After good drives of their own at the Japanese Grand Prix today, both Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg congratulated Sebastian Vettel on taking his second championship with third place in Suzuka.
Schumacher, no stranger to title celebrations himself of course, even said that he felt ‘a little proud’ of his compatriot today.
The seven-time world champion took sixth place, making up two positions from his starting grid slot. “I’m very happy with what we achieved in Suzuka today as we maximised our potential of the car, and managed to put in a good race,” said Schumacher. “The team did a great job the whole weekend in finding performance and transforming it into the race. I think there was not more to expect and achieve. The pit stops were perfectly timed and everything worked out according to plan.
“I would like to congratulate Sebastian and his team who have been exceptional the whole year. It is extremely emotional to see him win the Championship again – I am very happy for him and even a little bit proud.”
Rosberg finished in tenth place despite starting down in P23 after a hydraulics problem in qualifying on Saturday. He is hoping for a more conventional race next weekend in Korea.
“I’m pleased to score a point today and had fun out there with a few nice overtaking manoeuvres,” he said. “This is definitely one of the toughest tracks for overtaking so starting from the back of the grid meant that I had a pretty tough job. Before the race, I hoped to achieve between eighth and 10th places and, whilst it would have been nice to be a bit higher, it’s still a decent result.
“Thanks to the team for a good strategy and great pit stops today. After this complicated weekend, I hope to have a more normal weekend in Korea and fight in our usual position. And finally, Sebastian, congratulations: you deserve the title.”
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said that his team ran a pretty flawless race today, and that they achieved the best possible result given their circumstances.
“We made the absolute most of the car and opportunities we had at our disposal today,” he said. “The car performed well throughout the race, our strategies were right for both cars, and the pit crew produced fantastic stops – we have performed strongly all year in the pits, and today our stops won us places, particularly for Nico during the Safety Car period when he jumped two cars. Michael and Nico both delivered great performances in the cockpit, passing cleanly when they needed to and defending strongly.
“Overall, I think it was a very exciting race and a fitting Grand Prix in which to crown a new World Champion. Congratulations to Sebastian and Red Bull Racing on his second World Championship – he has driven impeccably all year, and together they have set the standards we must now aim for and exceed.”