• Spanish Grand Prix

Driver and team reaction

ESPNF1 Staff
May 9, 2010 « Senna says his HRT is damaged | »
Felipe Massa had a tough race to sixth position © Sutton Images
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Ferrari

Fernando Alonso - 2nd "I am happy with getting this second place in front of my fans: I am happy for them, but especially for the team, who have worked so hard this weekend without making mistakes. It's true the result came in an unexpected way, but that's racing. We knew we could expect a difficult Grand Prix, because on tracks like this we still don't have enough aerodynamic downforce to fight for pole position and the win, even if the races are very long and that was confirmed yet again today. In circumstances like this we have to try and attack and exploit every opportunity. Our strong point seems to be tyre management as ours seemed to be in better condition than those of our rivals in the final stages of the race. We have to up our performance level, but we do have the potential to win the championship. The management system for the blown rear wing worked well but it is still at the experimental stage. Maybe in Turkey we will have an updated version. Now we go to Monaco, a special Grand Prix that everyone wants to win. Set-up and tyres will be different to what we had here and we will see where that puts us compared to the others. After a few difficult races, I got back on the podium and I am second, three points behind the leader of the classification: there is still a long way to go in the championship, but I repeat, this is a great result."

Felipe Massa - 6th "It was a difficult race. I got a good start but then I was always behind other cars and I never managed to run at a constant pace. Once again today, the main difficulty was a lack of grip, especially in the third sector: every time it looked as though I might close on Button, he managed to get away from me over some sections of the track. We must work to improve the car's performance and there is no doubt about it. Even though we brought home a good number of points, I can't be happy with the way things went this weekend. When I touched a backmarker, the left front wing end plate got broken, but the handling of the car was not affected much. If I'd returned to the pits to change the nose, I would have lost at least three places, so the decision to stay out on track was the right one. Now we immediately head for Monaco, my second home race, given that I live a few hundred metres from the track. We will have different tyres to here and I hope we go back to finding ourselves in a more favourable situation, at least from my point of view."

Stefano Domenicali "Our aim today was to make the most of the package we had and we can claim to have succeeded in that. Fernando drove an amazing race, managing the car and tyres in the best way possible and this second place is just reward for all the hard work he has done, along with the team. Felipe got a great start and was always in a battle with Button and Schumacher, in a race that was always difficult for him: we have to work out how to make his car work the tyres better. Overall, we can be pleased with this result, given the situation in terms of different performance levels when compared to some of our rivals. However, as we are well aware, the races are long and difficult and only end at the chequered flag. We must continue to work on our performance because we have a significant gap to make up. We must continue to work on performance, because some of our rivals have shown they have made a bigger step forward than us."

Force India

Adrian Sutil - 7th "A very good race for the team, with a good pace that showed again we are up there in the midfield really fighting for position and points. I had a great start, moving from 11th to 8th, and was not that far behind the Ferrari of Massa for most of the race. I had to push quite a lot throughout as for about 40 laps Robert [Kubica] was quite close behind and there was no time to relax. In the end seventh position is a great success for the team. It's more points and keeps that momentum going. I can't wait to get to Monaco now, one of my favourite tracks."

Tonio Liuzzi - 15th "It was a difficult race starting from so far behind. We had a decent start but we struggled with understeer and then snap oversteer on the first stint with the softer tyres. I lost a little time getting away from the pit stop but then the balance with the hard tyres was getting better. By that point though we had got caught in the traffic because of the faster cars coming by. Once they had all gone and we got some clean laps we could show a decent pace so we can be quite happy at this aspect. Ultimately the points were too far away as we had already lost so much time at the beginning, but that's racing and we have to sit and understand what happened to the whole weekend as it's been quite difficult all round. I'm now looking forward to Monaco in just a few days' time."

Dr Vijay Mallya, team principal "It's been a positive race for Force India as we've added to our total and made it points from four out of five races so far this year. This was one of our aims; to be consistent and score in as many races as possible. Adrian had a faultless race and kept calm under a lot of pressure from our closest rivals, Renault, and he thoroughly deserved those points. For Tonio the weekend has been difficult from the start, but he did as much as he could from his starting position. He'll move onto Monaco, where he has a great record, hungry to get back into the points. There's only a week to go now and everything to look forward to."

HRT

Bruno Senna - DNF - Accident "I made a great start and was able to pass a good number of drivers and make up a few places. I was in 17th it was a good opportunity to show what I am able to do in F1. At Turn 4 the car just caught me out and unfortunately my race ended there. I am very disappointed not to finish our home race and had to retire in front of our fans on a track that I like very much. Let's look at the Monaco Grand Prix where I feel at home."

Karun Chandhok - DNF - Suspension "I am very disappointed with the outcome of the race. It's a real shame what happened with Jaime. I stayed out of his way, kept the car completely straight and he just turned left into me. I was really pleased with my race until then. ‎I had a good first lap and was trying to be sensible with the option tyre and get them to last. My pace relative to the other new cars was good and I was pulling away from Di Grassi quite comfortably. In the end, although we changed the front wing, the damage to the front right suspension was too much and I had to stop. It is a disappointing end to a good day for the team."

Colin Kolles, Team Principal "I am disappointed that we didn't finish our home race. It's a real pity because both drivers had good starts. Bruno Senna had to stop on the opening lap despite a very strong start which moved him up to 17th from 21st on the grid. Karun Chandhok was similarly strong and had a very good pace but retired mid-race after contact with Alguersuari. At least, the performance was much better than in Qualifying yesterday. Now, we look ahead to next weekend and are determined to have a good result in Monaco."

Lotus

Jarno Trulli - 17th"I'm pleased we finished comfortably ahead of Virgin even though the car felt a bit difficult to drive today. I don't really know why but it didn't feel the same as it did on Friday - despite that we achieved what we set out to today, showed good race pace and finished well."

Heikki Kovalainen - DNS - Gearbox "We had a gearbox problem while we were firing up on the grid. The gearbox selected two gears at once - there was some sort of software issue which caused it to fail. It's unfortunate, because we have had such a good weekend, but these things happen. Next up it's Monaco, and I know we'll be stronger again there, so we can focus on the next race and hope the luck returns."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer "It was a bit of a disappointing afternoon because we had a difficult race where we weren't really able to show our true pace. We had a gearbox problem on the grid with Heikki, which was caused by a procedural issue, not a reliability problem. That's frustrating as I think he would have had a strong race. Jarno made a great start, he had some contact going down into the first corner and throughout the race was struggling with the rear of the car. It was difficult for him in traffic, but he did a good job to bring the car home and get his first real race finish. Now we'll just have to go to Monaco next week and show what we know we can do."

McLaren

Lewis Hamilton - DNF - Puncture "Today, I was looking good to split the Red Bulls, and it would have been perfect for us in both world championships if I could have finished second this afternoon. I was just nursing the car to the finish line, then I suddenly felt the steering go, and then there was immediately a failure on the left-front corner. I didn't sense anything odd before the accident - the car was feeling great - so that's why it was such a surprise. We don't know what went wrong, but we'll take everything back to the McLaren Technology Centre [Woking, Surrey, UK] and work to find out.

"I think I drove a good race. I couldn't keep up with Mark [Webber] on my second set of tyres, but I was able to get past Sebastian [Vettel] as I came out of the pits. I have to say, there were problems with some of the backmarkers today - it felt like we were lapping some of them four or five times - and some of them were very bad at getting out of the way. I appreciate that it's not always easy for the backmarkers, and I know from the first half of last year what it's like to be lapped, but some of them were slowing on the racing line, and in fact I nearly collided with a couple of them when they did that. It was quite difficult at times, because there was such a big speed difference. I guess it may be more difficult still at Monaco.

"But, going back to today, I'm absolutely gutted that my accident happened so close to the finish of the race - but that's motor racing. The guys did an incredible job all weekend, though. There are many more races to go this season, and I'll keep my chin up. I know we can still fight for this championship."

Jenson Button - 5th "During the opening laps, my dashboard readout stopped working. The team was telling me over the radio to do things on the steering wheel but I couldn't see if I was doing the right things. And I couldn't see the rev lights either: most of the time I was pretty close with my gear-changes, but I was hitting the limiter quite a lot, which happens when you're getting a tow and you're shifting at different places. Then I was delayed at the first pitstop: there was a problem with the clutch dragging, so the guys couldn't get the wheel on, and then I had wheelspin. When I rejoined the track, I didn't know where Michael [Schumacher] was. Into Turn One, he turned in - and if I hadn't backed out of it, we would probably have crashed.

"As everyone knows, it's almost impossible to overtake around here, and Michael was moving about a bit to make sure I couldn't get past. That was frustrating because the pace of my car was really good this afternoon, but that doesn't make any difference if you can't overtake. I was trying so hard to get past that I damaged my tyres quite a bit; I flat-spotted a front and hurt the rears under traction. Fifth wasn't the result we'd wanted, and it wasn't the result we really deserved either because we were pretty quick. I guess you could say that was both a positive and a negative, because I couldn't get to use that pace fully today."

Martin Whitmarsh "For Lewis, it was just one of those days. He drove brilliantly - an impressively disciplined yet excitingly combative performance - and posted the fastest lap of the race, nearly half a second quicker than the next-best lap, on his way to what would have been a richly deserved second place had he not been forced to retire within spitting distance of the chequered flag. We'll now gather up the parts, take them back to the McLaren Technology Centre, and then analyse them meticulously - so, until we've done that, we won't really be able to make any definitive statements about what we think it was that caused the problem at the left-front corner of his car.

"Jenson drove a very good race too, but was hampered early on by a dash display failure that prevented him from being able to follow our normal launch procedure during his pitstop. As a result he was slowed by wheelspin which allowed Michael to slip ahead of him. Thereafter he wasn't quite able to overtake, despite clearly having the potential to lap faster than Michael had he had a clear track in front of him.

"Naturally enough, all of us at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes feel a little disappointed to have lost 18 world championship points at the 11th hour today, but there are nonetheless a lot of positives we can take from the weekend. We showed strong race pace today, we're still leading both the drivers' world championship and the constructors' world championship, and the next grand prix is at Monaco, which McLaren has won no fewer than 15 times - significantly more than any other team in Formula 1 history. We'll be racing on the famous streets of the Principality in just a few days' time, and you can be well sure that we'll be doing everything in our power to add to our win tally there."

Nico Rosberg never got to grips with his Mercedes © Sutton Images
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Mercedes

Michael Schumacher - 4th "It was quite an entertaining race right from the start even if we knew from the beginning that there would not be a chance for us to compete for a podium place if everything goes as normal. Still it was exciting for me to manage to keep the position that I gained but then, I am obviously not too happy as today we could only defend. All we could do was to hope for reliability problems of others in order to make up positions and that's not really what you want to do. It was an interesting fight with Jenson but all I could do is try to not give him a possibility to overtake. In the end the gap to the front is just too big to be really happy after this race. For Monaco, we hope that the characteristics of the track will suit our car better."

Nico Rosberg - 13th "The race didn't go my way today and, of course, it is frustrating to have finished outside of the points for the first time this season. We have a good upgrade on the car here which should be improving our performance but it just hasn't worked out for me here. In qualifying, I did the best that I could but starting from eighth position isn't where we wanted to be this weekend. In the race, I had the situation with Robert at the start when I tried for the gap but he didn't see me so I was pushed wide and then we had a problem at my first stop which dropped me back again. So it's been a disappointing weekend and we need to look into the reason why we have been off our usual pace."

Ross Brawn "Well done to Michael and the team for their hard work today. Michael has driven extremely well all weekend to continue the progress that he made over the first three races of the season and achieve his best finish with our team. Nico has had a more difficult time and we will look closely into the reasons why he has struggled this weekend. Although we have made a step forward with the performance of our car, the evidence shows that our competitors have also improved and our step is not enough to enable us to compete where we would like to be. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and I remain confident that we have the ability and resources to close the gap, but it will be a tough fight."

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel - 3rd "A lot of things didn't go my way today. The start was okay; there was no chance to get past Mark, but also it wasn't worth taking the risk. It was quite slippery, so I didn't want to take a run down the outside. I was not quick enough today. I struggled a lot with the balance of the car. The car's fast - Mark was in his own league today, but for some reason I found it difficult. There were a few problems. I was unlucky as I had a slow stop and had to wait in the pit box for the Ferrari to drive past and then Jenson was coming in, so it felt very long! We lost ground and the position. It was close when Lewis came out, but then he was impossible to pass. I felt the car was getting better, but as soon as you got close there was no chance to pass. Fifteen laps to the end, I lost the front left brakes and had to back off. I was lucky as there was a gap to Michael (Schumacher) behind me. I don't know how to feel as third is not a bad position, but I think we had a difficult race today with some things happening that we didn't want. It's good to take some points, the car is fast, but it was difficult."

Mark Webber - 1st "Today was a special day, no doubt about it and I'm very happy to capitalise on the pole position. It's an aggressive run in to turn one with the slip stream and the big head wind and I knew the guys would be arriving in the braking zone, so I needed to be very precise with everything into there. I had that covered and then settled into the race. I was very happy with how the first stint went and I had a nice clean pit stop. Everything went my way today, it was very good. It felt like the longest Grand Prix I've ever done though! With the other victories there has been a bit more going on as I wasn't always in the lead, but today was all about watching the lap board go down and my god, it just takes forever! It was so good to get the victory, I'm just stoked, absolutely over the moon. We had a good set up and the car felt good. It's a credit to all the guys, they worked like hell both in the garage and in the factory, they buried themselves in the last two weeks. This is what you have to do to be successful and take on the likes of Ferrari and McLaren. It's not a tea party, we need to work hard and today's result is a credit to Red Bull Racing and to Renault."

Christian Horner "It was a fantastic race from Mark and a very commanding performance from him today. He has been sensationally quick all weekend and this was a fitting result. Sebastian had a much more eventful race. We had a right front wheel issue at the first stop that cost him a bit of time and unfortunately allowed Lewis to sneak past. Thereafter he was comfortable, but stuck in dirty air until a brake issue appeared with about fifteen laps to go. We made a pit stop for a precautionary look at the brake disc - we could see it was still there, but it was a bit damaged and then it was a question of managing the pace of the car until the end of the race. Sebastian did a good job of building in a big enough safety margin in the braking areas for it not to be an issue. Ultimately first and third is a great team result - one place off a maximum score. We've enjoyed a good step forward in our performance this weekend, which is credit to the effort put in by the whole team."

Renault

Robert Kubica - 8th "I didn't have a good first lap and that compromised the rest of my race. I actually made a good start and was fighting with Massa through turn one but unfortunately the car snapped sideways when I got on the power. Then, in turn three, I touched Kobayashi which damaged the front wing and cost me some places. I was struggling with quite a lot of understeer because of the damage, but the field was so tight that we didn't have time to change the wing during the pit stop without losing a position. After that, I was able to attack Sutil and the car felt quite competitive in spite of the damage. But everybody knows how difficult it is to overtake here so there was no chance to pass him. Even so, the pace has been good this weekend and that's been a nice surprise. Now we need to look forward to Monaco."

Vitaly Petrov - 11th "I'm pleased to finish a race in dry conditions, although it was a shame to miss out on points. At the start of the race I decided it was better to be cautious because the first corner was very busy with a lot of cars all around me. I didn't gain any places but I knew I needed to stay out of trouble and avoid damaging the car. The rest of the race was quite straightforward: the team did a good job today, the balance was consistent and I had a nice battle with Kobayashi. Monaco's next and I'm really looking forward to driving an F1 car there for the first time. But, more than ever, it will be important to have a weekend without mistakes if we want to score points."

Eric Boullier, Team Principal "It was a tough afternoon for us and today's race shows us once again that the key this year is to qualify well and have a good start: if you don't, it's very difficult to score points. Robert delivered another strong performance, although he was unlucky to touch Kobayashi on the opening lap. Without that, we think he could have gained a couple of positions compared to qualifying. As for Vitaly, I'm pleased that he has finished his first race in the dry and he now has some more valuable experience. He showed good pace which is encouraging for the future. He finished the day as the strongest rookie, but he's aiming much higher than that. We know that if he can qualify strongly, he will do a very good job."

Kamui Kobayashi fights back through the field © Sutton Images
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Sauber

Pedro de la Rosa - DNF - Puncture and damage "I can't explain how disappointed I am. I had a good start but I got hit by a Toro Rosso which caused a rear tyre puncture. I pitted for a tyre change but meanwhile the damage to the car, caused by the exploded tyre, was quite extensive. We tried to continue but the car was undriveable. It just made no sense and we had to give up."

Kamui Kobayashi - 12th "I had a good start but in turn three I was hit by Robert (Kubica). I think I left him enough room but he said he had understeer. However, this was where I lost ground. I came back from the gravel in 15th. I'm convinced, given the progress we made with the car, without this incident I would have been able to score points today. Later I got stuck behind Vitaly (Petrov) in the other Renault. It is really not easy to overtake on the Circuit de Catalunya. I tried hard but it didn't work out. At least I finished my first Grand Prix this year."

Peter Sauber "Looking back to the race weekend, it was positive we improved the performance of the car which enabled Kamui to make it to the top ten in qualifying. And finally he was able to finish his first race this season. Unfortunately it was compromised on lap one when he was hit from behind. The same applies to Pedro, who was touched also from behind by another competitor, destroying not only the tyre but, as a result, also the floor of the car and this forced him to retire."

Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi - DNF - Hydraulics "When the lights went out, initially I got off the line well and had a good start. A bit later, I was trying to pass De La Rosa going down the left side and he suddenly moved over towards me. We were very close and the impact broke my front wing, so I had to come in and change the nose. After that, my pace was not too bad, but then I got a drive-through for a pit lane infringement, but I'm not really sure why and finally I had to retire in the garage with a hydraulic problem. At least there are just a few days to Monaco when I can try again to get my first worthwhile result of the season."

Jaime Alguersuari - 10th "I've got to be happy with scoring a point, even if my race was a bit of a mess, with the problem at the pit stop with the front left wheel nut and then the penalty after my collision with Chandok, but mistakes are part of racing. I was pleased that I got a very good start as it was important to get past other cars immediately, if I was going to have a good race. The backmarkers were very tough to overtake as they don't move out of the way that much and they are really slow. I am pleased with tenth place, even if I am upset a bit, because it could have been so much better, especially as our race pace was very strong. Now we go to Monaco where I know there is more potential to come from me, as I am still learning a lot and there is more to come from the team and the car. It will be another new track for me, which I will need to learn well if I want to score points again. I feel very motivated about the next race."

Franz Tost "I am glad that, on their F1 debut with our team, we were able to give our new sponsor, Money Service Group their first point in the sport, although clearly, in the early stages we looked like bringing home more than that. Once again, Jaime did a fantastic job, moving up to ninth after the start. Unfortunately, there was an error at his pit stop when the front left wheel nut got stuck. This meant he dropped a couple of places. Then he was given a drive-through penalty after he collided with Chandok as he was lapping the Hispania car. He put in some really good lap times and was one of the fastest in the closing stages and it was good to get another point. As for Sebastien, once again he was involved in a collision, this time with De La Rosa. He had to come in for a nose change and later, he too got a drive-through penalty for dangerous driving out of the pit and finally he had to retire with a hydraulic problem, which we must now investigate. However, I am convinced he will get a good race result soon."

Virgin

Timo Glock - 18th "In general the race wasn't too bad for us and obviously we have made a good step in getting both cars to the finish, so it was a good team result today. The car was difficult to drive in the last part of the first stint. I had a good race-long battle with Jarno but the amount of traffic we experienced made it very difficult. Out of 66 laps, only 15 of them were in free air and the rest were full of blue flags. We are making progress and today was an important step, but it was a small step and we have to keep up the momentum now to bring some bigger steps as the season progresses. Congratulations to the team because they have worked incredibly hard over the past few weeks and this weekend in particular."

Lucas di Grassi - 19th "It was a good race for the team today - the first race where we were able to bring both cars to the finish and a good reward for the team after all the hard work. Reliability has been a weak point for the last races but I'm very happy to see we have taken a step forward. My race was very tough - we opted to start on the prime tyres and it was impossible to drive the car. When we switched back to options the car was okay again and I was able to do some good laps. With a lot of blue flags it was very difficult to have a consistent pace."

Nick Wirth, Technical Director
"To finally achieve our first two-car finish is a great reward for everyone involved with Virgin Racing. Firstly I would like to thank the race team for their incredible work this weekend. I must also recognise the considerable efforts of everyone back at Wirth Research and our suppliers, who have been working relentlessly since Shanghai to fix our transmission and hydraulic problems. It was a very encouraging debut for our new VR-01 and we are all looking forward to bringing more performance to the car in the forthcoming races. I should also pay due credit to our drivers Timo and Lucas, not only for solid determined drives in today's race, but for their patience and crucial contribution over the past few weeks in particular."

Williams

Rubens Barrichello - 9th "After Saturday's disappointment this is a good result. We had a great start today, which allowed me to overtake five cars, and our pace was strong enough to stay with the Renaults and the Force Indias. We need to analyse it, but I think we were on the verge of a tyre issue in the last five laps. If it weren't for that, we would have finished closer to the guys just ahead of me. I am really happy considering where we were yesterday."

Nico Hulkenberg - 16th "I had quite a good start. I don't understand why yet, but I always felt like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time going into the corners in the first lap. After the first stop, I went offline and damaged the car which resulted in a lot less downforce. From there, it became a very difficult race for me."

Sam Michael, Technical Director "That was a good recovery after yesterday's qualifying. Both cars had great starts and Rubens put in an awesome first lap to make up more places. Rubens' race pace was strong up until the final few laps for which we had to slow him down to ensure we didn't have a problem with the tyres. We'll be looking into that for the next race. Nico drove a good first stint, but unfortunately damaged the car after his pitstop which caused a loss of downforce. Our focus now moves on to Monaco."

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