Turkish GP - Saturday press conference
With Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel
Q: Mark, I am not sure what the Australian word for déjà vu is but here we go again. Third pole in a row and I suppose reward for all the reliability problems you have had this weekend.
Mark WEBBER: Yeah, it hasn’t been the smoothest of weekends for us in terms of getting the running in. Obviously Friday was a little bit disrupted but not massively to be honest. If you could ever have a problem with the engine it is probably the right time to have it. This morning also we were not having the easiest P3 to be honest but getting ready for qualy, things started to get a bit better. I was a little bit on the back foot going into it to be honest but I knew I could dig deep, keep going and get something out of it. In the end it turned out okay. To be honest I am more comfortable with tomorrow than I am on out-and-out pace. But at least I am starting in the right place. It was a tight fight between all of us and Seb had a bit of a problem with his car but apart from that we are all very close.
Q: You chose to come out of the garage for your final flying lap ahead of Sebastian. The previous lap you would have been behind Sebastian. Was that trying to put pressure on him at that stage?
MW: No, I don’t know what happened. It should have been me second. But, anyway, I think we left too early. I don’t know what happened. We need to see what happened on the pit wall. Normally I would go second this weekend.
Q: Lewis, the McLaren might not be as quick through turn eight as the Red Bulls. But the driver makes up for quite a bit in other sections of the track and you were pushing as hard as I have ever seen you push before.
Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, absolutely as always. You always try to push the car that little bit further. After yesterday I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with the balance that I was able to find but today I was able to fine tune it. Understanding the tyres and everything we were able to put together a good lap. I was very, very happy with that lap. I couldn’t have asked anymore from it. The team have done a great job as always this weekend.
Q: How vital is it for you that you have managed to split the Red Bulls thinking ahead to the race?
LH: It feels great. These guys have been untouchable pretty much all year in terms of just pure pace. I think it is a real boost for me and my team just knowing that we have a very good base line pace. Our race pace is even better. It puts us in an even stronger position for tomorrow and I know that we will continue to push We have got some new bits coming hopefully in the future, so hopefully we will be able to continue.
Q: Sebastian, for three quarters of a lap on your first flying lap it looked absolutely brilliant. Then it started to go wrong. Talk us through the latter stages of qualifying?
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, Q1 and Q2 were very smooth. I was very happy with the car, no problems. Then in the last qualy, the first lap was brilliant up until turn 12. Under braking I slightly locked the front which was no issue. Then it was very weird as the inside front just kept on locking and never came back. After turn 12 going into turn 13 turning to the right then the wheel started turning again. Then the same thing going into turn 14, the last corner. I locked the inside of the wheel very easily. The car didn’t seem to stop. I just went straight. I did lose a lot of time there. That was quite bad, otherwise I think it should have been easily quite a lot quicker. Then the same thing. I thought ‘ok, maybe I was just a bit late.’ Then the second run I got the confirmation in the first lap, the first turn, when I hit the brakes and I just went straight, so I lost the ability to stop the car properly. Especially the inside wheel, it didn’t do what it was supposed to do. I think there is no question. Q1 and Q2 we were top of the game. Then Q3 we were not anymore which was a bit frustrating. All weekend I felt pretty good, especially today. The car is back to normal, so I was able to push. Then something else turns up. We will see, but it is good to be third. I think we are quite lucky not to be fourth, just for a couple of hundredths just to Jenson. Otherwise I would have had to start from the dirty side. We are on the clean side tomorrow, so let’s see, it’s a long race. But with this year’s regulations and no more fuel pit stops it is a bit difficult to make up places but we will see what we can do.
Q: Mark, no pressure but the guy on pole has won four out of five races here in Turkey and you are the championship leader, so it is your race?
MW: I have had worse pressure. I think it was nine from nine in Barcelona and I made it 10 from 10. It is a nice place to start the race. Potentially it is one of the more interesting races tomorrow. It is a long race. The tyres go with different people here and there but we are optimistic that we can get a good result from there.
Q: Mark, well done. This is becoming a habit. It is also Red Bull’s seventh consecutive pole in seven races this year. A remarkable record.
MW: Yes, it is a great record. It shows tremendous pace in the car. We have been to a lot of different venues now but we are still a very quick team. That is a big feather in our cap from previous seasons, let’s say. Particularly last year. We had a good car but it was a little bit snookered in some venues. It is a real credit to the whole team that we can come to these tracks and be strong. In Abu Dhabi we had a front row and I was also in the front row in Brazil, so I think it is quite a few races now where the team, looking at the back part of last year, we have had a good run of it of late. We need to convert on Sundays. We have done that the last few races reasonably well and that’s what the team’s focus will be on tomorrow.
Q: Tell us about your race pace. Lewis was feeling his race pace was particularly strong.
MW: I had a very, very poor long run in P2 but we know why. Normally my long runs have been fine this year. It has been more of strength for me compared to qualy in some ways. It didn’t work that well in P2 on Friday but we will get on top of that and then we go from there, so looking forward. We know everyone will start on the option, get on with it. An interesting race. We had an interesting feel with the gap to Lewis in Barcelona. They are a bit more competitive here but we certainly still had something in our sleeve there, so we will see how it goes.
Q: I don’t know if you saw the speed trap times but a difference of six kph in comparison to the McLarens. They were 320kph at the end of the straight and yourselves 314kph.
MW: Yeah, we are achieving similar lap times in a different way. No question about it. Certain parts of the track they are strong but there are certain parts we are strong, so the stop watch it pretty close at the end. But there are certain parts of the track that are different.
Q: Do you feel you would have liked to run the F-duct now?
MW: No, we went in with our eyes wide open. It is a pretty special project to get right. McLaren got the jump on everyone and fair play to them. We have got some fantastic people in our team knowing what we need to do in the future. We have more to lose than to gain by taking any risks. We are not exactly in a situation like a team that is fifth or sixth quickest. We are in the hunt. Let’s consolidate and inch by inch we can introduce things. We have never put stuff on the car to make it slower, so we are not going to start now.
Q: Lewis, a fantastic second on the grid. It’s a circuit that you like but it bit you this morning didn’t it? At turn eight.
LH: Yeah, I mean these things happen when you are pushing the car. We went a little bit wide and it caught us out. It’s the first time it has happened in the four years or so I have been here, so it was a good experience. I won’t do it again.
Q: What is it going to be like the first few laps with full fuel tanks through turn eight and racing? It is not just you, it has been other people as well?
LH: I think for us it will be okay. I think for these guys it will definitely be better. These guys are easy flat out through there in qualifying and it is incredible. They pull out almost four tenths just in that corner. But I think with full fuel we will be a little bit closer but it is a point where you can definitely degrade your tyres quite quickly if you don’t treat them well. But I think we have got a good balance where hopefully it will be okay through there.
Q: That straight line speed advantage is going to help you going into turn 12 under braking in the race itself?
LH: Yeah, today fortunately we got the weather right, as predicted. We thought there was going to be a tail wind and it did happen to come round for qualifying and I think as Sebastian said it is very difficult to overtake with the new strategy, new regulations. It makes it very difficult to pass but this is a place where you can. Like I said it is very hard to follow these guys through turn eight and to then be able to follow them after that but it is not impossible and I will be making it as hard as I can for Mark.
Q: Would you say you’re confident?
LH: I don’t really like the word confident. I think I’m happy with the balance of the car. I think we have a good opportunity tomorrow and it’s up to us to do a solid job, so that’s what we’re working for.
Q: Sebastian, third on the grid, do you feel that locking brake is something that’s going to re-occur? Is that something that worries you for the race itself?
SV: We need to see what it was. Obviously it was very strange and I had another run afterwards. I locked the front in the first run at turn 12 in Q3 which was not a problem, you can carry on, but it didn’t stop locking and then as soon as I changed direction and got up to speed again, and then into 14, the last bit where you just need a bit of brakes the same thing happened, I went straight on. Then, obviously, I had the confirmation on the last run: approaching the first corner the same thing happened, so we need to see what exactly happened. I think there’s no question that before that we were quite comfortable and quickest in Q1 and Q2, so we need to see what it was. We can’t change it now, the story is written. It’s still good to be in P3 with a horrible last sector on the first run but, yeah, I think in the end we are a bit lucky not to be fourth. Still, we need to understand why – what exactly happened?
Q: And up until then you had been so happy with your new chassis.
SV: Yes, definitely, I think we made a big step forward. Apart from the chassis we had a couple of other things we found that possibly let us down. Obviously in Monaco we finished second but at some stage we lost more than a second to Mark, so that was obviously too much and I think that for the whole of this weekend it was quite a bit better, especially today, so back to normal but when it counted today it didn’t all come together, so we need to see why.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Sebastian, does your brake trouble look like the same problem you had in Malaysia, Australia or in Spain, or is it different?
SV: In Australia I had no real chance to carry on. In Barcelona it was something completely different. I don’t know what it was. We need to see. It was just strange. It’s not a big deal if you lock up the front left going into 12, this is what all the guys do; it’s just a question of why it felt so weird from the inside and then obviously into 13, I lost a little bit but then again in 14 it didn’t work and I just went straight as if something is wrong. I thought that at this stage OK, maybe I just made a mistake. I have to do it again, but then on the second lap in Q3 arriving at turn one the same thing happened, so I was not able to stop the car as well as I usually could, so then the front left locked again, didn’t come back and I just went straight and I had already lost a lot of time. Obviously the second run in Q3 was done.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Sebastian, you used to qualify in front of Webber and in the last few races you were always in the back…
SV: Pretty bad, isn’t it? In the back… we’re still third.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) What’s your interpretation for that? You have always had problems to justify it or maybe you have to admit that Webber is faster than you at the moment?
SV: Well, I think if you look at all the races, I think we have always qualified in the top three so far, which I think is not too bad. If you take the last two races in particular, Barcelona and Monaco, I think it’s difficult to say, looking back, how much we lost because of potentially the chassis being damaged or other things going on in the car which we didn’t want to. I’m not the type of guy who just says the car was broken and then that’s it. I always try to do my best and if I’m too slow I try to do better. But nonetheless, I think if you look today, Q1/Q2 is a pretty straightforward answer. We were quick enough and then in Q3 for some reason we lost it. As I said, we need to see why. Obviously if you look at the whole picture… you mentioned every race is its own story, so we need to see what happened here and then we will see what we can do tomorrow. I think the pace should be very good.
Q: (Jon McEvoy – The Daily Mail) Lewis, is it winnable from where you are tomorrow?
LH: I think Mark and Sebastian have shown some incredible pace over the last couple of races. As you say, whoever qualifies on pole here and gets into the first corner usually finishes up ahead, but it’s not impossible. Anything can happen. We’re in the best spot I’ve ever been in to start the race. If I can get close enough to Mark then without a doubt I will be taking the opportunity. But we have to wait and see. We’ve got to look after the tyres, we’ve got a long race ahead of us but like I said, it’s great just to be there. It’s my first time on the front row (this year), so I’m very, very happy with the position, even if it is the dirty side. You do what you can from there. The car isn’t perfect but you can continue to improve. Throughout the race I always find more and more time, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
Q: (Luis Fernando Ramos – Racing Magazine) Mark, in the general perception people think about the history of Ferrari, Red Bull is more like the new kid on the block. People always remember a season when a team has dominated so much and Red Bull has had a long run of seven pole positions and maybe you feel that. Does the team have the feeling of making history; maybe one day people will remember the season when Red Bull scored several pole positions in a row or something like that?
MW: No. The way this team will be remembered this year is if we win some championships, not by pole positions and that’s how Ferrari and McLaren have been remembered and Williams because they’ve been very, very successful racing teams for a long, long time. Yes, we are new kids on the block, you’re totally right. We’re a bit fresh in areas, a lot of new people two or three years ago. Continuity at the moment has been very, very good for our team internally, so everyone, in terms of egos, in terms of how it all is, there’s a really good balance because it’s not easy to have five or six hundred people all in love with each other. But generally it’s pretty good, so that’s a great strength of the team as well. And let’s see. The end of the year is a long, long way away. That is why Dietrich (Mateschitz – team owner) decided to race against these big guys because he wants his product up there at the highest level to race against the best people in the world. He’s not hanging around where he can get easy victories in other categories which are much more straightforward. Formula One is as tough as it gets and it’s a credit to the team where they are at the moment and we need to try and do even better which is a huge challenge but we’re looking forward to it.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) To all of you: do you believe that as a driver, even an experienced driver, a World Champion, under pressure you can start making mistakes regularly?
MW: I’ve been very lucky, during my time, to meet a lot of successful sportsmen and women and I don’t think it matters what you’ve done in the past in your career and in the future, that’s what sport is about. That’s why we love turning up to test ourselves and there is always an element of pressure to perform and do well in any sport. So having spoken to lots of different people at the highest level of their sports, of course they go through times when the pressure is up or down a little bit in certain sections throughout your career. So I assume you’re talking about Fernando or someone like that. Alonso is an incredible driver, we know that, and he wants to get more out of the situation but obviously it didn’t happen for him and it’s normal. What he did in the Renault against Michael all those years ago was under incredible pressure and he did a phenomenal job. This is sport.