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Brazilian Grand Prix 2011: The drivers’ reaction from Interlagos

We bring you the best of the drivers' post-race musings from Interlagos, where Mark Webber won the Brazilian Grand Prix

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Webber won his first race of the season at InterlagosPhoto: Getty Images, courtesy of Red Bull Racing

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Mark Webber (Red Bull) – Winner

“It feels very good; it’s always nice to win. The battle with Sebastian wasn’t a strong battle in the end because he had a problem, but even so, my pace was strong and I felt very good in the car. It’s a nice way to finish the year. I felt good in the car and getting the fastest laps at the end was very rewarding. Looking back, it wasn’t the greatest season for me, but also not the worst. I had a weak start to the year and wasn’t able to capitalise on misfortune from others or put myself in a situation to win fair and square, which is what you want, but in motorsport you take the victories when they come. So, it was a very important win for me today and for the team to finish on a high is great. I really enjoyed the last few laps. This is a great track for the team and we have gained three wins in a row here.”

Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) – Second

“I got the message we had a problem, which was a shame as we had a great start to the race. After that, it was obvious that that I had to shift early and save the gearbox. I hoped it would recover so I kept pushing, but it didn’t happen and then the target was to see the chequered flag. Mark had a great race and deserved to win. I got second and I’m happy to have a trophy. It was a great end to the season; to finish with both cars and a one two is very good. I would have loved to have won the race, but nonetheless we had a great season. It’s really incredible–going into the season we thought we had a competitive car and that maybe we could win some races, but it has been phenomenal. The team has been faultless most of the time and raised their level massively compared to the last two years. We enjoy what we do and it’s nice to come into the garage each day and see everyone with a smile on their face being happy. That’s the main thing–we love what we do and are passionate about it.”

Jenson Button (McLaren) – Third

“Earlier in the race, it was disappointing to be passed by Fernando [Alonso]. Out of Turn Five, I saw lots of debris on the circuit, and I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t want to drive over it, and I couldn’t pull to the left because Fernando was there, so I had to back out of it and fall behind. It was a pretty easy move for Fernando to make after that. But the Prime was working really well and that helped me chase Fernando down in the final stint and pass him out of Turn Three. Ideally, I wanted to get him into Turn One, because it’s more fun to pass someone without using DRS, but I set him up and got him out of Turn Three after getting a good run along the straight. We gave it everything today – and a podium is a great way to end the year. I’ve had 12 podiums from this season’s 19 grands prix–and I didn’t finish two of them due to reliability issues. All in all, it’s been a good, consistent season for us. There are a lot of positives to take away from this year. We’ll have a strong winter and come out fighting from the first race. We’ve just got to start the season a bit more strongly, that’s all, and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do. We want to make it hard for Red Bull in 2012.”

Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) – Fourth

“Yet another race in which we did everything to perfection, from the start to the strategy and the work of the team. The final result is more down to the performance of the others than our own, because we could not have done more. Once again today, we got a very good start, putting a nice passing move on Button, but then, on the medium tyres, we no longer had the speed to fend him off. I also had a problem with the DRS which would not activate: I was not fighting closely with other drivers, but it would certainly have helped me gain a few tenths while overtaking. This grand prix produced an accurate reflection of the season: we have almost always done our maximum, fighting for a podium finish in a car that was not as good as the top two. In terms of team work we grew a lot in 2011 and we must absolutely make this the starting point for a very different 2012. If I had to score our performance, I can but repeat what president Montezemolo said, giving us something between a five and six, but all the same I am proud of what the team was able to do. We need a car that is about five or six tenths quicker: achieving that won’t be a walk in the park, but I have every confidence in our engineers and in a team that dominated the last decade in Formula 1 and holds every possible record in this sport. Let us not forget that I managed to get on the podium 10 times and to score more points than last year. Losing out on third in the drivers’ championship is definitely not a big problem: first place is the only one that really counts.”

Felipe Massa (Ferrari) – Fifth

“It was a difficult race at the end of a weekend that was not the best from a technical point of view. We never managed to find the right balance and then came the sting in the tail of the puncture we discovered yesterday, which robbed me of a set of softs for the race and thus meant I had to make only two stops. I knew it would be penalising because I would have to do a lot of laps on the medium, a tyre with which we have a bigger performance gap than on the softs when compared to our closest competitors. Sure, I would have liked to celebrate my 100th grand prix with Ferrari with a much different result, but I have to accept the way things went. In fact, the race pretty much summed up the season: reasonably good on the soft, then struggling on the harder compound. I was very pleased to feel the affection of the crowd, who supported me from the start to the end of the weekend. It’s been a difficult year for me and the team and now we can turn the page. We must work on improving the car and I will do all I can never to have such a disappointing season again. I want to say I was pleased that Lewis came round to see me while I was talking to the journalists: it was a very nice gesture on his part.”

Adrian Sutil (Force India) – Sixth

“I’m really happy about the result today. It completes a great weekend where everything went to plan. I had a good feeling in all the sessions and the team did a brilliant job to give me such a good car today. We also made the right calls with the strategy because we knew there was a chance to beat Mercedes, and that’s exactly what we did. So I’m very happy with my sixth place–it’s the best way to end the year and it also means that I move up to ninth place in the drivers’ championship, which was my aim.”

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) – Seventh

“Today wasn’t an ideal ending to the season, and although I scored some points, I expected to finish higher than P7. I didn’t get a good start, and I had problems with my tyres overheating as the track temperatures were very high. So I had to manage my tyres very carefully during the whole race which impacted on the pace. Now I’m looking ahead and I hope we can do better in 2012. I look forward to an exciting time in the winter as we work hard to develop a better car for next year.”

Paul di Resta (Force India) – Eighth

“My eighth place today is a great result after quite a tough race for me. There was a concern with the gearbox around half way through the race so the team told me to just try and bring the car home. In the final stint it was just a case of managing the gap to Kobayashi behind me and we had enough to do that quite easily in the end. So that’s the end of my first season of Formula 1 and it’s been a great year, especially now we have finished sixth in the championship. It’s well deserved for the entire team and I want to thank everyone for their help and support during this amazing year.”

Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) – Ninth

“The team did a very good job to recover from a really bad qualifying. I had a good start and also a good race pace. We worked a lot on the race pace and I’m happy that I was able to score in the final two races of the season. It was important for us to finish ahead of Toro Rosso and I’m glad we managed to do that. The strategy was good and the car was as well–many thanks to the guys. After we have struggled a bit in the second half of the season, we have a lot to work on over the winter. I think it is good that we will have the same team with the same drivers again, but we want to become stronger.”

Vitaly Petrov (Lotus Renault) – Tenth

“Definitely it is good to finish with a point, which was a good response to yesterday’s qualifying position. My race start was good and my speed was not too bad and I was quite happy with the car. We came in quite early and I think we lost out being behind both Toro Rosso as it was very difficult to overtake them. I lost quite a lot of time like this, otherwise I think I could have been ahead of Kamui Kobayashi and it would have been better to finish in P9 instead of P10. The pit stops were better, with one very good one–my crew were working well right up to the end of the season. I wanted more points this year. It was not a fantastic season but I want to say thank you to all the team who have supported me and believed in me. Next year is another season and I hope we can work even better together and achieve much better results.”

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