Jenson Button claimed the final victory of the season in Brazil, beating Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa while Seb Vettel secured the title
Jenson Button: “Everyone who took part in today’s race deserves respect - it was crazy out there!
“The conditions were always going to trigger plenty of action, because some cars could generate the required tyre temperatures and others couldn’t. So, for most of the race, you were on a tyre that didn’t feel quite right for the conditions, but for which the lap-times looked okay compared with those of the cars on the other tyre. I spent so much time speaking on the radio to my engineer, Dave [Robson], trying to understand what was going to work and what wasn’t.
“I had a lot of fun racing with Lewis, especially for the first 10 laps. We had a really good, clean fight. It’s a pity he wasn’t still there at the end - but it was nice to have such a great dice with him in our last race as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team-mates. And I really want to say this: ‘It’s been so good working with you, Lewis. Over the past few years, we’ve driven a lot of great races together. It’s been fab.
“Going back to the subject of today’s race, the Safety Car made life more difficult for us - we lost the 40-second buffer we’d built up - but then the rain really came down, and the race became all about choosing the best time to switch to the Inters.
“Then the challenge altered, and it became all about nursing the car to the end. There was a lot of standing water about, especially where Paul [di Resta] had his accident. I’d been through there on the previous lap and had a big snap too, which was a pretty scary moment.
“Last but not least, congratulations to Sebastian [Vettel]. To win three world championships in a row is a great achievement.”
Lewis Hamilton: “Huge congratulations to Jenson - and to Sebastian too.
“It’s a shame we weren’t able to seal second position in the constuctors’ world championship together, but we did our best. Congratulations to Sebastian, too - his team kept it together and, under a lot of pressure, they pulled through today.
“Now that the 2012 season is done and dusted, I feel a bit numb. It’s been a day of mixed emotions. I’m sad that I didn’t finish the race, but I’m excited about the future. I’ll miss my friends and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but I’m optimistic about what lies ahead for me. I feel comfortable going into this winter because I feel I did a good job this year. I gave 2012 everything I had. I couldn’t have done anything more.”
As for today, I don’t remember too much about the accident with Nico [Hulkenberg], but he came to see me after the race, which was nice.
“It’s been a brilliant experience to be a part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team over the past six years. I want to thank everyone and sincerely wish everyone the very best for the future. They’ve been fantastic, so supportive, and they continue to do an amazing job.
“So, to all of you at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I’ll miss each and every one of you.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “That was a lot of fun - very entertaining and there was so much happening all the time! We had a great chance to finish on the podium today, but it slipped away, which is a shame. In the early laps it was difficult to keep the car on the track in the very damp conditions, but it was not really wet enough for intermediates and I stuck with the slicks. It was the right decision and soon I was leading the race. I felt comfortable but eventually I made a small mistake and Lewis got ahead of me. I managed to stay with him and was fighting to get the lead back when we touched. It’s hard to say what happened but I was making a move going into turn one and had a slightly loose rear. I was about to turn in and suddenly there was contact. It’s a shame for both of us because we were having a great battle. I managed to keep going but I had lost a lot of time. Fifth place is still a super result to end the season and I think the team did an excellent job this weekend. I hope they enjoyed the race - it’s a nice leaving present in my last race.”
Paul di Resta: “It was a very tricky race and not easy to make the calls with the weather constantly changing. Ultimately we made the wrong decision to switch to the intermediates in the early stages because the track began to dry quite soon after my stop. The tyres lost performance quickly and I went back to the slicks just before the safety car came out. That brought us back into play, but I struggled for grip at the restart and lost a few places. When we went back to the intermediates in the closing stages we were more competitive and I was up in eighth place. Unfortunately with a lap to go I aquaplaned in the final corner. It was a big hit with the wall, but I’m OK.”