Skip to content

2014 Japanese GP - driver reaction

The drivers have their say on a race overshadowed by Bianchi's crash

The drivers have their say on a race overshadowed by Jules Bianchi's crash.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel: “Everything that happened with the racing on track is secondary today, one of us is in a bad shape and we don’t yet know how he is. Jules had a bad accident and we hope to have some very good news, very soon. Not knowing what’s going on feels terrible, I think all the drivers really feel with him, as we know how difficult and slippery it was today; we hope for the very best.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “Right now we’re all thinking about Bianchi and that’s the biggest concern for us. We heard he had a pretty big crash and it’s not nice when we don’t know if the driver is okay. The race was tricky, it wasn’t going too badly and the set-up we had for yesterday paid off. We tried a few different things with the strategy, but Bianchi is my main concern at the moment.”


Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton explains how the conditions continually changed during the Japanese GP.

Lewis Hamilton: “Our first thoughts go to Jules - it overshadows everything else when one of our colleagues is injured and we are praying for him. Next to this, the race result doesn't seem significant at all. Nico and I had a tough battle, we were pushing really hard. I had a big moment at Turn One when I was too late getting off the DRS as I was just pushing so hard but fortunately I was able to get back on track. 

“The conditions were difficult throughout but I had more pace than Nico today and could follow him quite comfortably in the early stages. This is not an easy circuit for following another car or for overtaking, but he made a mistake out of the last corner and I was able to pass. The whole approach then needed to change to look after the tyres and make sure I stayed in the lead until the end of the race. But like I said, that's not what matters today; our thoughts are with Jules.”

Nico Rosberg: “My thoughts are with our colleague Jules and his family and team-mates, and we are hoping for some positive news. Today was a really tough race with the wet conditions. I struggled a lot with the balance of my car on the intermediate tyres, so I had to push hard to keep Lewis behind me. I had a lot of oversteering which is why the rear end of my car was very nervous. 

F1 Midweek Report

“That was really strange and I didn't have the necessary confidence in the corners; we need to look into that in the next few days. It meant that Lewis was quicker today and deserved the win. It was damage limitation with losing only seven points to him. For the team it was a good result with another1-2.”

More from Japanese Gp 2014


Fernando Alonso: “It was a real shame losing the opportunity to take part in this race because, with nothing to lose in terms of the championship, I could have taken a few more risks and maybe aimed for the podium. I still don’t know what caused the unfortunate technical problem, only that suddenly, the car lost all its electrics, maybe down to a short circuit caused by the rain. 

“Now, in the four remaining races, the priority is still to pick up as many points as possible, because we are still aiming for third place in the Constructors’ classification. On that front, it could be good that we can count on using this engine which did hardly any distance today, thus not having to use a new one which would mean starting one of the remaining races from the pit lane. However, the only good news we want right now relates to Jules Bianchi. I hope that we hear very soon that he’s alright.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall, this was a very disappointing weekend. I had set-up problems right from the first day and again today in the race I didn’t manage to drive the way I would have liked. After the start behind the Safety Car, the track conditions were pretty atrocious and visibility was very poor, but my car was handling okay. 

“Then, when the rain eased, I fitted the Intermediate tyres, but after a few laps, they were no longer up to temperature and they began to give me problems at the front end, which meant I had to slow down. Now, we will try and resolve this problem as quickly as possible and aim to improve, starting with the very next race, but more importantly right now, let’s hope we get some good news about Jules Bianchi soon.”


Romain Grosjean: “Firstly, my thoughts are with Jules and I hope he is not seriously hurt. It was a difficult race out there. The start under the safety car was in very wet conditions when the spray made it difficult to see and the amount of water on track meant we were aquaplaning a lot, so it was sensible to red flag the race. After the restart, conditions were much better, but then the rain returned and it was difficult to be on the right tyres and find the grip we wanted. The car seemed quite good at times but we also used up our tyres quite quickly, so it was a big challenge today.”

Pastor Maldonado: “It was a tricky race from the very beginning. I think we were doing quite well, trying to anticipate what others would do strategy-wise, and we recovered some places. There was a big battle at the back, quite tricky because the visibility was not so good. We were able to make some good moves, but equally you had to be very careful about where to push. Most importantly, my thoughts and prayers are with Jules tonight, I hope he is okay.”


Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Thoughts in the paddock are with Marussia driver Jules Bianchi following the Japanese GP.

Jenson Button: “For me, the race doesn’t really matter today. 

“I haven’t seen anything of Jules’ accident, but the most important thing to say is that all our thoughts are with him, his family, and his team right now. 

“It’s an accident that you hope never happens in Formula 1.”

Kevin Magnussen: “Let’s really hope that Jules is okay. It’s such a bad feeling when something like this happens, so let’s hope and pray for him. 

“We did the best we could today, but we had an unfortunate problem with the steering wheel, which basically dropped me out of the race. I tried my best to come back, and get some points, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible to do so.”

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg: “Up until the final laps my race was going pretty well: I had good pace and a good feeling with the car. We made some progress early on, pitted late and we were able to jump a few cars in the first stop. I can't say it was a very eventful afternoon for me; I was on my own for most of the time. 

“The conditions were pretty difficult right from the start: visibility was pretty poor, even if you were in the first half of the pack. It was probably the same for everyone because it's always a challenge in the wet. When the final safety car came out we decided to pit again as I had already been out on those tyres for a long time and I needed new rubber to finish the race. 

“I am happy to get points after a difficult Saturday; we made up for it today. Suzuka is a difficult track to race on in the wet because there are lots of places where you can aquaplane and have a moment. I didn't see what happened in the accident that ended the race, but I hope Jules is OK.”

Sergio Perez: “The conditions were very difficult today. When we started the race I could not even see the car ahead of me. To begin with, it was just a race to avoid aquaplaning and trying to keep the car on the track because the visibility was very poor. Our strategy was working quite well, but I think we were unlucky to make our final stop, which dropped me down a couple of positions. Like everybody my thoughts are with Jules and I hope we hear some good news soon.”


Esteban Gutierrez: “I think it was the right decision to stop the race. I really hope that Jules (Bianchi) will be ok. Regarding my race, I fought all the way from the beginning to the end. The conditions were very challenging and it was difficult to get into the rhythm straight away.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sauber’s Adrian Sutil crashed at the same corner as Jules Bianchi and feels the race could have been stopped sooner.

Adrian Sutil: “My thoughts are with Jules who went off in the same place as I did. Everything else is irrelevant at this point in time. Everybody in the paddock should think of him, and I hope that he is in good hands. It was a difficult race in difficult conditions.”

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne: “I was very happy about my race until I was informed about Jules’ accident. Getting some news about him is all that matters at the moment. As for myself, starting from the back of the grid and ending up in the points at the end is a great achievement. Today, in such racing conditions, it was really difficult not to make mistakes, while driving as fast as possible, trying to be quick, but I believe that myself and the team did an excellent job." 

Daniil Kvyat: “The only important thing this evening is that I hope Bianchi will be ok. It was a tricky race today with the rain. The general performance of the car was good, but unfortunately our strategy didn’t quite work out and with the safety car and red flag towards the end of the race, my chances for a points finish were gone.”


Valtteri Bottas: “It was not an easy race for us today, however we still got some points which is good. The car wasn’t great in the wet but we made the most of the strategy and extracted what we could. We are missing pace in the corners and so conceded a lot of time. It was a surprise to see the Red Bull so quick, in the dry we would have fared better. I really hope Jules is ok after the incident and that it is nothing serious.”

Felipe Massa: “The race was very difficult today, I suffered at the start with aquaplaning and towards the end it started to get dark as the rain fell again. The Red Bulls were too fast for us today, especially on the intermediate tyre, so there was no chance we could defend. My main focus at the moment is that Jules is ok though.”


Marcus Ericsson: “It was a crazy one! Today’s weather made it a difficult race – the track was undriveable at the beginning behind the Safety Car, that’s why they red-flagged it. Unfortunately, I had a spin and I lost all my advantage from yesterday because of it, which was a big disappointment. 

“But after that I think I drove a fantastic race, our pace was very strong and I just had to redo the job I did yesterday and overtake all the guys again, and that’s what I did. I overtook them one by one and we even had the pace to fight with the rivals ahead of us, so we should be really pleased with the speed and the pace we had today. 

“Result wise, we should not be pleased because we want to be higher up and with the speed we had we could’ve achieved this today, but it’s definitely a step forward and something to build on in the upcoming races. Overall, we can be very happy! I hope Jules wasn’t badly injured in his accident, all thoughts are with him.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “First of all I’d like to say that I hope Jules is okay and that his crash wasn’t too bad. Today’s race was a difficult one for me; overall I think I didn’t have enough pace. 

“Unfortunately my home Grand Prix didn’t really work out as I would’ve liked it to, but today was okay and it was amazing to see all the fans in the grandstands even though it hasn’t stopped raining all day – they are just incredible and they gave me a big boost and I want to thank every one of them! 

“The crazy weather made it a bit hard, but we managed to fight. Marcus also did a very good job. The team can be pleased with our overall performance, we are improving.”

Around Sky