Teams’ reactions after the Eifel Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Japan, Circuit Suzukajp

Mercedes continued its daunting march towards the 2020 championship titles by dominating yet another race. While a power unit-related issue for Valtteri Bottas prevented the team to clinch another one-two finish, Lewis Hamilton could not be stopped from take his record-equalling 91st F1 win.

Red Bull

Max Verstappen, 2nd

"Overall it was a positive weekend and I think we can be very pleased with another second place. I tried to keep as close as possible to Lewis during the race and we just didn’t quite have the pace to fight him but overall I was pleased with the performance. We have taken a step forward with the car this weekend, so I am of course happy with that, but we still need to improve and we will keep pushing so we can take the fight to Mercedes every weekend. The Safety Car re-start was not easy with the cold temperatures and the tyres, especially with the others behind having a bit of a temperature advantage after catching up to us, but I managed to keep them behind and pull away again with Lewis. I’m of course also happy with the point for the fastest lap which was an extra bonus. It’s also good to see Daniel back on the podium, he is a great driver and he really deserves it."

Alex Albon, DNF

“The pace in the car was good today so it’s a shame to have a result like this and not see where we could have finished the race. I had a lock-up avoiding contact on the first lap which meant I had to pit really early because I had severe vibrations from a flat spot on the tyre. I don’t really know what happened with Daniil and I need to watch it back. I think he may have run a little wide into the chicane when we did the re-start and I guess it was a bit of misjudgment from my side. After that, the Team saw the temperatures rising and I was asked to box and then retire the car. It initially looked like a power unit issue from the data but the Team investigated and found that some debris had pierced the radiator system which led to the rising temperatures. It is definitely not the way I wanted to end the weekend as the car felt good, but onwards and upwards and I’m looking forward to Portimao in a few weeks’ time.”

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, 11th

"I would have liked to bring home some points, but generally, I was struggling too much with the tyres. I think the start wasn’t bad. I was on the Medium compound and only lost one place to Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo. However once my tyres were in the right temperature window I was stuck behind him and I was struggling a lot to pass him. I probably took too much of a risk and damaged my tyres. I was obliged to pit and after that it was very difficult to fight back. With the Safety Car at the end we thought there was a chance for points, we fought with Magnussen and I also tried to pass Giovinazzi. In the end we just weren’t able to pick up the last point. It was a very difficult day."

Charles Leclerc, 7th

"Seventh is the best we could do today. On the soft tyres at the beginning we struggled massively, which compromised our race. We had a lot of graining so we were very slow and lost several positions. So we went for a two-stop strategy, which I believe was the right thing to do.
"On the medium tyre it went quite well and we did some good overtaking which is always fun. It was very tricky after the safety car period towards the end of the race, because I had to do the re-start on old tyres and it was very cold, but I think we managed pretty well. I am happy with the overall improvement we have seen in recent weeks. We are not yet where we want to be, but every small step is going in the right direction and this is what we need."

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, 1st

"It's tough to put what this means into words. I remember watching Michael winning all those races when I was a kid and playing racing games with my brother and choosing to play as Michael. I dreamed of being there myself, but I don't think anyone and especially me, imagined another driver getting anywhere near Michael's records. It was beyond my wildest dreams to be equalling his number of race wins and it just shows that dreams can come true. It's an incredible honour and something that will take some time to sink in. But I couldn't have done it without this incredible team, everyone pushing so hard and giving it absolutely everything. A huge thank you to everyone back at the factories and also a huge respect for Michael, I feel really grateful today.

"In terms of the race itself, it was tough out there. I had a really good start and Valtteri did an amazing job to defend into Turn 2, I wouldn't expect it to be any other way. Then it was about trying to figure out how I could beat Valtteri, so I really had to look after the tyres and make sure I stuck with him. I saw he was struggling a bit and knew the opportunity would come, but then he had the lock-up. I managed to build a good gap after that, but then the Safety Car came out. Max was right behind me and I knew I had to have a strong restart to keep him behind. I managed to catch him out which is always nice and that gave me the jump I needed. But you can see the pace Red Bull had at the end, so we've got a serious fight on our hands."

Valtteri Bottas, DNF

"It's a frustrating way to finish a race, it was really good fun until I started to lose power during the Virtual Safety Car. The start and the battle with Lewis through the first couple of corners was nice, there was no way I was going to make it easy for him. Obviously, later on I had a lock-up into Turn 1 and lost the position, which meant I stopped early. The new tyres were starting to feel pretty good and I was hopeful I could have potentially undercut. Everything was still to play for. But then it was quite a big loss of power - something wrong with the Power Unit. We'll have to investigate what that is, but it was really unlucky. I went around for a couple of laps to see if it recovered but there was nothing else we could do."

Renault

Daniel Ricciardo, 3rd

“Oh wow, it feels like the first time I ever got a podium. These emotions and that feeling you get when you get out the car, hug the team, the mechanics slapping you on the helmet, it’s just amazing and I am so happy we did it! It’s obviously my first one with Renault and it’s something I wanted to achieve when I set out on this journey with the team. It’s been two and a half years since I’ve been in this press conference too, so it’s been a while for me. I felt like it was coming with our performances in recent races, so I am so happy to have done it. The race itself was pretty tight and there was some discussion on whether to pit for a second stop or not, but we had the luxury of track position. The Safety Car then gave us an advantage, so we made that call and, in the end, it was the right one. What a day!”

Esteban Ocon, DNF

“It’s a fantastic team result today and congratulations to Daniel and the team for the superb podium. It’s a massive result for the Constructors’ Championship – that’s the most important thing – and it also underlines the team’s progression this season. On my side, it was looking decent to be honest and we were definitely in line for a top five finish. I did not have the best start but on the first stint, I was managing the tyre quite well and we were in a good place. I basically lost steering, brakes and gears and it’s a hydraulic issue, which we’ll investigate. It’s a shame, but we’ll come back from it and we look forward to the next race.”

Racing Point

Sergio Perez, 4th

“I’m a little bit frustrated because I felt the podium was ours if we didn’t have the safety car. Until that point, I was catching Daniel [Ricciardo] and he was on older tyres – so it was set up for a close battle for the podium in the final laps. Once again, the first stint was crucial to our result. We made a good start and gained a place, and we were able to manage the tyres to run longer, so we had an advantage for the second stint. After the safety car, I was able to pressure Daniel and I almost got him into Turn 4 but I wasn’t able to make it stick. To finish P4 is a strong result and the team did a great job to go into a race full of unknowns and read the conditions so well. I’m pleased to see Nico score points as well and we’ve ended up turning what could have been a really difficult day into a strong result. The car is performing well and we can be proud of our recovery today. I’m going to catch up with Lance on the phone later and we’re looking forward to him returning.”

Nico Hulkenberg, 8th

“What a race and a story that was! I really didn’t think we could go from last to eighth – I’m not sure many thought it would be possible before the race! A lot of things happened around us and some retirements helped too, but I’m really pleased with our performance and it’s a real credit to the team. I went out there with the goal of driving as hard as I could and avoiding any incidents, and we managed it well. It felt strange at the start as I’ve not raced around a lot of cars like that for a while, but I made up a couple of places and I started to get into a good rhythm halfway through the first stint, which was crucial because we were able to extend it and it helped me get up to speed. I’m feeling it now: it’s a very bumpy track and I’m a bit sore because it was mentally and physically demanding out there. I’m very happy with the result and it was great to play a part in the team moving up into P3 in the constructors’ championship. Obviously, there’s still a long way to go in the season, but I wish the team all the best in the coming races.”

McLaren

Carlos Sainz, 5th

“It’s been a challenging weekend for us. We have to be fairly happy with P5 and those 10 important points. I managed to be consistent on track and took advantage of the opportunities. However, our main competitors finished ahead and seemed to have better pace throughout the race. I never felt completely comfortable with the car, so we need to make sure we understand better the new parts. There are an important couple of weeks coming up to analyse what we do for the future and how we go into Portugal. Sorry for Lando today, it seemed to be the same issue as in Spa. We move on.”

Lando Norris, DNF

“Initially we had a good start. Our strategy and pit stop meant we had a decent first stint that put us in a strong position. Then obviously we had the power unit problem before the pit stop, which was costing us a lot of time every lap. I was just dropping further and further away from a potential P4, and what looked like fighting for a podium. We could’ve scored some good points today and we haven’t. Thanks to everyone in the team for all their hard work and effort this weekend. It’s a shame – but on to the next one.”

AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly, 6th

“I’m really happy today because yesterday was pretty difficult for us. I didn’t feel so good with the car as we didn’t manage to get the balance where we wanted. We know that on Sundays we usually have a bit more pace to fight and be in the mix for points, and today it was good fun. I had a lot of battles on track – attacking, defending… all sorts of situations and I must say I really enjoyed it out there! The team took all the right decisions in the right moments, so I think we can all be very pleased with sixth position today.”

Daniil Kvyat, 15th

“Not a good one today, my race was pretty much ruined from the moment I had contact with Albon. I don’t know what he wanted to do but as a result, I lost my front wing and the car was massively damaged on the floor and brake ducts. I lost so much time doing that slow lap to the pits without a front wing, then the pit stop was obviously slow to replace it, so there wasn’t much I could do afterwards. The car was missing a lot of downforce, so I struggled for the rest of the race. I was just hoping for some rain or something to happen to be able to catch up, but nothing happened. It’s a shame because until that incident with Albon it really looked like it could have been a very strong race, I think we could have done well today.”

Haas

Romain Grosjean, 9th

“It feels good – finally. We’ve been doing a good job in the last few races but things haven’t gone our way. I said yesterday that the unexpected was the best we could get. Obviously, we did a different strategy on tyres – it was very difficult at the beginning. For us, we have to take risks, if we follow regular strategy we don’t have the raw pace to be up there sadly. We managed to hold on though and go for one stop in the race. It wasn’t really good news for me when the Safety Car came, but we managed to get some temperature back into the tyres and hold on to P9. That was good news. It was a question of time before we got a good result, but I’ve known we’ve been doing a good job.”

Kevin Magnussen, 13th

“Today was one of those races that gave some opportunities, so missing out on that was disappointing. We were on the wrong strategy, but there was no way to know that before the race. We chose the strategy that we thought was going to give us the best chance – but then the race just didn’t really come our way. I had some early front wing damage as well, so all-in-all it just really wasn’t my day – that’s racing.”

Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen, 12th

“It wasn’t the greatest weekend, but after yesterday we knew we’d have a difficult job on our hands. The start of the race was okay, but then I had to avoid some cars ahead of me and I lost a lot of places. We could have been a bit ahead but the Safety Car cost us a few position and the end result wasn’t great. It was a frustrating weekend, but we have to leave it behind us and try again next time.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, 10th

“I am very happy with today’s performances, both mine and the car’s. We did a very good race, keeping good pace from start to finish. We knew everything was going to be possible on such a day and that we could fight in these circumstances, so I am happy to bring home a point. I had another great start, making up a few places, then we managed the tricky conditions pretty well. I think we could and should have finished a bit higher, in P8, but the last Safety Car really hurt us as we lost places to Hulkenberg and Grosjean. In the end, though, finishing in the top ten was the target and we did it. It’s a good confidence boost ahead of the next few races.”

Williams

George Russell

"It was a very frustrating way to finish the Eifel Grand Prix. I was racing with Sebastian (Vettel), and Kimi (Raikkonen) was close behind. I overtook Sebastian in the corner before, but he got the DRS to re-pass me. Kimi was close behind fighting with us, he made the mistake, lost the car and crashed into me which damaged the car and gave us a puncture. There was too much damage to bring it home and we had to retire the car, but that’s just racing sometimes.

"Up until then, the car was feeling was good and we were on pace with the guys around us. We were on a slightly different strategy to those we were racing, so there were opportunities there. It is a shame because the way that this race has panned out there was definitely an opportunity there."

Nicholas Latifi

"It was a challenging race today and I was pushing as hard as I could. I can’t pinpoint why exactly, we were just lacking overall pace, especially compared to the Haas and the Alfa. We were put in a good position after the safety car, but we had faster cars on new qualifying tyres behind us. I had some fun battles with Daniil (Kyvat), I think for the last five or six laps I was defending into turn one, battling through one, two and three, so it was fun to have that fight. We will have to go away and analyse to see why we were lacking pace this weekend."