Brits shine in the sand of Bahrain

119Forumula1.com‘s Hugh Podmore on Button’s third win of the season in Bahrain…

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton produced performances of a vintage standard to take first and fourth places respectively in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Button won the race through a combination of clever tyre strategy, incisive overtaking at the start and raw speed when he needed it. Hamilton too was ruthless at the first corner and dragged his McLaren into contention for a podium, high above what is expected for the car at the present time.

The two Brits’ talented drives were in sharp contrast to most of the rest of the field, who failed to provide on-track entertainment for much of the race. Jarno Trulli, despite a competitive package and pole position, was unable to capitalise and did not challenge Button overmuch. He also was unable to threaten second placed Sebastian Vettel despite being on superior tyres in the final stint.

Vettel drove a characteristically determined race, but did not have the outright race pace to mix it with Button. He did not need to overtake Trulli in the second stint as he was longer-fuelled than the Italian, and so could afford to rely on strategy. Most of the other competitors also fell back on strategy to help them up the field, which succeeded in a race where tyre usage was critical.

Lewis Hamilton showed his fighting spirit by jumping three places at the start, only to gradually fall back as the performance limits of his McLaren were quickly superseded by his immediate competitors. Nevertheless Hamilton gamely hung on to the coat-tails of the leading pack and always threatening to capitalise if a mistake or mechanical problem had affected those in front of him.

Hamilton used his KERS to great effect at the start, as did Kimi Raikkonen and Nelson Piquet Jr to defend places at crucial points. This was perhaps the first race where the usefulness of the system was proved to outweigh its disadvantages. Raikkonen gave Ferrari the first points of their season, a welcome relief which will not have masked the real problems the team still suffer. The Finn’s team-mate Massa suffered with his KERS, was lapped and had the indignity of having to fight with Giancarlo Fisichella at one point.

Speaking of indignity, BMW Sauber will not be in the slightest happy to have finished last of the classified runners. The Hinwil team have to improve fast.

Conversely, the form appears to be with Brawn, Red Bull and Toyota at the present time. However, the three teams will be looking over their collective shoulder at the next race as many teams start to put long-awaited upgrades on their cars.

Toyota left to ponder what might have been

jarno-trulliDespite a double points finish, Toyota were generally disappointed with their race performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Having started from the front row and led in the opening laps, both Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock struggled for grip after fitting the prime tyre during their first pit stop.

This dropped Glock down the order, finally finishing in 7th, whereas Trulli managed his tyres better and was able to hold on to the final podium position.

Both Toyota team principal Tadashi Yamashina and the drivers were disappointed with the outcome of today’s race, but remain hopeful that they can challenge for victory once more in Barcelona.

Jarno Trulli – 3rd: “I’m a little disappointed to be honest because I thought we had a chance to take Toyota’s first win this weekend. But it was a hard race. I was slightly slower into the first corner than Timo so I spent the first stint following him. I knew I was going longer than him but it was still difficult. Then we went for a very long second stint on the hard tyres. It was really hard fighting with the other cars and eventually Sebastian took the position after my last stop. After that he was on the hard tyres and I was on the soft. I was pushing him because I was quicker but there was no way to overtake. Still, I have to thank the engineers and mechanics because they did a very good job and it’s good to be on the podium again.”

Timo Glock – 7th: “That was a difficult race. I made a promising start and I was surprised to get ahead of Jarno from the dirty side. Then we were the first car to pit, which was already critical. But when I went out on the prime tyres I don’t know how many seconds I lost on the first two laps because I was really struggling for grip. I couldn’t get any heat into the tyres and I really lost the race in the second stint. I was sliding around and it was clear that the speed was better on the options. In the end I was chasing Kimi but there was no chance to overtake. Still, two points are better than none and we will now look for more in Spain.”

Tadashi Yamashina – Team Principal: “We expected more from today but I’m happy with third place and I’d like to thank Jarno for his efforts. Timo struggled for stability on the prime tyre so that’s where he lost ground but he still brought home two points. This is our third podium of the year so I’d like to thank everyone involved with the team, both here in Bahrain and at the factory, along with our sponsors. When we have conditions like these we must now aim for the centre of the podium, starting at the next race in Barcelona.”

Bahrain GP: Post-Race Press Conference

Following the finish of the Bahrain Grand Prix, the top three drivers were posed a series of questions by the world’s media in the Post-Race Press Conference.

1. Jenson BUTTON (Brawn GP), 1h31m48.182s
2. Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull), 1h31m55.369s
3. Jarno TRULLI (Toyota), 1h31m57.352s

TV UNILATERALS

Q: Jenson, the dream start to the year continues. And this was a dry race, this was a race all the way.
Jenson BUTTON:
It was indeed. This was a tough race for us. You might say I was leading for most of it but this race we had not the pace we had in the first three races. I don t know where it has gone. I guess these guys have just caught up and maybe passed us. But the first lap of the race I knew was very important because Sebastian was going longer, so I made it work and I came out of the first corner in third. From then on it was a tough race but very enjoyable.

Q: Sebastian, a great result for you too. A hard race and in a lot of traffic. A tyre defined race in many ways but in the end you are on the podium again.
Sebastian VETTEL:
Yeah, a very good result for us. Good points, but as you said we will keep pushing. It was a difficult race. The start was quite okay but then I was surprised as all of a sudden there was Lewis (Hamilton) next to me. When I first looked in the mirrors he was not there but then I guess he pressed his special button and that gave him a bit of an advantage. At the first corner there were three, me in the middle and Jenson on the outside, so I had to give way and lost two positions in the first lap and then unfortunately I got stuck behind Lewis. I mean you might have a chance immediately to pass someone but then when you follow a car your tyres just go down. There is a lot of degradation. You start to slide and then you never really come back. It is quite difficult here as it is always hard braking, so you need the tyres, you need the stability, so therefore it is difficult to pass. I knew I had a longer first stint which put me just behind Jarno, so that was a bit of a shame as I was on soft tyres and I could have gone a bit quicker. Then I got stuck behind him again but then I was able to overshoot, staying out a little bit longer, which put me in front of him. But then it was the other way around and I had to defend from him. The whole last sting he was very close in my mirrors. I think he was pushing hard but I made no mistakes, so in the end we came second.

Q: Jarno, a relatively early pit stop and unlike most runners a switch to the hard tyre for the middle stint.
Jarno TRULLI:
Yeah, I am a little bit disappointed because I was waiting for the first win for Toyota. Unfortunately at the start I think I had oil spillage which cost me the first position. From then on it was a hard race as I was following my team-mate. I was going longer and then during the second stint we used a very long stint on the hard tyres, so I was trying to fight and it was really hard fighting with a lot of cars. I was not extremely quick but competitive being on the hard tyres and then eventually Sebastian took the position after my last stop. He was on the hard tyres and I was on the soft and I was pushing him. I was quicker but there was no way to overtake him, so that was how the race was. I want to thank the team as they have done a very good job, so let s wait to fight again for the next race.

Q: Jenson, as Sebastian said, he did get stuck behind Lewis Hamilton. But you had an interesting battle with Lewis and managed to get the better of him very early in the race and that proved to be decisive.
JB:
It was. He is very difficult to overtake anyway but on the first lap he made a few mistakes and I dived down the inside of him at many different places. And on the straight I thought I could get alongside him and I did out of the last corner and then he pushed his button and pulled back in front and I had to tuck back in behind again and get the tow off him and I was able to get him into turn one. That move really made the race for us. I knew I had to make it stick and I did, so I am very happy. This race win for us is probably the best out of the lot as we don t have that competitive edge. And also it is the fourth flyaway. We have got a lot of bits that need to be changed and it is all getting a bit aged now, so to come away from this win it is great going back into Europe and we can look at improving the car.

Q: Sebastian, you were held up behind Lewis Hamilton for a lot of the race. Let s have a look now and talk us through what the conditions were like for you at that moment, what the tyres were like and the difference between the tyres and what it is like in traffic.
SV:
The problem is when you follow a car for more than one, one-and-a-half or two laps then your tyres really start to go off, front and rear. You start to have a lot of sliding and that was the problem, so both stints on soft tyres I was not able to use them really. The best car I had was with the hard tyres at the end which is unusual as that option wasn t the better tyre. But it makes a huge difference if you are able to run in clean air or not. That was the problem today and apart from that we had a good car. I think it is very positive anyway as I think we did a very good job in qualifying and we are getting closer to these boys, so not long and we will be very, very close.

Q: Jarno, you started from pole but it did not translate into a lead at the first corner. Let s have a look at the start and perhaps you can tell us what was going on.
JT:
It was a good start in a way but unfortunately as you can probably see from the front I had an oil spillage, so basically the engine stopped when I was accelerating out and this cost me the position. Then I was basically following my team-mate. I knew I was going longer but obviously being behind is not always easy. I was struggling a little bit with the rear end of the car and just trying to push as hard as possible. In the end the race wasn t too bad but we expected a little bit more.

Q: It seemed from the calculations before the race that you stopped a little bit earlier than you might have and then there was that decisive switch to the hard tyre. What was the thinking at that point?
JT:
Well, to be honest it is difficult for me now to judge. I need to go through it with the engineers. In a way they calculated everything and in general they have done a very good job for me, so I have to praise them as we managed to put both cars on the front row and we managed also to get on the podium. I think all in all the strategy wasn t too bad but we needed a little bit more pace.

Q: Jenson, Ross Brawn was very concerned before the start of the race about the heat factor, particularly with your change at the last minute going into the season with the Mercedes engine and the data you had. As it turned out both cars were fabulously reliable and of course the heat was a factor for you too. Talk us through your emotions now after this third win of the season.
JB:
For us it is very difficult because of the heat. But this is one of those circuits that isn t really that physical, so we could cope. The engine, we were a little bit worried about, as the temperatures have been very high in testing and in qualifying and I wasn t able to do the running I would have liked, so to come away with the win at this point of the season I am chuffed to bits. The whole team should be very proud of themselves. They have worked so hard. As you probably know we are much smaller than we used to be and they are having to work doubly hard to get the job done, so I am very proud of all of them and they should be also.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Jenson, you are surprised to have won here. What made the difference?
JB:
The first lap. To start with I got a poor start. I did a practice start coming into the pits and I was struggling with clutch slip and off the line I had exactly the same thing, so it was very lucky that I didn t lose more place. At the start the clutch slip wasn t too bad and then it was at turn one I had to make a move to get past Sebastian because they were obviously stopping later than us and it would have made the race very difficult. I was able to get around the outside and then the chance came up of getting past Lewis which was very difficult I must say because he was blocking very well but then at the last corner he made a slight mistake, so I pulled alongside him on the straight and I knew as soon as we got to the start-finish line he was going to push his KERS button and he did and he pulled away again, so I had to jump in behind and then did him into turn one. The first lap was what made the race really.

Q: Your fight back in the early laps was action packed for all of you.
JB:
Good. The end of the race may not have been so exciting but the start of the race was very good for me and chasing down the two Toyotas. They seemed very quick on the option tyre and I was surprised a little bit by the pace and I wasn t sure how it was going to work out. I didn t even know that Jarno was behind Timo at that point in time. But it all worked out well and Sebastian got stuck behind Lewis which helped us but the biggest problem for me was backmarkers. I am sorry if my radio was played live as I might have said a few words that weren t good for TV but the traffic was terrible out there.  They were a long way in front but I just couldn t get any closer. Plus when I exited the pits and went down to turn four and (Robert) Kubica shot past me with his KERS and overtook me and unlapped himself which was a little bit frustrating. That was the most difficult thing for me, trying to stay on top of that.

Q: Was the tyre wear roughly the same with the two different sets of tyres? What about the brakes? Any problems with the brakes?
JB:
Brakes weren t too bad. We were worried going into the race a little bit about temperatures. On Friday and Saturday we were struggling a little bit and we thought we might have to run the race with reduced revs which would have been a disaster. But lucky enough we had clear air for most of it. We kept the engine reasonable cool and the brakes were fine, so we were in good shape. I think if Sebastian did not have the traffic it would have made the race very interesting as I think our pace was very similar but that was not to be and we obviously came away with the win which I am very happy about.

Q: And were you conserving things at the end basically?
JB:
Yeah, the last sort of 15 laps we had to conserve it a little bit as this is a lot hotter than what we expected. It is not just the engine but everything on the car including the driver, so conserving it a little bit. And with the way the regulations are these engines have to do a lot more running than normal, so you have to look after them a little bit.

Q: Sebastian, obviously early on you had a battle with Lewis as well. You feared the KERS as well.
SV:
Yeah, it was difficult to pass him. The problem is in both stints, in the first and second stints, we were on the soft tyres and the soft tyres here were the quicker tyres, as I think more or less for the rest of the field. Coming back to the first stint the start was not ideal, maybe I was not careful enough. I should have gone maybe more to the right and tried to defend on Lewis. When I looked in the mirrors immediately after the start he was way behind me but then I underestimated his little button he had on his steering wheel and all of a sudden I had him on the right. I couldn t run on the outside as Jenson was already there, so I was stuck in the middle. I had to give way to both of them. It was very close but basically then I was fifth. Very early in the race maybe I had a good chance to pass him. I was preparing for the last corner but I locked up the rear and all race it seemed very difficult to get a clean exit out of the last corner. It was very slippery there. Then I lost the momentum again. He pressed his button and that was it. Basically from then onwards, as I just described, when you have to follow a car, your tyres suffer a lot. You get a lot of degradation and that made it difficult then to pass and to use the pace we had behind Lewis in the first stint and behind Jarno in the second stint. The only stint I had in clean air was the last one but I had the hard tyres. Nevertheless for me the best stint was the last stint as the car was very consistent, getting quicker each lap. I was able to feel it more and more. Then I could play with the tyres. Obviously I had Jarno so I tried to save them in the beginning, so that at the end I had something to defend and it worked out well. But unfortunately the first two stints were behind traffic which spoiled our race a little bit. But nevertheless I think we are getting stronger. We are getting very close to these guys, so I hope not long, a couple of bits added to the car. Back in the UK, back in Milton Keynes, the people are pushing very hard and soon we will be able to fight them a bit more and give them a bit more of a hard time.

Q: Jarno, we talked about your start just now and you also had quite an interesting battle with Fernando Alonso banging wheels with him.
JT:
Yeah, it was an interesting and tough race for me because I always found myself in a difficult situation. At the start, I was very unlucky because I think I had an oil spillage, so basically the engine didn t pull away and I lost position there. I lost a lot of ground and I was lucky enough to get out of the first corner second. Actually, I had to fight back against Lewis, firstly because he had KERS on the straight and secondly because the engine wasn t pulling at that time, so it was really hard. Going into turn four already wheel to wheel it was a nice battle, I didn t give up because I knew it was again important for me to stay ahead. Actually I started following my team-mate. The car wasn t too bad, the rear end was starting to go away, so I was struggling a little bit. Then, during the second stint, I had hard tyres and I was defending a lot of cars, as you say, a lot of battling there, obviously with cars that were lighter than mine. We were there to stop after a few laps. We were fighting with Sebastian until the end. I was on hard tyres and he was on soft, so actually he was biting my tail for most of the race and at the end, I was on soft and was quicker than him and he was on hard and I was trying to bite his tail and there was basically no way that he could get past. It was a nice race. It was a shame at the start but I m happy because I did fight very hard and it was a good podium for Toyota.

Q: You had problems with the brakes yesterday but they were changed for the race; how easy was it to have a brand new set of brakes?
JT:
It s not the fact that I had a problem with brakes because they were worn, there was something wrong with the brakes during qualifying, there was a problem and actually we changed them. I didn t have any problem during the race as well as during the whole weekend. So it was just a safety issue because we saw during qualifying that there was something wrong with the brakes and we didn t want to blow them up. It was maybe something with that particular disc. During the race it was fine.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Ed Gorman The Times) Anthony Davidson told the listeners of Radio Five Live that he considered this to be the finest race drive that you ve produced in your career. Would you agree with him on that?
JB:
I d certainly say it was the finest first lap of my career, for sure. I was very happy with the race. I didn t feel that I put a foot a wrong at all. It s nice to be in a car where I can show what I can do, even in a difficult situation because it wasn t a perfect situation. It s a very special feeling to have got this win. And thanks to the Ginger Racer, as I call him, for those nice comments.

Q: (Ed Gorman The Times) Can you just tell us a bit more about the overheating issues because we heard that you d had to cut away some part of the bodywork to help the cooling in the car.
JB:
There s nothing different this race to the last race. We didn t expect it to be as hot as it is here. All weekend we ve been struggling a little bit and even in qualifying I couldn t do three laps hard. I had to do a quick lap, slow lap, quick lap. It made it very difficult in practice as well because you couldn t get the long run pace. It s been a tough weekend from that point of view and if we were sat behind a car for a stint like these two were, it would have been no way. We would have had to drop back two or three seconds to get some clear air. So that s a weakness but luckily enough I had the clear air and our reliability was very good. I m sure we ve got to look at what damage it s caused for the next races because you know these engines have to do a lot more mileage than normal, so we will see. But the win was more important, I felt, and we came away with a very special win this weekend, for sure. As for the heat, my feet were warm and I ve burned the top of my left buttock on a box there s an electrical box there. It s a little bit burned, so hopefully we can solve that issue. I ll get you stroking it later, Sebastian, don t worry!

Q: (Flavio Vanetti Corriere della Sera) To you all, your teams proved to be the most competitive ones so far but starting from Barcelona, your competitors will introduce some changes in the cars. Do you expect a different story for the championship?
JB:
Well, at the moment you would say that these three teams sat here have been the most consistent, you re right, but I would say that the McLarens seem to be a lot more competitive this weekend. They made a step forward in China. Supposedly they haven t had anything new on the car here but they ve moved forward a lot and Lewis ended up fourth. They ve obviously done a good job, so you can t forget McLaren. When we start in Europe I m sure they are going to have some new parts and they are going to be very competitive. It s positive that we ve got some points on them already.
SV: There s a long, long way to go, we ve done just four races. As Jenson said, I think his team has made the strongest impression so far. We are pushing very hard, we are getting closer, so especially on Saturdays we seem to get much stronger. Today, obviously, I was sometimes stuck in traffic but I think all the teams are pushing, the championship is very interesting. You may not forget the teams (that were dominant) the last couple of years, McLaren as well as Ferrari. They have a lot of resources and they have proven in the past that even if they have a bad start they can come back very quickly, so we have to keep pushing and for us, we want to be the best, and there is at least one team still in front of us, so we have to keep pushing hard.
JT: Well, it s definitely going to be an interesting season because of the changes and it gives quite an open window for development from all teams. I have faith in my team, they know very well that four races is very little. We ve got a lot of races to go until the end of the championship, so we need to develop the car, get better and I can see already some signs of improvement from other teams. If you look at these races, there are some teams that made quite a bit step compared to the first two races, so I definitely expect a big fight during the season and I also expect quite a mix of leading cars and teams during all the races. This is nice, it s nice for everyone. I was on pole, Sebastian won the last race and obviously the most consistent car and driver at the moment is Jenson with the Brawn but also Toyota and Williams are doing well, Red Bull but there are some teams which are really getting close, so we need to keep pushing.

Q: (Ian Parkes The Press Association) Jenson, I think it s pretty much accepted that every team is going to have major upgrades for Barcelona. Is it a case that the fight for the title will really start in Spain now?
JB:
We ve had four races; they ve been pretty important to us, especially at the start of the season when people have got reliability issues or making mistakes, we ve been able to pick up the points which is great. When we get to Europe we don t know where anyone is going to be. We know that these two teams alongside me here are going to be competitive but we don t know how and the same for McLaren. We have an upgrade coming in Barcelona, I just hope it s enough. We have to wait and see. Nobody knows. And the thing is we can t go testing either, so we don t get that chance to get the feel for it. So it s exciting going back to Europe and I think that for Formula One this is great. There s so much change already in the sport and going back to Europe it s going to be even more change. I think that s what this sport needed and I think we ve got it.

Q: (Tom Cary The Daily Telegraph) Jenson, I know you expected it but when Lewis pulled up alongside you so quickly off the start did you fear the worst?
JB:
Well, he didn t actually use his KERS to get me, I don t think, because he was past me before he actually got to 100kph. You don t really think about it at that point in time, you just get your head down and see what you can do at the first corner. Our braking is good here and I knew that I had looked after the tyres and got them in good shape for the first corner under the brakes, so I knew that I could brake very late and it showed in turn one, so yeah, I knew that I had to get past Sebastian, that was the main thing, and if I could get past Lewis that was a bonus.

Q: (James Allen Financial Times) Jenson, you looked very comfortable leading the race. Is there a feeling now with three wins that you feel that this is beginning to feel more and more my thing, I feel like I expect this, I belong here?
JB:
Well, every race is exciting and if you can stand on the top step afterwards it s exhilarating but if I don t win a race… for example in Shanghai I was happy to finish on the podium but when you ve won two races the win is exciting and that s the same for all of us. We re all racing drivers, we all want to win the race but it s still not easy at the front. Our car is competitive but it s still not easy to drive and that s something that we need to work on because I had a lot of moments during the race where I was wide, locked up rears or fronts. Maybe it s not just the way that our car was balanced, maybe it s just a new set-up on the car, the way it works but you see a lot of people getting out of shape now. It s tough for us but maybe good for you guys to watch.

Q: (James Allen Financial Times) Jarno, just before you made your stop we heard Lewis s engineer say to him on the radio that it was clear that the harder tyre was a second a lap slower today than the soft and then you came in and put hard tyres on. Could you just explain what the thinking was behind that? Was it because you were going to do a 25 lap stint and you didn t trust the soft tyres on that length of stint?
JT:
Yeah, we were not sure about the soft tyres. Obviously the team had a better idea than me with all the data collected during the winter and this season we were not actually sure about the soft tyres, how many laps they could remain competitive. That was one of the reasons behind the choice. It didn t work out but in the end it is still a podium, still a good race but obviously the target was to win a race but I think we still have to improve our pace.

Bahrain GP: Sunday Driver Quotes

A complete list of Driver Quotes following the Bahrain Grand Prix 2009.

Jenson Button (Brawn GP)- Started: 4th, Finished: 1st: “It was a great race today and I’m so happy to have seen the chequered flag without a safety car or red light in front of me! To achieve my third victory of the season is amazing and we are going back to Europe with a strong lead in both championships. I couldn’t wish for anything more. It has been a tough weekend for the team which makes this win even more rewarding as we didn’t have the pace that we expected.

“I was really happy with my first lap. I knew that I had to overtake Sebastian quickly and got him round the outside on turn one. I had a couple of attempts at Lewis round the first lap and almost got him at the last corner. I knew that he would pull away from me on the straight so I dropped in behind and used the tow to overtake him at turn one. It wasn’t easy from there but getting up to third on the first lap was crucial for me. Our thanks to Mercedes-Benz this weekend who have not only provided us with a powerful engine but have integrated so well with our team. You need a close-knit unit to succeed in Formula One and that is what we have at this team.”

Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)- Started: 3rd, Finished: 2nd: “Very good. A good result and good points, but it was a difficult race. The start was okay, but then suddenly Lewis (Hamilton) was next to me – he must have pressed his special button and got an advantage. At the first corner we were three deep, me in the middle and Jenson (Button) on the outside, so I had to give way and lost two positions.

“Unfortunately I then got stuck behind Lewis, which caused degradation to the tyres – you start to slide and never really come back from that. It’s hard braking here so you need the tyres and rear stability. In the second stint I was just behind Jarno (Trulli), which was a shame as I was on soft tyres and could have gone a bit quicker.

“In the third stint, it was the other way round and I had to defend against Jarno who was then on the soft tryes. He was very close in my mirrors, but I didn’t make any mistakes and we came second! A massive thanks to all the guys for this great result.”

Jarno Trulli (Toyota)- Started: 1st, Finished: 3rd: “I’m a little disappointed to be honest because I thought we had a chance to take Toyota’s first win this weekend. But it was a hard race. I was slightly slower into the first corner than Timo so I spent the first stint following him. I knew I was going longer than him but it was still difficult. Then we went for a very long second stint on the hard tyres. It was really hard fighting with the other cars and eventually Sebastian took the position after my last stop. After that he was on the hard tyres and I was on the soft. I was pushing him because I was quicker but there was no way to overtake. Still, I have to thank the engineers and mechanics because they did a very good job and it’s good to be on the podium again.”

Lewis Hamilton (Mclaren)- Started: 5th, Finished: 4th: “I’m delighted with fourth. The Toyotas, Red Bulls and Brawns were so fast in the high-speed corners that it was just impossible to keep up. But this is another encouraging step for the team, we just need to keep working on the car because we’re not really fighting back quite yet, we are collecting points. And the gap will be bigger when we go to Barcelona because it’s a high-downforce circuit. We should challenge for the top 10 there, but another top-five will be harder.”

Rubens Barrichello (Brawn)- Started: 6th, Finished: 5th: “We brought home some valuable points today but it was a tough race for me. I lost a lot of time behind Piquet after my first stop which was a real shame as it compromised my race plan. We went for a three-stop strategy and then took the decision to come in slightly early for my second stop as I was being held up behind Hamilton.

“It was so hot out there this afternoon and the car was burning my waist on the right-hand side which made it very difficult for me. It seems that luck is on Jenson’s side at the moment and well done to him and to the team for winning the race today. I hope that my turn comes soon!”

Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)- Started: 10th, Finished: 6th: “I am happy to have picked up a few points but I can’t be that pleased with our performance level. I’ve been around long enough not to get very excited about a sixth place. We are well aware we have to improve. In theory, the new package we will have in Barcelona should see us make a good step forward, but we won’t know just how big it will be compared to the others until we are on track in Spain. Today, we got the most out of the F60’s current potential, even if I lost a bit of time in my final pit stop because of a problem with a part of the fairing on the left front wheel which cost me the chance of exiting pit lane ahead of Barrichello.”

Timo Glock (Toyota)- Started: 2nd, Finished: 7th: “That was a difficult race. I made a promising start and I was surprised to get ahead of Jarno from the dirty side. Then we were the first car to pit, which was already critical. But when I went out on the prime tyres I don’t know how many seconds I lost on the first two laps because I was really struggling for grip. I couldn’t get any heat into the tyres and I really lost the race in the second stint. I was sliding around and it was clear that the speed was better on the options. In the end I was chasing Kimi but there was no chance to overtake. Still, two points are better than none and we will now look for more in Spain.”

Fernando Alonso (Renault)- Started: 7th, Finished:8th: “We did our maximum today. The start of the race was not perfect and we lost a position which put me down to eighth. After that nothing unusual happened during the race and there were no retirements so we were eighth fastest and we finished eighth. We always aim to score points, but we only scored one point and so we need to improve at the next Grand Prix.”

Nico Rosberg (Williams)- Started: 9th, Finished: 9th: “It was not so good today. I was on the limit and really got the best out of it, but we were simply not quick enough. I lost so many places at the start because all of the KERS cars came flying past me, which was really shocking because I had a very good start.

“This is just where we are at the moment so we need to push hard to improve and catch up with the others in front. Just like everyone else, we will have some new parts ready for Barcelona and I hope our package will be competitive.”

Nelson Piquet (Renault)- Started: 15th, Finished: 10th: “I had a strong race and the car was good. It would have been better if I could have made the first stint shorter and the second stint longer, but overall I’m happy with the day as we had a solid race, which is what we needed. Now we must to concentrate on improving our performance for the next race.”

Mark Webber (Red Bull)- Started: 18th, Finished: 11th: “My start was okay, we had a reasonable first few laps, but then I got stuck behind Piquet. It’s very difficult to overtake a car with KERS, he was too quick on the straights and that really wrecked the first stint for me. We then converted to a two-stop strategy, but the grip was quite low on the prime tyres, although it was the same for everyone.

“If you don’t start near the front in these races we know the score, but I did my best. It was a good day for Sebastian, which shows the performance of the car. My mechanics worked like hell and the car was reliable, so we’ll have our day.”

Heikki Kovalainen (Mclaren)- Started: 11th, Finished: 12th: “My start was a disaster. Obviously, to begin the race on the prime tyre was the wrong choice. The harder tyres didn’t have the right grip and soon started to deteriorate. The tyres started vibrating even though there wasn’t a flat-spot. After my first pitstop the car felt much better, but by then it was too late to improve dramatically. Anyway, the pace was not very good. We now need to go away and analyse why our performance was not good enough today. We’ll be working even harder to improve it ahead of the next race in Barcelona.”

Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso)- Started: 20th, Finished: 13th: “It was a really good day for me, except that I started so far back on the grid, which meant I couldn’t get into the points. But clearly, the car was working well and I had a good race pace. The team adopted the right strategy starting me on Primes and after that I was quite quick.

“It was nice to drive a race on the attack, feeling comfortable with the car and I knew that with the different strategies, I had to push right to the end, running the Options. So, overall, I’m fairly happy with this result. Now, I’m looking forward to Barcelona and updates on the car as I’m sure they will make a big difference. 13th is nothing special, no points, but I can be pleased with the day’s work.”

Felipe Massa (Ferrari)- Started: 8th, Finished: 14th: “My race was decided at the start. I was sandwiched between Kimi and Rubens and the front wing got broken after making contact with my team-mate’s rear wheel. At first, I didn’t realise what had really happened and so I came in after two laps to change the nose. Then, after a good start with a clear track, I found myself in traffic and my hopes of climbing up the order evaporated. Throughout the race, my telemetry wasn’t working and so my engineers couldn’t help me with the management of the car.

“The KERS did not work perfectly either, especially at the start. A shame, as once again today, we lost an opportunity to score points. Now I expect to make a good step forward in performance terms in Barcelona. One thing’s for sure, we won’t give up because all of us want to get back up the order.”

Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India)- Started: 17th, Finished: 15th: “It was a really tough race here today. The temperatures were the hottest we’ve had this year and I was really in some pain in the closing stages as my seat was rubbing against my right hip. By the end it was very badly bruised. All the same I think the first part of the race was very strong and I could race with Webber and Kovalainen and then Piquet. In the final laps Massa got past and there was a little contact. I think 15th isn’t too bad – we are racing again and I think we can be pleased the overall weekend performance.”

Adrian Sutil (Force India)- Started: 19th, Finished: 16th: “It was a long race, very tough, and the temperatures were very high. Everything was on the limit, the car and myself, but actually it was a very consistent race. At the start of the race I lost three positions in the first lap as Nakajima drove into my car. It was a shame but it was a good race from that point with good pit stops and another finish that keeps the team’s good finishing record so far this year. The new upgrades have put us firmly back in the midfield and we can look forward to Barcelona now where we have some more upgrades coming.”

Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso)- Started: 16th, Finished: 17th: “I’m not happy with the way it went today. It was very difficult and it could have been better. My start was bad with a lot of wheelspin, losing places and then I was unable to attack and sliding a lot. I am not sure why I struggled with the car, as it’s behaviour was really strange.

“I was not concerned by the heat and gave my maximum from start to finish. At least I finished, which is a good experience, but there is nothing much else to say apart from the fact I was slow and had a bad weekend!”

Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)- Started:13th, Finished: 18th: “My race was destroyed after corner one. I was between Nick and another car, we touched each other and I destroyed my front wing. Then after the crash there was a miscommunication with the pit crew. I asked to come in straight away, but was only able to pit after the second lap. Then the race was very difficult, as for a long time I was in a heavy car on prime tyres. We were really nowhere with our pace. I hope we make a big step forward in Barcelona.”

Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)- Started: 14th, Finished: 19th: “The result is a disaster, although we were unlucky with the collision in the first corner. At first I thought the suspension was broken, but I only had to have a new nose fitted in the pits and then continued. The first half of the race with the harder tyres was difficult, but the softer compound made it a little bit easier. However, it is another race to forget and we all hope for improvements in Barcelona.”

Kazuki Nakajima (Williams)- Started: 12, Finished:  Retired: “It’s was a disappointing race for me. My start was average but it was very difficult to defend against the cars around me that had KERS. It was then very close going into the first corner on the second lap and I damaged my front wing so I had to pit early. I came out at the back of the field and from there I couldn’t make up any ground.

“In the end, my oil pressure was spiking so we took the decision to retire the car. The one positive thing is that the car felt good so we will hopefully do better at the next race.”

Ferrari adamant their season is not over

Stefano Domenicali has rebuffed suggestions that the Spanish Grand Prix will be Ferrari s last chance to launch a bid for both Formula One World Championships. The Ferrari Team Principal was happy with his team s performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but accepts that improvements must be made to turn the Scuderia s floundering season around.

Kimi Raikkonen finally opened Ferrari s 2009 account with a strong sixth place finish. Unfortunately Felipe Massa could not challenge for points in today s race as the Brazilian damaged his front wing during the first corner melee and then suffered problems with his KERS system.

 

Kimi Raikkonen finally opened Ferrari s 2009 account with a strong sixth place finish. Unfortunately Felipe Massa could not challenge for points in today s race as the Brazilian damaged his front wing during the first corner melee and then suffered problems with his KERS system.

Brawn delighted with race victory

Ross Brawn was left ecstatic with Jenson Button s win in the Bahrain Grand Prix and paid tribute to his team for overcoming the hot weather conditions, which had caused problems throughout the weekend.

Button, who started from fourth on the Grid, made a reasonable start, passing the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel around the outside into turn one before disposing of Mclaren s Lewis Hamilton in the same corner a lap later.

Rubens Barrichello was also pleased with points scoring finish, despite being held up by Nelson Piquet during the middle part of the race.

 

Jenson Button – 1st: “It was a great race today and I’m so happy to have seen the chequered flag without a safety car or red light in front of me! To achieve my third victory of the season is amazing and we are going back to Europe with a strong lead in both championships. I couldn’t wish for anything more. It has been a tough weekend for the team which makes this win even more rewarding as we didn’t have the pace that we expected.

“I was really happy with my first lap. I knew that I had to overtake Sebastian quickly and got him round the outside on turn one. I had a couple of attempts at Lewis round the first lap and almost got him at the last corner. I knew that he would pull away from me on the straight so I dropped in behind and used the tow to overtake him at turn one. It wasn’t easy from there but getting up to third on the first lap was crucial for me. Our thanks to Mercedes-Benz this weekend who have not only provided us with a powerful engine but have integrated so well with our team. You need a close-knit unit to succeed in Formula One and that is what we have at this team.”

Rubens Barrichello – 5th: “We brought home some valuable points today but it was a tough race for me. I lost a lot of time behind Piquet after my first stop which was a real shame as it compromised my race plan. We went for a three-stop strategy and then took the decision to come in slightly early for my second stop as I was being held up behind Hamilton.

“It was so hot out there this afternoon and the car was burning my waist on the right-hand side which made it very difficult for me. It seems that luck is on Jenson’s side at the moment and well done to him and to the team for winning the race today. I hope that my turn comes soon!”

Ross Brawn: “A fantastic performance today from Jenson and all credit is due to him for an outstanding opening lap which made today’s victory possible. We have had a challenging weekend in dealing with the extreme temperature conditions which was made more difficult by our lack of hot weather testing prior to the season. I am very proud of the way that the team here in Bahrain has worked together to overcome the issues that we faced and how they performed in the race today.

“Our particular thanks this weekend are due to our engine partner Mercedes-Benz and we are delighted to have achieved our third victory of the season with them here today. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the team at the factory in Brackley who have been working very hard on our upgrade package. After a demanding but successful start of the season, we are all looking forward to returning home and the opportunity for the team to celebrate together before our focus turns to the start of the European season in Spain in two weeks.”

Renault achieve their “maximum” in Bahrain

Renault were rather downbeat in their analysis of the Bahrain Grand Prix. A poor start compromised Fernando Alonso’s race with the Spaniard only managing 8th place, despite showing promise  in both Practice and Qualifying.

Alonso’s team mate, Nelson Piquet had gave his strongest performance of the season, climbing up to 10th from 15th on the grid.

With both  the team management and the drivers admitting that their performance was the best they could have hoped for, Renault realise that big improvements will be required to get closer to the front runners.

Fernando Alonso – 8th: “We did our maximum today. The start of the race was not perfect and we lost a position which put me down to eighth. After that nothing unusual happened during the race and there were no retirements so we were eighth fastest and we finished eighth. We always aim to score points, but we only scored one point and so we need to improve at the next Grand Prix.”

Nelson Piquet – 10th: “I had a strong race and the car was good. It would have been better if I could have made the first stint shorter and the second stint longer, but overall I’m happy with the day as we had a solid race, which is what we needed. Now we must to concentrate on improving our performance for the next race.”

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: “We had higher expectations for this weekend but sadly we have come away with only one point. Fernando did not have a good start and this compromised the rest of his race despite his best efforts. Nelson had an excellent race, moving up from 15th and driving aggressively and consistently. It’s just a shame that he missed out on the points.”

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: “It was a very tough race today: the conditions were very hot and the race was intense all the way through the field. Fernando lost a lot of ground with a poor start and in such a tight field it was hard to recover from that, but our final position probably is a reflection of our competitiveness. Nelson had a good race today, consistently lapping close to Fernando’s times, but for the upcoming races we need to improve the car to turn this sort of big effort from the whole team into solid points.”

Remi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations: “Today we scored one point, but it’s not a great reward for our efforts over the weekend. Everybody has worked really hard in the team and both drivers drove good races, but we only finished eighth and tenth. I think that our race was determined at the first corner where we lost a lot of ground and unfortunately that put us in a difficult situation. Nevertheless we are still moving in the right direction and that’s good to see.”

Button and Brawn back on top in Bahrain

59buttonJenson Button dominated the Bahrain Grand Prix claiming Brawn GP’s third win of the season thanks to a clever race strategy and a searing desert pace.

The Briton started behind both the Toyota drivers and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, but a slightly longer first stint and two blistering laps in clean air catapulted him into the lead and enabled him to control the race.

Vettel took third for Red Bull after leap-frogging Jarno Trulli at the final round of pit stops, while Lewis Hamilton claimed fourth place for McLaren as the Woking team continue to improve.

Button has now won three out of four races with Brawn GP. The 29-year-old says his latest victory is the sweetest because of the way he had to fight from behind.

“This win was the best of the lot,” he said. “We didn’t have that competitive edge. It is the fourth flyaway, we have a lot of bits that need to be changed and getting a bit aged, so to come away from this race is great and we are now looking at improving the car.”

Kimi Raikkonen just about prevented Ferrari from self-destructing in Bahrain by taking sixth place, but Felipe Massa’s torrid season continued after he was squeezed into his teammate at the first corner and had to stop for repairs.

With torrential rain mixing up the order in the last two grand prix and perhaps masking Brawn GP’s true pace, sunshine and searing heat in Bahrain enabled the Brackley-based outfit to reassert their dominance and consolidate their position at the top of the constructors’ championship.

At the start though, Button found himself at the mercy of Lewis Hamilton’s KERS device as the McLaren driver vaulted passed him up into third place behind Jarno Trulli who lost the lead to the lighter Timo Glock.

But Button quickly despatched Hamilton into the first corner, a crucial pass that enabled him to hunt down the Toyotas.

“Hamilton is very difficult to overtake, but on the first lap he made a few mistakes I dived down the inside and on the straight I thought I could get alongside him,” Button recounted.

“I did but he pushed his button and got ahead, but I got him into first corner. That move made the race for us.”

“Jenson was just so fast through the corners so he was on my tail all the time,” confirmed Hamilton.

As expected, both Glock and Trulli were lightly fuelled for a short first stint. Glock stopped on Lap 12 rejoining behind Nico Rosberg in eighth place. He spent several laps tucked up behind the Williams driver struggling on the harder tyres which crippled his race.

“When I went out on the prime tyres I don’t know how many seconds I lost on the first two laps because I was really struggling for grip,” said Glock afterwards.

“I couldn’t get any heat into the tyres and I really lost the race in the second stint. I was sliding around and it was clear that the speed was better on the options.”

Trulli was predicted to run at least two laps longer than his teammate, so when the Italian peeled off into the pit lane only one lap later, it was game over for the Toyota driver as he fed back onto the track in front of Fernando Alonso. Alonso compounded the situation for Trulli with an audacious pass around the outside at Turn 3.

Button, sensing his moment, put the hammer down and delivered two blistering laps around the Bahrain circuit before pitting on Lap 16. He rejoined in front of Alonso, taking the provisional lead.

Sebastian Vettel, fresh from his sensational victory in the rain-hit Chinese Grand Prix a week ago posed the only real threat to Button having out-qualified the Brawn GP driver despite carrying more fuel.

The German, promoted into the lead by Button’s stop, confirmed Red Bull’s dry weather pace with a string of fastest laps, pacing over a second quicker than Jarno Trulli was managing at the same point in the race.

Vettel had built up a cushion of over twenty seconds by the time he made his first pit stop on Lap 20, but it wasn’t enough to keep him ahead of Trulli.

The Toyota driver proved to be Vettel’s undoing. He strugged for grip on the harder tyres and backed Vettel into the chasing drivers of Lewis Hamilton and Rubens Barrichello. Barrichello switched to a three-stop to try and leapfrog the Trulli-Vettel-Hamilton pack.

As Button continued to pulled clear, Vettel had only a face full of Toyota gearbox to contend with and his lap times slumped to Trulli’s pace for several laps.

Button had a fifteen second cushion over Trulli when he made his second and final stop. “We went for a very long second stint on the hard tyres,” recounts Trulli.

Vettel was given one last shot in clean air when Trulli and Hamilton made their final stops, but the gap was too big to make an impression on Button. He did however, manage to rejoin ahead of Trulli to take second place at the chequred flag.

“A good result and good points, but it was a difficult race,” said Vettel. “It’s hard braking here so you need the tyres and rear stability. In the second stint I was just behind Jarno (Trulli), which was a shame as I was on soft tyres and could have gone a bit quicker.

“In the third stint, it was the other way round and I had to defend against Jarno who was then on the soft tryes.”

Lewis Hamilton settled for fourth, while Rubens Barrichello needed a few more laps to make his three stop strategy work. He dropped to fifth place after his third and final stop.

Kimi Raikkonen just about prevented Ferrari from self-destructing in front of team president Luca Di Montezemolo in Bahrain. The Finn took sixth place thanks to a long second stint and an aggressive defence of his position in the closing laps that kept a charging Timo Glock at bay.

Failure to score points in Bahrain would have marked Ferrari’s worst start to a Formula One season in their illustrious history. For a moment it looked as though this nightmare was about to become a reality as Rubens Barrichello squeezed Felipe Massa into the back of teammate Raikkonen at the first corner.

Massa was forced to pit for a new nose cone which ruined his race for the fourth consecutive time this season. The Brazilian ran as high as twelfth place before dropping to fourteenth at the chequered flag, behind Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Beumi.

Ferrari’s race could not have been worse than BMW Sauber’s though, another stalwart in last year’s championship campaign, with both their drivers involved in accidents.

Robert Kubica tangled with McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen at the start and was forced to stop with repairs. Given BMW Sauber’s lacklustre pace the Pole had no chance of recovering and hobbled home to take eighteenth place ahead of Heidfeld.

“My race was destroyed after corner one,” said Kubica. “I was between Nick and another car, we touched each other and I destroyed my front wing.”

“Then after the crash there was a miscommunication with the pit crew. I asked to come in straight away, but was only able to pit after the second lap.”

“Then the race was very difficult, as for a long time I was in a heavy car on prime tyres. We were really nowhere with our pace. I hope we make a big step forward in Barcelona.”

Renault’s Fernando Alonso finished eighth place ahead of Williams’ Nico Rosberg.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber started at the back of the grid after he was knocked out-out qualifying by Force India’s Arian Sutil who scuppered his flying lap.

The Aussie found himself at the centre of an epic scrap with the BMW Sauber, Force India, and Toro Rosso drivers, at the start of the race.

Emerging unscathed, he climbed up up to twelfth place after passing McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen, taking eleventh when Giancarlo Fissichella, who had run impressively throughout the race, made a mistake in the closing stages. Adrian Sutil in the sister Force India was sixteenth.

“My start was okay, we had a reasonable first few laps, but then I got stuck behind Piquet,” Webber reflected. “It’s very difficult to overtake a car with KERS, he was too quick on the straights and that really wrecked the first stint for me. We then converted to a two-stop strategy, but the grip was quite low on the prime tyres, although it was the same for everyone.”

“If you don’t start near the front in these races we know the score, but I did my best. It was a good day for Sebastian, which shows the performance of the car. My mechanics worked like hell and the car was reliable, so we’ll have our day.”

Although eventful, the Bahrain Grand Prix proved to be a race of strong reliability, with Kazuki Nakajima the only driver to stop with a mechanical problem.

P.      Driver                  Team            Time     
1       Jenson Button           Brawn           1:35.679
2       Nico Rosberg            Williams        0:00.025
3       Rubens Barrichello      Brawn           0:00.202
4       Mark Webber             Red Bull        0:00.426
5       Sebastian Vettel        Red Bull        0:00.488
6       Jarno Trulli            Toyota          0:00.538
7       Kazuki Nakajima         Williams        0:00.698
8       Timo Glock              Toyota          0:00.869
9       Heikki Kovalainen       McLaren         0:00.995
10      Sebastien Bourdais      Toro Rosso      0:01.121
11      Adrian Sutil            Force India     0:01.150
12      Felipe Massa            Ferrari         0:01.168
13      Lewis Hamilton          McLaren         0:01.262
14      Kimi Räikkönen          Ferrari         0:01.375
15      Sebastien Buemi         Toro Rosso      0:01.540
16      Nelson Piquet           Renault         0:01.594
17      Robert Kubica           BMW             0:01.812
18      Nick Heidfeld           BMW             0:01.865
19      Fernando Alonso         Renault         0:01.959
20      Giancarlo Fisichella    Force India     0:02.071

Red Bull satisfied with Podium Finish

Red Bull Racing’s Team Principal, Christian Horner, was pleased with Sebastian Vettel’s 2nd place finish in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

This was echoed by Vettel himself, who after losing out at the start to Lewis Hamilton, suffered tyre degradation, leaving him with no answer to Jenson Button’s Brawn GP car.

Mark Webber was relatively pleased with his solid performance. Having started from the back, Webber felt that he could achieve no more than his 11th place finish, but remained happy with the car’s pace and handling.

Sebastian Vettel – 2nd: “Very good. A good result and good points, but it was a difficult race. The start was okay, but then suddenly Lewis (Hamilton) was next to me – he must have pressed his special button and got an advantage. At the first corner we were three deep, me in the middle and Jenson (Button) on the outside, so I had to give way and lost two positions.

“Unfortunately I then got stuck behind Lewis, which caused degradation to the tyres – you start to slide and never really come back from that. It’s hard braking here so you need the tyres and rear stability. In the second stint I was just behind Jarno (Trulli), which was a shame as I was on soft tyres and could have gone a bit quicker.

“In the third stint, it was the other way round and I had to defend against Jarno who was then on the soft tryes. He was very close in my mirrors, but I didn’t make any mistakes and we came second! A massive thanks to all the guys for this great result.”

Mark Webber – 11th: “My start was okay, we had a reasonable first few laps, but then I got stuck behind Piquet. It’s very difficult to overtake a car with KERS, he was too quick on the straights and that really wrecked the first stint for me. We then converted to a two-stop strategy, but the grip was quite low on the prime tyres, although it was the same for everyone.

“If you don’t start near the front in these races we know the score, but I did my best. It was a good day for Sebastian, which shows the performance of the car. My mechanics worked like hell and the car was reliable, so we’ll have our day.”

Christian Horner: “Turn two dictated our afternoon, when Jenson (Button) and Lewis (Hamilton) managed to nip past Sebastian. He then lost a lot of time in the first stint behind Lewis and in the second stint behind Jarno (Trulli) when he was on the prime tyre. When he had the overlap and free air, he was very quick and was able to get himself up into second position.

“So, a great result, another eight points, we’re still second in the Constructors’ Championship and we had a car that was quick enough to win again today. Mark drove a difficult race from a difficult starting position. He had good pace but, as almost all the cars finished, 11th was probably the optimum for him today.”

Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer, Track Support: “Mixed feelings! Second is a place we can enjoy – it’s a very good result, 26 points from two races is very special for the team, but we had a car that was able to win today, so there’s a bit of disappointment too, and also for Mark. He was very quick, but when you start so low on the grid, it’s very difficult to overtake, especially the KERS cars. But, it’s a good result and we have a lot of points in the bag as we move to Europe.”

Williams bemoan poor Grand Prix display

A very dissatisfied Nico Rosberg could only manage 9th place in the Bahrain Grand Prix. Although the German made a strong start to the race, he was quickly dwarfed by the KERS cars and struggled to keep up with their pace.

His Japanese team mate, Kazuki Nakajima, suffered an even poorer race. After damaging his front wing on the second lap, Nakajima eventually retired with fading oil pressure.

Technical Director, Sam Michael, rued the fact that Rosberg could not capitalise on his aggressive strategy during the race, and now hopes that the team can have a better race weekend next time out in Spain.

Nico Rosberg – 9th: “It was not so good today. I was on the limit and really got the best out of it, but we were simply not quick enough. I lost so many places at the start because all of the KERS cars came flying past me, which was really shocking because I had a very good start.

“This is just where we are at the moment so we need to push hard to improve and catch up with the others in front. Just like everyone else, we will have some new parts ready for Barcelona and I hope our package will be competitive.”

Kazuki Nakajima – retired: “It’s was a disappointing race for me. My start was average but it was very difficult to defend against the cars around me that had KERS. It was then very close going into the first corner on the second lap and I damaged my front wing so I had to pit early. I came out at the back of the field and from there I couldn’t make up any ground.

“In the end, my oil pressure was spiking so we took the decision to retire the car. The one positive thing is that the car felt good so we will hopefully do better at the next race.”

Sam Michael, technical director: “In Nico’s case, we started ninth and finish ninth so we didn’t manage to capitalise on the strategy that we had. He had a good start, but he then lost positions going into Turn 1 so we’ll have to look and see what happened there. He then spent the stints where we needed clean air behind traffic.

“Kazuki had an accident on lap two going into Turn 1 and that was it for his race. We’ll now look ahead to a better performance in Barcelona.”