Hulkenburg disconsolate after Oz fiasco

Sauber's Nico Hulkenburg was distraught after failing even to make it to the grid for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenburg

Hulkenberg, on his debut for the team, had to pull out before the installation lap due to a fuel system problem.

"I'm bitterly disappointed about what happened today, but at the same time I'm not blaming anyone. 

"Things like this happen in racing. What is particularly bothering me is the fact that I lost all this mileage today [Sunday], which is so important particularly at the beginning of the season. It would have given me a lot of valuable data and information for the next races. 

"Obviously, Melbourne is not a good place for me. It was my third Grand Prix here and the third time that I leave this place empty handed. The only good thing is that the next race takes place next weekend."

Teammate and debutant Esteban Gutierrez fared much better with a 13th place finish.

"My main goal was to finish the race, and to achieve that is really enjoyable. I want to thank the whole team, because yesterday [Saturday] in qualifying we had a good chance and today [Sunday] we were able to recover some of what we lost yesterday. We have a good base and in the future we will try and push forward."

Other team reactions

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne: ""It was a hot start, I was pushed to the outside and I ended up going through a gravel trap at one point. After that, the first stint on the Option was only average, but the last two sections on the Prime tyre were very good and competitive and I was even in the points for a couple of corners right at the end, but as I passed Grosjean I flat-spotted my two front tyres and overshot my braking point when I tried to chase [Jenson] Button. 

"Overall, I think the weekend showed we have a good car with which we ought to be able to go hunting for points in every race. So I'm disappointed at not scoring here, but my hopes for the coming races are now higher than when we first started this weekend. I think that fundamentally, we have a good car."

Daniel Ricciardo: "In the end I had to retire with a problem linked to the exhaust. 

"I reported back to the pit wall that I could hear strange noises and I tried to fix it by changing a few functions, but it was not to be. At the start of the race, I struggled to find grip and it felt like I was driving on ice, as it took a very long time to warm up the tyres. 

"But afterwards, after about ten laps, I got up to speed and my lap times were not too bad, but by then I had lost too much time in the early stages. I think we have more homework to do when it comes to the tyres. Not the ending I wanted for the first Grand Prix of the season, especially here in my home race."


Valtteri Bottas: "I had a good start from my grid position and it felt great to be back racing again. A small mistake a few laps in cost me some places though. We got the maximum performance we could from the car today [Sunday] and although the pace isn't there yet, there are still some positives to take away. 

"The next race is only a week away, so we will work very hard to prepare as best we can and try to score our first points of the season."

Pastor Maldonado: "It was a disappointing end to a difficult weekend for myself and the team. The car was not responding as we hoped in the conditions today and unfortunately I lost the back end and ended up in the gravel. We need to work hard to solve the problems in the car to be ready for the next race in Malaysia."


Charles Pic: "That wasn't too bad a race for us. Of course we'd prefer to finish higher but I think that at this stage of the season this reflects our current performance levels. 

"We started on the supersofts and our pace was ok for the first stint but the tyres dropped off very quickly. In contrast, when we went onto the mediums the degradation levels were very good so we were able to push the second stint much longer than we'd planned and that gave us a chance to fight. 

"Unfortunately towards the end of the race we had a KERS failure which obviously cut our outright pace and prevented us from taking full advantage of the good tyre wear we saw on the primes. 

"We know that it's going to be similar to this for the first few races, but with what we have coming it's going to be a really interesting season. We have quite a few small details we need to work on for the next race but it's good to have a real fight on our hands, good for the team and the fans so let's see how this progresses."

Giedo van der Garde: "For me that was a reasonable start to my F1 career. It was really important to finish my first race and that's exactly what I did so I'm pretty happy with how it ended up. 

"I started the race on the supersofts, passed a few people in the first turn and was keeping up with Bianchi until the first pitstop, even with the deg levels on the option tyres. 

"Unfortunately I had a slow puncture on the first set of mediums and that cost me time and position. We had to stop much earlier than planned to put a new set of mediums on and that meant a change to the strategy, but it's all good experience for me. I've said all through pre-season that the first races are a chance for me to learn and today was really good for that. 

"I feel good physically and now we have a lot more information about tyre wear and how to manage that so we'll take that to next week's race Malaysia and see what we can do at our first home race of the season."

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