2014 German Grand Prix - Driver reaction
The 22 drivers have their say on the action at Hockenheim
By William Esler
Last Updated: 20/07/14 6:45pm
The 22 drivers have their say on the action at Hockenheim where Nico Rosberg took victory to extend his championship lead.
Sebastian Vettel: “It was fun with Fernando today – we started maybe where we left off in Silverstone! It was quite entertaining the first half of the race and at one point it was quite tight with both the Ferraris, but we managed to stay ahead.
“The second stop was a bit too close and Fernando was able to pass without too many difficulties, which put us on the back foot, but we decided to be a bit more aggressive towards the end and make sure we got the undercut and then we could put some gap between us, which was crucial for us as we were quite tight in terms of fuel towards the end of the race. I think that was the best we could get today. Daniel just missed passing Fernando at the end unfortunately.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “That was awesome fun, one of my most enjoyable races I’ve had. I mean, not on the first lap, obviously, that was just the wrong place at the wrong time. I wasn’t as worse off as Massa and hopefully he is okay. I was on the outside and the collision happened, I had to avoid it and went pretty far down the field, I don't know exactly how far back.
“From then on I just got on to the radio and said let's make an amazing recovery and make ourselves proud today. And I think we did that, we fought hard and we didn't leave anything on the table. These are the moments and battles that I personally thrive off and enjoy. Fernando is known to be a tough fighter and I thought who better to have a good fight with. I was on the Primes and he was on fresher Options and I gave it the best fight I could and, well.. nearly!”
Nico Rosberg: “Wow, what a great day after so many great events for me this week! I came here hoping for a win and it worked out perfectly. My Silver Arrow was so dominant, thanks to the team for this fantastic car.
“Before the race I was worried that without the FRIC system the gap in the race would be smaller. But we were again the quickest out there. I did a two stop strategy, which was difficult to manage at the end of the stints as the tyres were almost gone. I'm so happy for Mercedes; it was the first win for many many years in Germany.
“Thanks for the support here at Hockenheim, the fans were amazing to me. Also at the start I saw a Mexican wave, which was great. Now I look forward to Hungary.”
Lewis Hamilton: “First of all, congratulations to Nico on winning his home race; it's a special feeling and I am very proud that we could put both cars on the podium for Mercedes-Benz in Germany and represent for all the Mercedes employees and fans here this weekend.
“From a personal point of view, I can't be too ecstatic about the race because it has been a tough weekend for me and I've ultimately lost more points to Nico in the championship battle. But I'm grateful that I could limit the damage with a podium finish. When you are sitting on the grid basically in last place, with no other cars in your mirrors, it's very hard to imagine that you could be standing up there two hours later.
“I'm so grateful to the team for this car, I really take my hat off to them for building a machine that can put in that kind of performance. To be honest, it was a pretty straightforward race for me, although I had some trouble following what was going on and where I was running at times. I had a nice battle with Kimi early on, when I was lucky not to damage the front wing, then the incident with Jenson was just unfortunate.
“He has been such a gentleman this year and not given me too much trouble getting past but it was just a misunderstanding today. I wasn't close enough to try and pass but I was on the inside line in the corner. It looked like he had gone wide, then he cut back across the corner and perhaps he didn't see me there. I lost quite a bit of downforce with the damage and it made it very hard to look after the front left tyre.
“I had a lot of understeer and the tyre was degrading fast, which is the reason why we converted from a two-stop strategy to three. Then the team called me in early on the first set of option tyres because we expected a Safety Car to come out - and I was surprised that there wasn't one, to be honest I caught Valtteri pretty fast in the final laps but he just had too much straightline speed to get past.
“I'm doing absolutely everything I can to get back on level terms with Nico in the title battle: I can't focus more or work harder than I am doing right now. This championship is proving a big challenge for me but that's how I love it - and I wouldn't have it any other way."
Fernando Alonso: “We did what we could today and even if as always, we were aiming for a podium finish, the cars ahead of us were just too quick. It was a good race, even if it was very complex, as we decided to change from a two to a three-stop strategy.
“It was not easy fighting while also keeping an eye on consumption and in the end, with the help of newer tyres, getting ahead of Ricciardo meant we finished in the highest position that we were capable of. Here in Hockenheim, we made a small step forward and even if that didn’t translate into lap time, it encourages us to keep trying to improve.
“The aim is still to score points to help the team in the Constructors’ Championship. So now our thoughts turn to Budapest. We will only find out how things will go once we are there, because every circuit is a story in itself.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It’s a real shame the way my race went, because this weekend, I felt more comfortable and today, on fresh tyres, I was going well. Unfortunately, twice I found myself squeezed between two cars and on both occasions my front wing got damaged and that compromised my race.
“Tyre performance dropped more than expected and I had graining on the front left and was losing aerodynamic downforce. On the positive side, I was able to drive the way I like today. I am sure that, but for these problems, things would have worked out differently and I would have been able to finish in the points.”
Romain Grosjean: “We didn’t have an easy start with the soft tyres and I struggled to warm them up after the safety car too, but our overall pace was quite good today. I suffered from a loss of power due to an issue with our cooling system so was asked to switch off the car.
“It’s such a shame as we were on a different strategy from our rivals so we looked like we could be on course for scoring points. Sometimes that’s how it goes in motor racing.”
Pastor Maldonado: “It was a tough race from the beginning; the incident in turn one was quite tricky to avoid but then the pace looked consistent. I did my best to manage the tyre degradation, which was quite high, and we were able to do only two stops.
“Today’s lower temperature helped us there as well. The initial plan included three stops but we had a competitive first stint so we went for plan B which worked well for us today.”
Jenson Button: “I got a good start – I was running as high as sixth in the early stages – so things were looking okay. But I think we got the strategy wrong when we made our second stop. I’m not sure why we stopped so early, but it made it extremely difficult for me to keep the set of tyres alive until the end of the race, which was the plan at that point.
“The strategy didn’t work out for us, which was a shame, but we’ll learn some useful lessons from it.
“When I felt the hit from Lewis [Hamilton, on lap 30], I was a bit surprised. A lot of drivers take a wider entry line into Turn Six in order to get a better exit – perhaps Lewis expected me to let him past, but why would I let anybody through? We were racing.
“We expected more from today.”
Kevin Magnussen: “A real pity: I think I could’ve had a decent race if I hadn’t had the accident at Turn One. I need to see a replay of the accident, but I feel that, if I’d had somewhere to go, then there wouldn’t have been contact with Felipe. I did my best to try and avoid the accident, but there wasn’t much else I could do.
“I spun after that, and had to box to change tyres and the nosebox. Then I spent the first half of the race coming through from the back of the field. Really, it wasn’t the best thing that could happen.
“Still, there are some positives from today – the car behaved extremely well; the rear tyres held on – which is something new for this car, it’s usually a bigger problem to keep the rears alive, but today it was okay.
“I’m happy to come away with some points, but I’m disappointed because we should have scored more. I hope we can be on the pace and get a decent result in Hungary next week.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a difficult race and different to what we expected, mainly due to the lower temperatures with the track being 20 degrees cooler than on Friday. We were expecting a lot of rear degradation, but after a couple of laps it became clear the fronts were the limiting tyres, and that changed the game.
“It was a pretty challenging afternoon and, considering how the car felt, I think we got the maximum from the race. I also had to overcome some engine issues in the middle of the race because there were some hesitations and it was not driving smoothly. It was a good recovery by the team to solve the issue. It was important to score more points and from that point of view I’m feeling satisfied.”
Sergio Perez: “I was hoping for more at the start of the race, but I couldn't make my tyres last as we usually do and I therefore struggled with the balance for most of the day. It was a very strange race; the track changed a lot compared to Friday and it was the front tyres that were suffering from degradation and not the rears.
“Together with the much lower temperatures, it made the car very difficult to drive. These things considered, to come away with a point was a good result in the end, but we we'll need to achieve more at the races coming up to keep fighting in the championship.”
Esteban Gutierrez: “The whole team did a good job over the weekend. From Friday on we developed the car as best we could. However, 14th position is not satisfying. I was fighting the entire race from the beginning to the end, trying to gain positions and keeping cars behind me.
“At the moment we are missing the pace to be able to fight with the others in front of us. There was not much that we could do. We need to keep working and focusing on our performance so we can be more competitive in the next races.”
Adrian Sutil: “It was an exciting race with good battles. I had a lot of fun and it was the first time I could keep up with some other drivers. It is positive as our car was more competitive this weekend. Suddenly, after my last pit stop, I lost power and when I entered the Motodrom I thought the engine would switch off. In the last corner I had a similar problem, then I spun and this time the engine did switch off. It is certainly frustrating, but at the moment we have to come to grips with it.”
Jean-Eric Vergne: "I was having a good race until the moment in which I had to make a five seconds stop-and-go penalty during my second pit stop, which compromised any possibility of scoring points. After it, I came back to the track on the option tyres, which are very fragile in traffic conditions. Very soon my front left was too damaged and I was forced to stop again for prime tyres to finish the race. I think points were possible here, the race was looking great so it's been a real shame."
Daniil Kvyat: “It’s a shame how my race ended today, especially because yesterday went very well. My first stint was looking okay until the contact with Perez, which made me lose ground. I think I didn’t look after my tyres well enough during the second stint, in which I tried to catch up and get back some positions.
“The final stint was looking good in terms of pace, but I suddenly lost drive and I then saw smoke and later flames in the mirrors. I started to feel really hot in the car, so I parked it and jumped out as quickly as possible. It’s not a nice situation to be in, but I’m now more concerned about the car than anything else. I hope everything will be ok and I will now switch my focus to Hungary, where I hope we can do better.”
Valtteri Bottas: “I am really happy with the way the race went today. As a team we have been unlucky not to have both drivers on the podium as we had the pace. To keep a Mercedes behind at the end of the race was promising showing that it is possible, and the car is very strong. The engineers shared a lot of information with me about the tyres and where Hamilton was and that team work was the key to the good result.”
Felipe Massa: “Luckily I am ok but I am not happy. I was in front going into the corner, and so to have another race ended by another driver is not easy. I am doing my best, the team are doing their best, and we just aren’t getting the chances we need. Going into the first corner I was near to Valtteri but had to back off to stop an accident, sadly some others didn’t do the same. I am obviously very disappointed. Well done to Valtteri, it shows we have the car to get on the podium.”
Jules Bianchi: “I had an issue at the start and dropped to the back but I got back ahead of Kobayashi and Max in a few laps and I was happy for that. Then the race went pretty well for me. I could keep everyone behind me and I was quite a bit quicker than the cars behind, so the only factor was that we were not quick enough to catch the Saubers.
“As we know, this is something we have to work on. So, the race was how we expected really. The balance changed a little because of the different temperatures today but otherwise fine and a good team result with us retaining our championship position.”
Max Chilton: “I got a good start and managed to avoid the Turn 1 incident but after that my race was not so good. We changed the strategy to try to get ahead of Kobayashi but it didn’t work out for us. I was giving it everything but not getting enough back from the car, so we have a few things to work on before Hungary.
“We seem to have lost a little bit everywhere with the changes we have made to the car prior to this race, so it will be a short but busy week ahead to try to regain that ground.”
Kamui Kobayashi: "At the start I managed to avoid Bianchi who was slow off the line but I was behind Chilton going into turn one. After the safety car went back in Bianchi managed to get ahead so I focused on pushing to the first stop where really good work from the pitstop crew helped me jump Chilton, and I held that place comfortably up to the second stop on lap 32.
"The car balance was ok - there was a bit of understeer, less than on the supersofts I'd started on, but I didn't have the outright pace to catch the cars ahead. When we boxed again the guys did another great stop and helped put some more time between Chilton and me so I didn't have to push the second set of softs too hard on the first few laps of the third stint.
"I pulled away from Chilton and then when Sutil span we boxed for the last time to finish the race on another set of supersofts. 16th was about as much as we could have done today - we didn't quite have the performance to catch Bianchi so now it's on to Hungary next week for the last race before the August break."
Marcus Ericsson: "I started from the pitlane so it was always going to be a struggle today. Obviously the safety car on lap one helped but I had to serve the ten second stop / go we'd incurred for breaking parc fermé rules last night after the issue with the power unit straight after the safety car came in, and from that point I was having to try and play catch up for the whole race.
"My first pitstop was on lap 18, going from supersofts to softs for the second stint, and when I rejoined the blue flags for the leaders meant I started losing more time and there wasn't anything I could do to try and make up time to the cars ahead. My laptimes were pretty good, relative to the pace we could manage today, so I just kept pushing, right up to the second stop on lap 41 by which time that set was done.
"We went back out on supersofts for the final stint and I was told I could push to the flag. I made up some time on the Marussia ahead but with about five laps left that set was completely gone so I couldn't close the gap up enough to fight Chilton and finished the race in 18th."