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Britain - Sunday's FIA press conference
Sunday 08th July 2012, 18:28 by TF1T Staff
DRIVERS: 1 – Mark WEBBER (Red Bull Racing); 2 – Fernando ALONSO (Ferrari); 3 – Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull Racing)
PODIUM INTERVIEWS (by Sir Jackie Stewart)
Mark you must be a very happy boy?
Mark WEBBER: Yeah, thanks Jackie. I think it was a very interesting race. I thought at the start Fernando had very good pace. A bit of strategy here and there. Obviously, Fernando started on different tyres. But never gave up, kept pushing and it didn’t really work out for Fernando at the end. It was very, very close for him so we were there to capitalise. It’s a very, very special victory for the team, just down the road, a local team, so thanks to all the guys, It’s incredible for them. And for Renault another victory for them in the UK. So I’m very proud today. Thanks to all the fans for sticking with us for the past few days, it’s been incredible.
Fernando I thought you were going to win the race. I won two British Grands Prix, you’ve won two British Grands Prix. It was pretty hot for a while.
Fernando ALONSO: Yeah it was quite close today the victory. At the end in the last stint Mark was much quicker than us, and he deserved the win, so I congratulate him and congratulate the Red Bull team. But I’m very proud of the Ferrari recovery in the last few weeks and now we are fighting for the victory in the last three or four grands prix. So we’re heading in the right direction. As Mark said, thanks to all the fans. We had not so good weather during the weekend and they were cheering all the time for us. I hope they enjoyed the show today and see you all next year.
And what about the championship? You’re still leading.
FA: Yeah, still there. It's the main target obviously for us. Today I think we lost seven points with Mark but we gained some extra points on the rest of the field. So I think it was a good Sunday in terms of championship points for us.
Well done, Sebastian, a good race for you.
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, it was an interesting one. The start was not so good, I lost a little bit and lost a position to Felipe. I had a tough fight with him in the beginning. I nearly got past but it was really, really close. It was fun but I didn't get past. Then we brought the right strategy to come back, which turned to be the right thing but obviously later on you always have a little bit of extra on your tyres. All in all, very happy. Mark obviously deserved to win today. Very happy with the result for the team. Thanks to all the fans out there because I think it was quite horrible the last two days not just for us but especially for them but obviously the sun came out today and the British summer showed its best. So looking forward to coming back next year.
Mark, well done. Just how much satisfaction did that win give you?
MW: Oh, a lot. I’ve had a few now which is nice but this one is taking a little while to sink in. It didn’t look like a spectacular race maybe between Fernando and I initially, but it was one. A little strategy involved as well, particularly with ourselves, pacing the stints on the tyres, working out if it’s going to be two or three stops and how the tyres would behave in the race. Fernando starting on a different tyre and I knew he would have to run a different compound towards the end of the race as we had got the harder [more difficult] tyre out of the way at the start. I thought in the first stint that Fernando had he was in very, very good shape to probably close the win out, but it came our way in the last stint and I am absolutely over the moon, absolutely rapt. For the team, it’s local here, Wings for Life, all the photos on the car, great initiative, all that stuff, it’s a real good story. The fans here this weekend have put up with some horrendous weather but we’ve had a beautiful dry British Grand Prix. There’ll be some long trips home tonight but overall I’m very proud today. It was a very special victory as I say. I managed to get Fernando in the last few laps which was very nice and we got the win from there.
And the timing is right as well, with three races in four weekend before the break. That’s important?
MW: Ah look, we have a lot of races this year as you know. Melbourne was important, as will Brazil be. I’ve got a couple of wins now and also some consistent results as well. But we know how tight it is. I see Kimi finished ten seconds behind with fourth or fifth place or whatever, so it’s tight. As we saw with Seb, he lost a little but of time in the first stint and that can be your undoing. Sometimes I’ve had some of that medicine and it makes it hard to come back from there. So in the end you’ve got to grab these ones with both hands and I was very keen to grab with both hands today. I had a single opportunity to pounce and I wasn’t going to let that slip.
It seemed to be in the middle sector that you were particularly gaining on Fernando in those closing stages.
MW: I think Fernando, with the front left tyre, if you lose balance around this place, that sector the speed is very, very high, it’s very hard for the driver to do something. I could see that when I arrived on Fernando, reasonably close I got to see where he was struggling with his car. It was obvious that he was pushing as hard as possible but the balance wasn’t with him. That’s when you’ve got to smell the blood and you’ve got to go for it.
Fernando so close but so far. When you first saw everybody else’s tyres and you were pretty much on your own [on the soft] was that a worry?
FA: Not really. As Mark said before or later he cars will mix again. You have to put for the first 14 or 15 laps the soft tyres or in the last 14 or 15, so it was a similar timed race at the end over 52 laps. So I was not worried. Probably the start was the biggest worry because with the hard compound you know the start is a little bit worse. We tried to defend the position there. After that we were controlling the race more or less OK until the last stint, we were now quick enough and when Mark arrived I think he overtook very easy and there was nothing we can do. I’m happy with the second place. Now obviously, ten minutes after the race there is a strange feeling of losing victory. But it’s the same 18 points you get if you are third and you overtake the guy in second on the last lap and you are so happy, so it’s the same second place but different feelings in this ten minutes but I’m sure in one hour’s time I will appreciate it much more.
And in particular having the pace you had in Valencia as well. That’s two races in a row you’ve been leading the race.
FA: Yeah it was good in Valencia the car and here on a completely different track with a lot of high-speed corners the car seemed to perform very well. Also a fantastic race from Felipe, finishing fourth, so happy with the improvements in the car. I think still there is a last step to close with these guys, maybe they are a little bit quicker in some conditions on some circuits, so we need to improve those.
And an interesting battle with Lewis. It wasn’t actually for position but on the road.
FA: Yeah, it was close. I was with new tyres so I had a pace advantage but you know the McLaren is quite quick on the straights, so I overtook him on the exit of the corner thanks to the tyres and then he overtook me again on the straight and it was a difficult moment of the race because if you have a little contact or something you can lose your front wing or whatever and your race is over. You need to be aggressive, you need to try to no lose too much time in those overtakings but at the same time being a little bit careful.
Sebastian, obviously for a Red Bull a great day with you first and third and also confirmation again of the pace you had in Valencia.
SV: Yeah, I think all in all it was a good day. Obviously happy for the team, the factory is just down the road. It’s more or less our home grand prix and therefore definitely special and I’m sure we’ll have some drinks tomorrow.
And an interesting battle with a group of four of you in the early stages.
SV: Yeah, the start was not too good to be honest, I lost a little bit too much. I had too much wheel slip and I could see the first row disappearing. It was quite tight and with Felipe he had a better start and I lost the position to him. And then I think it was down to turn four it was extremely tight. I tried to defend the position to Kimi who was right behind. I think I damaged the front wing a little bit. Not sure how bad it was. But it didn't turn out to be a massive disadvantage. So from there I got stuck a little bit. Once I got close to get past Felipe but he did a very good job, he very hard but very fair, so I enjoyed that a lot and then we did the right thing coming in a little bit earlier and used to the momentum and got past both Michael and Felipe at the same time, which was good. I was just a little bit too far away to get Fernando at the end so just a little bit off that feeling he described – you’re close and you get that second place in the end. I’m sure if the race had been a little bit longer then it would have been different but that’s how it is, so I’m very happy with third today.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Dan Knutson – Honorary) Congratulations Mark. As you say this season will be nip and tuck but you have points every race but one, you’re the second guy to win twice – it must give you confidence that you’re going to be in the thick of this championship fight.
MW: Absolutely, I’m not low on confidence at the moment. It’s going well. I think in Barcelona we didn’t help ourselves with the strategy in qualifying to put ourselves outside the Q3 by being too optimistic about the pace of the car for that Sunday afternoon. So, overall, so far so good. We will enjoy today’s result, really soak it up. That’s what’s important. You have to remember how hard we work for these results and tomorrow morning, it’s Hockenheim. That’s what it has to be about. I think it’s a long, long season. I’m not getting too fired up about any particular championship positions at the moment. But what is for sure is that I have a nice haul of points to keep going with. I’m not sitting on 20 points trying to start my campaign from here. So it’s going well so far.
Q: (Leonid Novozhilov - F1 Life) Mark, you are in second place in the championship. Now you’re ahead of Sebastian Vettel by 16 points. Will you continue to attack, or let Sebastian Vettel overtake you?
MW: Yeah. I think at Hockenheim we will let Seb through! No, honestly, I will try to give your question some decent respect. Look, it’s a championship for all of us. I’ve had a good run in the last few races. Obviously Seb had a retirement when leading Valencia so that’s the way it’s been. I’ve been there to have two very special victories so far this year, albeit in different circumstances. As I say, I would rather have the points that I have than those that some other people have. I’m not looking at who is third, fourth, fifth. I am looking at the little guy next to me and he’s going well as well, so we need to keep pushing hard.
Q: (Peter Windsor - ClarkSport) Fernando, a couple of questions: how much did being on pole influence your decision on tyre choice? I wondered whether there was an element of being conservative at the start because you were on pole.
And secondly, your second stint, was the length of that defined by covering Mark? Could you have gone longer in a perfect world in that second stint and perhaps made more use of the tyre at that point?
FA: I think tyre choice was a little bit determined by the pace we saw in FP3, the little dry running that we had. We felt more confident on the hards so it was our preferred choice today. And then, if at any point of the race it had rained and we put on intermediates you didn’t have to use the softs any more so it was a better combination of possibilities that the hard gave us today.
And then the length of the stint? I think the second was quite close to the limit of the number of laps. Maybe we could have lasted a couple of extra laps in the first one.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Fernando, this is more or less a similar question: when you stopped on the 37th lap, you had 15 laps ahead of you on the softer tyre. You did only 12 on the harder tyre at the beginning. Did you think you could finish the race in good conditions with the tyres.
FA: No, I was confident in the tyres, to be honest, because Felipe used the soft tyre in the first stint and I think he did 14 laps, so 14 laps with maybe a heavy car in the first stint and we were 15 laps to the end with a light car. So we were quite convinced the softs were OK but they were a little bit slower, obviously a little bit too much understeer, so the balanced changed and killed the performance of the car a little bit and we were a bit too slow. We knew, more or less, that the soft was a little bit slower, so we needed to open up a gap in the first two stints when we were on different tyres to Mark and we knew that that gap was for sure getting closer and closer at the end when we put on the softs, and what we opened up at the beginning was not enough
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) And for both Red Bull drivers, after the astonishing performance in Valencia, if it hadn’t have rained here, did you expect more from the car during the race?
MW: Obviously we got some confidence with our car in Valencia. I think that before then, we’d been finding our way with the new regulations, but I think we understood a little bit more about the RB8 in Valencia, and that has been an on-going process here. Potential is an over-used word but we’ve got to try and get the most out of the car in all conditions. I think we’ve definitely improved the car from Barcelona, this is an even quicker circuit, and also what you have to keep in mind is if you’re a little bit out of the balance window here – not with the tyres but I mean balance chassis-wise - aerodynamically around here you are in big big trouble, so we had to tune the car as everyone did, as the weekend went on. We learned a lot in P3, the only dry running we had, so I think we’re very happy with the car around here. Probably not had the advantage that we had in… obviously Seb had a clean Grand Prix. I was in a bit of traffic but Valencia was probably a bit stronger, but here we won the race. So it turned out OK. Fernando wasn’t slow, but I think the team’s done a great performance with the car here.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Mark, this morning you told me that wet conditions would be better for you, given the temperature. Do you think that the temperature increase at the end affected your performance a little bit?
MW: When I saw you this morning, we only had the (dry) running from P3, which, to be honest, wasn’t particularly smooth sailing for us. We had a look at what Fernando had done in that session and he looked very good on balance and his sectors were pretty strong, taking into account fuel loads or whatever, we thought Fernando looked pretty good, so we had that in mind, going into the race, obviously, how we would go. Don’t forget last year as well; he gave us a hiding during the Grand Prix as well through balance and overall high speed performance and grip, if you like, so Ferrari has always been pretty strong here, and Fernando as well. So in the end, a little bit surprised that we were maybe as competitive as we were in the dry, but hey, it’s a great problem to have and we put together a great Grand Prix today.
Q: (Sean McGreevy – CSMA Club Magazine) Mark, you’re consistently successful at Silverstone. What do you enjoy, what do you like about racing here?
MW: Well, this morning I took the dogs for a run. The good thing about going home to them is that they don’t know if I’ve had a shit day or a good day, they’re always happy to see me. It’s good to be staying at home. All of us know how much we love hotels so it’s just good to be at home and even though it’s my job and it’s all sportsmen and women’s jobs to enjoy - whether you’re a golfer, tennis player, racing driver – you have to enjoy or get the most out of every venue that you race at but it’s only natural that there is... like Fernando in Barcelona, there is that extra little bit that makes you a little bit more relaxed and a bit more comfortable, which you try and replicate at every single Grand Prix, but with all due respect, it’s not the same at Hockenheim. I love racing everywhere but here it’s extra special. As I say, I won my first race here in ’96 in a Formula Ford so the love affair continues.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Sebastian, when you look at your lap times, you were OK in sector one and three, maybe even the fastest, but you were consistently lost out in sector two. What was the problem there?
SV: I don’t know. I got told we lose a little bit too much in the second sector. We probably had a little bit of trouble in the fast stuff at the end of the race, so I think all in all we were quite competitive, but yes, we lost out in the second sector so we need to see why that was. Generally I felt pretty happy. In the last stint, to be honest, I wasn’t so happy with the car, I picked up a lot of vibrations. I don’t know why as I didn’t have a lock-up or anything. We need to have a look why that was. I have one question: does anybody have a clue about the tennis? What’s the score? Three all in the first set.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Mark, you said that from the outside the race was not spectacular; what is the main difficulty for you during that race? Managing the tyres, the start, overtaking Fernando?
MW: Yes, understanding the pace to do and to have the range to split the race evenly, for a two stop Grand Prix. That was the main focus, to make sure that I could get to the stop lap which the guys were trying to predict me to hit, which pit stop lap they wanted me to hit, and get there with the best combination of pace and tyre life. Ultimately that is the best way to get to the chequered flag. Obviously you put a lot of faith in the pit wall. The guys are helping you to work out what level of pace you run at, and also balancing the car at the pit stops was important, working with the guys on the front wing. We made quite a big adjustment at the first stop after my first stint and then I was much happy with the car in the second and third stints.
Q: (Manuel Franco - AS) Fernando and Sebastian, is the second victory for Mark and second in the championship a surprise for you?
FA: No, not really. I think Mark had a difficult season last year with a little bit too big a difference than normal with Sebastian, but in 2010 he was leading the championship until Korea so he’s not new in this position of fighting for the World Championships. This year, with all the tricky conditions and all the different winners we saw in this strange championship so far, I think Mark is good with those difficulties.
SV: Not much to add. Obviously I have the advantage in that he’s in the same team so I can see what he’s doing but I don’t think it’s a surprise.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere Della Sera) Fernando, you told us about your mixed feelings: are you more worried to have lost seven points to Mark or you will maybe be more happy to have gained on Sebastian?
FA: I think at the moment, as far as I’m leading, I’m more happy than worried. If Mark was leading the championship, I would be worried about losing another seven points, but at the moment, the weekend in general has been fantastic for us, because we left Valencia with maybe an emotional win, a lot of points in our pocket, compared to our rivals in the championship and we arrived at Silverstone, a completely different circuit, we didn’t know how the car was performing here. We had a very difficult qualifying for everybody yesterday and we survived that qualifying with pole position and today we also had a tricky race. We didn’t know what the weather was doing and I think the car performed well, we avoided any contact, any accidents that might happen at the start or in some battles. We are again bringing home more points than we probably expected, because when we arrived on Thursday, if someone had told us that we would leave on Sunday with 18 points again, I think we would have been very happy.
Q: (Ted Kravitz – Sky) Is it Federer you’re going for Sebastian?
Q: (Ted Kravitz – Sky) There was a message on the radio that you should use Torque Five or something like that. Was there a technical reason why you didn’t have Mark’s pace today, and looking to your home race in Germany, what are your thoughts on that, a race that I don’t think you’ve won?
SV: No, we didn’t have any problems. When you face your stint, you know roughly how many laps you want to do etc.d and you try to manage the tyres at their best and you try to use the tools that you have in the car. Obviously you can change your front wing settings at the pit stop, but other than that, once you are out on the circuit, you haven’t got that much to play with. You can play a little bit with the diff, obviously adjust your driving and adjust the mapping from the engine point of view. It’s hard to bring it down to lap time, but it’s just more driver comfort, what you prefer at the time.
And yeah, obviously I’m looking forward to the next race, looking forward to Germany. It should be a very good one for us. I feel the car is picking up speed, so I definitely feel happier since the last race. This one… I think we struggled last year here, in particular. Ferrari had the upper hand so I think this year we had a much better balanced car in that regard. So it seems we are on the right track so let’s see if I succeed this year. It’s a race like every other. Sure it would be very special to win, but I don’t score more points just by winning my home race.
Q: (Mark Fogarty – Auto Action ) Fernando, if there is a change in your team next year, would you like to have Mark as your teammate?
FA: I don’t know. I think it’s just imaginary pictures. I need to put something on my shoes to be a little bit taller. That would be the only thing if I changed teammates. For the rest, it doesn’t matter. I would be happy with any teammate. I say again, I’m extremely happy with Felipe. Today, again, he showed the performance that he can do, with a normal race, trouble free etc. We will see what the team decides.
Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawkes Bay Today) Mark, does today’s result make a difference to where you might drive next year, given that you’ve got number two on your cap and that seemed like a number one drive?
MW: It helps my situation to stay in Formula One. At the start of the year I didn’t have a contract, I’m pushing to get a contract for next year. Going reasonably well, got a few points, a couple of wins and I will work very hard to try and stay in Formula One next year. So, the answer is no.
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