2014 United States GP - driver reaction
The 18 drivers have their say on the action in Austin
By William Esler
Last Updated: 03/11/14 6:10am
The 18 drivers have their say on the action in Austin where Lewis Hamilton took his tenth victory of the season.
Daniel Ricciardo: “I’m happy with that. I could see the Mercedes for the first part of the race which was really cool, I don’t know if they were just chilling, but we seemed to have good pace. It was great to get ahead of the Williams and to get onto the podium. The start wasn’t very good, I have to put my hand up to that one, but the recovery was good so we didn’t really lose out. The pit stops were really good, Red Bull is known for being awesome in the pits and they showed it today.”
Sebastian Vettel: “The first half of the race wasn’t so good. The second half it came more alive and we were able to make up some ground with a pit-stop near the end of the race. We decided to go for fresh tyres with only a few laps to go, so we were in a stronger position at that point compared to others who were struggling on older tyres and the pace was better. The low downforce set up was good for passing, but it made it difficult to stay close to people.”
Lewis Hamilton: “What an incredible place this is to go racing. We have such great support here and I have to say a massive thanks to the fans who have been awesome all weekend. I'm really grateful to have had the opportunity to be out front here. It's a very special feeling to have such an amazing car, an amazing team and to be on this incredible run.
“It's been an unbelievable job from the team all year so a big thanks to everyone here at the track and at the factories back home. We managed to correct the problems from qualifying today which was great and I pushed as hard as I could. For the overtake, I just stayed as close as possible to Nico and waited for the moment to be just close enough to throw it up the inside. This is a good circuit to be able to follow another car but it's still not easy. You have to judge the risk in these situations but I felt confident I could pull it off.
“Once I got past Nico, it was just about controlling the race. I'm very, very proud to now hold the record for the most Formula One wins for a British driver. I have to say, though, it's all thanks to the team and the car we have this year that I've been able to reach that landmark so quickly. Ten wins in a season is just... well, wow!”
Nico Rosberg: “It was a tough day for me and it feels horrible to finish second after starting from pole. The conditions were very different compared to yesterday and it took me too long to find my rhythm at the beginning. In Formula One it is all about adapting quickly, but it just took me too long.
“Only 10 laps after Lewis passed me, I got it right and was able to push much more. Lewis just did a better job today, so congratulations to him. It's getting tougher but there is still a chance for the title and everything can happen. I'm still going to be pushing flat out just as I always have. I never give up.”
Fernando Alonso: “Today went more or less as expected, with the cars ahead of us being very quick, clearing off immediately after the start. After a good start, we tried to manage our sixth place, with a view to the Constructors’ Championship, in which it was important to finish ahead of the McLarens.
“The strategy was the best possible, coming in for the first pit stop at the right moment. For the second one, we tried to go long to fit the Softs and go quicker. I think this season has been very complicated and regardless of the car’s performance in these final races, I want to do my utmost to score points and help my team.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “This weekend was very complicated and again today in the race, I wasn’t able to give my maximum. Up to the first stop, the car behaved well, but after fitting the Mediums the situation got tricky, with higher degradation than expected, so I lacked grip and after a few laps I began to have problems with the front end.
“I tried to save the tyres in any way possible, slowing in some parts of the track and turning into the corners, but even so I had to take on a set of Softs earlier than expected, which meant I had to make a third stop in the closing stages. Now we will continue to work to try and solve our problems. It won’t be easy, but we won’t give up all the way to the end of the last race.”
Romain Grosjean: “The race was really good, I enjoyed it. On the soft tyres, the car was quick; I could follow the Ferraris, and on prime it was a bit more difficult but still enjoyable. Fighting with JB was very very tight but definitely good fun.
“It was less amusing with Jean-Eric though, he broke my front wing and he broke my rear floor which made the car pretty difficult to drive afterwards. I wasn’t very happy about that as the incident cost me P8. On the plus side, it’s good to be back in the points with Pastor, it’s just a shame not to have been there too.”
Pastor Maldonado: “It was a great fight from the very beginning; it felt good, the strategy was good and the car pace was surprisingly good! We were fully focused, keeping the pace and managing the tyres. We did lose out in the slow-speed corners but we were very competitive in the medium and high speed turns throughout the first and last sector.
“That meant we could recover the time lost in the slow ones so we were in the mix. Overtaking was challenging because of the speed we have but we still took the fight to others for position which was great. Let’s keep pushing like that; I think we can do a good job in the next two races.”
Kevin Magnussen: “Eighth position isn’t a fantastic result, but I honestly don’t think we could have got much more out of the car this afternoon.
“It’s a shame that Jenson lost out on a points finish at the end – I guess he must have run out of tyres – but I was fortunate enough to be slightly farther up the road, which enabled me to keep ahead of the cars chasing me down. Fortunately, therefore, I didn’t lose out too much.
“I can’t be too unhappy with today’s result, but it’s not really been a weekend for the team to remember. Still, we now head straight to Brazil for another grand prix in just a few days’ time – I’m really looking to driving at Interlagos, which looks like a fantastic racetrack, and I very much hope we can have a better weekend there.”
Jenson Button: “I just went backwards today. The only fun bit of the afternoon was my fight with Fernando. But, apart from that, it was pretty dull out there.
“It’s unusual for our car to suffer tyre degradation as damaging as we did today, and I experienced particularly significant issues with the rears. Their surface temperatures were getting really hot, yet their core temperatures were dropping. That meant we were slipping and sliding around, and as a result I was really struggling compared with the drivers around me.
“Hopefully, Brazil will suit us a little bit better.”
Sergio Perez: “What happened today is really unfortunate. I made a move on Adrian [Sutil] at turn 15 when he left the door open, so I went up the inside. Then Adrian started to close the door and I had to try and brake later than him. By doing so I was unable to avoid contact with Kimi [Raikkonen], which caused me to make contact with Adrian also.
“I just didn’t expect Kimi to be in that position. It’s a big shame because I had a great chance to keep up my run of points finishes and I was determined to do well in such an important race. I feel very sorry for all my fans who came to support me this weekend and I’m disappointed I could not give them a race to remember.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “Unfortunately an early end to my race. I lost drive and had no more power so the team told me over the radio to stop the car. Even before that it had not been an easy race with a very difficult first lap. I was right behind Sergio and Adrian when they crashed, and Sergio’s front wing just happened to fall right in front of my car. I ran over it, which caused damage to my car and the tyres. I dived into the pits and lost quite a lot of track position.
“After that I was running behind the McLarens on a similar strategy with the plan to run the softs at the end of the race. It’s always disappointing to end a race with retirement but fortunately we have the next race in seven days so I will soon be back in the car. Sao Paulo is one of my favourite races and hopefully we can have a better weekend there.”
Esteban Gutierrez: “It was challenging to get the tyres to work after the safety car period. We lost quite a lot of time on this run. It is tricky when you have to push every lap of the race. Not being able to manage the tyres as other drivers do put us in a critical situation. I did my best and fought through the whole race. From now on we have to keep our focus on Brazil and Abu Dhabi, where I believe we will get the chance to score points.”
Adrian Sutil: “Unfortunately, it was a short race. I had a good start and was in a promising position. Sadly Sergio (Perez) crashed into my car, which was completely needless. It is very disappointing that we missed our biggest chance of points because of this move.”
Jean-Eric Vergne: “It was an exciting race, but difficult at the same time. In the final stages I absolutely wanted to gain positions. I saw the opportunity to overtake Romain (Grosjean) and I decided to go for it. When he closed the door it was just too late. At the end, this is racing and you have to fight as much as you can. I like fighting, so it was good fun. It’s great to be in the points, especially after a difficult weekend, with not much running. We have the car to do well and I’m happy that we do not have to wait too much before being back in the car next week in Brazil, where hopefully we’ll be able score more points.”
Daniil Kvyat: “We were competitive today and we deserved to score some points here in Austin. We had a fantastic pace until the last part of the Grand Prix when I managed to overtake Raikkonen, but unfortunately I damaged my front left tyre during the fight. I had too many vibrations and I had to pit again. It could have been a fantastic race and it's obviously disappointing when towards the end everything goes wrong. We couldn't have done anything better, but sometimes that's how it goes. I’m looking forward to Brazil, where hopefully we can achieve a better result.”
Felipe Massa: “I had a very good start to get up to third place and we showed strong pace throughout the race, but unfortunately a slower than normal pitstop allowed Ricciardo to jump me and this could have cost us a podium which was possible.
“These things happen though and the team have been operating at a very high level with pitstops this season so we need to quickly move on from this one. On the whole we need to see this as a positive weekend as we have scored more points than our rivals in the Constructors’ Championship and we have good momentum for the final two races of the season.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Overall we have managed to secure some good points and increased our lead over Ferrari for third in the Constructors’ Championship, but there are a number of things we can learn from today. I had a bit of clutch slip at the beginning which allowed Ricciardo to jump me in the first corner.
“The Red Bull’s also had better tyre management and could run at a better pace for longer, so that made it difficult to catch Ricciardo after he jumped me at the pitstops. At this point in the season we’re trying to maximise our points haul and this has been a solid result that puts us in a good position headed into Brazil.”