Lewis Hamilton beat title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso to the victory at the inaugural CoTA Grand Prix…
Lewis Hamilton: “I’m massively proud and extremely happy
“To overtake both Red Bulls in the race was the coolest thing for me. The backmarkers really came into play today - and, finally, they worked in my favour. I’ve often been caught out when I’ve been trying to get through traffic, but things finally went my way today.
“When Seb [Vettel] was delayed by a backmarker, I knew I had to grab my chance, so I turned the engine up to maximum revs and pushed like crazy. Along the back-straight I went to the to the outside, but Seb closed the door, so I moved to the inside, and he came back towards me. I was very lucky. It was very close.
“What made the difference today between Seb and me? I wanted it more, that’s what!
“I won the last United States Grand Prix, in 2007, so, to come back and win it again - in front of such a great crowd - feels very special indeed. There are a couple of grands prix that are somehow out on their own: there’s Monaco, Silverstone, Montreal, Spa and Monza. Now you can this circuit to that list - it’s already one of the best racetracks in the world, maybe even right up there in the top three.
“It’s a brilliant feeling to be finishing the season on a high. Hopefully, we’ll go to Brazil next week with the same level of performance - I’d love to win my final two races for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.”
Jenson Button: “Starting on the dirty side of the racetrack was very tough - I ended up 15th by the end of the first lap. So fifth was probably the best result I could have had. I had a lot of fun this afternoon, and fought a lot of good battles on my way through.
“There was lots of action and lots of overtaking - and most of it was very clean, which was good to see.
“Obviously, however, fifth place wasn’t the result I’d have ideally liked, but the car was working really well, and, with a better grid position, I could definitely have been right up there. Still, big congratulations to Lewis and the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team.
“It was great to race in front of so many fantastically enthusiastic American fans - they looked like they really enjoyed themselves. Before we arrived here, we knew we were going to have to put on a good show, and I think we did just that. There was action and suspense all the way through, which is exactly what you need to create a great sporting spectacle.
“I really hope the US will now embrace Formula 1 at last.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I’m very, very happy for the team to win a third Constructors’. It’s been a tough year so far and they have been pushing incredibly hard; they deserve to win, as we have been the best team. Obviously Mark and I were pushing throughout the year. It was a shame for Mark not to finish today. It was a very good race and we did everything we could, but unfortunately we ran into traffic at the wrong time and lost the gap to Lewis. He used his chance well, I tried to cover the inside but he had more speed down the straight. I respect the positions; Lewis beat us fair and square. We showed we had the pace today and now it’s full steam ahead to the next race.”
Mark Webber: “A third Constructors’ for the team is an incredible achievement. Three years in a row is something that I think all of us would never have envisaged when we first started to be successful, so the results that we’ve had over the years is really astonishing. This Championship was probably the toughest one so far, for lots of different reasons and - it’s a cliché - but it’s been a real team effort. Looking to today, I had to stop with an alternator problem. We had low battery voltage for a few laps before and then I lost gearbox sync and KERS, something was happening on the battery side. It’s frustrating; as we had a reasonable start to the race and a good fight with Lewis. We had issues to manage, but even when I knew we had them we tried to keep going and get something out of it, but we had to stop.”
Fernando Alonso: “It was an unexpected podium which came at the end of a particularly difficult weekend. We did not have the pace to match Red Bull and McLaren, so to only lose three points to Vettel is in fact a nice present. It could have been much worse, but now we will arrive in Sao Paolo in Brazil in with a chance right to the last. Maybe on paper that chance is not so big, maybe 25%, but deep down, I feel it’s much more than that. Anything can happen at Interlagos and we saw again how important reliability can be, didn’t we? Then, there’s the chance of rain and a race in the wet can be very risky and we definitely have nothing to lose. Clearly, if it’s dry and we have a normal race, one can expect Red Bull to be in front of everyone and us on the third or fourth row, so the more unknown factors there are, the better it is for us. The decision regarding Felipe’s gearbox? It was a team decision of which I am proud, especially as it proved to be the right one: I don’t think everyone in this environment can say the same thing… The start was very good as was the first corner: in this second part of the season, we have made up a lot of places actually in the first few hundred metres. Then I had a good enough pace to get on the podium but not to fight with the two in front. The pit stop wasn’t perfect, maybe for the first time this season: which means we’ll be looking for perfection in the pit stops next Sunday, and in fact for the whole race! Felipe was fantastic all weekend, quicker than me in all three qualifying sessions: we need him to be on this good form in Interlagos too, because we will be up against very strong opposition. We need to be a united team if we want to win!”
Felipe Massa: “For me, this result is a bit like a win, definitely the best race of my season: now I can say I’m happy to have started eleventh! This morning, when I was told I was dropping five places, I can’t say I was jumping for joy, but I accepted it to help the team and my team-mate: I don’t think many drivers would have done the same, but I am an honest person and will always do my utmost for my team. At the start, I made up three places, but then I ran wide and lost a few. After that, I had a strong pace and also pulled off some passing moves at various points on the track: once I even got two cars at the same time. We did the best we could have done today: I don’t think I could have fought Vettel or Hamilton. I really enjoyed driving on this track: it is great fun and the atmosphere is very nice. It’s probably not going to be my favourite circuit of all, but it is one of the ones I like. Now we go to Interlagos, my home race. It would be nice to end the season on the podium, or even with a win. What’s certain is that I will do everything I can to help the team reach its targets: today, maybe I could have finished ahead of Fernando, but I’m well aware of the championship situation and I do what is right for Ferrari, as I’ve done throughout my career.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was an okay day, but not a very easy one for us. I got a bad start and then I touched with a Force India at the second corner so I lost a few more places. After that the car was okay and I could get past some of the others. Unfortunately, when it got cloudy it got too cold so the tyres stopped working and that’s where we saw Jenson [Button] get past. Basically, it was a race where we were just depending on the tyres to be in their window. I’m still 3rd in the championship and we’ll do everything we can to maintain this position until the end.”
Romain Grosjean: “Not a bad race but the spin on lap seven was frustrating. The start was good, the first lap was good and the pace was definitely there. I recovered pretty well from where I was to finish P7 and was fighting Kimi at the end which is a positive sign. I pushed as hard as I could, so I was happy to bring home some more points for the team.”