2013 Singapore Grand Prix - Driver reaction
The 22 drivers have their say on the action under the floodlights
By William Esler
Last Updated: 22/09/13 6:59pm
Sebastian Vettel: "It's just been a fantastic weekend. The start was close, but then we had strong race pace, especially when the safety car came in, and we pushed very hard to try to build up a gap. You never know what's coming up and what can happen. The last ten laps seemed to go on forever inside the car. I kept my concentration by reminding myself how easily you can make a mistake around here, the walls are close and if you don't pay enough attention it can go wrong pretty quickly. I focused on hitting the brakes correctly and on saving the tyres.
"We didn't expect to be that strong, but it's a team effort. Everyone is pushing hard and I think the secret, if there is one, is that we love what we do and we're so passionate. The conditions aren't great here with the heat, but the team always pushes hard and I think that's what makes the difference. I'd like to say to everyone working for team that it's a privilege for me to be driving the car you have built."
Mark Webber: "I think I did pretty much everything I could today. We had pace in the car when we needed, we managed the tyres and made a very good undercut on Nico, I was really happy with that lap. Then six laps from the end, the guys were getting worried about the car.
"So, yeah, it's annoying but someone's had a tougher day than me somewhere and that's the way it goes. I was having to short shift, but then, unlike Monza, we started to lose a lot of power. We were just trying to get home at that point but then on the last lap we caught fire."
Fernando Alonso: "Today's second place is like a victory for us, at the end of a difficult weekend on a track where it's very tricky to overtake. The key points of this race were the start and the strategy and, in both cases, the decisions taken proved to be the right ones, even if they were aggressive choices. At the start, I managed to pass four cars, helped by having watched the starts from previous races here, but then I couldn't pass Rosberg.
"The decision to pit when the Safety Car came out paid off, even if it wasn't easy to get to the finish with the tyres on the limit. Fortunately, thanks to the advantage I had over Raikkonen and Webber, we were able to manage the situation over the final laps: if I'd been in a group, it would have been like the end of a horror movie!
"Now the gap to the championship leaders has increased and apart from congratulating them, because they deserve to be where they are, we must be realistic, because to win the title now, we would need a lot of luck. Sure, we cannot think of giving up right now because if that luck does show up, then we will be there to take it".
Felipe Massa: "Given everything that happened in today's race, sixth place is a really good result. After a fantastic start, at the first corner I found myself stuck inside the cars that had braked early and, at that point I lost places instead of making up some.
"From then on, I was always stuck behind other cars and we all know how hard it is to overtake at this track. When the Safety Car came out, we had two options: to fit the Medium tyres, with which we weren't sure to go all the way to the end, or the Supersofts, to try and regain some places.
"We went for the second option, but Di Resta was ahead of me on the same tyres and so I was stuck behind him. In the final stint after the third stop, I managed to retake sixth place, making the most of the fact that many were struggling with their tyres. It was tough from start to finish and I am very happy to have brought home a good points haul".
Jenson Button: "We thought we might have a chance of a podium, but in the end we didn't have the pace to keep us ahead of the closing cars. It was good fun trying though, and we have to take risks if we want to get podium finishes this year.
"We expected to spend most of the race on the Option tyre, so we'd set the car up for that. The Prime tyre didn't work so well for me, and having to hold Kimi off for so long destroyed my rear tyres and made things very tricky. In the end, as I say, we simply didn't have enough pace to stop him overtaking.
"It was a good try though, and a P7 finish isn't too bad. We couldn't have done any better with a different strategy, I'm certain of that, and I'm glad we got some good points for the team."
Sergio Perez: "I think we should be satisfied with today's result - as Jenson says P7 and P8 was probably the best we could have achieved today.
"In my view the Safety Car came at the wrong time for us, so we had to take a risk by choosing to drive to the finish with two pit-stops. It was pretty tough to keep the car out of the barriers - not to crash yet to lose too much lap-time - but as I say I think it was the right choice.
"Last but not least, although P7 and P8 isn't brilliant, it's the best we could have hoped for - and I dearly hope it'll put a smile on the faces of my people, in my country, Mexico, who really need something to smile about at this very difficult time."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It's been a difficult weekend, so to finish on the podium is a good result. The car felt good and it could have been even better if I'd been able to do more work in practice, but even with a better qualifying performance I think third was the maximum we could achieve today. The problem with my back hasn't been ideal, but it felt much better than yesterday and I didn't really notice it in the race, only afterwards. I have some time to recover before Korea and we were pretty strong there last year, so let's see what we can do next time out."
Romain Grosjean: "The race was going pretty well and I think a second or third place finish was a realistic prospect. We had a good strategy pitting under the safety car and we should have finished well, but unfortunately today my engine had other ideas. We lost air pressure and the team tried to fix the problem by topping it up with an additional pit stop, but that didn't work so we had to retire which is never what you want to happen."
Nico Rosberg: "I had a good start today and the pace of our car was really strong this evening. The safety car was unfortunate timing for us and perhaps it wasn't the best decision to stay out but, at the time, we weren't sure if our tyres would be able to last the distance.
"I then had some rubber trapped in my front wing after the safety car period which cost me quite a lot of performance for some laps and had an impact on my race because the tyres suffered more than would be normal. We could perhaps have been second today but events in the race just didn't go our way so it is a little disappointing to only finish in fourth place. We now need to learn from this weekend and focus on the next race in Korea."
Lewis Hamilton: "That was a really tough race, probably the most physically demanding of the year. We tried our best and the car felt good tonight but unfortunately we paid the price for not qualifying further ahead yesterday. I didn't have the best start and had to go wide to avoid Mark at turn one. From there, it was difficult to follow the race and my position.
"Whilst the timing of the safety car definitely didn't help us, we need to go back through our strategy and see what we could possibly have done differently in that situation. I'm not sure we could have done what Fernando and Kimi did by staying out on that set of tyres for so long, though.
"Of course, it's a little disappointing to come away with only fifth place but I gave it my all out there and we'll come back stronger. Our aim is to get back ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship and see if we can get another win before the end of the season."
Nico Hulkenberg: "All in all we can be happy. We brought home two points. To be honest, I didn't expect much more than that. You can't expect that every weekend will be like Monza now, but we improved significantly. It was a very tough race. I had a very good start and then a racing situation with Sergio Perez.
"In the end, I did have to give back the position to him and I don't quite agree with that. There was a Williams in the fight as well, Sergio was on the inside, but I had to leave space and caught the outer kerb. Then my car bottomed and I was off, however, I was in front of Sergio before and after the corner.
"At the end, it was a pure fight for survival, because the tyres were pretty much gone. Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber were all on fresh tyres and I simply had to focus on staying on track and finishing the race."
Esteban Gutierrez: "We expected a better result today. Our pace during the race was not good enough, especially at the beginning as I was fighting a lot with the car. At times I pushed a bit too much, had a lot of oversteer and the tyres were degrading. It was one of the toughest races I have ever had. I did the best I could and this is where we finished. The strategy was not ideal either. Nevertheless, the weekend was a step forward and now I will keep working to improve."
Adrian Sutil: "It was a tough race and exhausting in the end. So it feels great to come away with a point and it's a small motivation for the whole team. In the closing laps of the race I was catching the train of cars in front of me - Perez, Button and Hulkenberg. I thought I had a chance to get ahead of at least one of them, but as soon as I reached the back of the train my tyres went off. In fact, we were all struggling with tyres and I couldn't attack anymore because it felt like driving on ice. So I'm happy to take the point and it's well deserved by the whole team."
Paul Di Resta: "It's such a shame to come away with nothing to show from a race where we had put ourselves in a position to score some valuable points. The management of the tyres was good and the overall performance in race conditions was very strong.
"Even without the safety car we were in good shape, but as a team we made the right calls and were looking to challenge the train of cars ahead of us in the final few laps. Then I had the incident at turn seven. I'm still not sure what happened, but I took the corner the same way as I had done the previous lap and the car went straight on and wouldn't stop. The team is investigating what happened."
Pastor Maldonado: "We recovered two places at the start and after a couple of laps we were pushing towards the cars in front whilst also trying to manage the rear tyres. My tyre management was good throughout the race and I was able to push hard in the final stages on the supersoft tyres. We just missed out on points in the end, but we'll be looking to progress a step further in the next race."
Valtteri Bottas: "It was one of the most difficult races of the whole season for me today. Immediately at the start we had a problem with the clutch which meant we lost a few positions. After the safety car we had a few problems with debris in the front wing, which made the car difficult to drive. These limiting factors meant we couldn't go any faster today and so we did the best we could with what we had."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "My start was not the best and, in an effort to compensate for that, we switched from a two stop to a three stop strategy and I believe it could have paid off in terms of getting me back into the points. However, I then found I was having a lot of trouble just keeping the car on track and my tyres were completely worn out at the end, by which time, I had already been told to back off as the car was overheating.
"This is always a long, tough race and it felt particularly long for me, as I had no one to fight against in the closing stages, apart from working to keep the car away from the barriers. I always try to look on the positive side and in that respect, the updates we brought here seemed to work and we have learned a lot about the car. Therefore I still believe we can have a strong end to the season, starting in Korea, where I expect the car to work very well."
Daniel Ricciardo: "The crash was my error, trying to make up for lost ground. At the start, my car just seemed to sit there without moving off the line. It was very frustrating to lose so many places right away. I think I went down five places from ninth on the grid to fourteenth.
"So I was on the back foot from then on, just trying to do the best I could. In the second stint, my engineer came on the radio and said 'the pace is good, keep pushing.' I was aware that for the pace we had, we were not doing too badly and maybe at the end I was just trying to get too much out of it and made that mistake.
"It's a delicate corner with not much run-off and I went too deep into the apex. I then braked a bit harder, locked a wheel and went into the wall. It's not a mistake I'm used to making. I will learn from this."
Charles Pic: "Even though I finished 19th I'm not too disappointed. We tried a two-stop strategy but this time it didn't work out - sometimes plans like that work, sometimes they don't and this was one of those days.
"Away from the line I had a pretty good start but had to move aside to avoid Bianchi and was then stuck behind him for most of the first stint. Just before we were due to box I passed him and opened up a gap within a couple of laps so the first stop wasn't so much of a fight. I was back out on track on a new set of mediums, clear of him and immediately started pushing on to my teammate.
"When the safety car came out I boxed early, rejoining in 19th on another set of mediums and right up with Giedo after his stop. The car felt ok at that point - the tyres were performing really well and when Giedo came in again we made the call to switch to a two stop strategy.
"I had a lot of laps left so I had to manage the pace so I could look after the tyres to the end but with six laps left the rears were gone so we had to come in again. My race was effectively over at that point because, even with the big pace advantage I had on the supersofts we used in the final stint I didn't have enough laps to catch the cars ahead."
Giedo van der Garde: "That was a tough race but for me a really good one - I have to say I really enjoyed myself out there tonight! Fighting with the Williams for most of the race was great, really good and I'm pleased for Tony and Kamarudin that we could put in a performance like that back in South East Asia.
"After a bit of a poor start I was past Charles, Bianchi and Bottas by the end of lap one and was up behind Sutil until the first stop. The car was absolutely great on the supersofts - my pace in the first stint was really strong, the same as the cars up to 12th and it just felt great for the whole first stint. We boxed for a set of mediums on lap 12 and rejoined in 18th, still ahead of Bottas who was on supersofts for the second stint. With the pace advantage that compound has here there wasn't a lot I could do to hold him off and he passed me about three laps later.
"When the safety car came out we boxed for another set of mediums and after the race restarted my pace was good again. I was right up with Bottas and then passed him again when he went off a couple of laps into the stint. As the fuel levels dropped he got past me again so we focused on catching Charles who had stayed out on a two-stop plan.
"With a long final stint he was managing his tyres and I was catching him at about two seconds a lap, and just before he had to make the final stop I passed him and then held 16th to the flag.
"As I say, it's good to have had a strong race here and I'm pleased for the whole team that we could fight with Williams for a lot of the race. I'm now staying out in the Far East for a break before Korea and even though tonight's race was tough physically I'm already looking forward to getting back in the car."
Max Chilton: "What started off as quite a tough race with the balance then thankfully improved and in the end it was not a bad race for us. Once again we got another two car finish out of it which is good for the Team and we maintain our 10th place in the Championship.
"The degradation was quite high and it was a tough challenge to manage the tyres and still try to push for opportunities with Caterham, which came along when Pic stopped late in the race enabling us to gain an extra place. Overall I'm pleased with my first night race and have enjoyed the whole Singapore experience."
Jules Bianchi: "I was hoping for better today but the first half of the race didn't go at all well for me. Just as I was stopping for the first time I lost the gears and I was worried it was mechanical but we stopped again to change the steering wheel and the problem thankfully went away.
"The second stint was tough because I was so far back by then and it was looking like it would be a very long and lonely race, also hitting the blue flag phase much earlier than usual. When the Safety Car came out it helped enormously as we were able to catch up and unlap ourselves.
"After struggling with traction initially I was then able to get into a good rhythm with strong pace. I was quicker but whilst trying to pass my team-mate my tyres went away completely and we had to stop again much earlier than plan.
"After that, having seen the degradation we were incurring trying to push, I had no option but to hold back but at least I was able to gain a place when Pic stopped again at the end. Some difficult points in the race but what matters is the Team result."