Race quotes: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull

Valtteri Bottas held off Lewis Hamilton for victory in the season finale; Daniel Ricciardo suffers third DNF in four races.

Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas: “There was a lot of pressure from Lewis from behind throughout the entire race. I knew that one proper mistake could have ruined it. I had to keep my head down and go lap by lap. I couldn’t be happier to end the season like this. Of course, it would have been nice to get the second place in the championship, but Sebastian had a good weekend as well. Looking at the overall season, I need to perform better; but I’m very pleased with how the end of the season has been going for me. I’m really happy to be part of the team that won the constructors’ championship. Mercedes has given me the opportunity to win a few races and claim a few pole positions, so I’m a really proud team member. However, I was hoping for an overall better result in the drivers’ point. I’ve learned a lot this season, so now I’m really looking forward to next year. This weekend shows that I can perform, I can be on pole and win races. So now I need to try and do it more often next year.”

Lewis Hamilton: “A great race, a great battle at the end of the season. I did the best I could, but Valtteri did a great job – very clean and no mistakes. This is one of the harder tracks to overtake; you need to be 1.4 seconds faster than the car in front to overtake. I had a lot of pace in the second stint, but as soon as I got into that window of about 1.2 seconds, I was done. But it was neat that you could push all the way on the tyre, it didn’t seem to drop off that much. It’s really great for Valtteri to have this win, this is a real boost for him to go into the winter with. Now I’m looking forward to some time to sit down with my family and just reminisce about the whole year. It’s been such a strong year, the team have been phenomenal all year long. I’m so grateful for everyone’s hard work back at the factory and for all the support from Mercedes.”

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel: “I was pretty lonely for most of the race, trying to save a bit of fuel in the first part of the final stint. It was not very exciting, but that’s how it goes sometimes! The results have been worse than they could have been, but in the end we weren’t strong enough. However, it’s against the spirit of Ferrari to give up. I am sure we have a lot of things to improve and the people are very motivated. So, I am looking forward to next season. We had our chances and we took them, but we also made little mistakes here and there and I am sure they won’t happen anymore. I think we didn’t lose the Championship in any particular race; you just race and collect all the points, and in our case we didn’t have enough. I promise to push next year and do my best together with the whole team, and then we’ll see. This year we improved massively on the car; the chassis has been really strong since the first day. We made some major steps on the engine, but we still need to find some more power compared to our competitors. However, the most important thing is to focus on where we want to be as a team.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “Today my car felt pretty good most of the time, but to be honest, my race was boring. I was fuel saving for most of the time. In my view this has nothing to do with racing, but rules are rules. There’s nothing you can do, you keep lifting halfway through the straights, 200 metres before the braking point and the guy behind has to do the same. It’s painful not able to push your car when you have the potential to do it. It looks close, but it’s not a fight. I held Verstappen behind me and at the same time I was saving enough fuel to be legal. In some race tracks you have to do it more than in others and it’s not very exciting. Overall this year we would have liked to do a lot better, as we had a pretty strong package; we just need to fix and minimize all the issues. Next year, it will be a different story with a different car, and we’ll start from zero. We want to improve in all areas and go faster.”

Red Bull

Max Verstappen:

"For me that was a pretty boring race, if I had a pillow in the car I could have fallen asleep. I tried to follow Kimi at the start but it's so hard at this track and I couldn't find an opportunity to pass. As soon as you get within 1.5 seconds it is really tough to get close and make a pass. I was surprised at how good my pace was during the race, especially as I have struggled all weekend with the feeling of the car. Once I got caught in the blue flags and I dropped off a bit I was able to see the true pace of the car, and it was actually quite quick. It's a shame we couldn't show it and be able to fight, which also comes as bit of a surprise at this track. In all, it's been a positive end to the year. In the last two races we didn't maximise our performance but they are not strong tracks for us so we expected that. We will keep working hard to improve as we have done over the latter stages of this season and with some improvement from the engine side we should at least be close to the top guys next year."

Daniel Ricciardo: "Not a good race day for me unfortunately. At Turn 19 I felt something strange with the steering so I thought I had a flat tyre. Then just before the pit lane I said: 'I'm coming in'. We weren't supposed to pit but I feared it was a puncture. Then when we got back out the steering was still strange and it suddenly got very heavy so I could tell that I was losing hydraulic pressure.I lost the power steering and then we couldn't change gears and that was that. I'm now excited to go on holiday, really looking forward to the break and hopefully next year we'll come back stronger. Not a good last few races for me unfortunately. We had some highs this year and a lot of positive moments but it's not the nicest way to end the season, with a DNF."

 

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