Abu Dhabi Sunday quotes: McLaren

Heikki Kovalainen - 11th: "I got a really good start and managed to overtake some cars. Unfortunately, the performance of my car was not as I'd have liked, and the heavy fuel load made it harder to make greater progress - but I was fighting right until the last corner

Abu Dhabi Sunday quotes: McLaren

"After my pitstop, my KERS stopped working, which meant I had to adapt the car to perform well without it. Still, after this race we can reflect on our overall season and look at what a great job we did to secure third position in the Constructors' Championship.

"That was thanks to an incredible team effort. We never gave up, and really turned the tables around. And I'm extremely proud to be a part of the team that beat Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship for the first time since 2005."

Lewis Hamilton - DNF: "I had a good start, but I realised early on that something wasn't right with the brakes. After three or four laps, it became clear that there was a problem with my right-rear brake pad, so I couldn't open up the gap back to Sebastian and Mark [Webber].

"When the problem got worse, the team radioed me and told me to stop at the end of the lap. Of course, it's a shame that we couldn't show the performance we'd had throughout the weekend - but sometimes that's racing.

"However, I think we can be really proud of our efforts: who'd have thought we'd finish third in the Constructors' Championshipat the start of this season? It's been an incredible year, and now I can't wait for next season to start so I can fight for the world championship again."

Martin Whitmarsh - Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: "Lewis drove absolutely superbly all weekend - in fact he drove absolutely superbly all year. Today, though, after just five laps, his right rear brake pad began to show signs of an unusual level of wear - a rogue pad, we think - and as a result we had to stop him for safety reasons. That was an enormous pity, because up to that point he'd shown blistering pace every day here in Abu Dhabi.

"In many ways, therefore, for us, today's race was a disappointing end to a challenging season - but, overall, there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful about it. The team has worked tremendously hard all year to improve MP4-24, which started the year as one of the slower cars but ended it with two fine wins and a string of impressive points-scoring finishes, culminating in a dominant pole position here yesterday. And Mercedes-Benz's engines have been excellent all year.

"But perhaps more important still is that work on MP4-25 is already going very encouragingly - it's already quicker than MP4-24 - and there's every reason for us to be confident that we'll be able to continue to develop and improve it significantly between now and the beginning of the 2010 season.

"Returning to this weekend, though, yet again Heikki was the undeserved victim of bad luck. His qualifying was spoiled through no fault of his own and as a result he lined up 18th for today's race. He made a fantastic start - displaying a perfect combination of aggression and discipline - and passed Kimi at the first pitstops as a result, just as we'd hoped he would. Thereafter he stayed ahead of Kimi - which wasn't strictly necessary from a points-scoring point of view but gave us the comfort we needed in terms of the Constructors' Championship - and then adapted extremely well to the performance and balance compromises forced upon him by a mid-race KERS failure.

"Talking of the Constructors' Championship, the fact that we beat Ferrari to third place is of course a matter of pride to us, and I want to pay tribute to all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for the superhuman efforts they all made in achieving that milestone. Ferrari are always formidable opponents for us, and next year we hope to beat them again - this time for first place rather than third.

"Last of all, I want to say what a wonderful event the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was. Equally, we're all very much looking forward to returning to this part of the world in March next year, to kick off the 2010 season in equally fine style in Bahrain."

Norbert Haug - Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "This inaugural Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi was a great venue to finish this remarkable 2009 season. A shame for Lewis, who drove fantastically the whole weekend and then had to stop due to a brake pad problem - he was the class of the field on Friday and Saturday, as his remarkable qualifying lap proved yesterday. Heikki suffered from starting 18th after a gearbox change, and, during the race, his KERS Hybrid system caused a problem, so Heikki had to switch it off after half-distance, and his speed was obviously compromised by that.

"Looking back at this season, the team recovered brilliantly from our uncompetitiveness in the first half of the season, and Lewis posted four pole positions in the last seven races. On the engine side, we did not have one failure. Mercedes-Benz this year supplied a total of six cars, Brawn GP and Jenson Button clinched both world championships - congratulations again - so that was very positive.

"I'd like to thank everybody in the team at Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart for all their relentless hard work. It paid off - and it will pay off even more in the future. Finally, congratulations to our German friend Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team for a great victory at this inaugural very special grand prix of Abu Dhabi."

The complete 2009 Abu Dhabi GP review
Previous article

The complete 2009 Abu Dhabi GP review

Next article

Hamilton bemoans brake problems

Hamilton bemoans brake problems
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021