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Team Quotes - Sunday 13 October

SEASON INFORMATION
13/10/2019

Japanese Grand Prix

Team Quotes - Sunday 13 October

Mercedes GP

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport win the FIA Formula One Constructors' Championship for the sixth time in a row. Lewis and Valtteri are the only two drivers who can still win the Drivers' Championship, securing the sixth consecutive Drivers' Title for the team as well - making Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport the first team in Formula One history to win both titles six times in a row.

Valtteri claimed his sixth victory in Formula One, his third of the 2019 season and first at the Japanese Grand Prix. Lewis finished the race in P3 claiming an additional point for the fastest lap - his fourth fastest lap at the Japanese Grand Prix, equalling Michael Schumacher's record for the most fastest laps in Japan.

Today's result marks the 100th points finish for Valtteri. Lewis (338 points) leads the Drivers' Championship by 64 points from Valtteri (274 points) with Charles Leclerc (221) a further 53 points behind, giving only our two drivers the chance to win the 2019 Drivers' Title. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (612 points) leads Ferrari (435 points) by 177 points - an unassailable lead in the Constructors' Championship.

Eric Blandin, Chief Aerodynamicist, accepted the Constructors' trophy on behalf of the team.

Toto Wolff: When we embarked on the journey six or seven years ago we wanted to win races more regularly and then fight for a Championship - and now, six years later, we win our sixth Championship in a row. We never thought this would be possible and I'm incredibly happy for everybody who has been a part of this journey. It's not always been easy, the entire team put in a lot of hard work and we had our fair share of painful moments, but we were always able to pick ourselves up. Everyone in Brackley and Brixworth worked incredibly hard for this achievement and I can't thank them enough. We also could not have done this without the continued support from Daimler and Petronas who have always been by our side. This sixth Championship is a very special one - and we dedicate it to Niki. He has been such an important part from the beginning, and we all miss him dearly. I think about him every day and still find it hard to believe that he's not here anymore; I keep thinking to myself "What would Niki say, what would he think?". Today, he probably would have said "Congratulations for the sixth one, but you have a challenge on your hands for next year". It was his way of making sure that we're never complacent. Today has been an emotional rollercoaster; we were disappointed in the morning because we weren't quick enough in qualifying. And now we've won the race and also both Championships - which is still hard to fully grasp.

Andrew Shovlin: A big well done to the whole team, everyone in Brackley and Brixworth, on winning a sixth double-championship in a row. It is an amazing achievement and it will take a while to sink in. It's been really quite an amazing day with both qualifying and the race in one day. We were a bit disappointed after qualifying; before the session, we thought that we could challenge for pole, but ultimately the gap was too big and there was no way the drivers were going to make that up. We saw on Friday we had good tyre degradation and our efforts focused straight away on trying to make the most of the race. Our car was very strong and both drivers were really happy with it, but we also got a bit of help at the start. Our race pace was very encouraging today, but we need to look at how we can improve from our qualifying pace because it's not good enough at the moment. It's a shame that we couldn't get Lewis in front of Vettel at the end of the race; we'll take a look at it to see what we could have done differently. There are lots of things that we'll take from this race to try to improve.

Markus Schafer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: To win six consecutive constructors' championships is something that has only been achieved once in F1 history - and it puts our team in the strongest possible position to take a sixth consecutive double, which would set a new benchmark in the sport. For everybody at Daimler, this achievement is not just a source of great pride, it is also a demonstration of our company's capability to succeed when tackling the biggest challenges. To win in Formula One requires the right blend of cutting-edge technology and exceptional team spirit to achieve demanding goals; the lessons we learn from this success are important ingredients in our ability to achieve the same in our wider business.

Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow leaves Suzuka and the Japanese Grand Prix having picked up a second place with Sebastian Vettel and a seventh with Charles Leclerc. That definitely did not live up to expectations given the front row lockout in qualifying held at 10 in the morning because of the Hagibis typhoon. Sebastian paid the price for a hesitant start, while Charles had to deal with the after-effects of a coming together with Max Verstappen at the first corner. The Dutchman spun, while the Monegasque had to pit after three laps to change his damaged front wing, which meant he had to fight back from last place.

For both Ferraris, the race got complicated right from the start. Sebastian hesitated when the lights went out and Valtteri Bottas got ahead of him and Charles got wheelspin so he was slow off the line and Verstappen came around the outside of him. Bottas led into turn 1 followed by Vettel, Leclerc, Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. It was here that the Ferrari and Red Bull tangled and that would complicate Leclerc's race. He worked his way up from 20th to seventh before his second pit stop and was sixth before making a third visit to the pits on lap 46, when it was clear he would not lose any places. After the race, the stewards reviewed the incident between Leclerc and Verstappen and imposed a 15 second time penalty on our driver, which thus drops Charles from sixth to seventh place.

Sebastian was able to match Bottas' pace and manage Hamilton who was behind him, but as from lap 14, he began to lose ground to the leader. Two more laps and the team called him in for his first stop, fitting another set of Softs so he could keep attacking. On the following lap, Bottas pitted and got out ahead of Vettel, while Hamilton waited until lap 21 for his stop, at which point Sebastian moved back up to second. The German came in for his second stop on lap 31, his SF90 now running on Mediums as he rejoined in third place. Five laps later, Bottas made his second stop, handing the lead to Hamilton who then pitted on lap 42, rejoining right behind Vettel, but the German managed to fend him off for six laps to the chequered flag, with a skilful drive that made use of all his car's performance.

This was Scuderia Ferrari's 17th podium of the season, the eighth for Sebastian. Now the World Championship has a weekend off to charge its batteries before heading off for a double header in North America, starting with the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday 22 October followed by the USA race on 3 November.

Mattia Binotto Team Principal: "Congratulations from all of us to our rivals and friends for nailing another well-deserved Constructors' Championship today. Over the course of the season, they simply did the best job and that's exactly what you need in this business.

"For our part, I'd like to highlight a positive aspect, namely the performance of our car, which was good enough to secure the front row in qualifying this morning - an exceptional result here at Suzuka. As for the race itself, we are disappointed that we did not reap the rewards of what we had sown. A shame. The start compromised the rest of the race, although it has to be said that our rival's pace was very strong and we suffered more than them with tyre degradation. We made mistakes and now we just have to look to ourselves to improve."

Red Bull

Christian Horner: "After a great start Max was unfortunately involved in contact at Turn 2 with Leclerc which resulted in him retiring from the race. It looked like Max gave Charles plenty of room but we will let the stewards deal with that. Alex had a less than perfect getaway, dropping behind the McLarens but he fought back well, making the two stop strategy work. He passed Norris in a firm but fair move on lap four and closed quickly on Sainz. The remainder of the race was quite lonely but Alex drove faultlessly to bring the car home in P4, his best Formula One result to date. Leaving Suzuka with a fourth place and a DNF is slightly disappointing at Honda's home race after such a fantastic turnout from a very enthusiastic crowd. Our congratulations go to Mercedes on winning their sixth Constructors' Championship here today."

Renault

Renault F1 Team fought back to secure a double-points finish in today's Japanese Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo mounted a valiant comeback from sixteenth on the grid to claim seventh, while Nico Hulkenberg crossed the line ninth, six places up on his starting position.

Yesterday's typhoon delay led to a Super Sunday, with qualifying and the race held within hours of each other. Strong winds prevailed for the morning's qualifying session and picking a way through the gusts was a genuine challenge. Daniel was eliminated in Q1 as he struggled to find a balance in the oscillating conditions, while Nico made it through to Q2. His effort was, however, subsequently halted by a hydraulic leak on his second Q2 run, placing him fifteenth.

Nico made a stunning start and picked up five positions by the end of lap one, with Daniel too knocking on the door of the top 10 after passing a number of cars in the early running. A creative one-stop strategy gained further positions and both drivers got the bit between their teeth with a series of thrilling overtakes through the field.

The team leaves Suzuka with a further seven points in its account.

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal: "It has certainly been a bizarre weekend, with no running on Saturday, requiring everything to be perfect from the get-go on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, we experienced the opposite, with both cars having different issues in qualifying. Despite our low starting positions, we did not surrender and kept focused. The crew did an amazing job in the limited time before the race to turn around the cars. Both drivers had clean starts for the first time in a while and after the opening laps it was non-stop action, with an amazing number of stylish overtaking manoeuvres from Daniel and Nico. Nico also accepted to play the team game, which played out nicely for the team, so big thanks to him. We're leaving Suzuka with both cars in the points, a nice reward for the various issues we've had over the last races despite a car that had the capacity to score at every race."

Haas

Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished 15th and 17th, respectively, in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit, the 17th round of 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.

For only the fifth time in Formula One history, qualifying was held on race day as all Saturday track activity was suspended due to the landfall of powerful Typhoon Hagibis. Grosjean had a strong qualifying performance, advancing to Q3 and earning the 10th position on the starting grid. Magnussen's fortunes were quite different, however, as an accident during the Q1 session prevented him from recording a qualifying time. The Haas F1 Team worked quickly to repair his car in time for the race less than three hours later, which he started from the 19th position.

Grosjean started the 52-lap race around the 5.807-mile (3.608-mile), 18-turn circuit on a set of Pirelli P Zero Red soft tires used during his Q2 qualifying effort but dropped from 10th to 14th during the opening-lap mayhem. Magnussen, starting on a new set of Yellow medium tires, had a solid start, moving from 19th to 13th on the first tour of the circuit.

Both Haas F1 drivers switched to White hard rubber during their first stops, Grosjean pitting from 16th on lap 17 and resuming in 17th, and Magnussen stopping on lap 18 from 13th and resuming in 18th. The hard tires enabled both Grosjean and Magnussen to hold their relative ground over the next 20 laps, Grosjean advancing as high as 12th on lap 30, but then dropping three positions before the checkered flag. Magnussen was as high as 15th on lap 30 before also losing ground. He pitted from 17th on lap 49 to swap his hard tires for a set of softs for the final four laps and crossed the finish line in the same position.

With today's results, Haas F1 Team remained ninth in the constructors' championship with 28 points, seven behind eighth-place Alfa Romeo and 27 ahead of 10th-place Williams.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas won today's Japanese Grand Prix by 13.343 seconds over Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes earned the final podium position just .515 of a second behind Vettel. It was the sixth career win for Bottas, his third of the season and his first at Suzuka. The victory and accompanying point for fastest race lap by Hamilton clinched the constructors' championship for Mercedes.

Only four races remain on the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar, the next event being the Mexican Grand Prix Oct. 27 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

Guenther Steiner: "This morning qualifying for Romain wasn't so bad, he got into Q3 which was a little bit the highlight of the day. Kevin crashed on his fast lap, he was doing a very fast lap - the car can do one good lap performance-wise. As soon as we go racing though, we fall out of the tire window and we end up like we did today. It is pretty frustrating but not unexpected, it's not like we were surprised. Still it's never nice that it happens. We just need to try to do our best for the rest of the season to get a little bit out of the car, and mainly learn not to do the same mistakes for next year."

McLaren

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: "Great execution today from the entire team, and 10 more points in the bag, extending our lead over the teams with whom we are fighting in the Constructors' Championship. It was a sensational drive from Carlos to P5 - but we have mixed feelings because we might've had Lando up there as well.

"We obviously strongly disagree with competitors leaving cars on track with entire front wing endplates hanging off and putting everyone else at risk. After Leclerc's endplate finally exploded, Lando unfortunately caught some of the debris in his right front brake duct. This meant he had to box early, and his race was pretty much done. Even then, he gave it everything and put in a great performance.

"Overall, it's the positives we take away from Suzuka. The team here at the track, together with the support from home, put in a lot of hard work to get the best out of an unusual weekend - and a very long Sunday! The car was strong here and we're really looking forward to the final four races.

"Finally, congratulations to Mercedes for securing their sixth Constructors' World Championship in a row."

Racing Point

Otmar Szafnauer: "It was a tough call to choose between one or two stops today and the results confirm there was very little to choose between the two strategies. Lance ran inside the top ten for pretty much the entire race and deserved to come away with some points. He did a super job of fending off the Renaults for a good number of laps, but they made their tyre advantage count in the last few laps. Sergio, who was running behind Lance, was able to roll the dice with no downside, and switch to a two-stop race with about ten laps to go. He made the most of a set of new softs to score a couple of points. Also, credit to the pit crew today for some very quick stops, including a 2.18 seconds stop for Sergio, which was the quickest of the day. Credit also to Mercedes on a sixth consecutive Championship title - a really incredible achievement."

Sauber

As we woke up in Japan this morning, a quick glance outside the window was all it took to know we'd have a busy day ahead of us. Gone were the dark clouds, bucketfuls of rain and gale winds, to be replaced by clear skies and a warm, if very breezy day. With Typhoon Hagibis out of the way, action returned to Suzuka - in the form of a Super Sunday featuring qualifying in the morning and the Japanese Grand Prix in the afternoon.

The paddock sprung back to life as if we had never taken a day off, bustling with activity from end to end. Qualifying was a mixed bag for us - Antonio claiming the 11th place on the grid, one row ahead of Kimi in P13. A good battle for points was on the cards, the mood quietly confident.

Unfortunately, the dark clouds that had vacated the Suzuka skies didn't similarly spare our team. Kimi and Antonio battled hard, fought for each inch of track but eventually ended up outside of the points, and we leave the weekend empty-handed. It was a disappointing end to our Japanese Grand Prix, but one from which we can draw some positives, such as the good pace shown in the closing stages of the race.

As we head into the final four races of the season, however, we keep fighting. We'll regroup and get ready to battle once more in Mexico. After every storm, after all, there is bound to be a rainbow...

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "We got into the race hoping to be in the top ten but in the end we weren't able to fight for the points after the opening laps. We showed a much better pace in the closing stages, on the soft tyres, so we will have to review what happened and analyse the data to ensure we can deliver the same level of performance throughout the race. In such a tight field, we need to extract the best from our car at all times or the competition will have the upper hand, which is what happened today."

Toro Rosso

Jody Egginton (Technical Director): "With no opportunity to evaluate setup changes in FP3, we headed into Qualifying with the cars' setup based on less data than normal. However, the setup appeared reasonable and Pierre was able to extract nearly everything from the package he had. Dany struggled a bit more and, in a very tight midfield battle, small lap time deltas have a big impact on grid position, so he unfortunately started further back than ideal. The race was a very close and entertaining battle with both Racing Point & Renault and Pierre drove especially well, considering we had an issue with the rear suspension which was affecting the rear ride height and rear tyre wear. Dany had a tricky first stint, spending quite some time in a DRS train early on, which cost some race time, but following the pit stop he drove well and was close to being in contention for the final point. With Sunday comprising of Qualifying and the race, it's been a busy time for the mechanics, but they have managed the workload very well and deserve credit for this. We now look forward to Mexico and we will be working hard to consolidate our position in the Constructors' Championship."

Franz Tost (Team Principal): "After yesterday's difficult weather conditions, which forced Qualifying to be postponed to Sunday, we showed quite a good performance this morning; Pierre qualified ninth, while Daniil had some problems on his last run in Q2 and qualified 14th. Both Drivers had a reasonably good start of the race. We called Pierre in on lap 18 and he was able to stay ahead of Stroll when he re-joined the race. Pierre was capable of holding his position, driving a very strong race and defending well, finishing in eighth position. He was able to get the maximum out of the car, especially considering that we detected a problem on his suspension, which made his car more difficult to drive. Pierre had to be very careful - especially on the last laps - not to lose the rear, but he managed it in a professional way, showing very good car control. Daniil stayed out longer as we brought him in on lap 27. He showed a good performance overtaking many cars, but unfortunately, that wasn't enough to score points. However, it's positive that today's race increased the gap to Racing Point by two more points. We now head to Mexico for the last back to back races of the year, where we hope to continue to score points."

Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director): "This was a busy day for all the teams, with the unusual schedule during which we managed to get three of our four cars into the top ten in the morning qualifying, which was satisfactory. Gasly drove an excellent race, finishing in the points after just missing out on the top ten last year in Suzuka. Kvyat fought hard and eventually finished two places up on his grid position. It was great to see the grandstand with 12,000 Honda fans and overall, a bigger crowd than in recent years. Everyone in the Honda team appreciated their support. Today's result did not live up to our expectations, so we want to come back stronger next year and give our fans something more to cheer about."

WilliamsF1

As a result of the predicted impact of Typhoon Hagibis here in Suzuka, all track running was cancelled on Saturday. This resulted in a busy Sunday for the team with both qualifying this morning followed by the Japanese Grand Prix this afternoon.

George Russell started 18th on the grid, with Robert starting from the pitlane following a crash during qualifying this morning. George finished 18th with Robert 19th in the race.

Both cars started on the medium Pirelli tyre with George running a one-stop race, pitting on lap 25 for the hard Pirelli tyre. Robert ran a two-stop race, pitting first for the hard and once again for the medium Pirelli tyre on laps 22 and 33.

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: Qualifying was held in dry but very gusty conditions, making it difficult for everybody, and unfortunately Robert was one of the drivers who suffered as a result, leading to the first of two red flags in Q1. The mechanics worked brilliantly to build a new car for Robert and were able to complete the build and set-up in time for Robert to take the race start. This was a phenomenal demonstration of ability, determination and teamwork. George did a good job in qualifying, finishing very close to Perez. For his first experience of Suzuka, it was a tricky challenge, which he rose to very well.

The race took place in slightly calmer conditions than qualifying but nonetheless, it was a difficult race, which pushed a large proportion of the field onto a two-stop strategy. We were able to complete a one-stop race with George but elected to complete a second stop with Robert as this offered him better track position and a quicker overall race time. Both drivers did a very good job to bring the cars home whilst managing the fuel and brakes.

We will soon travel to Mexico where the altitude and weather will give us a new set of hurdles to overcome. We will continue our investigation of our new front wing and will look to make a further step towards the midfield battle.

Pirelli

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas won the Japanese Grand Prix with a two-stop soft-medium-soft strategy, on a track that was made quite unpredictable due to an enforced day off yesterday following Typhoon Hagibis. Not only did Saturday's heavy rain wash away the rubber laid on Friday, but teams also lost a lot of running, with FP3 cancelled and qualifying taking place on Sunday morning. Nonetheless, the fastest race lap set by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton broke the lap record established by Kimi Raikkonen that had stood since 2005.

The fastest predicted strategy for the 53-lap race was a one-stopper: starting on soft for 24 to 27 laps, then medium to the end. Second-fastest, theoretically, was a two-stopper: two stints on soft of 20 laps each followed by one on medium. The slowest theoretical strategy was again a one-stopper but a different one: starting on soft for 20 to 23 laps, then hard to the end.

In practice, degradation proved to be higher than expected, probably due to warmer conditions. This led most drivers to adopt a two-stopper and run an extremely fast race.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel broke the all-time track record in qualifying today, while Lewis Hamilton broke the 14-year-old race lap record in the race.

There was a tense tactical battle from start to finish, with both Ferrari and Mercedes drivers using different tyre strategies.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was the only driver to use a three-stop strategy to fight his way back to sixth, after dropping to last following an early nose change.

Red Bull's Alex Albon took his career-best result with fourth, while Mercedes won the 2019 constructors' championship - for the sixth time in a row.

McLaren's Carlos Sainz was the highest-placed soft-medium one-stopper, finishing fifth at the end: a strategy adopted by a number of other drivers.

The weather remained dry, with track temperatures in the region of 39 degrees towards the end of the race, and 26 degrees centigrade ambient.

Mario Isola: "On top of all the rearrangements to the schedule following yesterday's typhoon, which washed the track clean of rubber, the warmer conditions also meant that the teams were dealing with a number of unknown quantities heading into qualifying and the race - both held within a short space of time today. It was mainly a question of developing the strategy during the grand prix, with a number of different tactics seen from one to three stops, as competitors reacted to their rivals' strategies. All three compounds were used during the race, with four different strategies in the top six, a thrilling tactical battle for the runner-up spot, and lap records broken in qualifying and the race. Congratulations to Mercedes for another well-deserved constructors' championship victory."

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