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

We saw the pair of them catching you in the final moments, but then you popped in the fastest lap. Were you just conserving tyres? What was going on?

Jenson Button:
Well, I have been watching Seb drive all year and I have decided that is the way to go racing. Just cruise it and stick in a fast lap. That's what he seems to do at the end of the race, so I thought I would give it a go and it worked pretty well, so it was good.

But were you conserving tyres or were you in trouble there?

Jenson Button:
was looking after tyres, also looking after a bit of fuel, so it wasn't the easiest few laps. The last five laps weren't the most enjoyable, I must admit, but we got it home. The car has been great around here. The Red Bulls are always so strong on these fast circuits, especially with the change of direction, so for us to win here really does mean a lot for us, as we have been fighting this for two years now. It is good to be up there with the Red Bulls. In a way, it is nice that the Ferrari is up there as well. A three-way battle at the end, four seconds between us or less, this is what racing is all about and hopefully it will be the same for the next few races.

Fernando, among the euphoria of the winner and the new World Champion, that was a great race for Ferrari as well?

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, I think it is a good race, a good weekend in general for us. Trouble-free in practice and then a good qualifying performance, fourth and fifth, so in the top five and both Ferraris in front of Webber, so in general quite competitive here, the car. At the end, with a perfect race, good start, good strategy, good pit-stops, and a good pace throughout the race second feels much, much better than expected probably before the start at three o'clock. It is a good result and gives us some extra motivation for the remaining races knowing that it is going to be tough as the updates on the car will be minimal but in some races, some circuits, we are still competitive, so why not fight for victory in one of the remaining races.

And what about those last few laps with Sebastian right behind you and Jenson just ahead?

Fernando Alonso:
First, with Sebastian it was difficult to keep him behind as at that part of the race he was quicker than us. I tried to defend the position in braking for the last corners and into the first corner as well, where the DRS was active. After we had done this job we saw we were catching a little bit Jenson, so we tried in the last couple of laps but, as we saw later on, Jenson was taking care about tyres, about his car, so it was impossible to fight for victory this time. Also, we start fifth, so when you start fifth you have to recover always all through the race and you arrive two seconds behind the leader. If you start second or third that gap is already done maybe ten laps before the end.

Sebastian, was your approach any different today? This was one of your more difficult races; you saw two drivers come out ahead of you after pit stops which hasn't happened.

Sebastian Vettel:
No, which I didn't enjoy. I think we were a little bit too weak today on the option tyre, against those two guys at the end of the stints. I think in comparison to Lewis - I don't know what was happening to the end of his race - but in the first stint we were able to pull away. Then obviously I got informed that Jenson passed him – Jenson was seven, eight tenths quicker at that stage, which clearly is not because he found a short cut all of a sudden but he took care of his tyres better than the rest and is able to push harder at the end of the stints, and any time on the soft tyre, we had to come in quite early. On the hard tyre, I felt much much better but as you said, I came out behind Fernando, lost a little bit of time to the Force India when I tried to get past, which didn't work straight away and then I was sticking to Fernando quite well until the Virgin… I don't know, maybe he should use both of his mirrors, it was a bit dangerous. Fernando was right behind him, he pulled to the right, let him by, before taking the corner before turn eight and I knew that I wouldn't take any stupid risks but I didn't expect him to go back on line but he did so I lost quite a lot. I lost the connection
which is obviously important. You get some lap time for free if you're always behind because you are in the DRS zone so it's easy to catch up a little bit on the straight. Unfortunately I was never really close enough to pass Fernando. Their straightline speed was quite good, which we already knew on Friday.

It was a fun race though, and especially seeing as we were closing in on Jenson, I thought here you go, now you see how it feels when the guys are catching up at the end of the race. It's not the most comfortable feeling. But obviously he had quite a bit in hand and he was able to react three laps to the end. I think this race has been a little bit the story of the year, even though sometimes the results look pretty clear. You see that in the races the cars are pretty close to each other. Ferrari played a major role today with Fernando, they looked much better than what people expected. It was a fun race. Obviously I would have loved to sit in the middle which, to answer your question, was the target going into the race. I wasn't targeting one point. If we targeted one point, I think the race would have been a bit different, but we targeted to do our optimum, which in a way today was third place, and that's what we got.

But to win the championship here is pretty special and a bit funny at the same time, because it's as confusing as the first one. All of sudden, you're supposed to… yep, that's the moment, now enjoy. I think it will surely take a little bit of time but the season has been fantastic. I think with a less dominant car than last year we were able to do a very, very good job. We are very strong as a team. Every time it mattered, we made very few mistakes, especially at those times when it was critical, we were there, we were performing. I think everyone working for Red Bull Racing can be very proud today. Renault has done a fantastic job; very often they get forgotten. We have had no problems with the engine at all. They were sending a lot of support all the time, pushing very hard in Viry, back in France, close to Paris. Obviously this year I think it has been more about engines than in any other year, not maybe in a performance perspective as in raw power but playing around with engine modes. We had a lot of discussion midway through the season, exhaust blowing etc, and I think Renault has pushed very hard and a lot of our performance is down to them. It's hard to name

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
09.10.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 2011 F1 Champion and 3rd position in the race
09.10.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia 2nd position
09.10.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 race winner
09.10.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 race winner, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia 2nd position and Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7, 2011 F1 Champion and 3rd position in the race
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