F1 » 16 October 2011
Post-race press conference - Korean GP -Pt.1
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Mark Webber (Red Bull)
Sebastian, a tenth win of the season and any thoughts that after last week's celebrations you'd start taking things easy now quickly dispersed?
Well, I think it is good to see that the whole team keeps on pushing. In terms of preparation it wasn't ideal, as I think most of us were a bit tipsy after the last race after the Sunday night. But we clearly deserved that. Now to come here and after a tough Friday and tough Saturday morning to come back in qualifying and then in the race, the car was fantastic. It was so much fun to drive. The car was getting quicker and quicker. When the safety car came I didn't really need that to be honest. Lewis came closer again and I was struggling a little bit with the tyres but then the car seemed to stabilise and come back and I was able to open a gap just before we had the second pit-stop and then to the end it was just fantastic. On the prime I could push when I had to and got a little bit of a gap as those guys were fighting. But it is fantastic. After last weekend the Drivers' Championship, this weekend the Constructors' Championship for the team is fantastic. Also I want to say, especially and in particular at this place, a lot of thanks to Renault. They have been pushing so hard. I think we showed as a team a lot of morale after last year when we had the engine failure here to come back and still win the championship last year. Faultless from the Renault side. The engine is working fantastically well. We are very competitive on those circuits with long straights like Monza or here again so all in all the package is fantastic. The guys are enjoying it and I think we do as well so thank you very much and I am very, very happy today.
Lewis, it was fun for Sebastian but how much fun was it for you and how much did you spend looking ahead given all the pressure that was coming your way from behind?
It was okay, wasn't too bad. Mark drove really well throughout the race and congratulations to Sebastian. They were massively quick throughout the weekend and particularly in the race it was impossible to really be able to catch Sebastian and overtake. Then later on in the race just really struggled. I had pretty much full lock on everywhere and was struggling with a lot of understeer but, nonetheless, it is a good weekend for me compared to what I have had in the past so I am happy.
Mark, your thoughts on the battle with Lewis, which seemed to go on and on and on and somehow you couldn't quite find a place to get ahead and stay ahead.
Yeah, well, it is the team's day today. The Constructors' is a massive thing, back-to-back. Very, very impressive from the guys and the girls. As Seb touched on, Renault as well. Reliability is faultless this year from the car, 100 per cent reliability from everyone there, with the exception of my non-finish in Monza, so it has been a phenomenal year. Disappointed not to get second today. We did a good job in the first stop and then got ourselves in good position. Obviously, the safety car was not a big deal for everyone I don't think. It obviously just brought everyone back together. But I think at the second stop we did the worst thing. We didn't stop before or stop after [Hamilton], we stopped on the same lap. That was disappointing as clearly we had some good pace to pull away from Lewis, but in the end it was a good battle all the way through. I had a good battle on the first lap as well. That's the way it was today so look forward to the next one.
Sebastian, given what Mark was just staying, how difficult was it to get strategy right today? You gambled and saved a set of the harder tyres in qualifying, but then decided not to use all your harder tyres in the race.
Yeah, we ended up stopping way less than we thought. The first couple of laps the car felt good and the balance was alright. I think for all the cars it was a little bit the same thing. We expected much more degradation, but it didn't come, and then eventually it came but much later, so you delayed the first stop, the second stop and by the time you found out you realise that you don't have to stop three times within ten laps. It was a very good race from that side. Tyres and tyre management wasn't easy. I think we were on top of it for most of the race, especially towards the end of the stints on the soft tyre I was able to gain on Lewis. In the beginning he put quite a lot of pressure and I always wanted to stay clear of the DRS. We had quite some headwind down the long straight from turn two to turn three, where the DRS zone is as well, and I knew at the moment he would start to come into the DRS he would be very close. I was pushing hard which the tyres didn't thank me in the second stint. But, fortunately, they came back and I was able to pull away at the end which was crucial to then to have a gap for the final stint and control the gap from there.
Lewis, you mention a good weekend overall for yourself. The championship might not be there for you now, but how much is the rest of the season about restoring your belief in yourself that you can go out and fight for wins on a regular basis?
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