2011 Korean Grand Prix Teams Website Round Up


Not my cup of cake
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Fernando Alonso: At the start, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the leaders, because, after just a few laps, the Supersofts were already producing a lot of understeer. On top of that, being in traffic all the time compromised still further the tyre performance, because there was less aerodynamic downforce. When we switched to the Softs, the situation improved significantly and, with a clear track, I was able to push as hard as I could, but by then it was difficult to reach the small group that was fighting for the podium: hence what I said on the radio, having given my all for twenty laps, but there was no way I could do more with just two laps to go.

Felipe Massa: I’m not pleased because small problems prevented me from getting a better result. I got a good start and, on the opening lap, I managed to make up some places, then at the first pit stop, I rejoined the track behind Rosberg and Button. This was mainly because the team had to keep me on my spot because Michael was coming and also because the other two had pitted before me. In the first part of the race, on the Supersofts, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the guys in front, but then, once on the Softs, we managed to go very quickly. Then, after the second stop, I found myself behind a Toro Rosso and a Force India who were fighting amongst themselves and I lost valuable time which allowed Fernando to get ahead of me.


AT&T Williams’ drivers, Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado, displayed some competitive race craft at the challenging Yeongam circuit for today’s Korean Grand Prix. Originally on a three stop strategy, Rubens made a clean start on the super soft tyre from his 18th place grid slot to gain three places off the line. His second stop for a set of prime tyres was to be his last visit to the pits in the 55 lap race, Pirelli’s soft tyre proving its considerable durability to carry him through the field to finish the afternoon in P12. Pastor’s early form, which had promoted him to 11th by lap 17 from 16th on the grid, was latterly compromised; firstly by a drive through penalty on lap 22 and ultimately by a terminal engine issue on lap 31.

Red Bull

Red Bull Racing took the world constructors' title in style in Korea today with both our drivers on the podium.
Drivers' World Champion Sebastian Vettel proved that there is never a time to let up, he won with time to spare and, behind him, a battle royal raged between Webber and Hamilton – that infamous Aussie grit was in full effect as he fought to pass the McLaren driver. It wasn't to be, but his and Sebastian's season-long focus and success were rewarded with our second Constructors' World title in as many years.

While the date may not be everyone's favourite on the calendar, Korea provided a great spectacle. Vettel started in P2 but by the end of the first lap had taken Hamilton's place at the top of the timing screens and - pretty much - that was his race done and dusted; he even secured fastest lap into the bargain. Not, however, that it was an easy ride. He said: “I knew overtaking Lewis near the start would be difficult and I nearly went off under braking, but he was very fair and it was important for us to get track position. Then I wasn’t too comfortable, there was a lot of head wind and it was difficult to get away. I could see the car behind getting bigger in the mirrors and it was tough to break the tow, but we did it. We had a chance to win today and we took it.

Webber, starting fourth, was able to re-overtake the initially impressive Ferraris, but much of his afternoon was spent staring very closely at the back of a McLaren rear wing. Despite the best efforts of driver and team, it wasn't to be and Hamilton took second place. After the race, Mark said: “The battle with Lewis was pretty intense. I was frustrated that we followed him out of the pit lane, so I risked quite a bit to try and pass him on the out lap, before he got settled in. It’s not easy to pass a driver of Lewis’ calibre. I tried some moves and it was a good battle as our cars had weaknesses and strengths in different areas of the lap, so trying to get the move done wasn't particularly easy. I enjoyed it, but I would have liked to have got that extra position, which I think performance-wise we deserved.

Toro Rosso

Optimism was not quite the mood in the garage shortly after the start: Jaime dropped one place, which was not too bad, but poor Séb got hit from behind and dropped four places off his grid position. It was going to be a long hard slog in Yeongam. Lap 2 and Séb was up to 16th and 15th next time round, while Jaime was back in his grid position (eleventh) by lap 3. Next round and Buemi dealt with Maldonaldo at the hairpin. Lap 7 and Jaime was shifting, getting the better of Di Resta to go tenth, while the Swiss kicked Kobayashi out of 13th spot, going up to 12th when Di Resta pitted.

Sébastien made his first stop on lap 14 and two laps later, it was a bit of harmless fun to see ALG in P2, simply because he was going to be the last of the front runners to come in for fresh rubber on lap 17. When Maldonaldo got a drive through, Buemi was up to 11th and when Rosberg pitted Jaime found himself seventh on lap 27. For Séb, it was time to deal with Di Resta again, overtaking the Force India to go ninth on lap 31. The Swiss and the Spaniard made their second and final stops on laps 36 and 37. From then on, Jaime began a relentless pursuit of Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes, the car that takes this year’s title as the Hardest Car To Overtake, because of its excellent straight line speed. Lap 49 and Buemi was again passing Di Resta – how many Scottish Force India drivers were there in this race – to take the ninth place he would keep to the flag. With constant advice from the pit wall as to when he should activate the KERS power boost to try and get close the German, Jaime got within striking distance in the very last laps. First there was an aborted attempt when he pulled alongside only for Rosberg to fend him off and then, on the very last lap, all that hard work paid off and Jaime actually made it look easy as he sailed past to take seventh place.


Lewis Hamilton: This was one of my strongest races of the season. There was so much pressure from Mark [Webber] behind and it would have been so easy to make a mistake, lock up or go wide – but I’m really satisfied that I didn’t do so once. I believe that withstanding pressure is the mark of a world champion, and I think I showed that in today’s race. Our car started off reasonably well, but the front-end dropped away through the race. By the end, all the switches in the cockpit that could help me were adjusted to the maximum! The differential and front wing were at the maximum possible, and there was still nothing I could do.
I was driving into corners with almost maximum lock and the car still wasn’t turning – so I couldn’t carry the speed through the corners, and that’s how Mark was able to catch me. It was only after the race that I discovered we had an issue with debris lodged in the front wing, and that’s probably what caused the understeer. This was a good, strong result for the team. The guys didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, so we should be proud of today’s result – but, man, it was hard!

Jenson Button: I don’t think I could have done much more than fourth today. I struggled to get rid of my understeer throughout the whole race, so fourth was a fair reflection of what the car was capable of today. On the first lap, I braked into Turn Three, but Felipe [Massa] went inside me and I got stuck on the outside and ended up losing quite a few places. At the end of the first lap, I was sixth, but I don’t think that poor first lap would have changed my result.

Throughout the race, I didn’t have any front-end grip. I couldn’t get into the DRS zone either, so it was always tricky to try and close down the car in front when I lacked that straightline advantage. I was passed by Nico [Rosberg] after my first pitstop when he ended up out-braking himself at the pit exit. The exit here is a bit unusual: if you leave the pits behind another car, then you’re probably going to be able to get ahead, because you get the benefit of the DRS into Turn Three. But Nico locked up out of the pits and ran wide, so I passed him, meaning he crossed the DRS line behind me and was able to use it to get past on the straight.

I was able to nip back past pretty quickly and was able to close down on the battle for second between Lewis and Mark. But, towards the end of each stint, the front-end would drop away: I just couldn’t get close enough in the last sector. I added more front-end at the stops, but I had lots of understeer so I couldn’t get close enough to Mark [Webber] to use DRS. I think I only used DRS once in the entire race. Still, if this was a bad day, it wasn’t so bad!


It was a good day’s work by HRT F1 Team at the 16th Formula 1 World Championship GP which took place at the Korea International Circuit today. After having little time to work on set-up yesterday and having faced technical problems on one of the cars, the team worked magnificently both in the garage and defining tyre strategies which ended up being a key factor in the race. This hard work paid off as Daniel Ricciardo completed an excellent race, in which he maintained a quick and consistent pace, finishing in 19th ahead of D’Ambrosio. Vitantonio Liuzzi had a good start but an incident on the first turn forced him to come into boxes before expected and ultimately affected his race. He ended up finishing in 21st. Only the blue flags and safety car stopped Ricciardo and Liuzzi from ending up further up the field.

Lotus Renault

Lotus Renault GP suffered a pointless finish at the Korean Grand Prix after a mistake on lap 16 left Vitaly smarting from a case of what might have been, having started the race from eighth on the grid. Bruno, meanwhile, was unable to advance many places from P15, as he crossed the line in P13.

Starting on the fourth row of the grid on the super soft (option) tyres, Vitaly began the race well, maintaining his starting position. Shortly after stopping to change onto a new set of super softs on lap 14, however, he collided with Michael Schumacher. A tyre puncture and damaged front suspension meant a return to the pits, which ultimately brought an end to his race.

Bruno also endured a difficult race. After falling back four places at the start, he was able to recover some ground but could only make his way up to P13 as he crossed the line after 55 laps.

Team Lotus

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: A really excellent race and a great performance from the whole team. I know we said that last week in Japan was our strongest ever race but we have managed to improve once again and to beat both Saubers and match the pace of a group of teams ahead is very satisfying indeed. We started both cars on options and then switched onto the primes for the second stint and it was immediately obvious that they were going to degrade much less than we had thought which made the two stop strategy work. Jarno had a very strong middle stint but was unlucky to be held up, dropping him back into the traffic that ultimately meant he finished further back than he could have done. Heikki had a very good start and then drove well throughout the whole race. Towards the end we could see that the Renault's tyres had given up and we kept telling Heikki to push. He was making up about six seconds a lap over the last two laps and with one lap more I am sure he would have passed him as well, but that does not take anything away from the job we have done today. We are having a very strong end to the season and now we need to make sure we continue this run in the last three races."


John Booth, Team Principal: A positive race on both sides of the garage today, to slightly varying degrees. Timo drove a hard race all the way to the end and we were managing the gap to Ricciardo behind him. With Jérôme it is disappointing that we finished behind the HRT, however we must take the positive that the performance today far exceeded that in qualifying. He had a hard battle with Ricciardo, overtaking him after the Safety Car, but only to lose out whilst battling with Kobayashi. On the back of a disappointing weekend last week, everyone in the team stepped up their game for this weekend. The strategy was improved, the pitstops were slick and all this has been borne out of a great deal of introspection and redoubling of effort for the last few races. We’ll be back in the UK this week preparing for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix and the whole team – from the engineers to logistics – are looking forward to the challenge of this voyage into the unknown.


Kamui Kobayashi: My start was okay, except I couldn’t gain any positions. When I was fighting with Sébastien Buemi our cars touched and the front wing was damaged. I changed to supersoft tyres after ten laps, as I had started on the softs. When the safety car came out we lost the advantage from the fresh tyres, as everyone was pitting then. I also had some damage to the rear wing, but I don’t really know where this was from. At almost mid distance Bruno Senna was behind me and was pushing extremely hard, which actually resulted in a damaged front wing. Because of that my car was understeering a lot and the tyres were blistering. I then had to pit earlier than planned to replace the front wing. After the second stop I was able to overtake a couple of cars at the back of the field, but there was obviously no chance to score points today. We were just too slow, but we will go and work on it.

Sergio Perez: Initially my start was pretty good, but then I got stuck behind some other cars and the positions I gained were lost again. In the beginning with the soft tyres it was quite good, but then with the supersoft tyres I struggled. During the last stint especially they degraded way too much. I had to pit and change them three laps before the end because the front right tyre had a hole in it, and you could see the casing. It was a shame, but there was no way I could have finished the race with those tyres. However, we didn’t have the pace today to finish in the points.

Force India

Paul di Resta: It’s good to come away with a point, but ultimately we didn’t have the performance to match Toro Rosso today. It looked like we might be able to hold off Buemi in the final laps to stay ninth, but we came up six or seven laps too short with the tyres and I couldn’t hold him back. In terms of tyres, we probably should have been a bit more aggressive with the strategy and used my new supersofts at the start of the race, rather than the used set, but I’m not sure it would have changed where we finished. Still, every point counts come the end of the year and we’ve managed to gain a point on Sauber, which is important.

Adrian Sutil: It was not the easiest race today and I’m disappointed that I missed out on points. The start of the race was okay, but Schumacher and Alguersuari came by me quite early on. I think our strategy was good and I made my first stop when the safety car came out, but our main competitor today was Toro Rosso and we just didn’t have the pace to beat them. It’s clear that we have to fight really hard in the final three races because the race pace of our close competitors is strong and we will need to score points to hold on to our sixth position.


Nico Rosberg: I had good speed at the start of the race today but after we changed to the prime tyres, it became more difficult as the degradation was too strong. I had some nice battles against Jenson and the Ferraris, and was pushing hard to defend my position against Felipe and Fernando in the middle stint. During this, I flat-spotted my front tyres so I had to pit earlier than expected which made my last stint on the primes very long. I didn't have enough grip by the end and so I just wasn't able to defend the position against Jaime. A difficult race for me today but I'm still happy to score some points.

Michael Schumacher: It was another unfortunate end to a race which could have been encouraging today. It's a big pity as the car was again very good in race trim and I had already gained some positions. It would have been interesting to see what was possible, and I think we could certainly have taken some points. As for the incident, I didn't see Vitaly coming; I was just suddenly spun into a direction I had not intended to go, and then I saw my rear wing hanging off. It was unfortunate but these things happen when you fight hard - that's racing.
Anyone notice the comment from Mike Gascoyne that Kovy was making up 6 seconds a lap on Senna at the end? Bruno was probably coasting but that is a massive speed differential. Also, the mid-field teams all swopped around form Suzuka with Toro Rosso moving forwards and Sauber and Force India admitting to taking a step back.
Didn't hear that, but Senna was poor all race especially compared to Petrov (before he decided to retire), 6 seconds a lap, must have had problem :thinking:
I think Bruno's tyres were shot - he pitted on lap 30 to go to the end - but these are Bruno's times in the last stint:

41: 1:42.549 (FL)
42: 1:42.872
43: 1:42.669
44: 1:42.660
45: 1:43.114
46: 1:43.173
47: 1:43.104
48: 1:45.752
49: 1:44.466
50: 1:46.726
51: 1:44.883
52: 1:44.647
53: 1:48.524
54: 1:47.842

Heikki, with tyres 8 laps fresher, was consistently lapping in the 1:42s.

It is notable how much better Lotus have been doing in the races recently, even if there isn't much of an improvement in relative qualifying pace compared to earlier in the season. No doubt clever strategy and safety cars have played some part, but they deserve a modicum of credit I feel.
Heikki, with tyres 8 laps fresher, was consistently lapping in the 1:42s.

It is notable how much better Lotus have been doing in the races recently, even if there isn't much of an improvement in relative qualifying pace compared to earlier in the season. No doubt clever strategy and safety cars have played some part, but they deserve a modicum of credit I feel.

So Senna when he had fresher tyres on only did four 1.42s? Still seems strange, maybe Lotus have much better race pace than qualifying pace, they weren't bad in Suzaka either.
It is notable how much better Lotus have been doing in the races recently, even if there isn't much of an improvement in relative qualifying pace compared to earlier in the season. No doubt clever strategy and safety cars have played some part, but they deserve a modicum of credit I feel.

To be fair, prior to the 2011 summer break, clever strategy and safety cars would put them 19th and 20th anyway!
It is notable how much better Lotus have been doing in the races recently, even if there isn't much of an improvement in relative qualifying pace compared to earlier in the season.

No doubt. We're seeing more and more shots of the Lotii coming up on the midfielders at some point in the race. They should be on for a few points next year.
Especially considereing they havn't got KERS and will have it next year. The ban on exhuast blowing should also help them as they simply didn't have the funds to develop the concept as effectively as the midfielders.
So Senna when he had fresher tyres on only did four 1.42s?

I only posted the second half of Bruno's stint (bit boring for me otherwise!) - he did a total of six laps in the 1:42s in his final stint. Heikki did nine.

What Petrov's pace would have been we'll never know, of course.
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