Drivers: Sebastian Vettel
(Red Bull), Kimi Raikkonen
(Lotus), Romain Grosjean
Congratulations Sebastian. As defending champion it's always nice to get your first win of the season, even if it is at the fourth time of asking.
Yeah, I think it was an incredible race. Extremely tough. Sometimes we had a decent gap but still even from the start we had a very good start, which was crucial. I was able to pull away immediately and pull away from the pack. That turned out to be a big advantage because we always had to go on a used set of tyres as we used nearly all of them yesterday in qualifying. We could see, Kimi was getting through, he was very quick and so was Romain. A difficult race but with the strategy everything seemed to work so I can only say a big thanks to the boys in the garage. I said it yesterday: incredible job they've done over the first four races. The amount of work they had and that we gave them in particular because we weren't happy with the car and we asked for little tweaks here and there and they came back with new parts, old parts, back with the new parts, back with the old parts, back and forth, so extremely tough and they spent a lot of hours in the garage trying to get the car to our liking and I think we got it this weekend together for the first time and I was very happy in qualifying and throughout the whole race to be fair. So given the fact that Kimi found a dealership somewhere where he got some new tyres from, which allowed him to start every new stint on new tyres, it was extremely tough to keep them behind us. Once he was very close and I thought he would get more than just one shot but it turned out to be enough and in the end I was even pulling away a little bit and I could control the last stint. All in all, very happy and very proud of the team.
But I have to ask though, had this race been one lap longer, what would have happened? You stopped fairly suddenly after the chequered flag.
Yeah, a couple of cars did. I had some company down there! I think Nico stopped as well. We were probably surprised by the pace we went in the race. Obviously these guys [Lotus] were pushing us so we couldn't afford to lift but it was enough. We knew how many laps there were from the start so it was fine I guess.
Kimi, welcome back to the podium in F1. You had the tyres but was the race win there for you instead?
I think we gave ourselves a chance at least. It's a bit disappointing that I didn't manage to do it. But I made a small mistake at the beginning and lost one place to Ferrari. I had to re-overtake him and it took a little time. I got past the people quite easily but if you look in the end I think we still took too long and we couldn't win the race. But at least we got the podium with both cars. After the last race we tried hard and failed and probably people thought we were a bit stupid. Even after yesterday what we did. But it turned out to be the right decision and I think the team deserves what we have achieved now. We have been working hard. We've not been 100 per cent happy with how the weekends have run so far but finally we've got some proper results for the team, so it's an important step.
Had you been able to get past your team-mate Romain Grosjean
in the middle part of the race, a little sooner, would that have made the victory a little easier for you? You certainly had the pace in that middle stint?
Yeah but there are no team orders and we know the rules. I try to get past as quickly as I can but it's not easy with two similar cars. It's always easy to say afterwards 'if we had done that' but in the end we were not fast enough to win and we have to take the second. I got one chance on Sebastian but I chose the wrong side under braking, so that was it really. In the end I didn't have any other chances to try. It's disappointing to finish second but after the last race we have to take it and be pretty happy.
Turning to you, Romain, I'm sure no disappointment whatsoever at finishing third, your first podium in F1.
For sure it's great. It's a strange feeling so far. I think I will be delighted tonight. But I'm very proud of the team, all we did in the race. We knew we had a good car but I think we were surprised at the beginning by how quick we were. And we chose a different strategy to Kimi. It turned out to be not too bad at the end. Our car is very competitive in what so far has been a very tight season. Every small detail makes a huge difference, so the team is working very hard bringing new pieces as well and then putting back the old and trying to see which one is the best - not always easy when you have so little running. But I think we can be very happy with what we did and personally I'm very, very happy to be on my first podium. It's quite a good feeling I have to say! I was saying first points, then top five, then podium but I jumped one step. The next step will be victory but well, that will take time and now I think we can be happy and now we can have a week off to enjoy the time and to work a little bit at the factory and to find the six or seven second gap there was to Sebastian.
Returning to you Sebastian. Four races, four different winners. What does that say about F1 in 2012?
I think as Romain touched on, it's a very tight season, cars are very close to each other and small things can make a huge difference on a Sunday. I think we started the season saying that the McLaren
is the best car by far, by quite a bit, but we've seen that Sunday it can be a different picture. I think they still have one of the strongest packages but as I said you need to get everything right. You need to have the right tyres, you need to treat them right, you need to find the right set-up over the course of the weekend so a lot of things to look out for. I'm very happy we made it here. We were not quite sure how competitive we would be. China was a very good lesson for us to understand the weakness of the car a little but more, driving with two different packages. For here we focused on the new package, pushing that forward on a circuit where you need a lot of power as well. I think Renault
did a fantastic job - one, two, three all powered by Renault, so congratulations to them as well. I'm just happy for now, I don't really care what happens in the next race, at least not today. I think we will have a good time now and then push harder so that we are there again next race.
Sebastian, well done, a little bit of relief to be back on the top step of the podium?