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Bahrain GP - Post-qualifying press conference - Pt. 1

21 April 2012

Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Mark Webber (Red Bull)

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Q:
Sebastian, four races into the 2012 season and your first pole position of the season? I take it it's good to be back?

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, it obviously feels great and I think this one I completely owe it to the team, to the guys. It wasn't the easiest start to the season for us. Surely, a lot of expectations, but I think more than anything it's what we expect from ourselves, and we didn't match our expectations and we've been extremely busy working on the car, trimming here and there, finding the perfect solution and the right way to go, the way forward. And the boys - I don't think they had much sleep to be honest in the first four races. We had a tough weekend last weekend in China and now, here, they seriously had a lack of sleep, and it's very good to put the car on pole. I think both of us, we owe the result today to the team - it's good. The car felt much better all weekend. I was quite happy. I didn't have the smoothest qualifying. I was nearly out in Q1 and nearly out in Q2 but then I knew that when I get the lap in - I nail it - then we should be in a better place. It's great, obviously, to see that we've just beaten Lewis for pole, so I'm very happy.

Q:
Lewis, too, I'm sure a few anxious moments for you in qualifying one and compared to this morning with the pace of your car so much better in qualifying session. So even though you're second, is that satisfying overall?

Lewis Hamilton:
Definitely. I'm very happy with the job we've done. Just been trying to improve the set-up all weekend and in FP3 it wasn't the most spectacular. But yeah, a little bit close in Q1 but thank goodness we got through. Generally, probably one of my best qualifying sessions, even though obviously in the past we did it on the first lap, getting pole position, but the first lap wasn't great and the second lap was great. I'm quite happy with that and we just need to keep on pushing.

Q:
Mark, you were on provisional pole but was this just a track that was evolving constantly right up until the last car went over the line? Was that what separated you from your team-mate today?

Mark Webber:
I think it's always beneficial if you can go a bit later, especially today, but you know we take it in turns at each race and this track looked particularly sensitive to that all weekend. In the end Seb did a good lap, it was a good pole. In the end we're satisfied with being towards the front. There have been some big gaps to the opposition, on Saturday in particular. I think we're pretty surprised to be as competitive as we are on a track that is demanding of probably not some of our strengths. All in all it's for the guys. We're at the front and we can definitely race from there.

Q:
You made a slight mistake, Mark. Did that cost you any time whatsoever?

Mark Webber:
In?

Q:
On your final run, just a little lock-up.

Mark Webber:
No. That was not too bad. I didn't leave enough of a gap to Paul [Di Resta] actually. I was surprised by how much I closed on him and got him a little bit in 13, so lost a little bit there. That was the only thing I would have liked to have done better, given him a better gap. But, yeah, we're here.

Q:
Throughout this weekend we've seen that it's been very difficult to string together the perfect lap. Sebastian, you've got to do 57 of them in Sunday's race. Just how tough will that be, even from pole position?

Sebastian Vettel:
I think it's always tough. The race here is long and anything can happen. I think we are pretty aggressive and we should be better off in the race. The race pace has proven to be pretty consistent over the last couple of races. This one, I'm definitely happier with how the car feels and we should be able to hopefully get the same kind of feeling and result tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the start of the race and then I think it will be pretty tight to be honest. Of course, you're obviously dealing here with the top three but I think there are also other people tomorrow who will have a very good chance. I think Nico has been very, very strong all weekend, and the Lotus guys they can surprise. So, in terms of race pace, I think everyone will be much closer together and I just hope we can keep it up and have a good result tomorrow.

Q:
Your 31st pole position Sebastian, and your second pole position here

Sebastian Vettel:
31? Yeah, pretty happy, obviously, as I mentioned. I felt much happier with the car all weekend, I went out and I think we've always had the ability to go reasonably quick. Surely it depends a little bit when and where you are, which tyres etc., but I had a good feeling all throughout the weekend and I'm very happy. I knew in qualifying we should be able to put the car higher up this time in qualifying. Q1 and Q2 wasn't perfect, the laps I got in were not 100 per cent without mistakes and I knew in the third qualifying that getting everything together we should be in a better place. First run I obviously ran the set I scrubbed in Q2, wasn't ideal, so I knew that with a new tyre there was a little bit again to gain and it did happen, so I'm very happy, very pleased and extremely happy for the team because the guys have done incredible lately. Four races so far but the last two weekends in particular, here and China, I don't know how they managed, how they do it. They get hardly any sleep, probably an hour or two or three on average every night and still they're full of energy and willing to work even harder - and I think we owe the result to those guys it the garage today.

Q:
You mentioned you found some answers in China and a step forward here, can you give us some indication of that?

Sebastian Vettel:
Well, I think given the balance we had - or I had in particular - the first two races where I wasn't happy, we decided in China to go back and see where we are. Equally, Mark carried on, which I think was good to get a straight comparison. And we found that the new car, or new package, has its advantages and the old package has its advantages and I think it was good to get an answer on that. So, we ended up with two cars, either one probably strong in a certain area so I think it helped us also going into this weekend trying to set up the car, working with the tyres, which seem to be tricky this year. We felt a little bit happier all around, also given the high temperatures here, which is not making life easier.

Q:
What's it like driving on the soft tyres? Everyone's saying that's what it's going to be about during the race itself.

Sebastian Vettel:
I think they worked pretty well. Yesterday in second practice I improved by one-tenth, I don't know why, so today yeah, I was able to squeeze the same amount of lap time out of the tyres that everyone else compared to the hard - or the medium - tyre. So, yeah, I think we should be in a good position tomorrow. I think the car is good in the race, we've proven in the last races that race pace is good enough to get some big points. Now we are starting for the first time a little bit further up and yeah, hopefully that makes our life a little bit easier. I'm looking forward to the start, the first corner, first lap and yeah, if we're not P15 after the first lap then it will be a different race. So, fingers crossed, but surely tomorrow with the temperatures being so hot it will be crucial to take care of those tyres.

Q:
Lewis, the one thing that's been constant throughout the season is you on the front row, or at least first and second in qualifying - even if obviously in China you got the penalty - but you must be pleased with the way qualifying has been going this year?

Lewis Hamilton:
Absolutely. Very happy with the performance of the car and the performance of the team and improvements that we've been making - and also really happy with the laps that I've been doing. I've been really eking out everything that I can from the car. Today we just weren't quick enough to get a pole but still to be on the front row is a great feeling and compared to the last race, obviously we were on the front row but we weren't able to start there with the penalty. This weekend we're in a much better position, so I'm really excited for a good race but as Sebastian said, it's going to be tough to look after the tyres tomorrow.
Q:
And also the rivals are different. All of a sudden it's dark blue whereas at the last race it was grey with Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton:
Yeah, absolutely, they've clearly made a good step this weekend. I anticipated they'd be very quick this weekend and in their long run pace they're very strong, probably the strongest - and Mark's been the fastest in all the races so far I think - so it'll be interesting tomorrow but we'll do everything we can to give them a run for their money.

Q:
And is it all about tyres and temperatures and wind at this circuit at this moment?

Lewis Hamilton:
It is. The wind, I don't remember any other circuit - maybe Barcelona - but otherwise this is one of the trickiest circuits in terms of the wind direction and how it helps and the positives and negatives on certain corners. It's quite interesting. It's not easy to get it right: some of us do, some of us don't.

Q:
Mark, you said yesterday the challenge was to get it all together. Presumably you got it all together?

Mark Webber:
Yeah, it was a pretty good session. Quali wasn't easy for us in the first part. And I think the guys have done a great job. Pretty happy with Q3 to be honest, we're up there towards the front.

Q:
Is it all about the rear tyres, about traction?

Mark Webber:
Yeah, it's pretty tough on the tyres here, bit of a surprise for all of us yesterday. We did our homework and we'll how that obviously unfolds in the GP.

Q:
And this is your best grid here.

Mark Webber:
Yeah, it's normally not a great track for me but I've been quick all weekend and I feel confident for the race.

Q:
And the Australian Junior Team starts sixth on the grid - as in Daniel [Ricciardo]

Mark Webber:
Oh, I didn't know that. Good effort!


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