Yes, I think so. I said everything yesterday, on Friday and Thursday regarding these comments. As I touched on the whole team is still very hungry and the best thing is we still have two races to go so we enjoy it a lot today so motivation is not an issue.
You just seemed to set nothing but purple laps. You let Jenson have one or two, but not very many. You were just so quick.
Yeah, it was a long race to be honest. A lot of laps. The circuit is quite challenging. It is one of the difficult ones throughout the season and very easy to do a mistake, very easy to go a little bit beyond the limit, a little bit over the limit, get a little bit off line and you end up in the dust and dirt and you have to fight your way back. Not only in that particular corner but also for a couple of corners afterwards. Not so easy with traffic. Quite a big chance to lose a lot of time and as I was racing Jenson in the distance always around three-and-a-half, four-and-a-half seconds. You want to get through and ideally maybe get a little bit of DRS here and there for the straights to get a little bit of extra free lap time. But the car was great. Start obviously was important. I was focussing a lot on Turn Three, the first lap, to make sure I had a bit of a cushion going on that long, long, long back straight. In the first lap you are vulnerable so it was crucial to have a clean exit which I had as we saw with Mark who lost position to Jenson at that stage. Afterwards I was able to pull away in the first couple of laps, maintain the gap, and in the end I was feeling very happy. End of the first stint I was able to pull away. Jenson pitted so we had to react but second stint then wasn't that straightforward as the first one with traffic et cetera. Bit more tricky to manage the tyres and Jenson was at some stages very strong. In the end I found the rhythm again and got quicker but, again, Jenson pitted in front of us and we reacted the lap after. Warm up on the hards wasn't too bad and actually I felt quite comfortable on the hard tyre so I was able to push throughout and also at the end with the strong laps. Got some calls from my engineer reminding me what is the target, there is not trophy for fastest lap. Fortunately we were able to get both. The car was great. All in all it was a fantastic event. The race was fantastic. We were in a comfortable position controlling the race from the front, but always to have Jenson in the mirrors and not willing to disappear doesn't make your life easy so we had to push throughout the whole race and it was enough. At the end we were a bit more comfortable but fantastic. I am very happy, but as I touched on in the press conference earlier obviously mixed emotions with two tragic past weekends. For everyone who is a fan of motorsport It was a hard time we had to go through. On the one hand I am very happy and very proud to be the first winner of this grand prix. There were a lot of people, a big event, great atmosphere, all the grandstand nearly sold out so great to be part of that. But on the other hand we have to pay a certain respect to those two guys who lost their lives. Our thoughts are with them, especially with their families. We should never forget those two young, very committed race drivers.
Jenson, you said yesterday you lacked grip in qualifying. What was it like in the race itself?
Well it wasn't too bad, I finished second. Yesterday I struggled in qualifying basically just getting a rhythm. Whatever could go wrong in qualy it seemed to and sometimes you have sessions like that. Sometimes everything goes in your way. The race was very different. I had a good start, got past Fernando into Turn One and then it was about judging where to put the car into Turn Three as I had Mark in front that I wanted to overtake but I also had Fernando behind me trying to overtake me. You have to be very careful where you put the car in the entry into Turn Three but judged it well, got a good run on Mark and was able to get him into Turn Four. Then Mark proceeded to push me for the next eight laps around the circuit, pushed me really hard actually. Had a go into Turn Four, we both braked very late, both ran wide, but kept the position and then I was able to kick in and pull a gap. Then it was about trying to set off after Sebastian. But it was very, very tricky. At the pit stops I think the guys did a tremendous job and we seemed to be good on new tyres or after we had put a new set on and the pace was good. But as soon as Sebastian got into a rhythm we couldn't touch them. But as far as races go I don't think we put a foot wrong and as a team we did a perfect job this weekend but we just didn't have the pace of the Red Bulls and Sebastian. I think we need to say a big congratulations to the Indian people for their efforts on building this circuit because the circuit itself is, I think in years to come, we are going to think of it as one of the greats. It is a very special circuit and I really, really enjoy driving around here. I hope we put on a good show and it is also great to see the excitement in the crowd. The people that are here, as there are quite a few people here, they are really getting into the mood and really getting into the action and it is good to see, really good to see, so a very special weekend and thank you to them.
Fernando, interesting battle with Mark Webber
but it seems Mark just doesn't have the straightline speed or DRS or whatever?
Well I think if they have also the straightline speed it would maybe be too much.
At least you jumped him at the pit-stop?
Yeah, we know that with the hard tyres the first two laps maybe they are not as good as the soft and we were a little bit debating on the radio what to do in the second stop. Stop one lap before Mark or wait? The team did the right call, be a little bit calm, wait for Mark to stop and then try to take advantage of the extra lap or the extra two laps expecting some warm up issues with the hard tyre for them. It did happen. After Mark stopped the team told me that we were gaining time so to do an extra lap so we did two laps more than him and we jump Mark at the stop. Then in the last stint it was a question mark as last couple of races we put the hard tyre on and we struggle a lot and we have been overtaken by them quite easy so even if we were third at that point of the race we were not sure and we had to push for 20 laps maximum. Try to defend the position so at the end it was very close. I think Mark crossed the line 1.5 or one second behind me so with more laps I think the podium was getting more and more difficult so the finish arrived in the right moment.
We heard a lot about how good the circuit was in practice et cetera. What was it like to race on for 60 laps?
It was fantastic. I agree completely with Jenson and Sebastian. The circuit is very nice to drive. Okay, it was a very narrow line of normal grip and outside that line there was a lot of dust and low grip but this is normal for new circuits and I think with the years that will improve. The circuit has a little bit of everything. Long straights and very wide entries for the hairpins, which allowed us to try some overtaking manoeuvres and put on a good show on Sunday. Two DRS zones that, I think, worked okay today with more overtaking possibilities and then the second and third sector which is a combination of corners in fifth, sixth gear which we normally love to drive and overall it was a fantastic weekend. A lot of people came, very passionate about our sport, to be here the first time and the circuit was completely finished and in a very good condition in a very short period of time. I am sure that things will improve, but already the level is very high, so congratulations.