Sun: Williams, Force India, McLaren, Renault

Date published: October 2 2016

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso was arguably the driver of the day after he came from the back of the grid to finish the Malaysian Grand Prix P7.

Williams:
Valtteri Bottas:
“I think it was a very good day for us. We definitely got everything there was to get from today. The start was good, we were able to make our planned strategy work, which was crucial today to be in front of Force India. We scored some good points. It’s a shame that we lost points with Felipe’s technical issues, but from my side I’m happy with the race. Let’s try and repeat this in Japan.”

Felipe Massa: “Well, when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. Everything happened at once. My throttle wasn’t working. The engine was on and I was trying to get it to work, but I couldn’t. Then when we went to the garage, we switched it off and on, and it was working again. Then we did the start from the pitlane. At the first virtual safety car I stopped to change to the hard tyres and did two or three laps after that until I got a puncture on my front-left. Maybe I picked up some debris from the track. I would say my race was completely finished from there. The only thing that would have changed it would have been a safety car, but it didn’t work out like that. It’s a shame, because Valtteri did a great job and it would have been great to get both cars in some good points, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.”

Force India:
Sergio Perez:
“It was a solid race for us today, but I think we were a bit unlucky with the way the race unfolded. At the start, things looked very positive: I had a good launch, stuck to the inside line and was up to third after turn one. There were some very quick cars behind me and I knew there was no point in fighting too hard and destroying my tyres. The key moment of my race was the first virtual safety car, because it handed a big advantage to those who were able to start on the medium tyres, and dropped me down the order when I pitted. To recover back to sixth place was a good effort and we know that every point will count in the fight to finish fourth in the constructors’ championship. I don’t think we made any wrong decisions today, but it was just that the circumstances played more against us and into the hands of others.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “Finishing eighth is a reasonable result, given the circumstances of the race. It was quite a tough afternoon: I made a very good start, but coming to turn one I had to avoid the accident between Rosberg and Vettel and that cost me two positions. Being stuck behind Jenson [Button] cost me a lot of time in the first two stints and I just couldn’t overtake him. Losing the track position so early on made it very difficult to finish higher up, despite the speed we had in the car today. I believe our strategy was the correct one for our race, but it’s very hard to overtake here and it just didn’t play out in our favour. All in all, we can be happy about putting two cars inside the points; we have increased our advantage a little and it should help us in what is going to be a very interesting end of the season.”

McLaren:
Fernando Alonso  :
It was definitely a very exiting race for us today, with some great battles. Having started from the very back, we recovered some good places at the start – and were lucky not to get caught up in the first-corner accident. I was actually surprised by my position, because I’d already got into the points after just a bunch of laps. At that point, we had some debate over the radio about the strategy – about whether to be aggressive or more conservative. Eventually, we decided to attack and use all the new sets of Option tyres we had left over from qualifying. The final Virtual Safety Car certainly played in our favour, because it allowed us to use the last new set. After this weekend’s penalties, we needed some luck – and we got that today!”

Jenson Button: My race wasn’t too bad – but I got so unlucky with the Virtual Safety Car. The cars behind me were on a three-stop and I was on a two-stopper – then, three laps after I pitted, there was a Virtual Safety Car, which meant they were all able to gain 15 seconds on me for free. It’s a shame I missed it – but luck has not been on my side for these last few races. I was actually up into fourth position at the start before a couple of cars dragged past me on the opening lap. The two-stopper was the better strategy today, but it’s too difficult to make work when there’s a VSC; I was looking good for seventh up until that point. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more luck in the last five races.”

Renault:
Jolyon Palmer:
“Point-scorer : It feels good ! I’m really happy, I think the whole week has been really positive. The race was really smooth – I wish it was always so straightforward ! I was really disappointed with how qualifying went especially as I’d been feeling strong all weekend, so I’m glad the race went really well and we could make up for it today. The car gave me everything I needed, we handled the tyres well and the team did a great job with strategy and pit stops. We got a little bit of a break as well ; finally everything came together and we got it home to P10 !”

Kevin Magnussen: “I was the filling in the sandwich as everyone reacted to the Vettel / Rosberg incident at the start. Everyone braked and went for the inside of the corner which isn’t great if you’re already at the inside of the corner and have contact from behind pushing you forward. That’s motor racing sometimes. We changed the front wing and kept pushing, however the brake cooling was damaged, and the brake temperature kept climbing, so we had to retire. Nevertheless it’s been a promising weekend. We continue to extract more pace from the car and we’ll be pushing to keep this level of performance. I scored last time out ; Jo scored today. Points are what we all want to see.”