Driver reaction - U.S. GP
The 24 drivers have their say on a thrilling United States GP as the race made its return at the new Circuit of The Americas.
Last Updated: 19/11/12 12:03am
The 24 drivers have their say on an action packed United States GP at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
Sebastian Vettel: "I'm very, very happy for the team to win a third Constructors'. It's been a tough year so far and they have been pushing incredibly hard; they deserve to win, as we have been the best team. Obviously Mark and I were pushing throughout the year. It was a shame for Mark not to finish today. It was a very good race and we did everything we could, but unfortunately we ran into traffic at the wrong time and lost the gap to Lewis.
"He used his chance well, I tried to cover the inside but he had more speed down the straight. I respect the positions; Lewis beat us fair and square. We showed we had the pace today and now it's full steam ahead to the next race."
Mark Webber: "A third Constructors' for the team is an incredible achievement. Three years in a row is something that I think all of us would never have envisaged when we first started to be successful, so the results that we've had over the years is really astonishing. This Championship was probably the toughest one so far, for lots of different reasons and - it's a cliché - but it's been a real team effort.
"Looking to today, I had to stop with an alternator problem. We had low battery voltage for a few laps before and then I lost gearbox sync and KERS, something was happening on the battery side. It's frustrating; as we had a reasonable start to the race and a good fight with Lewis. We had issues to manage, but even when I knew we had them we tried to keep going and get something out of it, but we had to stop."
Lewis Hamilton: "I'm massively proud and extremely happy. I nearly lost my voice because I was screaming so much on the in-lap - not cool at all!
"To overtake both Red Bulls in the race was the coolest thing for me. The backmarkers really came into play today - and, finally, they worked in my favour. I've often been caught out when I've been trying to get through traffic, but things finally went my way today.
"When Seb [Vettel] was delayed by a backmarker, I knew I had to grab my chance, so I turned the engine up to maximum revs and pushed like crazy. Along the back-straight I went to the to the outside, but Seb closed the door, so I moved to the inside, and he came back towards me. I was very lucky. It was very close.
"What made the difference today between Seb and me? I wanted it more, that's what!
"I won the last United States Grand Prix, in 2007, so, to come back and win it again - in front of such a great crowd - feels very special indeed. There are a couple of grands prix that are somehow out on their own: there's Monaco, Silverstone, Montreal, Spa and Monza. Now you can this circuit to that list - it's already one of the best racetracks in the world, maybe even right up there in the top three.
"It's a brilliant feeling to be finishing the season on a high. Hopefully, we'll go to Brazil next week with the same level of performance - I'd love to win my final two races for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes."
Jenson Button: "Starting on the dirty side of the racetrack was very tough - I ended up 15th by the end of the first lap. So fifth was probably the best result I could have had. I had a lot of fun this afternoon, and fought a lot of good battles on my way through.
"There was lots of action and lots of overtaking - and most of it was very clean, which was good to see.
"Obviously, however, fifth place wasn't the result I'd have ideally liked, but the car was working really well, and, with a better grid position, I could definitely have been right up there. Still, big congratulations to Lewis and the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team.
"It was great to race in front of so many fantastically enthusiastic American fans - they looked like they really enjoyed themselves. Before we arrived here, we knew we were going to have to put on a good show, and I think we did just that. There was action and suspense all the way through, which is exactly what you need to create a great sporting spectacle.
"I really hope the U.S. will now embrace Formula 1 at last."
Fernando Alonso: "It was an unexpected podium which came at the end of a particularly difficult weekend. We did not have the pace to match Red Bull and McLaren, so to only lose three points to Vettel is in fact a nice present. It could have been much worse, but now we will arrive in Sao Paolo in Brazil in with a chance right to the last. Maybe on paper that chance is not so big, maybe 25%, but deep down, I feel it's much more than that.
"Anything can happen at Interlagos and we saw again how important reliability can be, didn't we? Then, there's the chance of rain and a race in the wet can be very risky and we definitely have nothing to lose. Clearly, if it's dry and we have a normal race, one can expect Red Bull to be in front of everyone and us on the third or fourth row, so the more unknown factors there are, the better it is for us.
"The decision regarding Felipe's gearbox? It was a team decision of which I am proud, especially as it proved to be the right one: I don't think everyone in this environment can say the same thing... The start was very good as was the first corner: in this second part of the season, we have made up a lot of places actually in the first few hundred metres. Then I had a good enough pace to get on the podium but not to fight with the two in front.
"The pit stop wasn't perfect, maybe for the first time this season: which means we'll be looking for perfection in the pit stops next Sunday, and in fact for the whole race! Felipe was fantastic all weekend, quicker than me in all three qualifying sessions: we need him to be on this good form in Interlagos too, because we will be up against very strong opposition. We need to be a united team if we want to win!"
Felipe Massa: "For me, this result is a bit like a win, definitely the best race of my season: now I can say I'm happy to have started eleventh! This morning, when I was told I was dropping five places, I can't say I was jumping for joy, but I accepted it to help the team and my team-mate: I don't think many drivers would have done the same, but I am an honest person and will always do my utmost for my team.
"At the start, I made up three places, but then I ran wide and lost a few. After that, I had a strong pace and also pulled off some passing moves at various points on the track: once I even got two cars at the same time. We did the best we could have done today: I don't think I could have fought Vettel or Hamilton. I really enjoyed driving on this track: it is great fun and the atmosphere is very nice. It's probably not going to be my favourite circuit of all, but it is one of the ones I like. Now we go to Interlagos, my home race.
"It would be nice to end the season on the podium, or even with a win. What's certain is that I will do everything I can to help the team reach its targets: today, maybe I could have finished ahead of Fernando, but I'm well aware of the championship situation and I do what is right for Ferrari, as I've done throughout my career."
Nico Rosberg: "It was a difficult weekend for us and unfortunately we weren't able to score any points today. However we have learned some important lessons for next year and that's what counts at the moment. I hope we can be more successful next year here in Austin as I have enjoyed our visit. The track, the people and the city are absolutely fantastic. So I look forward to coming back here in 2013 and we will work hard next weekend to finish the season on a positive note."
Michael Schumacher: "I can't find any words other than ironic ones for the race today - there was a lot of action around me but unfortunately in the wrong direction. To say that the race was a real struggle would be an understatement. I couldn't get any grip from my first set of tyres, and there must have been some kind of damage for them to perform so badly. We had to change our strategy to two stops which then compromised our race even further. All in all, it was much worse than expected today, especially considering that things did not look that bad yesterday and Friday."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It was an okay day, but not a very easy one for us. I got a bad start and then I touched with a Force India at the second corner so I lost a few more places. After that the car was okay and I could get past some of the others. Unfortunately, when it got cloudy it got too cold so the tyres stopped working and that's where we saw Jenson [Button] get past. Basically, it was a race where we were just depending on the tyres to be in their window. I'm still 3rd in the championship and we'll do everything we can to maintain this position until the end."
Romain Grosjean: "Not a bad race but the spin on lap seven was frustrating. The start was good, the first lap was good and the pace was definitely there. I recovered pretty well from where I was to finish P7 and was fighting Kimi at the end which is a positive sign. I pushed as hard as I could, so I was happy to bring home some more points for the team."
Nico Hulkenberg: "Another tough race but very satisfying to have so many good battles and score another four points. I think we squeezed the maximum from the car and should be pleased with what we achieved. For the first few laps we looked very strong, but after lap ten the tyres started to fade away.
"When we switched to the hard tyres we were not so competitive so it was just a case of pushing hard to stay in the points. The last few laps were not easy because I was getting massive pressure from the Williams pair, who were very quick through sector one. They had the advantage of DRS and it was not easy to keep them behind me. There was quite a bit of fighting but I managed to stay ahead."
Paul di Resta: "I made a good start and for the first few laps we were in quite a strong position and moving forward with good lap times. Maybe we waited too long before pitting because I became vulnerable to Senna after my stop and was struggling on cold tyres with tyre warm-up. I couldn't keep Senna behind me and then I had the same situation with Maldonado.
"I was fighting a lot of oversteer in the car and made an error in turn 19, lost the rear, and spun. I was just trying a bit too hard to keep the cars behind me. That gave me some flat spots on my tyres so I had to pit for a second time. From there it was difficult to fight back because it was a clear one-stop race."
Sergio Perez: "My start worked really well and the first laps were good too. I had a good pace, and the car was really quick, but then around lap ten I had a problem with the brakes. The pedal became very long and I had big difficulties before every corner. This cost a lot of time and so we didn't manage to get any points here.
"Regardless of the result it was a great experience to race here in front of so many Mexicans. The COTA is a great track and I hope we can have this Grand Prix on the calendar for many years. Now we will get ourselves together for the final attempt to improve to fifth place in the Constructors' World Championship next week."
Kamui Kobayashi: "For the entire weekend here I had warm up problems and didn't get the tyres to work. We have to find out why this was. The grip level only increased in the last laps of the race at the end of a very long stint with the hard tyres. This was crazy and I do hope very much we are stronger in Sao Paulo to finish the season on a high."
Daniel Ricciardo: "I think I overtook more people in this race than in any other in my whole career! It was particularly fun at Turn 1, which became a favourite passing spot for me, especially one lap when I managed to pass two cars at once. Until today, the whole weekend had not gone that smoothly and of course, I was particularly disappointed with how qualifying went yesterday.
"Because of that, I was even more determined to go well today. I gave it everything I've got this afternoon, although it was not enough to finish in the points, but twelfth was probably the best result we could have got today. At the start, the dirty side was indeed very slippery and the two Marussias got ahead and I touched with one of them. I thought I'd damaged the front wing, but I managed to keep going as the car was okay and after that I think we got the maximum out of the car.
"It was very competitive on the Option, but once I switched to the Prime it seemed that tyre also worked better than expected, which meant I lost some of the advantage we had hoped to have by running a very long first stint. Deep down, I know I did my best."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "I got a really good start and I had about a tenth of a second to decide whether to go to the left or the right going into the first corner. Everyone seemed to be going right, so I went left aiming for the inside of the hairpin, as I was much quicker. But it didn't pay off, because I lost many positions and got stuck behind other cars and therefore could not warm up my tyres properly.
"Despite this, I was able to fight and make up some positions. Unfortunately, the suspension broke and the team told me to park the car rather than risk bringing it back. A shame, as this new circuit is fun to race on."
Pastor Maldonado: "After today's race I'm happy for the team, for the Venezuelan fans and for myself. I hope that this will be one of the best racing venues for Formula One. On the first lap I ran wide which meant I had to fight for places throughout but I enjoyed it because it was a good race and we were competitive.
"At the beginning I lost many places but I managed to recover quite well. On the last lap I was fighting with Hulkenberg but there wasn't enough time to get the place. I am looking forward to the last round in Brazil and we are ready to fight again there."
Bruno Senna: "Unfortunately starting on the dirty side of the grid hurt my race in the early stages as it was quite messy into the first corner. We had good pace though and were overtaking when we needed to.
"Unfortunately we came out of the pits behind Hulkenberg which was frustrating as he was just quick enough exiting Turn 11 each lap and we couldn't overtake him which damaged my tyres allowing Pastor to catch us both. I knew Pastor would make a move and I wasn't going to close the door as we needed the points for the team. Overall, it was a pretty difficult race but it was good to end with both cars in the points which is what we are aiming for."
Vitaly Petrov: "For me that was just about as much as I could get out of the car today so I'm pleased with how it went. The start was pretty crazy, everyone on cold tyres going into turn one with a load of cars going off track, but I got through cleanly and as soon as my tyres came up to temperature I pulled away from the cars behind pretty comfortably.
"We'd planned to do just one stop and it was timed perfect, the boys got me out quickly when we switched to the hard compound so it all went as we wanted. The tyre degradation was also pretty low - we'd seen from the long runs on Friday that it wouldn't really be a problem, but apart from a small vibration I had from the brakes for the last third of the race, it was a good afternoon without any issues."
Heikki Kovalainen: "That was one of those races where we probably couldn't have got much more out of the car. I've had issues all weekend with getting heat into the front tyres and it was the same again today for the first few laps.
"At the start I made up one place and then passed Glock pretty quickly and from there it was relatively easy to control my pace for the rest of the race. The stop went fine, the pitcrew did a very good job today, and apart from the tyre issue, it was about as much as we could have hoped for."
Timo Glock: "Overall it was a strong race for us, even though we had been hoping for something more. The first lap was a bit all over the place; I lost the car twice. Vitaly was able to overtake me because of that and at first it was a struggle to stay with him because of the KERS advantage.
"Then Heikki got past and it was the same story; struggling at first, but then closing back up to him. I stayed with him from there and we decided to pit a little early to see if we could find a way past, but they pitted at the same time unfortunately. Late in the race I was able to get past Heikki in Turn 12 but in Turn 15 he dived in again and retook position, pushing me off the track a bit.
"Our race pace was very strong and this is just one of a few positives we take away from here, where we have made big steps again and of course we leave holding onto 10th place in the Constructors' Championship. Our big picture remains very positive for us and we look forward to continuing to push hard in Brazil next weekend.
"Finally I have to say we have had a great week here in Austin and the race team's efforts have matched those back at the factory in enabling us to keep improving at this late stage of the season."
Charles Pic: "It was a tough race today, I have to say. I had some contact into Turn 1 and after that I suffered with understeer throughout the whole race. We know now that the front wing was damaged. It was very difficult to keep the temperature in the tyre in the second stint, with all the blue flags, and we lost some time because of that.
"It is a little disappointing after the progress we have made here; after yesterday's qualifying performance we were looking good for a strong race. However, towards the end at least, I was able to recover a little bit and found enough pace for our fastest lap time, so this was a positive way to bring the race to a conclusion.
"We will focus on the final Grand Prix of the season in Brazil now, but we have enjoyed the United States Grand Prix experience and the positive steps we have taken here. Well done to the team."
Pedro de la Rosa: "It has been a positive race overall. The car has performed well and the tyres worked better than we expected after the first day of testing. The start was good and I managed to push with the first set of tyres but I may have gone a bit too far and half way through the race I had front graining.
"But we changed to the hard compound half way through the race and everything worked well again. Five laps to the end, part of the carbon seat broke and I was afraid that I might have to retire but I managed to adapt to the new driving position and we were able to get to the chequered flag, which was not only important for me but for the whole team. Now it is time to look ahead and get ready for Brazil".
Narain Karthikeyan: "The atmosphere here was amazing and it has been a good race after all. Temperatures were our weak point on the first day but yesterday already improved and today we didn't have any problems during the race.
"The start was clean and our main target was to finish the race. And we have done it without any problems and keeping a good pace on both sets of tyres. We are now looking forward to the race in Brazil where we hope to do a good job and finish the season on a good note".