Spain race – selected team and driver quotes

Fernando Alonso, 6th

“Of course I’d have liked to have done better here in my home race, but I knew right from the start that it would be difficult. Our pace was too slow compared to the leaders and on top of that, not making up any places at the start didn’t help. The gap to the best is nothing new and today’s result confirms the fact our rivals are strong on both the performance and the reliability fronts, but until it is mathematically impossible to catch them we will continue to believe and do all we can to catch up. The decision to go for a three stop strategy was taken in an attempt to cover Vettel, but unfortunately I lost the place at the pit stop and I only managed to make up one on Kimi, who was impossible to pass when we were on the same tyres. In the two weeks to go to the Monaco Grand Prix, we will continue to work day and night: we definitely can’t expect to have a new car, because you can’t achieve a revolution in such a short space of time, but we will do our very best to improve in all areas.”

Kimi Raikkonen, 7th
“That was a complicated race for me, with the main problem being a lack of grip and in general, it was very difficult to find the right balance on the car. Going for a two stop strategy proved to be the wrong choice because tyre degradation meant I couldn’t push all the way to the end. Overall here, we went better than in the last race, maybe because the characteristics of this track are very different to those we have raced on so far, but we cannot be happy with sixth and seventh places, because we are a long way off where we want to be. It will take time, but we will do our utmost, because we know where we must keep pushing if we want to improve.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
“This weekend, which was difficult for the team and the drivers ended with a less than spectacular race in which we unfortunately lacked the pace to make up places from our grid positions. Considering how difficult it is to overtake at this track, the start could have made the difference, but the positions remained more or less the same throughout the order. If fuel consumption wasn’t much of a problem, tyre degradation affected the race from start to finish. Apart from the two Mercedes, the lap times of the various teams were very similar, which meant the chances of being able to carry out or be subjected to an undercut, along with managing the traffic, took priority over the strategy choices. The gap to the leaders is certainly not a surprise and will not discourage us as we tackle the work we must do to improve our car. Now we will try and make the most of the two test days this coming week here in Montmelo to move forward on the development of the F14 T. The aim is to give our drivers a more competitive package.”

Lewis Hamilton, 1st

“It’s fantastic to get my first win here after eight attempts and it’s really difficult to put that feeling into words right now. We have our bosses from Mercedes-Benz here today and it’s great for the team that we were able to give them a one-two finish. In all my career, I’ve never before had a car or a performance gap like this. Nico drove a fantastic race and I struggled to keep him behind, but I just managed it at the end. I had the same problems with the car this afternoon that I found yesterday in qualifying: I couldn’t attack the corners properly because of snap oversteer and that’s where Nico was catching me. I’m just so proud of this team: we are looking very strong and I’m enjoying every moment and every step of the way. There’s still a long way to go this season, though, so we are staying humble, getting our heads down and working hard. I still have a bit more time to find from the car because it’s very, very close with Nico, so I have to keep working on that. But it’s a great feeling to be leading the championship.”

Nico Rosberg, 2nd
“The race was so close at the end today and with one more lap, I could have tried to overtake Lewis for the first time. My start was bad. It is a weakness that we have and we will try to improve. Once it was clear that I was in second place, we chose to go with the slower strategy using the prime tyres in the middle stint to get a shot at Lewis at the end when I was on the options. It was very close but not quite close enough so naturally I’m disappointed but I can take a lot of positives from this weekend. We have an amazing car and my pace was really strong here so I just need to find an extra little edge to capitalise on. The next race is Monaco which is not only my home race but has some great memories from my victory there last year.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
“That was a fantastic afternoon of sport. We have two incredible drivers who are capable of fighting until the last corner of the last lap to achieve success. That was the case again today and they were incredibly closely matched in spite of running different strategies in the race. Their battle is so intense and so close that I am sure it will carry on all the way to the final race. We will savour this victory tonight and enjoy our success – but from tomorrow, our focus is on Monaco. We had a very strong result there last year and our target will be to improve on that this year.”

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)
“Both cars made a great start and got through Turn One cleanly without incident. From then on, it was all about some incredibly close racing between two drivers, with an hour and a half of constant work between them and their engineers to try and find any possible edge. It’s great to watch both sides of the garage working so well to get the best for their driver. Lewis and Nico both delivered great drives and to see a gap of 0.6s after 66 laps of flat out racing just about sums it up. I would like to thank all the team in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart for the huge effort that went into creating such a competitive car at this pivotal and very difficult race of the season. We are now looking forward to Monaco which brings some very different challenges for us to tackle.”

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat, 14th

“To be honest it was quite a difficult race today. We lacked pace, even though I must say that the first stint was quite positive and it seemed possible to even fight for some points. In the end, tyre wear was quite heavy and together with the lack of pace, it turned out to be a tough race. The opening lap was okay and there were lots of battles, in which I managed to overtake a few cars on the outside line and by the end of the first stint I even managed to close in on both Force India cars. But unfortunately it was not enough and even when I put on a fresh set of option tyres for the last stint and overtake a couple of cars towards the end of the race, it was not possible to make it into the points today.”

Jean-Eric Vergne, DNF
“Somebody has asked me if I feel a bit persecuted by bad luck at the moment. It might look like this, but this is part of the game. I always do all I can, my team is working really hard and problems can happen. For the ten grid positions penalty I don’t blame anyone. When I crash the car it’s the team that pays my mistake, so this is part of racing. Today I was really determined in having a good race, against all odds. The first stint was quite difficult as I had a front left brake problem which caused front locking, but the pace was really looking strong on the option tyres, until an exhaust problem put an end to my race. I’m still very positive that I will have my chance. I drive a Formula One car and I enjoy doing it, no matter what! This race weekend is now behind my back, we have the test session here next week and Monaco is just around the corner. My team and I will once again put all our efforts together to have a good weekend there.”

Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal
“We struggled during the whole weekend here in Barcelona, without being able to achieve the pace that we were expecting. In both qualifying and the race we couldn’t build up the speed to go into Q3 and to finish in the points today with Daniil. As for Jean-Eric, unfortunately we had to call him in soon after his first pit stop because of a problem to the exhaust system. Now we will work very hard to prepare the car for a better performance in Monaco.”

Kamui Kobayashi, DNF

“My start was pretty good and I was up to 18th by the end of lap one having passed Chilton, but I couldn’t keep Maldonado or Vergne behind me and lost places to them by lap five so just focused on my own race. The car felt okay but I still had the same traction issues as we’d had all weekend so it was still a bit of a handful, but the deg levels on the first set of medium tyres that we’d started with were good so we could run a very long first stint, finally boxing on lap 23 for another set of mediums.

“The car felt better on the second set of tyres and I was able to make up some time to Bianchi ahead, but then on lap 44 I had a pretty scary moment going into Turn 1 when the left front brake failed and I was just able to keep the car out of the wall. That was the end of my race and the end of a difficult weekend. We clearly don’t have the performance we’re targeting, but changes have been made to help us sort this out and the whole team is working harder than ever to make progress, and we have two days of testing here to help us learn more about the new parts we brought to Spain, so we’ll aim to fight back in Monaco next week.”

Marcus Ericsson, 20th
“I was pleased with how I got off the line and was with Kamui in 19th but then Maldonado hit me pretty hard as he tried to pass going into Turn 13. His move risked putting both of us out of the race, but luckily the car was okay and I was able to continue, even though that had put me back to 22nd.

“My pace in the early laps was okay but the car balance wasn’t great so I couldn’t really do anything to stay with Chilton who’d got past when Maldonado made contact with me. In the high speed corners it was understeering too much but it was the opposite in the low speed turns, oversteering a lot which, combined, meant I just couldn’t push anywhere.

“We did a long stint on the second set of mediums, pushing them to lap 40 when we made the second stop, switching to a set of new hards to run to the flag. From that point my focus was just making sure I could get to the end and bring a tough race weekend to a close. For me it’s another grand prix under my belt, another chance to learn and as hard as it’s been, I know we can improve so I’m as positive as ever and excited about racing in my first F1 race in Monaco in a couple of weeks.”

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leade
“We had a very clean race on the power unit side and there was little more we could have done today. It was good to see Kamui and Marcus fighting other cars at times but ultimately the car needs more pace to do it on a regular basis. There are some improvements coming from our side for Monaco to aid driveability and energy management and we’ll work with the team to get the most of the package as it evolves.”

Valtteri Bottas, 5th

“Today we did our best. The strategy was correct and the team did really well in the pit stops, I made no mistake on the track so we made the maximum of what was on offer and got some good points from it. It’s pleasing to be in the points and it equals my best ever result. It was a shame Vettel was so quick at the end, I tried to defend, but he had fresher tyres. The atmosphere in the team is fantastic, we are all pushing forward and points feed that hunger.”

Felipe Massa, 13th
“I made a good start and could have made more positions, but Ricciardo was in front so I couldn’t do anything. The three-stop strategy would have worked had the first stint been clean, but I had cars in front which damaged my tyres a lot. This meant that rather than pulling away from them and having clean track, when they pitted they had the advantage. This happened again at the start of the second stint, so things just didn’t go my way.”

Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance
“The car was the third quickest yesterday, as it was today, so overall we are pleased to be there. We came here with an upgrade package and it’s clearly worked. Valtteri did a good job to make a two-stop work. We tried a different strategy with Felipe to try and release him, but unfortunately his race didn’t quite work out, so we all need to look into every aspect to make sure we are in the best shape with Felipe for Monaco. We are very positive for the future though.”

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, 10th

“It was a case of damage limitation today. We knew from the early practice sessions that this wasn’t going to be our strongest track so to get two cars in the points is a positive result. The tyre degradation was high and the car was not so easy to drive, but I think everybody was struggling in the final part of the race. I thought we would need to make a third stop, but fortunately the tyres held on and I was able to score a point. We will use all the data we got over the weekend to improve for the next few races where we hope to be a bit more competitive.”

Sergio Perez, 9th
“It was quite a hard afternoon, so to come away with two points is not too bad. I had pretty strong pace in the race and my tyre degradation was okay so I think we probably could have been a bit more aggressive with the strategy. Maybe if we had stopped earlier I could have jumped ahead of some more cars because my pace was good, but it was just so difficult to overtake. We knew this track would be a tough test for us, so this result is more or less what we expected here. Maybe P7 or P8 was achievable today, but we should feel quite happy to keep up our run of points.”

Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
“There were few surprises in this afternoon’s race and our final result of ninth and tenth is a fair reflection of the pace we have shown during this weekend. As I said yesterday, this circuit was never going to play to our strengths and yet we still managed to secure a double points finish. It means we’ve scored points in every race so far this year and this keeps up our momentum in the championship. Like everyone, we suffered with high tyre degradation and it was tricky to make the right decisions on when to stop. We felt we were quite aggressive with both car strategies, but in hindsight we probably could have pushed the limits even more. We now head to Monaco with 57 points and sitting in a strong fourth place in the championship.”

Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo, 3rd

“Holy Doly! The race was not overly exciting, although I don’t know how it was behind, maybe there were a lot of fights going on and for viewers there was a bit more to watch, but for us it was a good result. We knew we could not catch the Mercedes, but we believed we had better pace than the guys behind, so before the race we’d said that third was going to be a good day. It’s nice to stand back up on the podium – I actually still feel a bit awkward up there, but I’m sure I will get more comfortable. It seems at the moment it’s Mercedes who are battling between themselves and they are doing a tremendous job. With Seb coming through the pack for fourth today, it seems we have been the second best team this weekend. I think it is still going to vary a bit, but maybe it will be a battle for that last place on the podium with me and Seb in Monaco, we will see. Monaco should be okay for us and hopefully we can get a bit closer to the Mercs there. It will be interesting and we will try as much as we can to catch them!”

Sebastian Vettel, 4th
“All in all I think that was the best that we could do today; the start was not so great and I lost a place, but then I was able to get it back towards the end of the lap; it’s always tricky when you are further back. It was a very busy first lap. I was then sort of stuck in the train, so I couldn’t really feel how far we could go today and how quick we were, but once we came in I was on the harder tyre and was able to stick with the people in front and even catch them a little bit. I think we realised that the pace was there and after that we had two fresh sets of tyres from yesterday, so we could go even further up the road! I enjoyed it a lot and I think fourth was the best we could do today. Daniel drove a good race today and I think, from a team point of view, third and fourth is what we could get today. Mercedes is very strong – they have a phenomenal engine, two very good drivers, a very good car, and a very good team, they’re doing a good job so it would be wrong to complain and moan about how dominant they are – they worked better than everyone else in the winter and deserve to be in that position. Hopefully, from our point of view, rather sooner than later we’ll give them a hard time – that’s our motivation. I hope that in time we can catch up, and as I said start giving them a run for their money.”

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
“A great team performance today. Daniel is thoroughly deserving of his first official podium having been faultless all weekend. Sebastian, after a nightmare start to the weekend losing all of Friday, a gearbox failure on Saturday and a further five place grid penalty, produced a fantastic comeback drive to come back through the field. With the help of a strong strategy and great team work, including the fastest team pit stop of the day, Sebastian moved back up to fourth place and got the fastest lap, so all things considered, it was a positive race.”

Jenson Button, 11th

“The start and the first lap cost me a lot of time, and my second pit-stop compromised my strategy. During the first two stints, it felt like we were making progress, because we were faster than the cars in front. But we gambled on taking the second stop early, thinking we could jump one of the Force Indias, but Daniil’s [Kvyat] Toro Rosso followed me in, and caused my release to be delayed by a few seconds while he came past me in the pit-lane.

“Then I came out of the pits just in front of Lewis [Hamilton], who was lapping me. He was running old tyres, while I was on fresh rubber; I had to let him past, but it delayed me a bit more. Nonetheless, I think we learnt something useful today. I’ll be staying on here for next week’s test, so hopefully we can learn a bit more again and make further progress. The test should be useful – not necessarily for Monaco, but for two or three races down the road. The midfield is extremely close, so even small improvements will make a difference.”

Kevin Magnussen, 12th
“Today was pretty hard work. I made a good start, and was having a really good first lap. Then, into Turn 13, I went side by side with Jenson and went wide onto the marbles. As I came back onto the circuit, Sebastian [Vettel] hadn’t seen me, and our cars briefly touched. Luckily, there was no damage to either of our cars, so we could both carry on without problem.

“I knew it would be difficult to go forward from 14th on the grid – the midfield is very tight, so making progress is extremely tough. Moreover, today there was little to choose between the Option and the Prime, which meant we couldn’t use a different strategy from the others’ in an effort to make up places. If we’d started where we should have [ie, without the qualifying problem], I think we could have scored some good points today. As it was, there wasn’t much we could have done out there other than what we did.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director
“Yesterday, our qualifying form showed that we’d taken a small step forwards in terms of performance, although that increment was somewhat disguised by the power-unit issue that prevented Kevin from setting a time in Q2. Today, we were unable to translate that small step into points-scoring form, largely as a result of the fact that Jenson lost a few places on lap one and Kevin had started from P14 through no fault of his own.

“Their lap-one scrap was combative but clean, and after that they both drove very well in difficult circumstances, Kevin eventually crossing the line in Jenson’s wheel-tracks, less than a second behind, after an excellent and spirited drive. Next week Jenson and Stoffel [Vandoorne] will conduct a two-day test for us here in Barcelona, during which we hope to build on the small step we’ve taken recently. We know our journey to full competitiveness won’t be a short one, but it’s already clear that the trend is in the right direction.”

Esteban Gutierrez, 16th

“Obviously, we cannot be happy with this result. It is not where we want to be. It was a good start, and I managed to gain some positions. After that I just kept dropping back. During the race it was very challenging to keep the tyres alive and to have good speed on the straights. I was trying to defend my position. Nevertheless, we should not lose our motivation. We have the test this week and we need to have the right programme to get things sorted out.”

Adrian Sutil, 17th
“The race was not very exciting for me. Unfortunately, the performance of my car was not good and I was struggeling with the grip. Both stints with the medium tyres were difficult, I think the hard tyres worked better. At the end we were running out of laps. It was a disappointing race for me. We still have a huge problem with the grip level, especially while turning into the corners. We still have to work on this. Now we have to look forward and do better during the upcoming races.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal
“This result is obviously not satisfactory. We came to Barcelona with a development package, and we can see that the gap to our direct competitors is smaller than before. Now it’s about further optimising this package. There are still a number of points which are not as good as they could be. On top of that, we have to get a more profound understanding of how to best use the tyres.”

Romain Grosjean, 8th

“It’s been a tough battle for us to get points this season and that was certainly one of the hardest races I’ve contested in a long time. I did everything I could to drive around the power unit issues, which really made things difficult when battling the other cars. It’s good for all the crew at the track and at Enstone to finally get a reward for all their hard work. There are still a lot of areas where we can improve and certainly the car wasn’t as quick today as it was yesterday, with the different track conditions as well as the other issue. It’s Mothers’ Day in Switzerland so this one’s for my mum!”

Pastor Maldonado, 15th
“We made a step forward in terms of pace with the car this weekend, it was much more competitive than 15th but the lack of top speed meant we weren’t able to attack even if we had a quicker car than others around us. We need to keep working on that and to be faster on the straights. Today’s result is a bit disappointing but my race had been already compromised by starting at the back the grid. At least we saw the chequered flag and collected more data for the team to keep on developing the car.”

Federico Gastaldi, Lotus deputy team principal
“We are very pleased for the team and for Romain to have scored our first points today. It’s certainly been a long road to get to this place. It’s not all a sweet taste as we were expecting to have finished further up the grid. We had some issues with the power unit again so we need to keep working with Renault Sport F1 to ensure we can keep fighting for as many points as possible. We have two days of testing coming up and our target is to carry on making improvements in performance and reliability.”

Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 team support leader
“We’re obviously very happy to score our first points of the season and we were enjoying a very good first stint in front of both Ferraris but unfortunately Romain’s power unit developed a problem which cost him a step in power for the rest of the race. Given the circumstances, Romain did an incredible job, battling right to the chequered flag. We always knew Pastor would have a difficult race from the back of the grid but he did everything he could to make seven places to finish in fifteenth. We have plenty more in terms of development for the car which we hope to harness with improved reliability.”

Jules Bianchi, 18th

“It was a good race today in which we saw clear signs of our improvement. I was able to get ahead of my team-mate at the start, which was my first objective, and to stay ahead of the Caterhams which was the next. Our other objective was to take the fight to Sauber and while we were able to match their pace, the gap to them ahead was too great to be able to take a position from them. That time will come, I’m sure and maybe a race like Monaco will give us a better opportunity. I am happy for the Team that there is some reward for all the hard work, now we have to keep pushing and keep up the momentum.”

Max Chilton, 19th
“I’m really pleased that we’ve seen a good step forward here and we’ve been able to lift our performance versus the cars around us. We’ve definitely gained a really strong advantage on the Caterhams and the Saubers are now in our sights, so well done to the Team. On a personal note it’s also great to keep my finishing record alive and that’s 24 out of 24 now. I’m really excited for Monaco now. It’s a race I did well at last year and one that always presents a few opportunities. With the improvements we have we could have an interesting race.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“Overall a good race for the Team today and one where it’s great to be back looking forward to our next set of competitors, as opposed to the cars behind. We planned for a two-stop strategy and after a good start by both cars Jules was away working to build the gap to the cars behind. Unfortunately Max got stuck behind Kobayashi in the first stint and in order to try to leapfrog him, we decided to try a three-stop race with Max. In the end, Jules’ two-stop strategy worked pretty much as planned and his pace at the end of the race on the prime tyre was very good. It is clear however that we need a few more tenths for us to stay with the back of the midfield pack. The three stop approach for Max was not as effective as the two-stop but it did achieve the objective in respect of Kobayashi. Unfortunately he ended up behind Ericsson on one of his middle stints, which ultimately meant that the gap to Jules at the end of the race was bigger than it should have been. We move on from this race to the test this week. Through most of the weekend we have been identifying areas where we can see room for improvement and we are pleased that the test will provide us with the opportunity for both drivers to explore these set-ups and hopefully pull a few more tenths out of this package. This will make a huge difference going forwards.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“We saw some very exciting battles all the way down the top 10 in the closing stages of the race, despite many of the drivers having chosen very different strategies. This underlines the importance of strategy in every race this year, with not just the number of stops but also the order in which the tyres are used really making a difference. Following some overnight rain, ambient and track temperatures were cooler today, and this reduced the time difference between the hard and medium compounds: adding another factor into the equation. Although Barcelona is one of the most demanding circuits of the year, tyre wear and degradation was fully under control, as proved by the fact that the majority of drivers completed just two pit stops. That’s down to the hard work of all our team in Milan and Izmit since last year, so a big thank you to all of them. Now we focus on the second in-season test of the year, where we will be developing tyres for 2015.”