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Post-race press conference - Belgian GP - Pt.1

Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Mark Webber (Red Bull), Jenson Button (McLaren)

TV unilateral

Q:
Sebastian, congratulations on your first Belgian Grand Prix victory. A comfortable victory, but how comfortable was it given the concern before and in the early stages of the race as to how long you could make the soft tyre last?

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, I mean we had a lot of concerns going into the race after the damage we had on the tyres from qualifying, so we weren't quite sure. We took quite a lot of risk. We had reason to be confident that it should be fine, but if you never really know and there is no-one walking up and down in the paddock giving you a guarantee. We didn't feel too comfortable and both of us stopped fairly early, I think right at the beginning of the race. The main target was to see how the tyres were after a couple of laps and to go from there really. Not thinking too much about the outcome, but surprisingly the pace was very, very good in the race. I was feeling very comfortable in the car and without too much effort in the beginning I was able to keep up with the guys and get back into the lead. So half-way through the race, after the safety car, it was crucial to get back into the lead, jump Fernando (Alonso), pass him and build a gap that made it more comfortable towards the end of the race. But it was more management than usual, but I have to say the car worked brilliantly and I think compared to previous years we were very competitive so I am very, very happy with the result and very happy with the race. How we managed the tyres in particular so we need to learn from that and yeah, head down to the next race.

Q:
Mark, a great recovery after a slow getaway at the start.

Mark Webber:
Yeah, the start was shocking. Dropped the lever and had anti-stall immediately. I think Seb also had a very close call as well through the anti-stall, so that was a very disappointing way to start the grand prix. On the back foot from there knowing, as Seb said, that we were going to stop pretty early, as our tyres were badly damaged after qualifying, so we needed to get rid of that set quite early. When I was back in the pack I saw (Bruno) Senna and a few guys in turn one smashing each other up, so it was important to get away from that scene with everything still intact and that was the case. We made the first stop, had a bit of a fight with Fernando. He had very good grip on the option initially on his stint and then I could stay with him for a very, very long stint on the prime tyre. The tyre was completely finished at the end but that gave us track position back. We had a bit of a stuff-up on the radio. I was supposed to pit when Seb did with the safety car but we had a completely blocked radio. I was asking three times in the Bus Stop, 'do you want me to stop, do you want me to stop' and gave them the radio back but I heard nothing. Stayed out, saw Fernando stayed out, so a little bit of confusion but all in all the way the team handled all the problems we had yesterday, overnight and this morning credit to Adrian (Newey) and all his crew – all the guys on the floor, Christian (Horner) as well. It was not an easy grand prix for those guys on the pit wall today watching the two drivers out there. It was reasonably sensitive for them so in the end we got a good result. I would have loved to have had a normal grand prix but still an enjoyable race and got a good result.

Q:
Jenson, has to be an enjoyable race to go from 13th to third. Talk us through a dramatic start and a dramatic end.

Jenson Button:
Yeah, I think if I'd stayed in 13th after the start it would have been a lot easier to challenge these guys but it was mayhem. Turn one I think it was caused by the cars at the front getting a poor start. Turn one I think (Paul) di Resta hit my rear wing or we made contact and damaged the rear wing, so half the rear-wing end plate was gone. Then, driving after turn one to Eau Rouge, somebody's front wing blew off and went through my front wing and took the wing mirror off, which was a bit scary. Then I was really struggling for grip. The front wing was damaged and the guys said 'we know it is but keep going until we get to lap five'. We did. We came in and changed the front wing, put option tyres on and did the rest of the race on options. A fun race, lots of good overtaking, really enjoyed it out there today, but you are always going to say 'what could have been'. But all in all, a good finish to get on the podium. It is good to finish here after Seb drove into me last year and we didn't finish.

Q:
Sebastian, no problems driving into anyone this year. Mark touched on what a difficult race it was to make the strategy calls but Red Bull got it right for yourself there. Did the safety car come out at the right time for you and allow you to pit at that moment?

Sebastian Vettel:
Well I would say yes and no. Obviously, we could get the stop and not lose too much. But on the other hand I think I was six or seven seconds in the lead at the time, so we lost the lead and lost that gap that we had. I don't think it made a big difference at the end. Fortunately, with the new regulations we have there are very few possibilities that someone gains a big advantage, but all in all, I agree with Jenson: it is good to finish the race and not to crash this year. When I came close to him I was going to target to pass him at the long straight, not into the chicane so just to make sure, but it was a really fun race with plenty of overtaking due to the strategy we both had to go through. A lot of cars we had to overtake, but the car was fantastic, the pace was there and that's why we are sitting up here now.

Q:
Mark, you mentioned the problems with the radio. Did that compromise your race from a victory point of view. Had you been able to come in when you wanted to, was the win on?

Mark Webber:
It is hard to say. If I could have obviously had a fight with Seb through the middle part of that race I would have. I don't even know how it would have come out, how close I was behind him or whatever. I probably would have been behind Nico (Rosberg) or whatever. I don't even know how it would have rolled out after that safety car. But it was probably the better way for us to finish the race by pitting at that safety car but we didn't know how good the prime tyre was going to be. I need to look at it. It was a problem we had with the safety car. They wanted me to pit but we didn't so we had to make it work by staying out and going very, very long and in the end it wasn't a disaster either. That's what happened.

Q:
Jenson, not a disaster for you this race but for your team not the best weekend given the strides you've made in the development race before Spa. To see a Red Bull one-two must be disappointing?

Jenson Button:



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