Buddh International Circuit, Sunday October 27
“It’s always sweeter when you perform well under pressure”
Fastest lap 1m28.503s (+0.824s, 4th)
Pitstops Two: laps 28 (2.43s) and 33 (3.79s) [Pri-Opt-Pri]
Points 33 (12th)
“Unlike the past two or three weekends, I was finally able to enjoy a clean race without any bad luck!
“Fifth place is a great result for me. Without question, I have a lot of pressure on my shoulders, but it’s always sweeter when you perform well while under pressure. I’m extremely satisfied.
“In the closing laps, it was a fantastic feeling to get past Kimi [Raikkonen] and Lewis [Hamilton] in a single move. I just braked as late as I could for Turn Four to try and keep Lewis behind – and I managed to do it.
“It’s been a tough season, but today’s result is a promising sign and really motivates the whole workforce ahead of the last three races, where we’ll be doing our best to get more strong finishes under our belts.
“Finally, I want to say big congratulations to Sebastian. He’s shown over the past few years that he’s a truly great champion. He’s had a great season; what he’s achieved is incredible.
“Now, I really hope we can fight against him next season!”
Finished 14th – ret (gearbox)
Fastest lap 1m28.814s (+1.135s, 8th)
Pitstops Three: laps 6 (2.46s – puncture), 12 (2.86s) and 32 (3.61s) [Pri-Opt-Pri-Pri]
Points 60 (9th)
“Today was just one of those days…
“Exiting Turn Four on the first lap, I got hit quite hard on the right-hand-side by Fernando [Alonso]. I don’t quite know why he couldn’t make to the apex, as I’d given him loads of room, but he hit me in the side pretty hard. The contact damaged the car and damaged the wheel rim, which also gave me a puncture, although it didn’t cause me an issue until about three laps later.
“It was an extra shame that I was running on the Medium tyre when I had the puncture, as that was the one you wanted to run long around here! So that incident destroyed my strategy for the rest of the afternoon.
Without that contact, and the resultant puncture, I think we could have had some fun out there. It’s just a shame, because our car was quick around here – Checo showed just what was possible by driving an extremely good race.
“Congratulations to Seb for winning his fourth world championship. That’s very impressive – especially to win four in a row. His team did a great job, Adrian Newey demonstrated how good he is, and Seb finished it off nicely with a win.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Checo drove a very committed and disciplined race all afternoon to take a very well-deserved fifth position at the chequered flag. He didn’t put a foot wrong: he made a strong start, pushed hard throughout the race, and pulled off some great overtaking moves, all while carefully looking after his tyres, particularly on his long, first stint.
“Jenson was less fortunate this afternoon. He was unfortunately clipped by Fernando on lap one – that contact cracked the rim of his right-rear wheel and caused a puncture. That was extremely regrettable, because he was running on the Prime tyre, which he should have been using for the next 25 laps!
“Thereafter, his was destined to be a three-stopper, which was always going to be hard work. Unfortunately, in the closing laps, he reported a mis-shift in the gearbox, so we stopped his car as a precautionary measure before the end.
“Congratulations to Sebastian today. He once again drove faultlessly to put the title beyond the reach of his closest rival. To win four world titles – particularly four in a row – is incredibly impressive stuff. He’ll have a few days to enjoy this achievement, but it’s a mark of his relentless competitiveness that I’m sure he’ll be fighting for victory in Abu Dhabi in a week’s time.”