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Abu Dhabi 2011 - Post race interviews - Key thoughts from the paddock after the Yas Marina action

Published by Christine

Key quotes from F1 personnel immediately following the Abu Dhabi Prix at Yas Marina.

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren

"I think just having positive energy around you, I think this weekend I did. I love being here in Abu Dhabi, things just seemed to go right. You know what it's like when you're racing, it's a knock on effect, things just got better and better.

"I really think it was a controlled, 99%. With Fernando, at the end of the first stint, he was getting reasonably close, he was starting to catch up but we pitted and then came back out. From then I was able to maintain the gap really comfortably. Every time the team told me you're two tenths faster, or he was two tenths faster, next lap I would answer. So it felt great."

Jenson Button, McLaren

"It was good. First of all, congratulations to Lewis and the whole team. Even though it's not you that's crossed the finish line first, it's a great buzz for us. To end the year with wins and great results means a lot to these guys. It means they're going to go home and hopefully, keep building the car for next year and keep making it stronger. For me, it wasn't the easiest race, I lost KERS on lap 12. You don't just lose lap time in terms of corner exits, power, it's under braking where it's the issue.

"When you have KERS, you have lots of KERS braking, so like engine braking, and when you don't have KERS you have none of that. So you're just braking with the brakes, and the difference is massive. When it flicks on and flicks off, you don't know what you're going to get when you go into the corner so it was fun, had a good battle with Mark, and I'm really happy to get a podium."

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren

"I am thrilled for the team, thrilled for Lewis, thrilled for everyone. This weekend he was really on it. Of course, yesterday if we're honest, we were second and third in qualifying, and we were disappointed and people said why. We knew we could win the race, and that's a distant memory now. Fernando's a phenomenal competitor, we had some pressure, but he just controlled the gap and really just looked after his tyres and did a great, great race. Didn't put a foot wrong.

"For Jenson, also a fantastic race. As you may or may not know, he had KERS missing for half the race. Apart from the power boost lack, your whole brake balance changes, and he was under pressure from Mark. He was fighting with a car that was impaired."

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari

"It was a good first lap, the start itself it was not special, it was more the same as the others, but we attack Webber on the outside in turn one, then we have the Sebastian incident in turn two, then took the slipstream of Jenson in turn seven. In general, second in the first lap, at that point we thought it would be a long race defending this position, but it was not like that. The car was performing so well, the pace was so good that we were looking more to Hamilton and the victory than to the mirrors, so that was a surprise. It was one of those Sundays that the car is better than expected.

"I think we were on time, we did two extra laps to overtake Lewis at the stop. The team told me we should be okay, clear to overtake him now, so we stop on this lap. When we arrive at the pits we had an HRT in front of us so we lost one second there, so maybe the possibility of being in front of Lewis, we lost that. But anyway, even being out of the pits in front of Lewis, the last stint they had more pace than us so the victory was a little bit too much for us."

Mark Webber, Red Bull

"Obviously, on the second stop, we put on the option again to cut the race down to something different. It was worth a bit of a punt. The two DRS's are tricky, obviously, because the first one was easy to get the move done but the second one you couldn't, so if you pass JB there, he'd just get you back again. It was a bit of a gimmick today, the DRS. Difficult to make a move stick, and harder to get the move done.

"In the end, I had pretty good pace on JB anyway, at the end of the first stint. He went one lap shorter than us, no problem there with the strategy. Then we had a bad first pit stop, we lost a lot of time on that first stop. That put us on the back foot, and I got the car back onto the back of them, but we were out of track position by then. The pressure on the podium was probably lost around the first pit stop."

Paul di Resta, Force India

"It was always the plan [to one stop]. Unfortunately, what we thought didn't quite work out. We thought most cars would be like that. We chose to switch the cars in terms of tyre strategy ahead of the race. And I think we switched the other car quite quickly when we saw the performance of the primes on my car.

"It was a hard fight for the first thirty laps, running round, it's pretty slow but I suppose the reflecting thing is we've come away with a double points score. We were the only car on a one-stop strategy, so something tells you there. Really, it just secures us a bit more on sixth place in the constructor's championship when we go to Brazil, which we need to try and maintain when we go there."

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes

"It was quite interesting, we had a few corners and it all worked out well. Then the race went really well for me. It was a good strategy, I was able to take care of the tyres so we could do long stints, and I was quite close, a little bit closer again to the winner, so we're progressing.

"It's the same car [for Brazil]. We might have a few bits and pieces new for next year to try, but other than that it's going to be pretty similar so I don't expect too big things, but maybe a little bit again, yup."

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes

"Nice drive on the scooter. We had a puncture towards the end of the race and the team asked me to stop the car. It was a reasonable start, nice battle with Nico, didn't want to give it too much of a hard time. I knew that he was on the better tyres for the start of the race compared to me. So just drove as clean a race as I could and tried to focus forward but tyres in the first stint gave up rather early.

"Then lucky, we had this new set compared to Sutil that managed to get us closer towards the end of the stint, the second stint. And then, bypassed him towards the end, having a puncture, a slow, some aerodynamic issue, some parts from the car. Something's happening that meant the balance wasn't perfect. I'm glad we got the race to the chequered flag and took the points we did."

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