Lewis Hamilton was delighted with his sixth place finish in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix, after a storming drive.
The 2008 champion made a superb start and scythed his way up through the field in the opening stages. Unfortunately, the British driver ended up behind the Force India of Adrian Sutil in the closing stages of the race and was forced to settle for 6th.
Despite this, Hamilton was clearly delighted with his efforts and hopes to carry on his form into the next round of the championship.
Meanwhile Jenson Button rued his tyre strategy for halting his charge through the field. Button started the race on the option tyres, but after finding that he had no grip, was forced to pit early – compromising himself for the remainder of the race.
Lewis Hamilton – 6th: “I had a great start, went down the inside and got past a lot of cars on the first lap. I was able to keep going for much of the race on my first set of tyres, and even nearly got past Sebastian [Vettel] after his pitstop. After my pitstop, I tried my best to get past Adrian [Sutil], but he was very smart at getting clean exits and was simply too fast down the straights. He drove a fantastic race, actually; faultless, in fact. From 20th on the grid, I think sixth was a brilliant result. I reckon we showed today that we were fast enough to compete with the guys at the very front – and, that being the case, if we’d started farther up we could’ve had an even better result this afternoon. Overall, then, I’m well happy with my race I couldn’t ask for any more to be honest. The team really deserved this, and we’re now closer to the top in the constructors’ championship than we were before the race. So we’ll take forward a lot of positives with us into the next race.”
Jenson Button – 8th: “My first stint was very tough. I went for the outside at the first corner and as things turned out it wasn’t the right place to be. So I fell back, and was then stuck behind Fernando, who I just couldn’t overtake. I found the Option tyres quite difficult in the early laps I had no rear grip in the high-speed stuff. I couldn’t overtake, and lost lots of time, so I took the gamble to pit early and drop back into a clear track. I made up a lot of ground, but I was on the Primes for so long that it became difficult to hold back cars that were two seconds a lap quicker than me. Felipe [Massa] eventually got past. Fernando [Alonso] tried a couple of times the last time he went really deep into Turn One, but I managed to repass him on the exit and then suddenly his engine was gone. I don’t know what happened to him, but we had a good fight. I didn’t realise that fighting for eighth was going to be so difficult! However, it’s good to get some points again.”
Martin Whitmarsh – team principal: “Given their grid positions, this afternoon we saw two markedly different yet equally impressive drives from Lewis and Jenson. Lewis ran long, starting on Prime tyres, and made prodigious progress in the first phase of the race thanks to a series of stunning overtaking manoeuvres. Jenson ran a contrasting strategy, starting on Options and making his pitstop early [lap nine]. Thereafter he preserved his Primes in masterly fashion, defending his position against cars whose tyres were far newer than his yet still maintaining strong lap times throughout the race. From our perspective, a bit of rain would have been welcome; but, given the dry weather all afternoon, the fact that we’ll leave Malaysia with 12 more constructors’ championship points than we had when we arrived here is a powerful testament to the professionalism and determination that both Lewis and Jenson showed today. The team, too, did a fantastic job. Lewis’s pitstop was the fastest we’ve achieved all year, at a lightning-quick 3.4 seconds, so I’d like to take this opportunity to say ‘well done’ to Pete Vale [chief mechanic], Paul James [number-one mechanic, Lewis Hamilton] and all the lads for their excellent work under significant pressure. Looking forward to China, there are many positives to reflect on. We now lie a close second in the constructors’ world championship table, our pace was highly competitive all weekend here in Malaysia, and, with a better qualifying performance than we achieved here in Sepang, we hope to perform strongly in Shanghai.”