The entire McLaren team enjoyed a great race during which both its drivers progressed through the field from in the middle of the grid to eventually finish 4th and 6th.
Jenson Button, MP4-28A-02, 4th: “For Checo, myself and the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, today was an incredible day. I’m pleased to have finished fourth: it’s almost the podium position that I came here aiming for. We really needed today’s result.
“The 2013 season hasn’t been an easy one – it’s been tough for all of us at the circuits, but it’s probably been even tougher for the guys back at the factory, working flat-out to make parts. They’re a really amazing bunch of totally passionate and utterly dedicated people, and they richly deserve the ‘lift’ that today’s result will have given them. I’m also pleased for Checo. He won’t be with us next year, but he drove a great race today. Well done, mate.
“I also want to say a big ‘thank you’ to Vodafone. Vodafone has been an absolutely incredible title partner, and we’ve also had a lot of fun together – both on and off the track. Some of the videos they made with us have been truly brilliant. I’m sad to see them leave, but I guess nothing ;lasts for ever.
“This is a great way to end the year, and now our focus turns squarely to 2014. McLaren is an incredibly strong and powerful organisation – and, believe me, we will fight back.”
Sergio Perez, MP4-28A-03, 6th: “What a contrast today was to yesterday, when we were unlucky to lose five grid positions owing to a gearbox-change penalty, but I think we made a very strong recovery this afternoon. I was praying for heavier rain at the end of the race, so that I could have a go at making up some more positions. But unfortunately I had to save fuel in the final laps, which meant I couldn’t really attack Nico [Rosberg] as hard as I’d otherwise have been able to.
“I’ve learnt so much from everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, the best team I’ve ever raced with, and I wish every single one of them all the best for the future. I wish Jenson and Kevin all the best for the future, too. I think I’ve grown up a lot this year – both as a racing driver and as a man – and I think I’ll be an even stronger competitor in future as a result.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Undoubtedly, that was our best grand prix of the year. It’s frustrating to have to say that after a race in which our drivers finished only fourth and sixth, but it’s also true. Moreover, the manner in which those results were achieved was heartening indeed: both Jenson and Checo had difficulties in qualifying, through no fault of their own, but the way they charged through the field from their lowly grid slots this afternoon was seriously impressive.
It also illustrated very creditable race pace, which was good to see. Having said all that, 2013 been a long, hard and disappointing year. Nonetheless, I want to take this opportunity to pay particular tribute to our trackside mechanics and engineers, who are without doubt the best in the pit-lane. That’s not only my opinion, by the way; the stats bear it out, too.
“As of today, McLaren became the first team in Formula 1 history to have both its cars classified in every grand prix during the season.
“And, also as of today, McLaren completed 99.17% of the season’s total possible race distance – 7139 miles [11,488km] out of a possible 7198 miles [11,584km] – which is not only better than every other team managed this season but is also a new world record, beating the previous record of 98.30% set by BMW-Sauber in 2008.
“Those two stats constitute compelling proof of the fact that our trackside mechanics and engineers possess the three D’s in impressive abundance: dedication, determination and discipline. Well done, boys, I’m proud of you. Today, Jenson broke a record, too, becoming the first British F1 driver to start 247 grands prix, eclipsing the previous British milestone of 246 set by our old friend David [Coulthard]. And the way Jenson drove today proves that he’s as hungry and as competitive as ever he was.
“Checo also drove a superb race today, surging from 19th on the grid to sixth at the flag, and I’m personally delighted that he was able to end his year at McLaren with such a fantastic performance. As I’ve said many times, he’s a fine driver. He’s also a lovely guy, and the way he’s conducted himself over the past 10 days, in particular, in extremely challenging circumstances, has been hugely impressive. He’s a class act.
“Today we also have to bid farewell to our title and total communications partner Vodafone, after seven seasons in which together we won one world championship, here at Interlagos, in 2008, perhaps the most dramatic denouement in Formula 1 history, and also scored 34 grand prix wins. Vodafone has been a fabulous partner for McLaren, and has contributed not only funding but also technology. Moreover, our partnership delivered all the marketing objectives that Vodafone had set for it, and gave its clients and customers a lot of fun, too.
“Finally, I want to say something about the future. Formula 1 is a relentlessly demanding sport, and next season’s new regulations are already presenting all the teams with a daunting array of technical challenges – not only powertrains but aerodynamics, too. For quite some time we’ve been working extremely hard on those technical challenges, and our focus will be unstinting and unwavering from now onwards, throughout the winter. In other words, the 2014 season starts this evening.”