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Wednesday, December 31, 2008
A memorable year means memorable quotes, and here are a few from F1

By Dan Knutson
Special to ESPN.com

When they weren't racing, the F1 fraternity was talking. And they had lots of humorous, weird and poignant things to say. Here are some of the quotable quotes from the 2008 F1 season.

"It's lucky we don't build airplanes." Mark Webber after his Red Bull had a mechanical failure during practice in Australia.

"Sitting there watching the film, and I realize I've Indiana Jones [Harrison Ford] sitting right behind me! Then you've Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and it was very surreal. For me, it was one of the coolest things I've done." A star-struck Lewis Hamilton after attending the premiere of the latest Indiana Jones film "The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull" at the Cannes Film Festival.

"The challenge the drivers have there is that there is a lot more going on, 40 cars on track, a lot more incidents and accidents and pit stops and all the rest of it." David Coulthard comparing F1 to stock cars after attending the Dover NASCAR race.

"Something else." Kimi Raikkonen when asked what he will do after retiring from F1.

"Yes, we are all alive here!" Sebastian Vettel when a radio reporter rushed up, put a mike out and said, "We are live on the radio."

"I'm not stupid enough to spend a couple of hundred grand on a number plate." Lewis Hamilton on stories that he had paid $400,000 for the personalized license plate LEW15 in England.

"They're very loud, the German fans, especially the camping ones. They like their hard rock and it's quite repetitive, which is a good thing because at least there's a beat there you can fall asleep to!" Jenson Button on staying in his motor home near a campground of partying fans at the German Grand Prix.

"I saw a lot of people who laughed about it, but I don't care about that, as in the end you have to set some target. I set them to keep myself under pressure." Timo Glock on his statement that he plans to win the championship in 2010.

"I was literally driving around the Kremlin, so it was in the absolute heart of Russia." Nico Rosberg after doing an F1 demonstration in the streets of Moscow.

"If you believe everybody now, then you have to give points to 20th position and you have 10 drivers standing on the podium." Sebastian Vettel talking about all the teams' and drivers' preseason predictions in which they all said points and podiums were in the cards.

"Both are Brazilian." Team boss Flavio Briatore when asked to compare Nelson Piquet and Nelson Piquet Jr., both of whom have driven for him.

"It's a shame they all think that way, but my driving is why I'm here and why I'm leading the championship, so I'm not disappointed with the way I drive. I do my talking on the track. If other people want to expend their energy thinking about it, that's for them." Lewis Hamilton when other drivers said he was too aggressive on the track.

Heikki Kovalainen
What does Heikki Kovalainen do to cool off? Well, cool off.
"I decided to cool the temperatures down a bit, stick my head in the snow." Heikki Kovalainen on why he went home to Finland after the sweltering race in Malaysia.

"Every time something can go wrong, it does," Sebastien Bourdais on all the bad luck he encountered in his rookie F1 season.

"I need land around me. I couldn't live in a shoe box here." Mark Webber on why, unlike many F1 drivers, he does not live in Monaco.

"Obviously, anyone can make a mistake, as I did two weeks ago in Monaco. But it is one thing to make a mistake at 200 per hour, but another to hit a car stopped at a red light." Kimi Raikkonen talking of Lewis Hamilton, who didn't see the red light at the pit exit in Montreal and rammed into Raikkonen's stationary Ferrari.

"I have to be grateful to Lewis, as he chose Kimi and not me!" Robert Kubica, who was stopped alongside Kimi Raikkonen at the end of pit road in Montreal. After Lewis Hamilton took himself and Raikkonen out of the race, the road was clear for Kubica to score his first F1 victory.

"I'm exhausted. I definitely need a break. It's a piranha club and I kind of feel that I don't want to stick my fingers back in." Aguri Suzuki on F1 after having to close down his Super Aguri team four races into the season.

"You are going to see a few guys run out of talent in the race." Mark Webber on how drivers would cope with new rules banning traction control and other electronic driver aids.

"He was a great man and will be dearly missed, but there is no doubt that he has gone to a better place." Sebastien Bourdais talking to Autosport after his former Champ Car boss Paul Newman passed away.

"That is a bit unreal. I wouldn't put myself in the league of the likes of Muhammad Ali. If I ever could be as good as him, that would be my aim." Lewis Hamilton after three-time world champion Jackie Stewart said he has a worldwide impact on par with sporting greats such as Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali.

Frank Williams
Frank Williams is talking like a man far from done in F1.

"It's just that the brain was confused and I didn't record anything on my hard drive." Heikki Kovalainen on not remembering anything after his huge accident in Spain even though he never lost consciousness.

"I'm not doing it for money. Of course, I need something for food and to live, but in the end my approach is the same when I was racing in karting. In karting I wasn't paid, so no difference." Robert Kubica when asked if he is underpaid.

"That curb is quite spiteful. If you hit the wrong part of it, it spits you out." Lewis Hamilton after crashing in practice in Bahrain.

"I change my yachts every five or six years before they start depreciating in value and while they are still new and in demand. And with the way super yacht prices have appreciated, it is good to rotate them." Force India's billionaire owner Vijay Mallya, whose new 417-foot yacht, due in 2010, will be one of the 10 biggest private yachts in the world.

"Moving from two to four is not so difficult up to a certain point, but the hard work and danger starts after that." Seven-time F1 champ Michael Schumacher on racing motorcycles in 2008.

"Obviously, I'm really sad about this situation. I can't explain this dark period, and there's nothing I can do to change what happened." Kimi Raikkonen on his dips in performance during the season.

"We have to accept that drivers have their ups and downs -- like the stock market!" Former F1 driver Alex Wurz, talking about Kimi Raikkonen.

"For all who knew him, he will forever be cherished as a perfect gentleman and a man who embodied the true sporting values of motor racing." McLaren's Ron Dennis speaking of Phil Hill, who passed away in August.

"I get a bit this feeling that maybe I am the only stupid one or crazy one who is thinking about fighting for the championship this season." A frustrated Robert Kubica, when he thought his BMW Sauber team was not concentrating enough on his winning the championship in the latter stages of the 2008 season.

"When I'm dead, I'll tell you." Frank Williams, who has entered cars in over 600 grand prix races, when asked the secret to his longevity.

"They are still looking for me, but I have rejected those offers. And when they say they want my phone number to talk to me, I always say that if it's to return to F1, don't bother because I'm not interested." Juan Pablo Montoya, talking to the EFE news agency, about F1 teams telephoning him.

"Welcome to the world of winning, the first of many." Radio message from McLaren's Ron Dennis to Heikki Kovalainen in Hungary where he won his first (and so far only) grand prix.

"We cannot meet Mr. Ecclestone's unworkable demands." Canadian Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade Raymond Bachand on Bernie Ecclestone's asking for more money than Montreal was prepared to pay to retain the Canadian Grand Prix.

"The U.S. is the most important and biggest car market for BMW and, I think, for the [auto] industry as a whole … and so we would, rather than drop the Canada race … expand the operations in North America to have a Canadian plus at least one U.S. race." BMW's Mario Theissen on how important it is for F1 to return to North America.

Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone continues to be the man the F1 world revolves around.
"Tony [George] has said it; I've said it: The door is open." Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Joie Chitwood reaffirming that the track wants F1 to return.

"I never have given Nico any advice. I believe that he needs to find his own feet, go his own way." 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg, when asked if he gives advice to his son Nico.

"What, Michael Phelps?" Sebastian Vettel, when a reporter asked him if Michael -- meaning Michael Schumacher -- had called him to congratulate him for winning the Italian Grand Prix.

"Never, never, never. The first day I won't be going in to work is the day they will be lowering me into my grave." Bernie Ecclestone, 78, when the Gulf News asked him when he plans to retire.

"I recognize that my journey has reached its natural conclusion. So when I walk out of the paddock on Sunday, that will be it." David Coulthard in Brazil, his final race weekend before retiring.

"People who think I would decide the championship or I would let Lewis pass, they do not have a real idea about racing. You cannot plan a race like this." Timo Glock reacting to people who said he deliberately let Lewis Hamilton pass him on the final lap in Brazil so Hamilton could move up to fifth place and thus win the championship.

"I was shouting: 'Do I have it, do I have it?' and then they [the McLaren team] came on [the radio] when I was at Turn 1 and they told me and I was ecstatic." Lewis Hamilton talking about when he crossed the finish line in Brazil not knowing if he had clinched the championship.

"I know how to win and I know how to lose. It is another day of my life. I will learn a lot from this day, but I am very emotional." A dignified Felipe Massa after losing the championship by one point in the final seconds of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Dan Knutson covers Formula One for National Speed Sport News and ESPN.com.