15 October 2011
Post-qualifying press conference - Korean GP - Pt.1
Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Jenson Button (McLaren)
Lewis, congratulations, your first pole position in over a year. I would have thought that you'd have had a smile as wide as the sea between here and Japan. But you don't seem to be too happy? Is everything okay?
No, I am happy. I am very happy. Happy to be here and very proud of what the team have been available to achieve over the course of the last few races and for Jenson to have won the last race and for us to be on the front two rows again and the only ones competing with Red Bull I am very, very happy about it. But tomorrow is the day that really counts.
Sebastian, it seems a strange position to see you the right of Lewis and not sat in the middle here. No pole position for yourself. Did you expect this renewed challenge from McLaren today?
Well to be honest I think McLaren looked very, very competitive yesterday. I know the conditions were completely different but you could see that they were a fair chunk ahead of everyone else, including us, as well as this morning in the dry so they looked extremely quick. But I think, once again, we pushed them very, very hard in qualifying and got very, very close. I think closer probably than they expected and closer than we expected in some regards so I think we did a very good job in qualifying. Also we saved all our prime tyres, which I think will be crucial for tomorrow. We had only a rough idea this morning with a little bit more fuel in the car. I think we are in a good position. It is not a long way down to the first corner and then Turn Three is a little bit exposed so we will see. It is a long race, a lot of things can happen. I think tyre wear will be crucial. Jenson did a very, very good job last race in particular so I think that, again, will be very important tomorrow.
Jenson, third place for you. If tyre wear is so vital and the teams haven't got as much data as they would normally expect at this stage of a weekend, how handily placed are you for another race victory?
Well it is not perfect, we all want to be on pole position and congratulations to Lewis for getting the pole. He has been pretty quick all weekend and tough to hold onto. I am reasonably happy where we are. It is not perfect, but we can race very well from here. As Seb said there is a lot to play for still and we really haven't got a clue what is going to happen tomorrow in the race in terms of tyre deg on high fuel, what the car is really going to feel like on high fuel, so really a bit of an unknown. But looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.
Lewis, after all your disappointments in recent races and whatever does happen tomorrow, how much does it mean to you to be hitting the track running and being on pole position and being the fastest man out in the car this weekend?
Well it is probably one of the first positives I have had for a while and to be back on pole is a great feeling. But, as I said, tomorrow is the most important day. I have had some difficult races in the past so hopefully will try to redeem myself tomorrow. As long as we can get some really strong points for the team as they have put an incredible amount of effort into getting us to where we are today so a big thank you to them and I hope that tomorrow me and Jenson can repay them.
Lewis, first pole for you and McLaren this year. How much satisfaction do you get from this?
Well it is very early days and it is not the most important day but it is a great start. As I was just saying the team have worked incredibly hard all year to catch up the deficit that we had to the Red Bulls. Particularly the last few races, at least the last five races Jenson has been massively quick and we have been able to compete with them and constantly be on podium but not really finish ahead of them on the podium too often. Fortunately after the last race and here today we are as competitive as them and hopefully tomorrow we can continue with that performance.
Just describe what sort of work you did this morning as you are virtually starting from scratch?
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