15 March 2012
Thursday press conference - Australian GP - Pt.1
Drivers: Charles Pic (Marussia), Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus), Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Jenson Button (McLaren), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Mark Webber (Red Bull)
Charles, it's looking like a pretty tough initiation for you into Formula One with no testing of the new car, brand new car tomorrow. Tell us what your thoughts are.
Yes, we have had not so much driving but we made an ad day in Silverstone for the shakedown and everything went fine. So looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully it will be dry to have some kilometres.
Charles, how important has it been to have the mileage in the old car?
Yeah, very important. I made two days in Barcelona. We were able to make many laps so it was just great for me. It was very, very helpful.
Was it a big step up from GP2 to Formula One?
Yes, of course, you have much more things to do and you have to understand in a very short space of time.
Kimi, welcome back. How much has Kimi changed in the two years that you've been doing WRC? And how much has your driving changed during that time?
Oh, I don't know really. I don't think a lot, a little bit older, that's all. It's the same really.
Has it been good to be back in a Formula One car again?
Yeah, it was nice. It really hasn't changed a lot, the car feels pretty similar, the tyres are slightly different but I was expecting to have more difficulties with them but they seem pretty good, especially when they are new – but of course they will wear out a bit faster but it's been nice to drive.
We've seen pretty good pace from you and Romain Grosjean your team-mate, how real is that pace?
We could probably have gone a bit faster if we wanted but I don't know what the others are doing. The car feels good, the lap time at least in testing was OK – whether it's enough we will see over the weekend and over the next races but so far it has been OK.
Daniel, obviously your home race, how big is this race? Was your first Formula One race bigger or is this it?
I think the first one last year in Silverstone was still pretty hectic. I think not having the preparation as I have at the start of this year probably made it a bit more intense. I've had a lot of media attention the last couple of days but I think the on-track stuff was, or will be, more intense in Silverstone. But yeah, I understand what Mark means about the attention here. It's pretty full-on but it's been nice, really supportive. And hopefully I'll just get out on track and do a good job over the weekend.
You're obviously with a new team with Scuderia Toro Rosso and in testing it looked as if it's pretty good, certainly the first test looked pretty good, perhaps less so since then. What are your feelings about the team?
It's a good opportunity for me this year, it's progress from last year and we'll be fighting further up the grid. I think it's hard to know where we are. From what I see the top teams are still going to be more or less the top teams or at least the top two or three but the midfield does seem a bit more tight. So yeah, I think everyone showed signs of potential but until Saturday qualifying and Sunday racing we probably won't know where we all really stand. But I think realistically we're still in the group we were in last year but it does seem like it's closed up. So there's probably more opportunity to leapfrog a few.
Tagged as: Mclaren , Sebastian Vettel , Mark Webber , Jenson Button , Red Bull Racing , Toro Rosso , press conference , Daniel Ricciardo , Charles Pic , Melbourne , Australia , Lotus , marussia , Kimi Räikkönen
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