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Sun, 24 June, 2012Europe: Driver race quotes

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari (1st, 1:44:16.649):
“This has been an unforgettable day for me and I can't find the right words to express my feelings! Winning in my country is an indescribable emotion: I still remember the victory in Barcelona in 2006 and winning today in Valencia with this fantastic team, is amazing, especially when we are going through such a difficult time at the moment in Spain. It's nice that sport and I'm thinking of the wins for the national football team and Nadal, might be able to give people something to smile about. Stopping on the slowing down lap? I don't know what happened but it came at the right moment, because I was in front of the grandstands and I was able to celebrate with my fans! Sport always delivers the same lessons in that there are highs and lows and things change quickly. Yesterday we didn't make it to Q3 and today we have won: it means that we should never give up, right to the chequered flag. It's a nice present for everyone who has come from far away, maybe even sleeping in their cars and then staying in the grandstands in this torrid heat. At the start, it was not easy to make up places and I tried to delay the braking to the maximum at Turn 4, staying on the outside. Then I started to fight my way up and, after the Safety Car, I began to think a podium could be possible. Then I attacked Grosjean and managed to pass him, although I was worried that I might have sustained some damage when we touched. After two or three corners I realised everything was alright and I relaxed. When I went into the lead after Vettel retired, we were all hoping the tyres would last to the end. I was always talking to my engineer who told me I was running the same pace as those following me: in the end, there was not much left, but unlike Canada, the others were in the same situation. It was emotional being on the podium with Andrea Stella, because he has also worked with Michael and Kimi: he could celebrate in the best way possible a totally unexpected win, given our grid position. Thinking back to yesterday, what happened confirms there is still a lot of work to be done and we have to be honest about this, to ourselves and to our fans. We will do all we can to win this championship, but we still don't have the quickest car and we must push to reach this objective as quickly as possible.”

Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus-Renault (2nd, +6.421 secs):
“Second place is okay but the win is what I really wanted. We didn't quite have the pace for it today. I got a good start but I was blocked by Pastor (Maldonado) at the first right-hander and lost quite a few places which put me a bit behind. We made a good recovery from that position and had quite a hard fight with a few people - overtaking and being overtaken. I couldn't get the tyres up to temperature quickly enough after the safety car, and I made a small mistake on the re-start lap too. I was able to fight back as we had good race pace again. Today was close but the race win was just out of reach.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes (3rd, +12.639 secs):
“Wow, I did not even think of getting on the podium for any second in the race today, so what a wonderful result! Finally it happened! After such a long time waiting and for jumping on the podium so unexpectedly, I feel extra happy. I think that was the best answer to give to everybody who started doubting our work: get the car together and fight back; never give up, as anything can happen. A big thank you to the team and to everybody who kept on believing we would get on the podium again. That's what team work is about. A special word for my mechanics and engineers who have done a fantastic job this weekend after some difficult races this year. I didn't think a podium was possible - not even at the end of the race, because it was pretty busy in the last laps and I had lost count of where I was. Then when I crossed the line, I asked the guys where I was and they said "Third - on the podium!" It's one of those moments that you enjoy deeply as a driver. We were close a couple of times but it was great for it to happen in a spectacular race like this, through strategy and lots of passing on a circuit where overtaking is difficult.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault (4th, +13.628 secs):
“I'm very happy with that, obviously it's been a tough weekend up until today, but you never know what's going to happen. In the middle of the race I wasn't too happy and I didn't really know what was going on. Then there was a bit of attrition at the front and the strategy worked out. We got it all working well today and we got some good points. It was a crazy day today – but I got points, so I'm happy with that.”

Nico Hülkenberg, Force India-Mercedes (5th, +19.993 secs):
“A great result for everyone in the team today and for me personally. Fifth place is a great achievement after a very long and difficult race. The two-stop strategy worked well, but the last stint was very long and it was hard to hold off the cars behind me on fresher tyres in the last few laps. So the race was a bit messy at times, but very entertaining and it feels great to come through and score such a good result for the team. We got a bit lucky with some cars dropping out, but we were in the right place to capitalise on things so I'm very happy about today.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes (6th, +21.176 secs):
“That was a really exciting race. I had a bad first few laps and lost positions, then the Safety Car came out at a bad moment for me. After the restart, I thought I would end up finishing out of the points, because I had the oldest tyres and therefore no grip, which made it very hard to defend. We had planned to try a one-stop strategy but had to convert to two stops, and thanks to the strategy guys, we were on fresh tyres when everybody else was struggling. I was in P12 on lap 47 and P6 at the end, so it clearly worked and we are very happy with a good team result after such a chaotic race, with two cars in the top six. A great result for Michael with his podium and I am happy to score some more nice points.”

Paul di Resta, Force India-Mercedes (7th, +22.866 secs):
“We went very aggressive by only stopping once and in fact we were the only car to pull off this strategy. Of course, when you're stopping once you really don't want a safety car period and it certainly hurt my race and cost me some track position. But with the way the race unfolded we can't be too disappointed to finish seventh and it's great to have another two-car points finish. On the whole our relative pace through the race was strong, but it was hard to keep the tyre performance towards the end and I was really fighting the car in the closing laps. There was some attrition ahead of us, but we were there to pick up the points when it mattered.”

Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes (8th, +24.653 secs):
“This was a really difficult race to read. I got a poor start, was boxed in at Turn One, and had to lift to prevent Fernando [Alonso] and myself hitting the wall at Turn Two. I don't think we did a bad job in terms of strategy – the car felt good and kept improving during the race – but, when the Safety Car was deployed, I think a few others lucked in to a better strategy. And, today, also, we just didn't get lucky. Finally, massive congratulations to Fernando – he did a great job. Hopefully we can do the same thing at our home grand prix in two weeks' time!”

Sergio Pérez, Sauber-Ferrari (9th, +27.777 secs):
“It was a difficult race today. We risked quite a lot with our strategy and in the end the tyre degradation was huge. You can say two points are not a bad result if you've came from 15th on the grid, but the most important thing now is to improve our qualifying performance. I was 15th on the grid for the second consecutive race and there is a lot more to achieve if I could only start further up the grid.”

Bruno Senna, Williams-Renault (10th, +35.961 secs):
“I feel quite disappointed with today as we had good pace and the right strategy. It would have been difficult but it was working for us. However, after losing time with the puncture and then receiving the drive-through penalty it would have been difficult to get into the points even in a race like today. We got lucky with the timing of the safety car but on a positive note we had good tyre management and so we were looking competitive. Now we need to put it behind us and see it as a lesson learned.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (11th, +37.041 secs):
“The final result of the race is disappointing. I think I drove well and the team deserved better. Apart from my finish position, it was a really good race. I had a good getaway off the line, passing a couple of cars. But the opening lap was a bit of a mess and as I tried to overtake some cars down the inside, Pérez got me round the outside. My first stint was strong and I was in touch with our competitors, then the second stint was also good. The Safety Car did not really work in our favour. After my second stop I was pushing to the end and I had Petrov going quite slowly in front of me, I went to get around him and he defended by going a bit wide. So I tried to switch back and I feel I gave him some racing room, but we still made contact because perhaps his move was a bit too aggressive. Anyway, that cost me a chance to get into the points, but there were some positives to take away from this race, even if they are not so visible from the outside.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault (12th, +54.630 secs):
“It was an unlucky race for us as we were looking strong for a podium finish. We were struggling at the beginning of the race but at the end I passed Lewis (Hamilton) and then he came back across. I jumped across the kerb but there was nothing I could do and we made contact. I was on a great lap after a great race. The car was feeling good and we had good pace.”

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham-Renault (13th, +75.871 secs):
“I'm really pleased with how today's race went. I made a pretty good start and was just behind Heikki after the first corner - I was pretty careful into T1 as I didn't want to make any mistakes and from that point it was really about managing the tyres and following the instructions from my engineer. I want to thank the boys for the fantastic job they did in the pitstops, particularly when I had to box for a new nose late on in the race. Even though we were running tenth at one point I'm not sure a point was quite within reach today, but it's really encouraging to see how we've progressed here and we know we have more to come in Silverstone so we have something good to fight for and that's great for the whole team.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham-Renault (14th, +94.654 secs):
“My start wasn't the best I've had this year but I was keeping pace with Webber and Ricciardo for the first few laps. Unfortunately we had a KERS issue early on and that obviously hit my pace for the whole race. We had opted for a two stop strategy so for the first stint I was looking after the tyres until we boxed. The stop went well and my pace was good but then Vergne made what looks like a rookie mistake, hit me and I had to come in for a new nose. From that point I was just trying to get to the end of the race and with about five or six laps left the tyres were gone. Despite that 13th and 14th is another decent result for the team. We've had a very good weekend here and now we can look forward to making more gains at the next race so we leave on a positive note.”

Charles Pic, Marussia-Cosworth (15th, +96.551 secs):
“Having not been so pleased with where I ended up in qualifying yesterday, by contrast I am very pleased with how things have gone for myself and the whole team in today's race. I think we got the most from our strategy and made everything work well in our favour. I am happy to see the improvement in our race pace and we are back in a better place versus the Caterhams ahead. I am also pleased that we were able to put the HRTs back behind us again and in that sense I had an enjoyable race to be able to do the job we needed to do here. I would like to thank the team for all the hard work over the weekend and especially today when we all pulled together to get the best possible result. It has been a frustrating time for everyone, but I think we can now look forward to the team's home race in two weeks with a little more confidence and with two cars back in play, hopefully push the improvements some more.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (16th, +1 Lap):
“What do you want me to say, nothing went right today! From lap 8 onwards I started to feel there was something not right at the back of the car and, at the end of the race, the team found some damage that had completely ruined the balance and the aerodynamic downforce level. From being able to attack the Force India, I went to losing a second a lap! I am very disappointed, because I had a good pace and could keep up with the group Fernando was in. Then there was also the collision with Kobayashi and there, any hope I had of finishing in the points evaporated. The car was going very well today and it was at the level of the best, I am pleased for Fernando, who drove a fantastic race to win, but there's also some bitterness as today could have been very nice for both of us.”

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT-Cosworth (17th, +1 Lap):
“The truth is that I gave it my all in this race, I emptied myself, and I'm satisfied. It was a very long race and towards the end, right in the middle of a battle, my rear tyres went and all I could do was hold on until the end. To be honest I could have done without the last seven laps. It was the typical survival race where the cars with most degradation get the wrong end of the stick, but we knew beforehand that it would be tough. But the best thing is that we maintained a good rhythm and managed our brakes for them to last. Perhaps I should have been a bit more conservative when I had Pic behind but I preferred to risk. If the tyres held out, great, and if not, great too. I'm satisfied because we did well the entire weekend in front of our fans. They deserve the best and I think that they see us fight in every race and we're improving, so I can only thank them for their support.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT-Cosworth (18th, +1 Lap):
“I got off to a good start and managed to hold my position. We had a tough battle for the first 15 laps and our car was going very well on the straights but the degradation of the rear tyres started affecting our performance. After the pitstop I was behind Pic and it wasn't easy to drive so I was unable to catch him up. But we had a good last stint on the prime tyres which, unfortunately, got hampered by a drive-through penalty as a result of speeding in the pit lane. Had it not been for this then perhaps I could have finished in a better position but the important thing is that we made it to the finish line in very challenging conditions.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes (19th, +2 Laps):
“Big congratulations to Fernando – he did a great job today to come from all the way back in 11th. We lost some points today – fortunately, however, a couple of other drivers fighting at the front also missed out, so it's not the end of the world. It just makes things a little bit tougher. Today was just a bad day in the office – but that's motor racing, and I'm already looking forward to the next grand prix, my home race at Silverstone.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Renault (Ret, +17 Laps):
“Basically the car lost power and switched off. I couldn't even call my engineer on the radio as the radio was dead. The race was almost perfect up until that point: we had a good start and a good strategy. I don't think we were that far from our first win. The positives of this weekend are that we battled right at the front and we showed good pace. Sebastian (Vettel) was very strong and I don't know if we could have caught him. When he had his issue, I was in second place behind Fernando (Alonso) and it was then that I thought we could challenge for the lead because we knew that our tyre degradation was going to be less than his. Unfortunately fate decided otherwise...”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault (Ret, +24 Laps):
“At the moment it's not entirely clear what the problem was. I lost acceleration, the engine stalled and I couldn't do anything; that was it. You can't change it now. Up until that point it was clear we were strong, I was very happy in the car and had the pace. We were very quick today and it felt good. The initial re-start after the safety car was fine, but we're not sure of the exact problem, we'll need to look into it.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari (Ret, +24 Laps):
“What a race today, however, I am very disappointed. I definitely had a good start from seventh. I made up two positions straight away and then overtook Pastor Maldonado on lap one. I was fourth and it looked promising. Then at my first pit stop after 14 laps we had a problem with the front left wheel. After that I was 11th and still had a good chance. On lap 20 I was following Kimi Räikkönen, who was overtaking Bruno Senna, and then was on the inside next to Senna. I had the wall and nowhere to go when we touched. I had to pit for a nose change. Later, when the race was restarted after the safety car period, I was fighting with Felipe Massa for position. Our cars touched and this time the damage was too bad to continue.”

Jean-Éric Vergne, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Ret, +31 Laps):
“It's a big shame not to finish the race as I was picking up my pace on the Option tyre, having started on Prime and it also means it's my first retirement this season. As for the incident with Heikki, I felt I was ahead and as I started to turn into the corner, we collided and his front wing clipped my rear wheel and there was too much damage to the floor and it was impossible to change the damaged rear wheel so there was no way for me to continue. I think it was just a racing incident.”

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