Sun: Mercedes, Red Bull, Force India

Date published: November 13 2016

Lewis Hamilton kept the Drivers’ Championship after he claimed his first ever victory in Brazil, while Max Verstappen won Driver of the Day after he climbed up the grid to finish P3.

Mercedes:
Lewis Hamilton:
“I’ve just won my first Brazilian Grand Prix! I remember watching Ayrton win back in 1991 and thinking “one day, that’s what I want to do”. I shared his emotion that day and now I can finally understand how he felt. It’s the 44th Grand Prix here as well, so it’s a really special one for me. To win on Senna’s turn in front of that crowd… it’s a moment I’ll never forget and I genuinely can’t believe it’s finally come. It’s crazy – all these years it’s been so hard to win this race and then today was one of the easiest wins I’ve had. Of course, in those conditions I could easily have made a mistake at any point. But I was generally very relaxed out there today and felt completely in control. I love driving in the rain. It must come from years of racing around the UK as a kid! It’s all in the mind – keeping your cool, not making mistakes, having great reactions and knowing where to put the car. It was one of those races where I was able to focus purely on driving. That one set of tyres just kept going and going, I didn’t have any problems at all and the car was really fantastic. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone back at both factories who have worked so hard to give us such an incredible car. This result is all down to them. Every week we’re making another piece of history and we’ve out-and-out proven that we’re the best team by far, in every area. Our hospitality is the best, our food is the best, our guys in the garage are the best, the guys back in the factory are the best, our cars are the best… it’s so rare to see every area so spot on and I’m proud to be a part of that. I’m glad that it’s come down to the last race. All I can do is focus on being as strong as I have been in these past few races. If I can do that, I’ll know in my heart what I’ve achieved this year.”

Nico Rosberg: “The conditions were really tricky out there today. Up the hill there was heavy aquaplaning and a lot of drivers went off the track. I had a bit of a moment when I spun at one point but luckily this wasn’t at high speed, so I was able to catch the car again. Lewis did a better job today and deserved the win, so I must be happy with P2. Max also did a good job. We knew that the Red Bull would be very strong in the wet but he drive a great race. Thank you very much to my team for choosing the right strategy and letting me stay out on the full wet tyres. Now I look forward to Abu Dhabi, where I have good memories from last year. I will be going all out for the win there.”

Red Bull:
Daniel Ricciardo:
“It was a frustrating race, we never really felt like we got lucky with the strategy; every time we made a change with the tyres there was a safety car or a red flag. We lost positions and obviously we could not predict what was going to happen and we felt a little bit on the back foot. But the real difficulty today was my visibility, which was a struggle as my visor kept fogging up. I kept opening my visor and trying to wipe it but it’s never happened before, and it held me back. It’s a shame as the car was a lot better than eighth, when we had a clear track our speed was good. It was tricky out there, for example with Kimi, I didn’t see him crash in front of me. It wasn’t until I got back to the pits and saw a replay I knew he’d crashed. From that point of view they obviously make some good calls with red flags. I’m glad we got to race and glad we could finish it, and that despite some crashes everyone was safe. The fans put up with a long afternoon so thanks to them for staying with it.”

Max Verstappen: “I think the word for today is ‘Exciting’. I overtook Nico around the outside of turn 3 which was really fun to do, I just seemed to find a bit more grip out there. I then started chasing Lewis which resulted in me having a massive moment in the final sector, I was really lucky to keep it out of the guard rail. After that scare my pace was still good and I held onto P2. The rears then started to lose grip and I was told Daniel had pitted for Intermediates and was going fast so I followed that plan. For a lap or so it was really good but then more rain came which resulted in no grip in the last sector. There was no way we could carry on so had to pit again for wets. From there on the race was really good fun, plenty of overtakes around the outside because if you stay behind them there’s too much spray, I had to find another line. I just kept my head down and managed to get past quite a few cars in the remaining laps. I could hear the crowd going crazy when my engineer was on the radio, so I’m very thankful for the Brazilian fans for getting behind me. At the end when I crossed the line it felt like a victory, it was almost as beautiful as my race in Barcelona.”

Force India:
Sergio Perez:
“What a fun but tense race today! It’s a shame to lose a podium place in the last two laps, but Max [Verstappen] just had a different pace: he was the fastest on track and there was nothing I could do to keep him behind. Even though I am a bit disappointed, we can still celebrate a great race and an incredible result, especially considering the conditions we had out there today. Just getting to the finish line on a day like this feels like a victory, and to bring home fourth is a very important result. It was so easy to make mistakes; you risked aquaplaning at any moment – every time I crossed the finish line I had a breath of relief. It’s a big result, not only for me, but also for the team as it brings us important points for the battle for fourth place. A lot can still happen in Abu Dhabi, but we can be happy about this result.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “That was an intense race and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry because I think a possible podium slipped away today. I had great confidence in the car, felt comfortable and I had the pace to push and overtake. There were some scary moments in the race, especially when Kimi crashed in front of me. Some of his debris hit my car and caused a lot of damage. At least I survived that, but then I picked up a puncture from the debris, which was so frustrating because it dropped me down to the back of the field. Without the puncture, who knows where I might have finished? I’m happy and proud of myself and the team. We did a great job, but we were just missing a bit of luck.”