F1 » 22 March 2012
Malaysian GP – Thursday press conference – Pt.1
Drivers - Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), Sergio Perez (Sauber), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), Jenson Button (McLaren), Fernando Alonso ( Ferrari).
Pastor, after your performance in Melbourne, are you optimistic you can manage that at all circuits or do you think it was Melbourne-specific?
I hope so. I think we did a great start to the season, we've been working so hard from the winter just improving our performance in the car. I feel very confident with the team, so it's looking forward. We can still be competitive though it is early to say but it's a good start to the season and we're looking forward, all of us in the team are pushing so hard, so we feel confident.
You must have been devastated by what happened on the last lap, what exactly did happen?
It was a difficult moment for me because I was fighting with Fernando, it was a great fight and very clean and then the last lap I get too close, I was on the kerb on the wrong side of the track and I just lost the car. I'm disappointed for that because of the team result but nothing to do. I'm looking forward, y'know? It's a new place and a new challenge.
Jean-Eric, first of all tell us about the last lap, but also the first lap, because you had a bit of drama on both the first and last lap - and welcome to your first press conference.
Thank you. First lap, I thought I had quite a good start. I was next to Mark and I don't really know what happened in the first corner but somebody hit my rear wheel and I went straight in the gravel. I think I lost a lot of positions and I finished the first lap in 17th. And then I made my way up through the field and I had good pace for the rest of the race. And the last lap was a little confusing. Everybody was in the same pack and I guess I tried a little bit too hard to pass a few people. Kimi was in front of me and… I don't even know who was in front of him but I lost position again to Daniel, my team-mate and in the last corner I slid a little bit and didn't have any KERS left and Paul di Resta passed me only by one-tenth.
Obviously looking forward to this race, what have you been doing since Melbourne and how have you prepared for this race?
I heard this race was quite tough just because of the conditions, really hot, so I came here quite early, I arrived on Monday night and did some sport with my trainer, visited a little bit Kuala Lumpur and yeah, just getting used to the heat. I'm looking forward to this race. I think we have a good car, the team has me working quite hard and we're looking quite confident.
Sergio, obviously a repeat of last year for you in Melbourne, making the tyre last all the way through with just one stop. How did you make it work and nobody else try the same strategy?
To be honest I had no other option after the safety car. It came in the wrong moment for me. It was going really well 'til the safety car came. Then we had no option, because if I pit then I was going to lose many positions, so we decided to stay out and I managed the last 20 laps with really old tyres and it was a shame in the end on the last lap I lost two positions due to clash of Pastor. The track was impossible to go through because of yellow flags, I lift quite a bit and then I had contact with Nico and to the end of the lap I lost two positions with my team-mate and Raikkonen.
Looking at that midfield battle it looks incredibly close, everyone's made a step forward. Have you made a little bit more of a step forward, how do you feel?
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