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Post-qualifying press conference - Abu Dhabi GP - Pt.1

F1 2011 Abu Dhabi GP post-qualifying FIA press conference with Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Jenson Button (McLaren).
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Jenson Button (McLaren).

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Sebastian, you equalled Nigel Mansell's record of 14 poles in a season today, congratulations, but you had to dig pretty deep to get this one?

Sebastian Vettel:
Oh yes, especially after yesterday where to be honest I wasn't very happy with the car and we weren't happy in general as we thought there is more in the car, the performance is there, but we couldn't really get to it. Today, this afternoon, it was already quite a bit better but this place is tricky in many ways. You have the practice on the one hand in day conditions, the sun is up, the track is a little bit hotter, and then in the evening you qualify and you race and the circuit is quite a bit different. The car behaves differently. The tyres come in differently. It is not easy to get that right all the time. Then in qualifying I had a much better feeling especially moving onto the soft tyres. Already in Q2 we looked much better than before. Then the other difficulty around here is to get everything into one lap. It is a long lap. There are a lot of corners, especially the last sector. Once you start to turn into Turn 11 after the second straight it is basically left-right-left-right. Plenty of opportunity to gain time, but also if you take a lot of risk it is very easy to do a little mistake. It is very easy to lose straight away a lot of time. We are not speaking one, two, three hundredths. It is immediately a tenth, tenth-and-a-half. I was not so happy with my first run in Q3, but the second run much happier especially the first two sectors and with that I was buying myself a little bit of a cushion in the last sector which was a bit trickier towards the end of the evening. But all in all just enough to jump ahead of Lewis who has looked very strong all weekend. It is good that in that session, where it matters on Saturday, we were able to be just that little bit quicker than him.

Lewis, as Sebastian said you have really been in control all weekend. Did you think you had done enough there?

Lewis Hamilton:
No, no. It was a good session for me. I think it has been quite a good couple of days to be honest, quite a big improvement for me, I feel, from the last race at least. Yeah, we were quick, the car has been feeling good, but just at the end there that was as fast as I was really able to get out of my lap. It wasn't particularly a great lap, the one in Q2 was much better but that's the way it is and well done to Sebastian, he did a great lap. As always, he is very, very quick but the race is tomorrow, that's the most important day.

Jenson, you put it all together there on your final run. Is this a result a surprise for you and the team today?

Jenson Button:
I don't think a surprise, as we know the pace in the car and it was finding the right balance. I have not felt 100 per cent comfortable this weekend in terms of the balance of the car but we have improved it, we've tried a few different things, and was finally getting there through qualifying. But Q3 was very strange as there was less grip as the circuit was a lot cooler and with the break from Q2 to Q3 the car was acting differently but in some ways it was a good thing for me as I couldn't get enough front end into the car. All weekend I have been struggling with a nervous rear. Finally, when we get into qualifying, I have got massive amounts of understeer so more in the direction I like but in the tight section towards the end of the lap you need a reasonably pointy car but I didn't have that. Not a bad lap, but still, as Lewis said, the car is working well around here. It is not perfect, Seb did a good job and put it on pole, so we will have challenge from behind tomorrow.

Sebastian, clearly you are in a very fierce battle here with the two McLarens. What are you expecting from tomorrow?

Sebastian Vettel:
Well I think it is going to be a long race, a fun race. As we have seen all weekend McLaren, both Lewis and Jenson, looked very competitive. Very quick on the long runs as well. That's what we expect. They will be very quick in the race. I think we need to see from some people behind, but we have to focus on ourselves first of all, try to get a good start, but then it will be a long fight. A long fight to the chequered flag. Looking forward to the race. I think the car is good, especially with the steps we were able to make after yesterday's practice. So confident and ready I would say.

Press conference

Sebastian, you seem to come up with the goods every single time. Just where does it come from?

Sebastian Vettel:
I don't know. There is no box in the car that I open and get it from. To be honest I wouldn't say a surprise. We expected that if we get everything right to be closer than in practice, much closer. McLaren looked very competitive straight away yesterday in particular when I wasn't happy with the car and I wasn't happy with myself. I went off, did a mistake, and it cost us probably a proper long run. But the balance of the car wasn't as good as it could be. I felt there was more in the car and we just had to get to it, so overnight we tried to find out where the problem is. I think this afternoon it was already quite a bit better but then, I think, this is a tricky place as I mentioned with the different conditions. Conditions changing with the sun being up in FP3 this afternoon, the sun going down during qualifying. The circuit changes and the car changes and the behaviour changes. Ideally you would like to change the car, but once qualifying starts you have made your choice and then only thing you can change is yourself. You have to play around and fortunately I felt much better this afternoon and it was only getting better until later on in qualifying. In particular then, in Q2, we were quite close in reach of Lewis and I thought in Q3 if we got everything together, we would have a chance. Surprisingly the circuit did change after the little bit of downtime between Q2 and Q3 and it wasn't getting quicker. It didn't seem at least, particularly the last sector. It is such a long lap, plenty of opportunity but also once you are really pushing to the limit quite possible, quite easy, to maybe ask for a little bit too much and go off slightly. My first run in Q3 I pushed a bit too hard and the second run I was much happier and able to have a very good start into the lap, first two sectors, and with the difficult sector three I was able to have a little bit of a cushion. When I crossed the line I was looking up towards the monitor. I can't read the lap time but I can see if it is yellow or green and green is good and yellow is maybe not so good so that's a good sign but I didn't know if there were people coming behind me. Then I got the call on the radio and I was very pleased.

You have won this race twice before. You have clinched the World Championship here. You have been on pole twice here now as well, it must be one of your favourites mustn't it?

Sebastian Vettel:
Today yes, yesterday no. As I said it is a tricky place. It is an amazing place. I have a lot of good memories, in particular last year, but the standard here if you look at the facilities, the place itself, it's incredible. It's a bit like wonderland if we come here with a fantastic circuit, tricky as I said, especially the last sector, so many corners, it is so long and it easy to do a mistake. But once you get into the rhythm around here it is really good fun and you are one unit with the car. The car is doing what you want and you are doing what the car wants, then it is very enjoyable.

Lewis, second on the grid. Must be nice to be on the front row as you've been on the front row both time before. Is there one side better than the other to start from?

Lewis Hamilton:

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
12.11.2011- Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 pole position, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 2nd position and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 3rd position
12.11.2011- Saturday Practice, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
12.11.2011- Saturday Practice, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 and Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor
11.11.2011- Friday Practice 2, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
12.11.2011- Qualifying, Press conference Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 pole position
12.11.2011- Qualifying, Press conference, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 2nd position, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 pole position and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 3rd position

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November 12, 2011 8:25 PM

Sector 3 Pos Name Time 1 L.Hamilton 38.886 2 S.Vettel 38.933 3 M.Webber 39.235 4 F.Alonso 39.297 5 J.Button 39.297 6 F.Massa 39.714 7 N.Rosberg 39.800 8 A.Sutil 40.056 9 M.Schumacher 40.088 10 P.di Resta 40.258 11 B.Senna 40.441 12 S.Perez 40.512 13 S.Buemi 40.576 14 V.Petrov 40.576 15 K.Kobayashi 40.685 16 P.Maldonado 40.699 17 J.Alguersuari 40.755 18 H.Kovalainen 41.290 19 J.Trulli 41.841 20 D.Ricciardo 42.110 21 T.Glock 42.186 22 J.d'Ambrosio 42.298 23 V.Liuzzi 42.405


November 12, 2011 8:23 PM

Sector 1 Pos Name Time 1 S.Vettel 17.408 2 J.Button 17.429 3 F.Alonso 17.440 4 M.Webber 17.441 5 L.Hamilton 17.518 6 F.Massa 17.536 7 S.Perez 17.629 8 N.Rosberg 17.634 9 S.Buemi 17.649 10 B.Senna 17.657 11 J.Alguersuari 17.670 12 P.di Resta 17.670 13 V.Petrov 17.692 14 A.Sutil 17.694 15 K.Kobayashi 17.713 16 M.Schumacher 17.758 17 P.Maldonado 17.924 18 H.Kovalainen 18.139 19 D.Ricciardo 18.251 20 T.Glock 18.314 21 J.d'Ambrosio 18.358 22 J.Trulli 18.446 23 V.Liuzzi 18.486 Sector 2 Pos Name Time 1 S.Vettel 41.857 2 J.Button 41.905 3 L.Hamilton 41.908 4 N.Rosberg 41.943 5 M.Webber 42.036 6 F.Alonso 42.078 7 F.Massa 42.304 8 M.Schumacher 42.412 9 A.Sutil 42.444 10 P.di Resta 42.471 11 J.Alguersuari 42.557 12 K.Kobayashi 42.579 13 S.Perez 42.597 14 V.Petrov 42.613 15 S.Buemi 42.670 16 B.Senna 42.737 17 P.Maldonado 43.137 18 H.Kovalainen 43.472 19 J.Trulli 43.597 20 T.Glock 43.975 21 D.Ricciardo 44.006 22 J.d'Ambrosio 44.043 23 V.Liuzzi 44.148 Sector 3 Pos Name Time 1 L.Hamilton 38.886 2 S.V

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