• Japanese GP - Race

Who said what after the Japanese Grand Prix

ESPN Staff
October 5, 2014 « Massa was 'screaming' for race to stop | Drivers say conditions were not too bad in Suzuka »

ESPN rounds up all the reaction from around the paddock after the Japanese Grand Prix

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Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel (3rd): "Everything that happened with the racing on track is secondary today, one of us is in a bad shape and we don't yet know how he is. Jules had a bad accident and we hope to have some very good news, very soon. Not knowing what's going on feels terrible, I think all the drivers really feel with him, as we know how difficult and slippery it was today; we hope for the very best."

Daniel Ricciardo (4th): "Right now we're all thinking about Bianchi and that's the biggest concern for us. We heard he had a pretty big crash and it's not nice when we don't know if the driver is okay. The race was tricky, it wasn't going too badly and the set-up we had for yesterday paid off. We tried a few different things with the strategy, but Bianchi is my main concern at the moment."

Christian Horner, team principal: "First of all, irrelevant of anything else, our thoughts are with Jules Bianchi and that he's okay; that is the absolute first priority. For the race, it was a strong race performance by the team with both drivers making great progress and some fantastic overtaking moves. Third and fourth are competitive results. We looked a lot more competitive in the wet conditions, which tend to be a great equaliser."


Lewis Hamilton (1st): "Our first thoughts go to Jules - it overshadows everything else when one of our colleagues is injured and we are praying for him. Next to this, the race result doesn't seem significant at all. Nico and I had a tough battle, we were pushing really hard. I had a big moment at Turn One when I was too late getting off the DRS as I was just pushing so hard but fortunately I was able to get back on track. The conditions were difficult throughout but I had more pace than Nico today and could follow him quite comfortably in the early stages. This is not an easy circuit for following another car or for overtaking, but he made a mistake out of the last corner and I was able to pass. The whole approach then needed to change to look after the tyres and make sure I stayed in the lead until the end of the race. But like I said, that's not what matters today; our thoughts are with Jules."

Nico Rosberg (2nd): "My thoughts are with our colleague Jules and his family and team-mates, and we are hoping for some positive news. Today was a really tough race with the wet conditions. I struggled a lot with the balance of my car on the intermediate tyres, so I had to push hard to keep Lewis behind me. I had a lot of oversteering which is why the rear end of my car was very nervous. That was really strange and I didn't have the necessary confidence in the corners; we need to look into that in the next few days. It meant that Lewis was quicker today and deserved the win. It was damage limitation with losing only seven points to him. For the team it was a good result with another rone-two."

Toto Wolff, Executive Director (Business) At this stage, the only important thing is that Jules Bianchi is okay and recovers; the sport is not as important as that now.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): "Our thoughts are now with Jules Bianchi as we wait for more news of his condition. We had predicted a difficult race from the moment we saw the forecast for this weekend but the weather didn't prove as bad as we had perhaps expected. It was a tricky start behind the Safety Car but then much of the race unfolded in intermediate tyre conditions. We pulled out a lead at the beginning which meant we were able to shadow our competitors with the pit stops and let the drivers battle it out on track. They had a hard dice and Lewis managed an impressive overtake at Turn One. In conditions like we saw today, a one-two finish is a good achievement for the team. I would also like to thank the fans, who were fantastic in their support this weekend - as always in Japan - and who make it such a pleasure to race here. But most importantly of all, we are all hoping to hear some positive news about Jules soon."

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Fernando Alonso (DNF): "It was a real shame losing the opportunity to take part in this race because, with nothing to lose in terms of the championship, I could have taken a few more risks and maybe aimed for the podium. I still don't know what caused the unfortunate technical problem, only that suddenly, the car lost all its electrics, maybe down to a short circuit caused by the rain. Now, in the four remaining races, the priority is still to pick up as many points as possible, because we are still aiming for third place in the Constructors' classification. On that front, it could be good that we can count on using this engine which did hardly any distance today, thus not having to use a new one which would mean starting one of the remaining races from the pit lane. However, the only good news we want right now relates to Jules Bianchi. I hope that we hear very soon that he's alright."

Kimi Raikkonen (12th): "Overall, this was a very disappointing weekend. I had set-up problems right from the first day and again today in the race I didn't manage to drive the way I would have liked. After the start behind the safety car, the track conditions were pretty atrocious and visibility was very poor, but my car was handling okay. Then, when the rain eased, I fitted the Intermediate tyres, but after a few laps, they were no longer up to temperature and they began to give me problems at the front end, which meant I had to slow down. Now, we will try and resolve this problem as quickly as possible and aim to improve, starting with the very next race, but more importantly right now, let's hope we get some good news about Jules Bianchi soon."

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Marco Mattiacci: "For our team, this weekend was unfortunately characterized by reliability problems, yesterday on Kimi's car and today on Fernando's. With Kimi, we paid the price for not having been able to get his car configured as well as possible in the third free practice session. That meant he suffered with balance problems throughout the race. Today, with Fernando, we had a bit more of a chance and what happened today just underlines the fact that we must improve the car. However, at the moment, all this is of secondary importance and all our thoughts are only with Jules Bianchi."

Pat Fry: "It's disappointing to finish the weekend without scoring points, but our biggest concern tonight is what happened to Jules Bianchi. We still don't know much but it looked very serious. As for our race, Fernando's only lasted a couple of laps, probably because of a problem with the electrical system, however we will need to wait until we have the car back for confirmation. Kimi's main problem was graining on the front tyres. At the pit stop he lost valuable time because of a problem with the front right, but even without that, I think his finishing position wouldn't have been that much different. Today's conditions were definitely not easy and what happened here highlights just how important it is to work on the reliability of the car."


Romain Grosjean (15th): "Firstly, my thoughts are with Jules and I hope he is not seriously hurt. It was a difficult race out there. The start under the safety car was in very wet conditions when the spray made it difficult to see and the amount of water on track meant we were aquaplaning a lot, so it was sensible to red flag the race. After the restart, conditions were much better, but then the rain returned and it was difficult to be on the right tyres and find the grip we wanted. The car seemed quite good at times but we also used up our tyres quite quickly, so it was a big challenge today."

Pastor Maldonado (16th): "It was a tricky race from the very beginning. I think we were doing quite well, trying to anticipate what others would do strategy-wise, and we recovered some places. There was a big battle at the back, quite tricky because the visibility was not so good. We were able to make some good moves, but equally you had to be very careful about where to push. Most importantly, my thoughts and prayers are with Jules tonight, I hope he is okay." Frederico Gastaldi, deputy team principal: "Obviously everyone in the team is concerned about Jules Bianchi and our thoughts are with him, his team and his family. We know the medical personnel will do everything he needs. The race took place under difficult weather conditions so it was a challenge for everyone. In terms of our performance, both drivers drove very well under very trying circumstances to bring both cars home after numerous visits to the pits."

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Jenson Button (5th): "For me, the race doesn't really matter today. I haven't seen anything of Jules' accident, but the most important thing to say is that all our thoughts are with him, his family, and his team right now. It's an accident that you hope never happens in Formula One."

Kevin Magnussen (14th): "Let's really hope that Jules is okay. It's such a bad feeling when something like this happens, so let's hope and pray for him. We did the best we could today, but we had an unfortunate problem with the steering wheel, which basically dropped me out of the race. I tried my best to come back, and get some points, but unfortunately it wasn't possible to do so."

Eric Boullier, racing director: "More important than anything else, on behalf of everyone at McLaren I want to say how shocked and sorry we were to hear the news of Jules' accident. Our hearts go out to him, of course, to his family, and to all at Marussia. As far as today's race was concerned, Jenson was the first driver in the field to stop to fit Intermediates, and, having done so, thereafter he drove very well all afternoon. Indeed, he may well have finished third had things panned out better for us at the end of the race in terms of Safety Car and pit-stop timing.

"Even so, the 10 points he scored for fifth place may well be useful to us in our efforts to move up the Constructors' Championship table. By contrast, Kevin had a disappointing afternoon. From early in the race his car began to develop electronics issues, which we attempted to ameliorate by replacing his steering wheel in an unscheduled pit-stop. After that he was always going to be playing catch-up - and, although he pulled off some good moves, especially his overtake of Daniel [Ricciardo], he was never going to be in with a chance of scoring points here today. From here we go to Sochi [Russia], where we'll all be hoping for a much better weekend, from every point of view."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg (8th): "Up until the final laps my race was going pretty well: I had good pace and a good feeling with the car. We made some progress early on, pitted late and we were able to jump a few cars in the first stop. I can't say it was a very eventful afternoon for me; I was on my own for most of the time. The conditions were pretty difficult right from the start: visibility was pretty poor, even if you were in the first half of the pack. It was probably the same for everyone because it's always a challenge in the wet. When the final safety car came out we decided to pit again as I had already been out on those tyres for a long time and I needed new rubber to finish the race. I am happy to get points after a difficult Saturday; we made up for it today. Suzuka is a difficult track to race on in the wet because there are lots of places where you can aquaplane and have a moment. I didn't see what happened in the accident that ended the race, but I hope Jules is OK."

Sergio Perez (10th): "The conditions were very difficult today. When we started the race I could not even see the car ahead of me. To begin with, it was just a race to avoid aquaplaning and trying to keep the car on the track because the visibility was very poor. Our strategy was working quite well, but I think we were unlucky to make our final stop, which dropped me down a couple of positions. Like everybody my thoughts are with Jules and I hope we hear some good news soon."

Robert Fernley, deputy team principal: "Our thoughts at the moment are with Jules Bianchi and we hope to hear positive news regarding his condition. It was a very dramatic race with action going on throughout the pack as the track dried initially before the rain returned. We took a risk at the end to pit both cars as the safety car came out, which would have protected us in the event of a restart. Both drivers drove very maturely and scored points, but everything has been overshadowed by the incident that brought the race to a premature end. Jules and everybody at Marussia are firmly in our thoughts at the moment."

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Esteban Gutiérrez (13th): I think it was the right decision to stop the race. I really hope that Jules will be ok. Regarding my race, I fought all the way from the beginning to the end. The conditions were very challenging and it was difficult to get into the rhythm straight away."

Adrian Sutil (DNF): "My thoughts are with Jules who went off in the same place as I did. Everything else is irrevelevant at this point in time. Everybody in the paddock should think of him, and I hope that he is in good hands. It was a difficult race in difficult conditions."

Monisha Kaltenborn, team principal: "All the members of the Sauber F1 Team are deeply concerned about the big accident involving Jules Bianchi. Our thoughts are with him, his family and his friends. Everybody in the team wishes him a speedy recovery. In light of this accident, the sporting aspects of the Japanese Grand Prix are in the least of our concerns."

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne (9th): "I was very happy about my race until I was informed about Jules' accident. Getting some news about him is all that matters at the moment. As for myself, starting from the back of the grid and ending up in the points at the end is a great achievement. Today, in such racing conditions, it was really difficult not to make mistakes, while driving as fast as possible, trying to be quick, but I believe that myself and the team did an excellent job."

Daniil Kvyat (11th): "The only important thing this evening is that I hope Bianchi will be ok. It was a tricky race today with the rain. The general performance of the car was good, but unfortunately our strategy didn't quite work out and with the safety car and red flag towards the end of the race, my chances for a points finish were gone."

Franz Tost, team principal: "Our drivers' performance in the Grand Prix seems secondary today, as we all await news of Bianchi's condition. We scored another 2 points, which is quite positive for the team. Jean-Eric Vergne started from the back of the grid because of our 6th engine change, which meant for him a ten grid positions penalty. However, he showed a very good performance, driving a fantastic race, catching up and finishing in the ninth position. Without the red flag I reckon he would have finished in an even better position but nevertheless to score points is really a great result for him and the team. Daniil Kvyat was also always within the points but unfortunately we called him in just before the safety car was deployed, so he lost some positions. Even though he managed to overtake Raikkonen, this was not enough to score the points that he deserved. Today Daniil drove his first very wet race and he showed a great performance and capability to control the car in very difficult racing conditions. This makes me think that we really have been a good school for him, on his way to Infiniti Red Bull Racing next year."

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Valtteri Bottas (6th): "It was not an easy race for us today, however we still got some points which is good. The car wasn't great in the wet but we made the most of the strategy and extracted what we could. We are missing pace in the corners and so conceded a lot of time. It was a surprise to see the Red Bull so quick, in the dry we would have fared better. I really hope Jules is ok after the incident and that it is nothing serious."

Felipe Massa (7th): "The race was very difficult today, I suffered at the start with aquaplaning and towards the end it started to get dark as the rain fell again. The Red Bulls were too fast for us today, especially on the intermediate tyre, so there was no chance we could defend. My main focus at the moment is that Jules is ok though."

Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance: "Our first concern is for the wellbeing of Jules, we hope that everything is ok. In the race we made some good strategy calls and as a result we extracted what we could and finished in a decent position. The conditions were difficult at the start and equally at the end as it got dark. However, our thoughts and hopes are with Jules, his family and friends, and the Marussia team."


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Max Chilton finished 18th. Jules Bianchi was seriously injured following a crash on Lap 42 and has been taken to hospital. Marussia has not distributed any reaction to the race.


Marcus Ericsson (19th): "It was a crazy one! Today's weather made it a difficult race - the track was undriveable at the beginning behind the Safety Car, that's why they red-flagged it. Unfortunately, I had a spin and I lost all my advantage from yesterday because of it, which was a big disappointment. But after that I think I drove a fantastic race, our pace was very strong and I just had to redo the job I did yesterday and overtake all the guys again, and that's what I did. I overtook them one by one and we even had the pace to fight with the rivals ahead of us, so we should be really pleased with the speed and the pace we had today. Result wise, we should not be pleased because we want to be higher up and with the speed we had we could've achieved this today, but it's definitely a step forward and something to build on in the upcoming races. Overall, we can be very happy! I hope Jules wasn't badly injured in his accident, all thoughts are with him."

Kamui Kobayashi (19th): "First of all I'd like to say that I hope Jules is okay and that his crash wasn't too bad. Today's race was a difficult one for me; overall I think I didn't have enough pace. Unfortunately my home Grand Prix didn't really work out as I would've liked it to, but today was okay and it was amazing to see all the fans in the grandstands even though it hasn't stopped raining all day - they are just incredible and they gave me a big boost and I want to thank every one of them! The crazy weather made it a bit hard, but we managed to fight. Marcus also did a very good job. The team can be pleased with our overall performance, we are improving."

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Remi Taffin, head of track operations: "First and foremost our thoughts are with Jules Bianchi, his family and his team following the incident at the end of the race. It was a difficult race for everyone with the evolving track conditions and every team did their best with the information they had at the time. We fought hard all race to extract the maximum from the Power Units across the field. Calculating fuel loads, energy management and settings is extremely difficult in these circumstances, so three cars in the points, with a podium, is a strong result. We still have a way to go to be at the front on pace, but congratulations to Red Bull for getting a podium and fourth position, and to Toro Rosso. JEV again did extremely well to recover from his engine penalty and score points. It shows that, while the penalties are far from ideal, they are by no means impossible to overcome with the Power Unit we have now. Lotus and Caterham also had solid weekends so we can go to Russia confident. The track looks like it will suit us so there are a lot of positive items on the job list after this race."


Paul Hembery, motorsport director: The Japanese Grand Prix was held under extremely tricky conditions, but obviously our main concern, along with that of the entire paddock, is the accident that halted the race involving Jules Bianchi and Marussia."