2014 Singapore GP - driver reaction
The 22 drivers have their say on a thrilling race under the lights
By William Esler
Last Updated: 21/09/14 6:23pm
The 22 drivers have their say on a thrilling race under the lights in Singapore where Lewis Hamilton took victory.
Sebastian Vettel: “It’s a circuit I like here, the atmosphere‘s great and it’s a tough event. I had a good start and got past Daniel and had a decent race. We played a bit with strategy after we got undercut by Alonso, the safety car came at the worst time for us but we made the tyres work at the end which was tough.
“There was no point fighting Lewis at the end, he was on fresh tyres and I had to manage mine to the end as they were pretty old by then; that was the focus. It was nice to get the cold champagne on the podium.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “We were really close to the Mercedes in qualifying and we expected the race pace to be a bit faster today to be honest. We weren’t quick enough in the first stint and we had a few other issues going on, with brakes and some power issues that were coming and going, but in terms of points we still got a good handful to take away from here.
“It actually feels a bit like a home race here. Singapore to Perth is like Melbourne to Perth, so for West Australians it’s not too far. Suzuka is in two weeks and that’s another track we can be optimistic for, so I’m looking forward to that. All in all it was a solid weekend.”
Lewis Hamilton: “It was great to come here after winning in Monza and start the final leg of the season with such a competitive car. It would have been a really hardcore race if Nico had been at the front, as we clearly had the pace. It was all running pretty comfortably until the Safety Car came out, which gave me some problems.
“I was driving hard to build the gap but then the tyres started dropping off and I wasn't sure what to do - keep pushing or back off to look after them. So we pitted straight away and I came out behind Seb. But I knew they were on a two-stop strategy and that his tyres were old. I went for it down the back straight - the gap was pretty small and maybe I could have chosen another point on the circuit. But I luckily squeezed through and made it stick.
“Of course, it's not an ideal result with Nico retiring, so that shows we still have work to do to get on top of reliability. But it's been a great job from the team at everyone at the factories to make this mega car. Now we need to keep pushing hard for Japan in two weeks' time.
Nico Rosberg: “The problems with my steering wheel began in the garage even before the race and it was a difficult moment when I couldn't pull away from the grid - the car didn't get out of neutral. When I left the pit-lane, I was only able to change gear - there was no radio, no DRS and reduced Hybrid power.
“We were hoping that the systems might come back to life, like the radio did, and that we could change the situation. But after we changed the wheel another time, we had to retire the car. It was a tough day for me and unfortunately another reliability problem for the team. It was at least something good for the team that Lewis was able to take the win. Now we need to analyse what happened and to optimise everything further because reliability is our issue this year.”
Fernando Alonso: “With hindsight, it’s easy to ask oneself how things would have gone if I hadn’t made a mistake at the start and the Safety Car hadn’t come out when it did, but overall I’m pleased with this weekend, because we were competitive and were able to fight with the front runners. Sometimes, a Safety Car can help but I think that today on this front, we were a bit unlucky, because at that moment, we were trying to make sure of second place and our strategy was good.
“We didn’t have much of an alternative, because if we had stayed out, the probability was that the stop for the Softs would have cost us more places. Even if in the end, I wasn’t able to get past, the fact we were competitive right to the finish confirms we have made a step forward. Now, in Suzuka, a real circuit, we will have a clearer picture of where we are.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today’s race was really frustrating, because despite the fact we were quick, we weren’t able to finish where we wanted. My start was good, I moved up a few places and everything was working perfectly. After the first stop, I lost a place to Felipe and from then on, I found myself stuck behind a Williams for the entire race.
“Unfortunately, every time I managed to get close, I lost aero performance on the rear and on top of that, tyre degradation was very high. It’s a real shame I was never able to run my race, even if we already knew that straightline speed is our opponents’ strong point. I’m not happy with eighth place, but on the positive side, we have seen improvements this weekend. I’m sure that if, from now on, we don’t have problems, things will go better.”
Romain Grosjean: “It was hot out there; things were looking pretty alright until the safety car, we were fighting for points. Unfortunately, I tried to attack too hard on the restart. I wanted to give it everything and with cold soft tyres after a slow safety car period, it was just too much once at the corner. From then on, I couldn’t pass back up through the field to get points.”
Pastor Maldonado: “We got the maximum out of our performance today and we had a strong consistent race. I’m pretty happy about this after the issues we had earlier in the weekend. I pitted once more than the others during the safety car period but it didn’t affect my position. It was a tough race, especially the last ten laps where the tyres needed a lot of managing, but I think we were able to do a great race today.”
Kevin Magnussen: “It was a very, very tough grand prix.
“During the race, I don’t know if there was something wrong with the car, but my seat started getting very hot, which made things extremely uncomfortable for me.
“Without that, I think we could have done better than 10th, but at least we got that one point. It’s better than nothing.
“It was the hardest point I’ve ever earned.”
Jenson Button: “I was cueing things up for the end of the grand prix: I’d been looking after the tyres for the whole stint, and I knew the last five laps were when things were going to get tricky for Valtteri ahead of me.
“I’d just switched the car into a different mode, and the chase was starting to get quite exciting. Then, a few corners later, the car just died going into the hairpin. Going across the bridge, it just turned off, so I had to stop.
“I’d been really looking forward to the end of the race, because I definitely think I’d have got past Valtteri. But it just didn’t work out – I was pretty unlucky.”
Sergio Perez: “The race really had everything for me and the final laps were very enjoyable. I was very happy with our performance today and, most importantly, we finished ahead of our direct competitors.
“Those in front of me at the end had big tyre degradation, but this affected me as well. When I caught the train ahead I didn’t have much grip either and this made each one of the overtakes a bit more difficult. We managed our tyres perfectly and to go from P15 to P7 was the reward we deserved. It was a great result for the team; they did a fantastic job with the strategy and it worked very well for both Nico and me.
“Today was one of those results where the race gives you a fantastic feeling: it’s more than just scoring the points - it’s about how you gained the result. Everything gets thrown at you but you don't give up and come back strongly to get the points.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s good to be in the points and from a team perspective it’s been a successful day. This is always a difficult race, especially from a strategic point of view, and maybe we could have achieved even more today.
“After the safety car I had to do a 30-lap stint on the soft tyres and like most of the cars ahead I was running out of grip towards the end of the race. With hindsight it would have been better to pit again for fresh tyres and we probably could have finished even higher up, but it’s always a difficult decision for the team with the information we had at the time. The good news is that we got two cars home in the points.”
Esteban Gutierrez: “There is not much to say about the race. At the moment it is almost impossible to achieve good results. We have to extract 120 percent from what we have, but with these issues we are having it makes things complicated.
“There is nothing that I can do to guard against these problems at the moment. We have to look forward to the next races and need to take every chance that we get. Keep fighting will be the most important objective for us as a team at the moment.”
Adrian Sutil: “It is very frustrating to retire again due to a technical failure. Today we were in a good position to score points. It was a difficult race, as we had problems with the engine at the beginning.
“However, we were able to fix it and continue with our planned strategy. Regarding the contact with Sergio (Perez), there is not much to say besides that suddenly he drove into the back of the car. Luckily the car was not damaged.”
Jean-Eric Vergne: "It feels great. It was a fantastic race and I'm extremely happy, especially considering the two 5 second penalties. I had to push as much as possible in the last laps and pull away and this is what I've done. I had a lot of fun overtaking the ones in front of me, an incredible race.
“I did a mistake yesterday in Qualifying and I said to the team that I would have done everything for them to forgive me today and I think I could manage it in the end. So I'm really happy also for the guys, they gave me a good car and the 6th place repays their big effort, we deserved it. I'm really confident we can have a good end of the season together and I'm looking forward to Japan, where we also have some updates. Hopefully we can improve even further."
Daniil Kvyat: “It was a very tough race today in which I had to fight more with myself than with the cars around me. The car was quite difficult to drive and it was sliding a lot. It was also hard work to take care of the tyres.
“Unfortunately I also had a problem with my drink system, so I was without water for the whole race, which definitely made it a much tougher race. I think points could have been possible, so well done to JEV, who did a great job today!"
Felipe Massa: “We changed the strategy from a three-stop to a two-stop after the long safety car period, and the final stint was pushing the tyre to the absolute limit but I managed to make it work. The grip levels were very low in the final few laps but I had a big enough gap to sixth place to ease the car home.
“Given the nature of the track, fifth was probably the best position we could have hoped for this weekend, but I am of course disappointed for the team that Valtteri’s tyres were not able to hold on until the end.”
Valtteri Bottas: After the safety car we moved to a two-stop strategy and in the end the tyres just weren’t able to hold on. In the final lap I had a big lock up in the rear tyres when I was defending and after that I had no grip and cars could easily sweep past.
“I also had an issue with the power steering in the final stint and this made it harder to keep the tyres alive as I lost a lot of feeling in the car. If I hadn’t had this issue then I might have been able to go until the end. Obviously I’m disappointed not to finish in the points but we can take a lot of positives from this weekend as we looked competitive at a track that is less suited to our car and we have kept third place in the Constructors’ Championship.”
Jules Bianchi: “Today was not the easiest of days for us, but at least there were some positives to take away. We were closer to the Lotus of Maldonado and also to the Sauber of Sutil, so at least we are back to a more typical delta to those teams on this type of circuit. It is disappointing that we were unable to get past Ericsson due to brake wear issues.
“It was quite a demanding race as there were a lot of factors that we had to manage, particularly the brakes. The safety car after Perez’s accident brought the pack back together so any advantage was lost, particularly as we struggled on the prime tyre.”
Max Chilton: “A tough and complicated race, which also had its fair share of bad luck. I had a stall in the pit lane at the start of the reconnaissance lap and had to return to the garage. I got a good start and almost got Ericsson, then lost time to him when, unusually, Rosberg got past and stayed between us for quite a chunk of the first stint.
“I made my first pit stop and then had to come in again soon after, when we suffered a puncture due to a valve issue on the front right wheel. This upset our strategy as we switched to the prime tyre earlier than expected. The problem was made worse when the Safety Car came out halfway through the race at a point where I was unable to benefit and that left us compromised for the final stint on the option.”
Marcus Ericsson: “What a race! One of the best of my season so far, I have no doubt about it. I’m very pleased and happy for the whole team – this result is a great way of saying thank you for all the hard work and effort they put in yesterday. We can be very happy as we beat our closest rivals fair and square after having struggled quite a lot to keep up with them this weekend. We maximised our performance today. We followed a great strategy and I didn’t make any mistakes. I’m very pleased but we have to carry on working as hard as ever in order to build on this and make progress every race.
“We decided to stay out on the Prime tyres and I knew that Bianchi was going to catch me as he pitted in front of me, so I prepared myself as best as possible for the final four laps. I managed the tyres well and kept him behind. A great effort!”
Kamui Kobayashi: “What a frustrating way to end the race weekend here in Singapore. During the formation lap, all of a sudden I felt no power and then it smelt as if something was burning. Then I suddenly lost the brakes so I decided to stop the car because it was dangerous and I had nothing to do. I was really looking forward to this race and it’s a shame not to have been able to get out there and fight, but this happens sometimes in motorsport unfortunately."