of us. In the last stint, I did feel I had more speed in the car, but with 20 laps to go it was difficult to know how hard it was going to be at the end, so I couldn't push as hard as I would have liked, but still, second today is an important step. The McLarens are strong in all sorts of conditions and it's clear that for two races now they have made a step forward; we need to make sure we come back strong for the next race."

Mark Webber -5th "It was a good race - quite enjoyable; I made the right call to go for the slicks at the right time, but when the rain came I thought it was going to be heavier - so I went for the intermediate tyres, but it didn't come. The team didn't say too much about the rain, so I thought it was a bit of a surprise shower, but I made the decision to go for the intermediates. It didn't work out for Lewis and I with this gamble - and it looks stupid in hindsight when the track dries out, but if it had rained strong enough for another few minutes, then it would have been the right tyre. So, it's a fine line and to get yourself back in the game sometimes you have to role a dice. I'm fine with the decision I made, it's on my head and the team did a good job this weekend."

Christian Horner, team principal "I think it was a really tricky race today, especially with the conditions. Initially we led, then Lewis became very quick and we dropped a couple of places to the McLarens, we then started to recover pace to them and completed some good pit stops. The decisive point was opting to use the prime tyres at the final stop to get to the end, which put Sebastian in really good shape. Then the rain arrived and for a couple of laps it was marginal whether to stay out or to pit. Arguably, for a couple of laps, inters was the right call and Mark decided to pit for them - we decided to take the brave decision to leave Sebastian out and in the end it came right, the rain held off and P2 is a positive result for him. Unfortunately for Mark, he lost some places with the penultimate pit stop for the intermediate tyres - without that, he would have been on the podium today, which is a shame. But, there's no crystal ball in those conditions and it could have been a decision that won him the race. It was frustrating to lose a position to Lewis in the closing stages, with back markers not really assisting matters, but Mark came back at him pretty strong in the final seven laps. The team now head into the summer break with an opportunity for a very well-earned rest, before returning, fully revitalized, for Spa at the end of August."

Renault

Vitaly Petrov - 12th "Today it was a very difficult race with very changeable weather conditions. When the rain returned near the end of the race I lost temperature in my tyres and this made the car's handling very difficult. It looked like the wet conditions would continue so I changed to the intermediates, but it did not last as long as we thought. Maybe we should have changed to the super softs, but it is so difficult to predict the weather, and many other teams did the same thing. I am a little disappointed as it was possible to score points had we done the perfect strategy but it was not to be today."

Nick Heidfeld - DNF "Not a good race for me today, and it's the second consecutive weekend without finishing, so obviously I'm very disappointed. My second pit stop was longer than expected, the car overheated and I noticed smoke coming from the rear. It worsened, and then I noticed the flames so I had to pull over at the end of the pit lane and cut my race short. The last couple of races have not been what I hoped for, but we have a few weeks now to reassess and come back stronger after the August break."

Eric Boullier, team principal "We had a disappointing race to wrap up this part of the season. Nick had some misfortune once again after a visit to the pits; his second pit stop was held up after a problem with one of the wheels, and the car is not designed to stay running on high revs for so long so it caught fire. Vitaly was on a strong strategy, doing well and then the second raindrops affected us, which meant we had to pit again and that put a stop to our chance of points. The next race is in a month's time, and although we have the factory shutdown in that period we are focused on showing a better performance in the forthcoming Grands Prix. "

Alan Permane, chief race engineer "A bad day for us. Nick had a very poor start and struggled in the wet conditions. In his second pit stop we had a problem with one of the wheel nuts meaning that the car was sat at high revs for a long time. This meant a build-up of heat which caused a fire. Although it looked spectacular it was only a small part of bodywork which burnt on the left-hand sidepod. Vitaly was having a reasonable race. He was in a nice rhythm when we changed to the prime tyres, which should have lasted to the end of the race and given us a finish well inside the top ten. Unfortunately, the late rain shower made it very slippery on the worn prime tyres so we changed to intermediates. The weather quickly changed and it dried up, meaning we had to change back to dry tyres."

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi - 11th "Having not scored any points today is of course disappointing. My start was good and the pace at the beginning was good too. The car's performance in the wet was fine and after we had changed onto dry tyres the pace was reasonable. For a long time it looked as if I could get points today, but then it went wrong. When the second lot of rain came the team briefly thought about calling me to the pits to pick up intermediate tyres but I didn't want to because I found the track was improving. This is how I improved to seventh place, but then we waited too long for the next tyre change. I couldn't defend my position on that set of supersoft anymore and finally, after the unavoidable third pit stop, dropped just out of the points."

Sergio Pérez - 15th "I am deeply disappointed. After qualifying, which was good, I expected a lot more from the race. It had already started to go wrong on lap one. I had no grip at all and hardly managed to keep the car on track. I went wide at one corner and lost a lot of positions. I actually dropped back from 10th on the grid to 20th. At that time I was slower than the slowest cars and I hope we find the reason why this was so extreme. The drive through penalty just made matters worse later. I overtook Heikki Kovalainen because he was braking very late and there were yellow flags."

Peter Sauber, team principal "The highlight for our team this weekend was Sergio's 10th place in qualifying. That is what I will take with me into the summer break."

James Key, technical director "This was obviously a disappointing end to the race. At the beginning the conditions were pretty uncertain. Kamui made a good start. We put him on the soft tyres on his first stop, but unfortunately they didn't last as long as we were hoping, and on the second stop he got in some traffic. He also lost a place due to a problem on his pit stop. Sadly in the end we had to make another pit stop because we were unable to hold off the people behind us. Sergio lost ten places at the start and soon after, and wasn't able to recover from that."

Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi - 8th "A fantastic race, one of my best. Starting right from the back row I got a super start and I passed around ten cars on the opening lap. After that, I got into a good rhythm and was able to pass more cars on the damp track. Then, as it began to dry, I felt the set-up was not perfect and I had too much understeer. I tried not to get upset about it and then the team did a very good job, working at the pit stop to change the wing angle which helped me to save the tyres better and the stop was quick enough for me to jump up a few places. When the rain returned, I again felt the car was working very well and I was able to run at a good pace again, which helped me get into the points. It's nice to go on holiday now with another 4 points in the bag, especially starting with that five place grid penalty. There were plenty of exciting moments, especially my passing move on Kobayashi. I was too slow to catch up with him on the straight so I had to pass him under braking which was right on the limit. It's great to have this result, which owes something to such a good strategy."

Jaime Alguersuari - 10th "Congratulations to the team for getting both cars into the points. Today, it was clear in my mind that I could have finished seventh. I made one of my pit stops just as it began raining slightly again. With the tyres not yet up to temperature, at that point it was hard to stay on the track and I went off. But I carried on fighting and towards the end, it was unfortunate that I lost another place after the collision with Kobayashi, but as a team performance we can consider we did a good job today, so it is a nice way to go into the short break, although I can't wait to start again in Spa."

Franz Tost, team principal "With some help from two excellent performances from our drivers, the team gave itself the best possible present to celebrate Scuderia Toro Rosso's one hundredth Grand Prix, since we first took to the track in Bahrain in 2006. A combined eighth and tenth place finish is our best result of the season so far and from a strategy point of view, the team did an excellent job in difficult and changeable conditions, while the drivers made the most of that, delivering faultless drives without making any mistakes. Their lap times were also impressive this afternoon, so there are plenty of reasons to look forward to the rest of the season. Congratulations to everyone in the team at the track and those who work so hard at our factory and in the wind tunnel. They deserve the short break we have ahead of us, before returning to continue the fight in Spa-Francorchamps."

Virgin

Timo Glock - 17th "A very interesting race today, I have to say, and very good fun. I got a great start and got ahead of Heidfeld and some other guys in faster cars and was able to stay in front of them. They obviously were able to get past me after it started to dry and I just concentrated on my own race, managing to hold the gap behind me. Then when it started to rain, we made the right decision, staying on the slicks. It wasn't easy to stay on track today as we saw, but we got the right result in the end. A great team performance in tricky conditions, making all the right decisions and some great pit stops which made all the difference. Thanks to everyone for their hard work in the long run up to race 11 and now they deserve an enjoyable break so we can come back fighting again in Spa."

Jérôme D'Ambrosio - 19th "I'm disappointed really, but the conditions were very tough out there. I had a very good start to the race and I was happy about that but I made an error when the rain came, choosing to stop for intermediates when I probably should have stayed out on slicks. So I lost a lot of time with the pit stops and I also had a tough moment when I spun in the box when I came in, although thankfully the car didn't hit anyone. Definitely not my best race."

John Booth, team principal "An incredible start for Timo on the opening laps of the race. In wet conditions he managed to fight with cars which are normally several seconds quicker than us in the dry. The rest of Timo's race went pretty seamlessly with both him and his engineers on the wall making good decisions, particularly in the period where we had rain at around two thirds distance, and he remained out on slicks. Jérôme was also performing well, but his decision to fit intermediate tyres wasn't correct. However, in the position he was in, had there been any more rain, it could have worked. The pit crew have been exemplary today, with good consistent stops under difficult conditions. The final pit stops for both drivers were affected by a slippery surface on the way into the pit box and unfortunately this caught Jérôme out. Overall, at this point in the season we are very happy with our reliability but realise there's still work to be done in terms of performance. It's been a rollercoaster ride of a last few weeks for the whole team but with plenty of highs. Now everyone leaves for a well-deserved break and I'm sure all the batteries will be recharged ready for Spa."

Williams

Sam Michael, technical director "Although the result doesn't reflect it, our lap times from qualifying and the race this weekend show that the car is more competitive in dry conditions than it has been at previous rounds. We made too many mistakes today, however, and we will be reviewing our procedures to resolve those issues between now and Spa. We will also use the time to bring more performance to the car for the final rounds."

Rubens Barrichello - 13th "I am pretty disappointed with the result because we were fighting for some points today. We struggled with our tyres throughout and I lost a part of my front wing at the beginning of the race. Then, when it started to rain, I saw a big chance for us. I saw Hamilton spin and I thought we could do something to have a chance to finish high in the points. But the rain only came out for a lap or so and so our stop for inters didn't work. It's a shame, but we don't have the pace right now."

Pastor Maldonado - 16th "It was a hard race. We made some places up at the start but it was difficult to stay on the track, even on inters. I made a mistake on the way into my first pitstop by not pushing the pit limiter button which meant I received a drive-through penalty. It then started to rain again. It was a lottery deciding whether or not to go back onto inters or stay on the dry tyres and we chose the inters, but then the rain stopped shortly afterwards and so we had to make another stop for dry tyres. We didn't get points today, but we've made some improvements this weekend and we will be working hard over the break in preparation for the final races of the year."

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