Italian Grand Prix 2011: The drivers’ reaction from Monza

We bring you the best of the drivers' post-race musings from Monza after Vettel sealed his eighth win of 2011

By Gareth Llewellyn
jenson button and sebastian vettel
Button and Vettel in the post-race news conference Photo: Getty Images, courtesy of Red Bull Racing

jenson button and sebastian vettel

Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull ““ First)

“It was an emotional win today. This circuit means such a lot to me and is very special. I had my first win here, so when I crossed the line I remembered every single bit of it. The podium is absolutely unbelievable here; when you stand up there you feel blessed, as it doesn’t happen to many people.

“There are so many people underneath and you can see them all coming, even from Curva Grande ““ it’s just unbelievable. This circuit has been tough for us for the last two years and so”¦ to come back this year and win! The car was amazing in qualifying yesterday and in the race today it was even better.

“The start was not that good, Fernando was suddenly there and I didn’t know where he was coming from ““ it took me a while to see we were three going into Turn 1. I kept second place and then after the restart, I was able to pass Alonso. He didn’t give me much room there, but it was just enough, so it was very enjoyable. It was a great race for us. As it is 150 years for Italian Unity also, I think it makes it special for everyone here, so thank you to all the fans.”

Jenson Button (McLaren ““ Second)

“It’s nice to have fought my way back through to second ““ but it’s frustrating to have had a problem at the start with the clutch, because it cost me dearly. I dropped back to sixth, then, at the restart, I had no way of keeping Mark [Webber] back, because his straightline speed was so strong, so I slipped to seventh.

“Obviously, that enabled the leaders to get a long way out in front, and I was delayed by a further four or five seconds when Mark and Felipe [Massa] tangled in front of me at Turn One.

“After that, I was able to get my head down and passed Lewis and Michael [Schumacher] within the space of about five corners, which was really satisfying. After that, I set about closing down Fernando [Alonso], it was great to be able to secure second because we got some good points for the team.

“On the whole, the team’s done a great job this weekend, but it’s the little problems that are frustrating: if you have one of those, then you’re not going to beat Red Bull and Sebastian [Vettel]. Hopefully, we’ll have no problems at the next race because if we can get everything together then we can challenge for a win.”

Fernando Alonso (Ferrari ““ Third)

“Returning to this magnificent podium wearing the Scuderia race suit is always very exciting. I said it yesterday: a podium place is within our grasp. We knew we needed to get a great start and we managed it, partly down to a great preparation job done with the engineers over the past two days.

“The start was really a magical moment, like in Barcelona, although we knew this was not our true position and that sooner or later we would have been passed. However, it was still very nice to see our fans cheering during those laps at reduced speed behind the Safety Car. There was nothing we could about Vettel, he was much quicker than us and passed me easily.

“The situation was better up against the McLarens: with the Softs, we could defend well, but on the Mediums they still have a significant advantage and I think that if the race had gone on a few more laps, I would have been off the podium. Having said that, I am happy with this result: we were better in the race than in qualifying, but that has been a constant factor since the start of the season.

“Sure, it would have been fantastic to do the double after 2010, but we must stay cool and concentrate and try to reach targets that are within our reach: today we did just that. It’s true the title has gone now, but there is still great motivation: we want to win races and try to defend the position I have just reached in the Drivers’ Championship.”

Lewis Hamilton (McLaren ““ Fourth)

“It was a good race: I finished and I got some points, so I can’t really complain. At the restart, Michael [Schumacher] was on my outside; I was looking at him in my mirrors, then, all of a sudden, the guys ahead had gone, so I missed an opportunity to slipstream Sebastian [Vettel]. So they caught me napping.

“We were a little bit slow on the straight today, which meant it was hard to get past Michael, who was faster along the straight even when I had my DRS activated. I had to really fight Schumacher, but the fact that I finished ahead of him meant everything was OK. That’s racing. The support we’ve had in Italy ““ the weather, the fans ““ has all been incredible and I’m really looking forward to coming back here again next year.

“I doubt it’s still possible to beat Sebastian for the title, but we’ll keep pushing. For now, I’m looking ahead to the flyaways ““ they’re going to be exciting and I’m really focused on getting some more wins for the team.”

Michael Schumacher (Mercedes ““ Fifth)

“It was an exciting race today, both for me and I think for all of our fans, and that is why I am happy. The fighting against Lewis was big fun, and my mirrors seemed to be very small at times.

“We are both known for driving on the limit, and that is what we did. I had to make my car as wide as a truck, and had to stretch the possible as much as I could, but in the end, as expected, he was still faster. The start was ideal, I held back on purpose at first in order to use the grip perfectly afterwards, and then the left side was all free.

“To make the most of your possibilities is the maximum possible at times, and that is why I had fun today, especially knowing that there is more to come in the future, with all the support we have from Mercedes.”

Felipe Massa (Ferrari ““ Sixth)

“I can only be disappointed with this sixth place, because today I could definitely have fought for a place on the podium. Unfortunately, the incident caused by Webber cost me too much time and I dropped to tenth place. That meant I had to pass so many drivers to try and catch up to the leaders again, but by then it was anyway too late.

“The collision with Webber did not do any damage: he hit my wheels and that pushed me into a spin when we were at the second corner. I braked slightly late, taking the inside line and, going round the outside, he would never have got past. I am really disappointed, because the car was not bad today in terms of pace and even when we were running the Medium tyres in the final stint of the race, we were reasonably quick and degradation was pretty low. Now we hope to have a bit more luck in the final six races of the season.”

Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso ““ Seventh)

“I am very happy with my race today. I think I would like to start even further back on the grid for the next one, because it seems that whenever I have a poor grid position, I finish in the points! I am also very pleased for the team, as they got both cars home in the points. I am a bit surprised at the way the car performance came good on Sunday in the race, because I did not expect to be quicker than Force India and Sauber.

“Getting this great result at our home race, also makes it extra special. We need to keep on working like this and try and improve our qualifying performance on Saturday. If we do that, I think we can finish in the points on a regular basis.”

Paul di Resta (Force India ““ Eighth)

“Of course I’m really happy to finish eighth today after what hasn’t been the easiest of races. My launch was not great, but the guys around me didn’t get away well either. Going into turn one I could see a Williams coming towards me so I moved as far to the outside as possible, but there was no option but to bump across the chicane.

“After that we went aggressive with the tyre strategy and I think we extracted as much as we could because our ultimate lap time in race trim was not quite there today. So it’s great to pick up four more points, which helps us move up a place in the championship.”

Bruno Senna (Renault ““ Ninth)

“I’m happy to score my first F1 points today, especially as it was only my second race for the team. Although I started 10th, it was not been an easy job to finish ninth. We suffered some bad luck in the first corner; everybody was cutting the chicane which forced me to drive on the outside, and in the process I lost all the places I had fought so hard for in qualifying.

“It makes me very happy to know that I am able to put myself in the position of scoring points, and also to fight with the guys who have been doing this for a long time. The pace of the car was clear for all to see, but I wish the race was just one lap longer because I may have been able to pass Paul (Di Resta) for eighth. The team chose a great strategy, the tyre was fast enough where I needed it to be and I am very happy to get my name on the points board. The team did a great job and I am really looking forward to Singapore.”

Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso ““ 10th)

“I am very happy with my race today. I think I would like to start even further back on the grid for the next one, because it seems that whenever I have a poor grid position, I finish in the points!

“I am also very pleased for the team, as they got both cars home in the points. I am a bit surprised at the way the car performance came good on Sunday in the race, because I did not expect to be quicker than Force India and Sauber. Getting this great result at our home race, also makes it extra special. We need to keep on working like this and try and improve our qualifying performance on Saturday. If we do that, I think we can finish in the points on a regular basis.”

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