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Japanese Grand Prix: what the drivers said

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Japanese Grand Prix: what the drivers said
By:
Translated by: Vivek Phadnis
Oct 10, 2017, 12:39 PM

The best quotes from all drivers following the Japanese Grand Prix, which was won by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

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Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
1/20

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“The start was okay, although the initial getaway was not spectacularly good. I had a bit of wheel spin. But from then on I had a good start and it was pretty much under control from there. I was trying to manage the pace and the tyres; it was a long way to go, it was the hottest the track had been all weekend, so that was really crucial.”

“With the VSC towards the end, I lost a lot of temperatures in the tyres and waking them up was not so easy. I got stuck behind traffic, I was losing so much time and Max's car was so big in my mirror. It was very close for a couple laps, but I was able to keep it together. It was not an easy walk in the park, it was a win that I had to work very hard for. Great race by Max, I enjoyed racing him. It's almost unbelievable to think we are where we are in the championship.”

“I was excited to race Sebastian, but he was obviously very unfortunate. It's still a long way to go, there are still a hundred points. I'm just going to keep my head down and hopefully will continue to be in a form like this.”

2nd : Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)

2nd : Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
2/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

“This is my second year in a row on the podium here at Suzuka; it seems like Japan is a good place for me!”

“Our car was very competitive in the corners but it meant we lost a bit on the straights and weren’t ever really able to have a proper go at it. The degradation on the soft was really good and the balance felt good throughout the race, which is really positive in terms of finishing the season strongly. Lewis had some difficulties when he had traffic in front but at the end of the day he was controlling it.”

“The traffic gave me a bit of a chance to close up and potentially have a chance to take him. It was a bit of a shame the backmarkers came into play but I don’t think it made a big difference, once Lewis had clean air I would have struggled to pass him. It just seems that the Mercedes struggle when following other cars closely.”

“In the race, it seems we are always more competitive than Qualifying, so I’m looking ahead to Austin and hoping we can carry this form on and get another podium. Two podiums in two weeks means I leave Asia extremely satisfied and excited to get back in the car in the US and try and extend this streak.”

3rd : Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing)

3rd : Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing)
3/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

“Overall, the race was a thumbs up for me. At the start of the weekend I said I wanted to get a podium in Suzuka and I got it. I can’t go back on what I said and wish for more, but I need to look back at the start and the actual getaway as that was what cost me the place to Max and Ocon.”

“The first 100 metres could have been better but otherwise the race was pretty lonely in third place. As fun as this track is on one lap it’s tricky to do much in the race and very hard to follow another car. In the end it was actually nice to have some pressure from Valtteri to keep me pushing all the way to the finish.”

“I felt confident I could keep third place in the closing laps if I drove cleanly and hit all the apexes, which is what I did. I’m happy to spray some more champagne, it’s my ninth podium of the season which is a new record for me and to be in the position that we are now makes me pretty happy.”

“It’s really encouraging for the team to have another double podium, both cars are getting to the finish reliably now and we are also quick. We should be able to put up a good fight in Austin and Mexico and if we can keep this rolling into 2018 then absolutely we should be looking pretty good. All I have to say now is arigatooooooooo Japan.”

4th : Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

4th : Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
4/20

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

“It was a close fight, especially in the end I was getting closer to Daniel, but there just was not enough time anymore and the VSC didn't help either.”

“The pace seemed to be okay, but coming to this race we always knew that overtaking is tricky. The strategy was good for me today. It created a good opportunity in the end, otherwise it would have been really difficult to even get close.”

“The race was close to our game plan, but it would have been nice to be on the podium. We went through all of the scenarios before the race, so when Lewis caught up to me after his pit stop, of course I tried to help him win.”

“I've definitely learned a lot again from this weekend. I now want to focus on the last few races, make the most out of them and see where we end up this year. I'm looking forward to Austin. I enjoy the track very much; it's where I got my first points in Formula One and I always love going back there.”

5th: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

5th: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
5/20

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“Our starting position was not ideal. I did a decent start on the soft tires and in the first lap I tried to gain some positions, but when I attempted to pass a Renault I ran wide and lost some places. So I had to make them back.”

“The feeling in the car was a little bit tricky all the way through the race, not the nicest balance. Some laps were okay, some others a bit more difficult. It's quite tricky to follow other cars on this track. We did a fairly good job out of overtaking people but we were too far from those at the front.”

“Obviously, the final result is far from being the best possible. As for Sebastian, I don't know what happened. We have made a lot of improvements over the last few years as a team, but now, for whatever reason, we suddenly seem to have technical issues coming out from nothing. It's kind of weird, our cars are running perfectly and suddenly on Sunday there is a problem that nobody expects.”

“There is some work to be done on that side. Then we are going to push until the last lap of the last race and we'll see where we end up.”

6th: Esteban Ocon (Force India)

6th: Esteban Ocon (Force India)
6/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

“It was a great race, especially the start and the opening laps, and I was running third for a long time. We are still missing a little bit of pace to keep the big guys behind, but it was great fun fighting at the front.”

“I tried my best to keep Ricciardo and Bottas behind, but they were just too quick and I had to let them go and focus on my race.”

“The main challenge was managing my pace because it was a one-stop race and it was important to look after the tyres so they would be strong at the end. I was running ahead of Checo, we had nothing to gain from the cars ahead and a comfortable margin to the cars behind.”

“The priority was to bring the car home and score the big points. It’s been an awesome weekend and it feels as though we achieved the maximum, which is why this result is so enjoyable. We also learned a lot about the car, which will make us stronger in Austin, so that we can hopefully close the gap on the teams ahead of us.”

7th: Sergio Perez (Force India)

7th: Sergio Perez (Force India)
7/20

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“I am very happy for the team with this great result, which was definitely the maximum we could achieve. It was a relatively easy race: we had a strong qualifying session and we had good race pace, so we spent a lot of time on our own.”

“I felt I was quicker than Esteban in the second stint and I had an opportunity to overtake him at the final restart, but we followed the team’s instructions. We knew this would be the case so it wasn’t a surprise, and swapping us wouldn’t have made a difference in terms of points for the team, so I understand the team’s perspective.”

“In the end, Esteban did a great job during the whole weekend. The last two races have been really strong for us and I am very pleased with the results we have achieved.”

8th: Kevin Magnussen (Haas F1 Team)

8th: Kevin Magnussen (Haas F1 Team)
8/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

“I enjoyed my race. We maximised our potential as a team getting P8 and P9 and scoring points. I don’t think we could’ve hoped for better, so I’m happy for us.”

“I feel I’ve had some good races lately, but just haven’t had that bit of luck that I needed to get the points. It worked out. Hopefully, I can keep this going and score more points over the last bit of the season. Results like today are definitely not easy to get. You need to get everything right, and I think we did, so well done to the team.”

9th: Romain Grosjean (Haas F1 Team)

9th: Romain Grosjean (Haas F1 Team)
9/20

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“It’s our second double score for the team, so that’s pretty awesome. I’m very happy for the team. I knew I had some great pace in the car. I couldn’t show it as I was always behind Kevin all race long, but I had much more pace in the car.”

“I wish I could’ve been ahead. I think I could’ve fought with the Force Indias, so that’s pretty good.”

“We figured out how to get the tyres to work a little bit better. It’s clearly the key. When they work, it’s so much faster. When they don’t, you just struggle. We still need to improve that, but I felt much better in the car. I was happy with the brakes, everything went well.”

10th: Felipe Massa (Williams)

10th: Felipe Massa (Williams)
10/20

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

“It was a very difficult race for us. I was struggling with the degradation of the tyres with both sets. The other cars had better pace than us and it’s difficult to understand why.”

“At the end, I lost positions to both Haas cars in a move that was a little bit tricky, but they were much quicker than me anyway. If they didn’t pass me there, I think they could have passed me afterwards with the pace difference.”

“I’m not happy with the pace today, but looking at the problems we had, we still finished in front of Renault and Toro Rosso, and one point is better than nothing.”

11th: Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda)

11th: Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda)
11/20

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“We started 20th and we finished 11th, with a good recovery, with only one pit-stop, and starting on a used set of tyres. That was a pretty huge effort from everyone on the team. After the penalty on Friday night, due to the engine change, I think we deserved that one point – we fought hard for it.”

“It was an unlucky situation with Felipe towards the end of the race. He was struggling a lot with his tyres when the Virtual Safety Car came out. That meant he could breathe a little bit during those laps.”

“Then, in the last two laps, the leaders of the race caught up with us, and Felipe again missed out on an attack, and ultimately took the point for 10th place.”

12th: Jolyon Palmer (Renault)

12th: Jolyon Palmer (Renault)
12/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

“We had a solid last race, we started from the back and with one more lap, I think we could have had tenth.”

“It’s been a tough season but the team and I have been through a lot, I’ve been here since the start of this new era for the team. We’ve come a long way and I’ve enjoyed it. I wish the team all the best in the future.”

13th: Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)

13th: Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)
13/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

"It was not an easy race, it was difficult to really be aggressive. I could not do exactly what I wanted in the car, but we will try to improve because we want more."

"We were trying to push and I started to have a lot of traffic in front. I had a flat in front, with vibrations. In those moments it is difficult to double, we all have the DRS I could get closer in the first sector but it was not easy, there are still things to analyse and we will do better for the next races.”

"At one point, I kept the rhythm behind the Haas but as soon as I narrowed the gap, it was difficult to follow Romain [Grosjean] .The second stint was OK, when Massa suffered, everyone was behind [ it was very difficult to overtake and I also had difficulty in braking, so I had to fight to keep the DRS with Romain.”

14th: Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren-Honda)

14th: Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren-Honda)
14/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

“We’ve had a couple of good races; but today’s was one to forget, really.

“I made a reasonable start, then, as we went into Turn Two, and everyone was trying to find some space, I got hit by Kimi. I don’t think it was intentional, it was just cars being in the wrong places at the wrong time.”

“My afternoon was compromised from that point – I fell to the back, and drove my own race to the flag. Nonetheless Suzuka is a very special place, so it’s just a shame we couldn’t get a good result for all the thousands of fans in the grandstands.”

“The team deserves a bit of a break after this tough Asian triple-header. They’ve done a fantastic job in the past three races, now it’s time to go back to Europe and hit back hard in the final four races.”

15th: Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber)

15th: Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber)
15/20

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“I cannot be satisfied with the race. I had issues with the balance of the car from the beginning of the race. I was not able to push as much as I would have done under normal circumstances.”

“We are now looking at our data and trying to find the causes. Overall, a disappointing race for me here at Suzuka.”

Retired: Lance Stroll (Williams)

Retired: Lance Stroll (Williams)
16/20

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

“I had a really good start and was up to 11th, but then I made a mistake at Turn 11, hit Magnussen and I think something went on the car. I had to box really early as I thought something was broken or I had a puncture.”

“Then I had a long stint on the soft tyre, working my way back up, but we were out of the points at that stage. I then felt there was something a bit strange at the front end, and then had a puncture. It is always surprising when you get a puncture, as it is very much unexpected and unfortunate at the same time.”

“I was very close to Ricciardo when I came back on the circuit, but I managed to brake without anything happening. Now we just have to turn the page, as it wasn't a lucky weekend for me, and look forward to Austin.”

Retired: Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)

Retired: Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
17/20

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“That was frustrating as a good points haul was possible. I had fresh Supersoft tyres for a short final stint. I was able to overtake a Toro Rosso straight after my pit stop to then set about attacking the Haas.”

“It’s a shame, but a small metal component broke on the DRS mechanism which left it stuck open. We’ll look at why it broke as we missed a good opportunity.”

“I’m sure we can fight back, the car was pretty decent in the race and there’s plenty more to come from us in the final four Grands Prix."

Retired: Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)

Retired: Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)
18/20

Photo by: Andrew Hone / Motorsport Images

“A disappointing outcome to the race for me at Suzuka. The beginning of the race was looking quite good, as I was able to gain some positions shortly after the start.”

“Unfortunately, I went off the track at turn nine and hit the barriers. I am now shifting my focus to the next race at Austin, and look forward to getting back in the car soon.”

Retired: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

Retired: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
19/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

“I don't know if this situation has much to do with reliability. But we didn't finish the race, so there is a problem. I think it was a small issue causing a big one.”

“We didn't have power already at the start and we tried to reset everything getting the power back, but something didn't work.”

“Of course, now the championship is more difficult and not finishing the race doesn't help. I also said to the guys to get back home and have some rest because it's been a tough week with a lot of changes. Then we'll come back with a better package to do well for the last four races and then we'll see.” “Overall, I believe the team is in a good way. We are improving race by race and there are positive aspects too. But, of course, today you can't look too much at positive things.”

Retired: Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso)

Retired: Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso)
20/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

“I was trying to gain places but it did not work. There was a lot less grip than I would have thought outside the bend, a lot more dust, I lost control.”

“I apologise to the team, I did not want it to end like this, it's life, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. "

"These three years were absolutely great, and it was a perfect preparation for me, and the driver I am today, compared to the one I was in 2015, is more complete and better.”

“Toro Rosso, an excellent group of professionals who have helped me a lot to become the driver that I am today.”

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Japanese GP
Sub-event Sunday race
Location Suzuka
Author Basile Davoine