Japanese Grand Prix: driver reactions

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Here are the key moments of the Japanese Grand Prix as described by the drivers:

Starting from tenth on the grid was always going to make for a tough race but my pace was really good in the race and I was very happy with the performance of the car. I was pulling massive amounts of time out of the guys in front me but they were on heavier fuel loads which held me up as it’s difficult to overtake here.
Jenson Button

Fourth place was within reach but several things went wrong today, especially at the second pit stop when the rear right wheel nut got stuck. But certainly I don?t want to complain. These things can happen and normally we have very good pit stops. That was when I lost a position to Kimi, and I rejoined the race just behind him. When the safety car came out I lost another position to Nico, who was lucky to refuel while the safety car was out.
Nick Heidfeld

As I exited the pits after my second stop, I lost time with a gearbox problem, which meant I coasted about 100 metres down the pitlane ?ǣ that cost me about a second. To be honest, it wasn?t a surprise to be jumped by Jarno at the final stops ?ǣ we needed every tenth to make the gap up to three seconds and we couldn?t quite make it.

When we were behind the Safety Car, I asked the team if they could get the KERS working again so that I could shoot past Jarno. but they couldn?t do it and I wasn?t close enough to get in his slipstream at the restart.
Lewis Hamilton

Adrian tried to make a move but only went halfway, so I was able to stay beside him. When he tried to turn in, I was already on the kerb and I had no more room to avoid him, so I had to lean on him and that was more a problem for him.
Heikki Kovalainen

I got past [Kovalainen] at the chicane but then he cut back across and I spun and lost a lot of time. That was really the end of the race for me. When that happens it’s obviously very disappointing as I thought we could have done really well today and got some points.
Adrian Sutil

My accident came on the lap after my second pit stop, when I fitted the soft tyres. At turn 15, which you take flat, I lost the rear end of the car and crashed into the wall, but I?m not sure why, as it was inexplicable and I would like to see the data, in case there might have been something wrong with the pressure of the rear tyres or a puncture. I am really, really sorry for what happened. I was pushing every lap and running consistently, in terms of my lap times being almost always within the same tenth. Hopefully, we can have a better race in Brazil.
Jaime Alguersuari

I had a problem with the clutch, right from the start of the parade lap, when I couldn?t get off the grid. We tried to fix the problem by adjusting the clutch map, but again for the real start, it didn?t work. Then, after a few laps the clutch failed and I had to retire in the pits.
Sebastien Buemi

I had to make two pit stops on the first two laps, so it was all over from there. On the first lap, the headrest came loose in the car, so I had to come in and get that fixed. I went back out, but the same thing happened so I had to come in again in order for the guys to tape it down. We tested some things today, and tried some other items for future races. That?s all we could really do from there.
Mark Webber

I was screaming with happiness on the radio at the end of the race. The last couple of races have been a bit up and down, sometimes we had pace and sometimes not, but finally we made it. It?s good to be back in first position on Sunday. A huge thanks to all the team and everyone at Red Bull for this.
Sebastian Vettel

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Japanese Grand Prix: driver reactions”

  1. I am really, really sorry for what happened.

    Poor Jaime, even with his crashes this weekend it has been the best for him in terms of position so he shouldn’t feel too bad. Love Seb’s ‘screaming with happiness’. Button always says there is no where to overtake:P well at least said it a couple of times, he did do good move on Kubica though but it just a very frustrating championship year.

  2. Wow. This site is getting better and better all the time. Thanks for that Keith.

    1. Agreed, best F1 site and by a huge margin

      1. I agree also

  3. For anyone who hasn’t looked at autosport to day, interview with Kimi might be a bit of a wait to decide his future but wherever he goes he wants to win. I think that he will stay in F1 by that it may be harder for him to switch straight to rallying and in a winning car. And his comments on this year…

    Back in 2007 you headed into the final two races with a 17-point deficit to Lewis Hamilton but still won the title. Sebastian Vettel has a 16-points deficit now, is it easier for him knowing that he just has to go out there and go for the win?

    KR: I don’t know if it makes much difference. The Red Bull is definitely a fast car, as we have seen this year. The Brawn – who knows what they are doing? I think the car is better than what they achieve at the moment. For sure, he [Vettel] has a chance but in the end the Brawns need to make quite a big mistake to lose it any more. But you never know. You need a few mistakes, a few accidents, and it all looks different.

  4. I find it interesting that many drivers and F1 people say it’s hard to ”overtake at this track and that and blahblahblah” when I think the real problem is the modern F1 car.

    1. Yeah I think so to. Something needs to be done about the turbulance coming from the cars. It makes overtaking very difficult.

  5. I think Brawn has a cheek to demand further radical reductions in aerodynamic grip in favour of mechanical grip ie. tyres when it was he who exploited the rules to use the ‘double diffuser’. This causes increased turbulence to following cars which has resulted in the failure to overtake. Why did the FIA allow it when their aim in introducing the radical aero changes was to assist overtaking in the first place? Was it because McLaren don’t have it so we will not ban it!!

  6. all the cars are going to be based around the diffuser concept as well next year, so the regs will work even less.

    @Derek, brawn wants to win, so he’ll exploit everything he can. Point is this years regs didn’t change the ratio between aero and mechanical enough so teams are still getting they’re performance from the aero, this is what needs to be changed.

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