Fernando Alonso (Renault), Nico Rosberg (Williams), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes)
Fernando, bad luck with mechanical trouble on Saturday but you made up for it today with a fantastic drive.
Yeah, fantastic. A first podium of the season and first victory as well and I am extremely happy. I cannot believe it right now, I think I need a couple of days to realise we won a race this year. It seems impossible all through the season to be close to the top guys and here suddenly we have been competitive from Friday. As you said yesterday we were unlucky in qualifying and today very lucky in the race. Obviously we started at the back and the first safety car helped me a lot and I was able to win the race.
The first safety car was caused by your team-mate Nelson Piquet. You came in on lap 12, three laps before the safety car, which really gave you a strong position when everybody else had to pit.
Yeah, as I said unlucky yesterday but very, very lucky today. We chose to do a very aggressive first stint as we knew starting 15 you cannot overtake anyone here. We thought about a one stop strategy but we had some concerns with the brakes, so we said one stop is not possible, so we tried something very different. We tried a very short first stint and tried to make up as many places as possible at the start and on the first lap and then see from there. The start was good but obviously not good enough and then as I said very lucky but the pace was there as afterwards all through the race we were able to pull some distance, some gap, to the guys behind us and this was thanks to the car which was super today.
And the pace was there at the second restart on the Bridgestone primes when you pulled out two or three seconds a lap.
I think I had a little bit of an advantage compared to Nico because of the tyres. I think the prime were a little bit better, so I was with the better tyre in the last stint of the race. I was running with low revs when I was alone and then at the restart I put maximum engine and thanks to the tyres as well I was able to pull away from Nico.
Nico, your best ever finish in Formula One. It did not look good for you at the start but it seemed you were forced to come into the pits under the safety car conditions and incur a penalty.
Yeah, I had a bit of a difficult start on the dirty side and didn't get away too well and dropped behind Jarno. He was pretty slow, I suppose he was heavy on fuel, so I absolutely had to get by him. The problem was my only chance was turn one where I wasn't ever quite close enough and turn seven where on the inside it is so bumpy it is simply impossible to outbrake someone. I mean it is very, very difficult. So it took some time and I was literally alongside and I could just brake on the inside but even then it was quite a hairy moment as I locked up everything. I came through and then I was doing one qualifying lap after another because I knew it was my only chance to break clear of that group and it worked out well.
It also worked out well after you incurred the penalty as you had enough cushion to get a very strong position towards the end of the race.
Yeah, when I saw the safety car coming out just on the lap where I had to pit, the crew had already told me come in this lap and then the safety car comes out and I was thinking 'this is not possible, it is every single time exactly the same thing.' I was really annoyed and I thought that was it, that was the end of it. I then realised I was able to pull enough of a gap afterwards to be in a good position after my stop and go, so that was great.
I guess that means the car felt pretty good underneath you.
Yeah, it felt pretty good and we are definitely quite strong on this track which is really pleasing that we had a good chance this weekend. Everything went our way for once which is fantastic for me and for the whole team.
Lewis, how did your pit stop go when you came in for the first time?