The thrill of victory is not often as emotionally charged as it was this afternoon for these 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans winners and podium finishers.
Fernando Alonso - #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, winner:
"It's amazing, I'm still a little bit in shock right now. It was very stressful at the end when we were all watching. It's been a very tense 24 hours. Maybe tomorrow, we'll start to realise! I felt ok in the traffic. Sometimes you're lucky for a few laps and then sometimes you're unlucky and you get in a bad loop but the race suited my driving style and it all worked out."
Sébastien Buemi - #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, winner: "This is definitely the biggest win in my career. I was watching Kazuki for the last few laps and couldn't forget 2016. I'm still struggling to realise. Finally winning is just huge! When I incurred the penalty, I thought it was going to be difficult from then on. There was a gap of more than two minutes when I handed the car over to Fernando, but just 40 seconds when he'd finished. The balance of the car changes throughout the race and the two cars were very similar so congratulations to car #7 too."
Kazuki Nakajima - #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, winner (tasked with the huge responsibility of the final stint): "It's just amazing. I'm speechless. Toyota gave us a very strong car. We all deserved to win but our car had a bit more luck perhaps, so I'm happy to be up here representing everybody."
José María López - #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, second: "I have to congratulate everyone, not just the six drivers but the whole team and the people at home. I was a lot slower than Fernando in the night. I had it tough as I always had to race against him but we found a good rhythm and Fernando was very fast. In a 24-hour race, if you're a tenth quicker, it makes a big difference."
Mathias Beche - #3 Rebellion R13 of Rebellion Racing, third: "I’m proud of what the team did, proud of my teammates. We were the underdogs and I'm proud of that position. We did the job on track, did a solid race and I'm happy for the whole team. The whole project was great. Everyone worked flat out to be ready."
Thomas Laurent - #3 Rebellion R13 of Rebellion Racing, third (on the podium last year as well): "We concentrated on bringing the car home in one piece. Compared to others, we had a few issues and were in the garage a lot."
PHOTO: The overall podium at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.