Japanese Grand Prix Race Report
"Both drivers showed stout character today"
Suzuka Circuit, Sunday October 13
JENSON BUTTON, MP4-28A/04
|Fastest Lap:||1m35.549s (+0.962s, 6th)|
|Pitstops:||Three: lap 8 (3.04s), 23 (5.97s) and 40 (2.85s) [Opt-Pri-Pri-Opt]|
"The first two stints of the race were pretty difficult as I had massive understeer. That was my fault: on the lap-to-grid, it felt like I had too much front-end, so I took some wing out of the car. It was the wrong thing to do – it left me with too much understeer, and I kept locking up the fronts, which destroyed the front tyres.
"For the third set, we added some front-wing, and the balance came back to me. In the end, the car was really good to drive – especially my final stint on the Option tyre, which was a lot of fun, especially as I was able to chase down and pass a couple of other cars.
"In the closing laps, I made a great move on Paul [di Resta] around the outside of the chicane. I made the same move on Felipe [Massa] too, but he forced me over the kerb, so I ended up getting him on the straight.
"So it was an enjoyable end to the race, but a disappointing beginning."
SERGIO PEREZ, MP4-28A/01
|Fastest Lap:||1m35.845s (+1.258s, 7th)|
|Pitstops:||Three: laps 12 (4.47s), 30 (7.42s) and 42 (4.02s – puncture) [Opt-Pri-Pri-Opt]|
"It was a very unfortunate afternoon for us.
"I had such bad luck – things just didn’t go our way today. In fact, I think you could say that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
"We had an incident with Nico [Rosberg] in the pitlane, some of slow pitstops, and then another incident with Nico, which caused me to suffer a puncture – luckily, however, right at the entrance of the pitlane.
"After a difficult race like this, all we can do is look ahead. In two weeks’ time we’ll start all over again – I’ll be hoping for more luck in New Delhi."
MARTIN WHITMARSH - Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
"Today’s race was a tough one for both our drivers, but they both showed stout character in dealing with various adverse occurrences with great determination throughout all 53 laps.
"Jenson made a good start off the line, but through no fault of his own was then embroiled in a first-corner incident, consequently dropping a few places. As a result, he also flat-spotted his tyres, which caused a significant vibration that we elected to curtail by bringing him in for his first tyre stop earlier than we otherwise would have done.
"We were consequently forced to convert his planned two-stop strategy to a three-stopper, which was a pity, but he drove a truly excellent race thereafter, taking advantage of rubber fresher than that of his rivals in his fourth and final stint to pull off some excellent overtaking manoeuvres and bag a hard-won ninth place by the flag.
"Checo made an excellent start, moving from P11 on the grid to P8 at the end of lap one, and was able to keep pace with all but the three front-runners throughout his first stint.
"Unfortunately, his first tyre stop was compromised by the unsafe release of Nico’s Mercedes, causing him [ie, Checo] to emerge behind Esteban’s [Gutierrez] Sauber, behind which he lost a lot of time throughout his second stint, unable to overtake despite making plenty of brave attempts to do so.
"Then, in his third stint, Checo suffered a left-rear puncture, also ironically in an incident with Nico, which necessitated an extra unscheduled pitstop that put him out of contention for a points-scoring finish. Had that not occurred, he, like Jenson, would have earned some valuable points.
"From here we go to New Delhi, where we hope to consolidate our fifth place in the Constructors’ World Championship by enjoying what we hope will be a less eventful and more productive afternoon than we did here at Suzuka today."