2013 Korean Grand Prix - Driver reaction
The 22 drivers have their say on the race in Yeongam
By William Esler
Last Updated: 06/10/13 1:07pm
Sebastian Vettel: "It was a long race today, but it's really great to win. The start was crucial, it's always tricky here as you're nervous about the long straight when you start from pole. Fortunately we had good traction off the line and I had a strong exit out of the first corner.
"We kept the lead and tried to control the race from there. I think Mercedes had more range than us today, but we were able to win which is great. It was a very strong performance from the whole team and I'm happy. We're just focusing on continuing to take one step at a time and trying to get the best out of the car at every single race."
Mark Webber: "The incident with Sutil was obviously the end of my race today. It was in Turn 3 on the restart, everyone bottles back up and I was looking for a big exit on the next straight to use some KERS on Daniel (Ricciardo) and the Williams. Then Sutil, I don't know what happened, but obviously he hit me from the inside and that was that.
"There was quite a lot of damage at the back of the car and I hope it hasn't gone towards the chassis - we will have to see before the next race. Before that I was very happy with how I drove and we'd got back to a very good position before I got the puncture. After the Pirelli tyre failure on Perez' car, I was very lucky to miss the tread of the tyre that came off and then unbelievably I managed to get a puncture from going through the debris."
Fernando Alonso: "We knew this would be a difficult race and unfortunately the results confirmed the concerns we had already experienced on Friday, when we had a few problems with tyre degradation on the long run. It wasn't a surprise to be off the pace in qualifying, as that's been the case since the start of the season, but the fact that we didn't have the pace in the race was one. Unfortunately, at the start, I couldn't keep the Sauber behind me and that meant I had a particularly stressful race in terms of the tyres.
"What happened to Felipe at the third corner was not a problem for me: there were a lot of us there at that point and someone must have touched him. I tried to avoid him and continued without it affecting my race, because by then, I was already behind Hulkenberg. Now we must think only about Suzuka and try to get back on the podium, rediscovering the form we usually have on Sunday, that allows us to fight at the front.
"Vettel is a very long way off in terms of points, but above all in performance terms and we cannot expect miracles between now and the end of the championship. Second place in the Constructors' championship is probably a more realistic target, but one thing's certain, we are not giving up now and we will give it our best shot right to the very end."
Felipe Massa: "Today's race was really very complicated, because my chances of getting a good result evaporated right from the first lap, when I found myself in the middle of a group, all of us fighting and I decided to go down the inside to try and brake later.
"Unfortunately, some of the cars were slower and in order to avoid driving into one of the Mercedes, I was forced to move over to the right, ending up in a spin. Luckily, the car was alright, but at that point I was contemplating a race from the back of the pack. Thanks to a few nice passing moves I still managed to bring home some points, which was a good thing compared to how it looked after the start.
"Today, we weren't competitive and there were at least three or four teams quicker than us, including Sauber, but I hope this was mainly track dependent and that our car will be better suited to the Suzuka track".
Jenson Button: "Turn Three was always going to be something of a mess on the first lap. And, sure enough, there was an incident; a car got hit, went wide and hit me. That contact damaged my front wing endplate. It didn't really cause me too much of a problem in terms of staying with the cars in front, but it really started to hurt the temperatures, so we had to pit for a new nosebox on lap four. That cost me a bit of time.
"Our pace on the Prime tyre was very good, however, and I was able to run two strong stints on the Prime to stay in the hunt. During my second pitstop, the [pit-release] lights went green then went red again, so I briefly stopped as a precaution straight after I was released. I had a quick look behind me to check that everything was okay - everything seemed fine, so I continued.
"Considering those delays, eighth place wasn't a bad result.
"Still, I was a bit gutted to lose seventh right at the end of the race. As soon as I lost the DRS to the bunch of cars in front, that was it for me: I couldn't get any temperature back in the tyres. It was always going to be difficult with Nico [Rosberg] at the end: his tyres were almost 10 laps fresher than mine. I did 33 laps on my final set, whereas the previous set did 18!
"I'm really happy to have picked up those points - four points were about as good as it was going to get today."
Sergio Perez: "We definitely deserved more today - we were very unlucky.
"With regards to my tyre delamination, although that particular set was already quite old, I braked at the same point as normal and got a flat-spot from the lock-up. I'd done 21 laps with that set, when, all of a sudden, the front-right just exploded, destroying the front wing.
"It was lucky, because there weren't any other cars around me. Still, from a team point of view, it's very disappointing for a single incident like this to destroy the good progress we'd made all weekend.
"Regarding Felipe, we were racing very hard trying to get some points - on one occasion, I thought he was going to leave me more space, then he turned in, I tried to brake and we touched a little bit. On the second incident, I thought I had the corner. I'm pleased that the stewards felt there was no need for any further action - it was just racing."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Second place is ok and a good result for the team, but we're here to win and having to fight your way to the front from a bad starting position is not ideal. Qualifying was pretty awful for me, but it's difficult to say whether a better grid position would have made the difference. Sebastian was faster than us at the end; not massively, but a little bit for sure and his tyres were fresher too so I think it would have been tough to catch him in any case.
"We were closer to the Red Bull today than we have been in some races, but not close enough. People might say it was good luck with the safety car, but sometimes these things go with you and others they go against you. We made up some places even before that happened, and if we hadn't had the speed then we wouldn't have been in a position to take advantage. You could see at the end that we had more than enough pace to keep the others behind, so I think it's deserved."
Romain Grosjean: "It's a fantastic result for the team. Of course, one step higher on the podium would have been better for me and two steps better would have been superb, but it didn't quite work out that way. Our battle with Lewis [Hamilton] was good and our pace was great, but the two safety car periods hurt our attempts to battle for the win. After the restart I should have been in front of Kimi on the road, but it was my mistake which let him past. I went a bit wide in Turn 15 and got on the Astroturf - which is very slippery - and that let him get a run on me.
"Then there were yellow flags into Turn 3 so I couldn't take the place back straight away. Of course, I was asking the team to let me past Kimi as I was on fresher tyres, but they left us to race which is our philosophy of fair play. You lose so much downforce in sectors two and three and obviously our cars are pretty close on performance so it's pretty hard to pass, but we have to be very happy with a double podium."
Lewis Hamilton: "That was not a great day for us and it feels like we deserved more as a team. After Grosjean got ahead of me at the start, there was no way past and it seemed that we were losing out to other on traction cars all day. In my second stint, running the prime tyre, my right front was just destroyed all of a sudden. When that happens, you start losing temperature, understeering and locking up under braking, so it was really hard to maintain the pace in those laps.
"It was a really difficult part of the race but I had to get to a certain target lap before I made the final stop. After the Safety Car, we were just losing out in traction to the Sauber. Our car was really strong through the middle sector but not quick enough on the straights to stay ahead. It was a nice battle with Fernando but it's hard to take when it's only for P5 or P6. It was just not a good race for us today but we have the chance to bounce back in Suzuka."
Nico Rosberg: "That was another very tough race for me. I couldn't believe what happened with the wing: I was on course for a podium finish after overtaking Lewis and two seconds later, the front wing just broke. It was pretty scary because that could have been a dangerous situation but the engineers told me over the radio that it was under control and I could carry some speed back to the pits.
"It's a shame because the car felt great today and I found a good balance and how to get the most out of the car, which I hadn't managed until this point of the weekend. It's been a real up and down season so far for me but it's good that we have another race in a week's time. Our car is very competitive and I had good pace compared to the cars on the podium. So I'm looking forward to the next races."
Nico Hulkenberg: "Today I drove one of the best races in my career so far. I have had cars in the mirrors before, but today there were a lot and it was a bit annoying. Lewis really put the pressure on at the end, especially in the last sector. I knew I needed to get out of turn one well. The car's traction was very good today, so that kept me alive against Fernando and then Lewis later on. We were also very fast on the straight.
"I had a good start, although on the outside into turn one, which was a loss at first, but then I had a real good slip stream and was able to get past on the outside. A big thank you to the entire team for providing such an excellent car today."
Esteban Gutierrez: "I had a very good start, then I arrived at turn three and saw what was going on. I tried to protect my position, my rears locked and that's why I lost a couple of positions. To recover from that was quite a challenge. I had some good fights with Massa and Checo coming from the back. Of course, I wanted to score points today, but this is racing. It's a great experience and will help me to improve my race craft. We had good pace today and are definitely able to fight in the top ten."
Adrian Sutil: "I was quite unlucky on the first lap because after Massa spun everybody headed for the inside and somebody hit me on the side of my front wing. The damage was not too bad but I still had to pit for a new one. As the race went on I was able to fight back quite well and after the safety car I was in P12 and not planning to pit again.
"At the restart I lost the rear of the car under braking for turn three. I really don't know why because I was not braking late and the car just snapped. I hit Webber so I apologise for ending his race. It's a disappointing end to the race because I believe there was still a chance of a point."
Paul Di Resta: "I have to hold my hands up and apologise to the team. Maybe I took a little bit too much kerb and that's sent me off the track. The way we've set the car up means it has been quite edgy and difficult to drive, and that's what has caught me out today, although whether it has cost us points is hard to say.
"The performance in the race was not where we wanted it to be and the front tyres were wearing out too quickly. So we need to have a rethink ahead of Suzuka and go there determined to have a clean race."
Valtteri Bottas: "I was a bit unlucky with the incident on the first lap as I was blocked and lost a position whereas others were able to make up places. The first stint was difficult as I was struggling with the supersoft tyre, but the pace improved a lot in the second stint on the mediums and the safety cars allowed me to close in on the top ten.
"In the end it was all about making sure we still had the grip in the tyres to fight for some points in the final laps, but I think 12th was a fair result as the cars that finished ahead of us had better pace all weekend."
Pastor Maldonado: "I had a very good first lap, moving up to ninth after an incident at turn three allowed me to make up a lot of places. I tried to maintain my position in the top ten but the safety cars hindered my race today as the cars behind were able to keep closing up behind me, and after the second restart they just had too much pace and were able to overtake.
"It's disappointing not to finish in the points but the end result is a fair reflection of our performance this weekend and we need to work hard to find some gains for the race next weekend in Japan."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "At the moment, we're not quite sure what happened in the end. I felt the car pull to one side and something was clearly not right, so the team called me into the pits. Starting from sixteenth, this was always going to be a difficult weekend and after I made up a few places in the early stages, I began to suffer with tyre degradation, so I agreed when the team decided to switch me from a two to a three stop strategy. I just want to get to Suzuka and start again now, but we will need to do a lot of work if we want to return to the performance level we should have had here."
Daniel Ricciardo: "I think we did all we could today in the race. I had a decent first stint and tried to run as long as possible on the Prime tyre. The car wasn't perfect but it was good enough to be in a points position with a few laps to go and I was hanging on nicely to ninth. It's déjà vu, as I had the same scenario here last year, when I came down to Turn 3 with a few laps to go, I braked and the car immediately shot to the left.
"That time it cost me one place. Once I got out of the cockpit this time, I could see there was a mechanical problem at the front left corner. Personally, I was really pleased with my performance in the car today. Maybe we didn't have a top ten car but I was able to fight in the top ten. But for myself and the team it's frustrating to get no reward. Now all we can do is look ahead to Suzuka."
Charles Pic: "That was a good race for me I had a good, clean start but into turn three I had to go off track to avoid Massa who'd spun and lost a couple of places. I made them up and for both the first and second stints the car balance felt good.
"We'd started on supersofts and they held up well for the first stint so we pitted on schedule and rejoined on a set of new mediums. As I say, the car balance felt good and I was on plan when the first safety car came out so we boxed right away for the second stop and at that stage we were looking at a long final stint to the flag. However, then the second safety car was brought out almost immediately and that obviously helped with the tyre management for the final stint. I did have some issues with the front right for the last few laps but nothing too bad so I got the car to the flag in 14th which is a decent result for us - not quite where we want to be but almost!"
Giedo van der Garde: "My start was great, really strong and when everyone was moving to avoid Massa in turn three I had to push out wide to avoid contact with a few cars around me. I really don't think I'd pushed any other cars out on purpose on lap one but I was told to box for a drive through penalty because of what the stewards saw and from there my race was pretty much over. I served the penalty and then had to box again immediately as the supersofts I'd started on were done, so even though I was up as high as 12th in the first stint I rejoined in 22nd and set about catching up Chilton and Bianchi.
"I was up close to Chilton just when the safety car came out and the team did a great job to help me get past him with a really quick stop on the first safety car lap. That sort of teamwork needs to be mentioned as it plays such a critical role in the overall race, so the boys deserve a thank you for that.
"The second safety car came out almost immediately when Mark's car caught fire and then when we restarted I had a bit of a lock up at the end of the main straight and Bianchi got past, but within a couple more laps I regained the place and was back behind Charles in 17th. I had a flatspot from that point in the race but kept pushing and finally finished in 15th, just behind Charles. Without the drive through I'm sure I could have finished higher, maybe not up in 13th, but close and while that's obviously frustrating today, it shows how close it's getting and that's good for my motivation and the whole team."
Jules Bianchi: "I was hoping to be able to have a good fight with the Caterhams today and despite the setback of the grid penalty I was in a good position after the first couple of corners of the opening lap. It wasn't too long before we had to focus our efforts on tyre management and the first two stints were pretty tough as we were not able to push.
"In the third stint, when there was less to lose, we could give it more of a shot but it was not enough to try to take a position from them. We have a tough job on our hands in these next five races and it will require every bit of our focus and concentration, but we know what we have to do and everyone is working very hard for that. My thanks to the Team as it is not just tough in the cockpit!"
Max Chilton: "Overall, a good Team result today as we achieved the right outcome for our bigger picture. I think we were lacking a little in terms of our expected race pace but also we were unable to really push because of the need to manage our way through each stint with the tyres.
"The opening lap melée set me back a little but then I caught back up to Jules and the two safety cars meant that we never had the blue flag situation to worry about. The pit stops were really slick and I think we did everything we could. We are much closer to the Caterhams, we know that, but we need to be able to carry that through into the race to make things a little more comfortable."