2011 British Grand Prix Website Round-Up

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The highlights from the teams websites following the British Grand Prix. Ferrari celebrating the 60th anniversary of their first win (think we all missed that one). Massa damaged his car early on. Red Bull very magnanimous after being beaten. Peter Sauber not happy and Schumie honest about his mistake.

Ferrari

First win of the year for Scuderia Ferrari, thanks to Fernando Alonso on the very same track where, sixty years ago, José Froilan Gonzalez took the team’s first ever win. Today’s victory is number 216 from 821 starts for Ferrari, of which 16 of them have come at the British Grand Prix. This is Fernando’s second victory at Silverstone, his 27th win from 168 starts, which puts him level with Jackie Stewart in fifth place in the list of all-time winners. Today’s result means that a Ferrari driver has been on the list of winners every year for the past eighteen championships.

Fernando Alonso: What a wonderful surprise! The team did an amazing job and I dedicate this win to everyone at Maranello and at the track, whose work has allowed me and Felipe to drive such a good car. It is a very special win because it comes at a legendary track like Silverstone, in front of a crowd that is so enthusiastic about cars. Also, the track characteristics were not really suited to our car, but clearly, the improvements we brought here helped a lot. At the start, it was not easy to drive because parts of the circuit were very wet and others were only damp in parts. There were some tricky moments, like when Hamilton overtook me, but we stayed very calm all the time, convinced we could get something out of it. I only realised I could win when I came back out on track after the final pit stop. Clearly the problem at Vettel’s stop helped, as did the fact that, for a long time, Hamilton kept the two Red Bulls behind him, but I have to say that in the dry we were very strong.

We head for Germany with our morale up and with more self confidence. The Red Bull is still the strongest car, but the improvements we are introducing are working. When we were struggling at the start of the season, we did not get downhearted, but instead we reacted: now we have reaped the rewards.

Felipe Massa: It’s true my pace wasn’t amazing today, but that could have had something to do with the fact my floor was damaged, after I hit something at Turn 6; maybe a part from another car. In terms of the strategy, maybe we could brought forward the second stop a bit, but the team did not want me to end up having to complete the final part of the race on tyres that were too worn. In the end, I closed right up to Hamilton, as he was struggling, but when I was behind him, he fought and I only just missed out by a fraction on getting past him.

Williams

Sam Michael, Technical Director:
Q: The team brought lots of upgrades to the British Grand Prix. How did they perform?
SM: All the new parts we brought to Silverstone – the exhaust, diffuser, front wing and suspension – all performed as expected, so we ran them on both cars for qualifying and the race.

Q: Pastor out-qualified Rubens for the fourth time in the last five races. How much has he improved during the course of 2011?
SM: Pastor is doing a really solid job. As a rookie, he is particularly strong on the circuits he has driven on before. All the signs are showing that he should really excel in 2012 once he knows all the circuits we visit and so can turn up to each race and just concentrate on driving fast.

Q: Rain played a part in qualifying and the race. How difficult did that make tyre choice?
SM: Although we had changeable conditions, our tyres choices were correct every time. When you have conditions like that you need to be able to react and make decisions quickly, sometimes with very limited information.

Q: How did the FW33s perform on the intermediate tyre at the start of the race?
SM: Neither car performed well on the intermediate tyres. We had a new suspension design on the car so with the limited running we’d had, we may have tuned it too far towards a dry set-up. We’ll review this for the German Grand Prix.

Q: You split race strategies, Rubens doing a two-stop race and Pastor a three-stop. Why was that?
SM: We split them to try and make sure we were in a position to take advantage if something unusual happened later in the race. We were able to do this as the tyre degradation was lower than expected due to the easier time we had on the option tyre during the first stint on a damp track.


Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel: I had an excellent start and with hindsight I wouldn’t have minded if there had been more rain because I really liked the conditions when we were racing on the intermediate tyres. We seemed to be in very good shape and I was pulling away. We probably waited a little but too long to go onto the dry tyres, but it was right as there was no need for us to take a risk and we were in control. At the pit stop we had a problem – the car was already back on the floor, but then we had to lift it back up again. By then I had lost the lead and came out in third. I struggled to pass Lewis, I thought I could go much quicker, but I never really had the chance. Once I was very close, but it didn’t work. We got him at the pit stop, but by then Fernando was already gone. It was a good result for us, but we had some problems and, if you’re not at your optimum, then there’s always someone there to beat you. Ferrari was very quick all weekend and they deserved the victory today.

Mark Webber: It was a mixed race, it was very slippery at the start with the intermediate tyres, half the track was dry and half was wet and we had to wait for the slicks to come into play. Michael pitted first and we were waiting to hear what his pace was like. On my in-lap I had a massive moment in Becketts, so Fernando closed on me a bit, I went across the grass, so it was a bit scrappy there – then we had an interesting race after that. I felt strong at the start of each stint, but less so towards the end of the stints – both Seb and I were having trouble with the tyres at the end of the race. I tried to pass him, but not quite, and that was the race.

Toro Rosso

Both Toro Rosso drivers made good starts, running like the rest of the field on intermediate rain tyres as the track was still damp and after the first run of pit stops to switch to slicks, Jaime was in fourteenth place, one ahead of his team-mate. The Spaniard then got stuck into a fascinating fight as he tried to pass Heidfeld in the Renault, although on lap 19, he had to watch his mirrors for Maldonaldo, the Williams man recovering from a bad start. Before Buemi came in for his second tyre stop, he was running thirteenth, one place behind Alguersuari. But then came the incident with Di Resta and we were down to one car. By lap 28, Jaime was up to tenth, although Schumacher, coming back from a nose change and a stop-go penalty got his Mercedes ahead on lap 33, although with other retirements ahead, Jaime finally regained the tenth place on lap 41 and kept it for a further eleven when it was time to hang out the chequered flag.

McLaren


Lewis Hamilton: Before the end, I had to start saving fuel: you have to lift and coast, which means the brake temperatures drop. So I had no brakes, and that’s why I kept locking up. That allowed Mark [Webber] to slip ahead of me and meant I was defending from Felipe [Massa] in the closing laps. On the final lap, the team gave me the order to push as hard as I could, but Felipe had already closed the gap by that point, so it was difficult to defend. That last lap was as close as it’s ever going to get! In the final corner I stayed on the inside and braked as hard as I could. Fortunately, we both got around the corner in one piece and I just pipped him at the finish.


Jenson Button: So much could have happened in my race today. Before my final stop I’d had great pace, and I’d caught Lewis, Sebastian [Vettel] and Mark. When they peeled off into the pits, I stayed out for one more lap and I think I would have come out alongside, or even ahead of, Mark after the stop. But, as I turned out of the pitlane, my right-front wheel came off and I was forced to stop immediately. The guy on the front-right lost the wheelnut and turned to take another; as he turned, I think his hand moved and the guy on the front jack felt that that was the trigger to lower the car. Then the lollipop lifted. Hopefully, we won’t have that sort of issue again.


HRT


Colin Kolles: The race for us was quite good because we had a good strategy and did good pit stops. Obviously our cars are not as quick as other cars; this is a little bit unfortunate. Otherwise we could show that we would’ve been much more competitive. The target was to finish the race with both cars, which we did, and both drivers could do some good lap times”.

“Daniel was struggling a little bit with the rear tyres towards the end and therefore lost a little bit of ground on Tonio and the others. But, all in all, it was quite positive with no major dramas. Daniel did his laps and finished the race, his quickest lap time was quite a good one and the problem was that he was struggling with the tyres. He has to get used to the tyres obviously, this isn’t too easy when you’ve started just one race with new tyres and the others have already thousands of kilometres under their belts”.

“This circuit was definitely not good for our car, there were difficult weather conditions, then there was the exhaust discussion which was not in our favour because we have a little bit of a different exhaust, so, all in all, this did not help but, in the end, it was positive because the team worked well and that is important.


Lotus Renault


Nick Heidfeld: The big question for the race was when to change from the intermediates to the slicks and we were one of the first to do this. It was a good call, however we didn’t get as much of an advantage as you can sometimes get from timing your stop well. After that it was an interesting race for me as I had to look after my tyres and at the same time I had to attack and also defend at different times, particularly with Michael and Adrian. Finding the balance between attacking, fighting and not killing the tyres was not only very satisfying, but it also worked out well for us with four valuable points.


Team Lotus


Mike Gascoyne: That is obviously a disappointing end to what had been a very encouraging weekend for the team. It looks like Heikki suffered an electrical problem on his gearbox which caused him to lose fourth gear so we had to pull him in and retire him. It was definitely not a problem with the gearbox itself so we need to take a close look at what went wrong on our side and make sure it does not happen again. On Jarno's car we instructed him to stop as he had an oil leak and lost pressure so we had to end his race early to ensure we did not damage the engine. Sometimes races end like this but we have been working very hard to minimise these sorts of problems, so we will regroup and come back stronger in Germany at the next race.


Virgin


It was sunny all morning at Silverstone, but as the race got nearer the clouds got darker, and about an hour before the race, rain started falling.

It had already stopped by the time the pitlane opened, but the track was still very wet at the far end of the circuit but completely dry on the Hangar straight. After discussions on the grid, both drivers opted to start on Intermediates, as did the rest of the field.

It wasn't long before a dry line appeared, and the radio was constantly in use, trying to work out the best time to switch to slicks. Timo and Jérôme both stopped on lap 11, with the team doing a great double-stop to get them back in the race without delay. Once on Options, Jérôme was able to pass Liuzzi, and was able to pull out a safe margin.

Blue flags are always something to be avoided, and the team tries to adapt strategies to minimize the time lost allowing the leaders past. Aiming for one further stop, again to take on Options as the wet start meant there was no need to use both types of dry tyre in the race, both drivers needed to look after their tyres - especially difficult given the limited dry running in the Free Practice sessions.

Towards the end of the race, Jérôme's front left tyre was suffering significant deterioration, but he was able to hang on to the finish without having to make a further stop. Timo was classified 16th and Jérôme 17th, a good result for the team.



Sauber


Sergio Pérez displayed his figting spirit in the Birtish Grand Prix at Silverstone when he fought his way from 12th on the grid up to seventh to score his best result in Formula 1. The young Mexican’s result gives the Sauber F1 Team another six world championship points. His team-mate, Kamui Kobayashi, unfortunately had bad luck. After being the innocent victim of an accident he had to drive a damaged car, then he had bad luck during a pit stop and eventually retired due to an oil leak. This was the first retirement of a Sauber C30-Ferrari in 2011 due to a technical problem.


Peter Sauber: I am very happy with Sergio’s seventh place, so congratulations to him. It was a difficult race for him, as for almost the whole distance he had to follow Nico Rosberg. He had more speed, but it was not enough to overtake. As for Kamui’s race, the incident with Michael Schumacher was quite annoying. It was an unnecessary collision that cost Kamui his chances of a good finish.


Force India


Adrian Sutil: After such a promising start to the race it’s disappointing to come away empty-handed. My start was okay and things looked good in the first few laps. The conditions were tricky, with a lot of damp areas in the second sector, but I felt quite confident and was able to run in the points. I think we made the right decision with the strategy to stop three times, but in the end I don’t think we had the pace to hold on for points today.


Paul di Resta: It’s extremely disappointing to end my first British Grand Prix in P15. I had a good first part of the race; we seemed quite competitive and I was able to hold on to Jenson [Button] as I concentrated on looking after my intermediate tyres. I think we made the switch to dry tyres at the right moment and we were running well. Then I got a call to come into the pits again, but when I got there the team were expecting Adrian, so there was obviously some confusion. It cost me quite a lot of time because the boys had to run back in the garage and fetch my tyres. That cost us about 25 seconds, which pretty much ended my chances.


Mercedes


Nico Rosberg: After his sixth place finish in Silverstone today, Nico was quite pleased with his result: “First of all because in qualifying we had the potential to be in the top five, and secondly we had a really good strategy in the race. My start was not good, so being able to eventually finish in sixth place is a nice result for us. And hopefully it's the start of an upward trend, before our next home race in Germany, so I'm looking forward to confirming our performance at the Nürburgring. In the next few days, we will analyse the whole weekend with our new developments on the car, and will work hard on improving it even further.


Michael Schumacher: My result today is a bit of a shame, and of course I am not happy about it. I think fifth or even fourth place would not have been out of question today thanks to the superb job the guys back in Brackley and Brixworth have done. I would so much have wished to bring them some decent points this evening when we go back to the factory for a BBQ with their families. But unfortunately, and due to my fault, I cannot.


Having used DRS for the first time in the race, I was arriving at the corner with over-run. Underestimating the effect, my braking was not good and this is how the collision happened. It was right to get a penalty but why it had to be a stop-go, and not a drive-through penalty, I would like to understand better as I felt it was too hard. Anyway, the good thing is that step-by-step, the hard work of our team is paying off more and more, and this is a good feeling heading towards our next home race.”
 
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