European GP - Post-qualifying press conference - Pt.2
23 June 2012
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Pastor Maldonado (Williams).
Questions from the floor.
Q: (Adrian Huber – Agencia EFE).
Pastor, would you be happy to finish on the podium tomorrow, or are you hoping for more?
For sure, the points are very important for the team. It will be good to be on the podium but for sure if we can go for more, I will try my best like always, then we will see. Tomorrow the strategy is going to be very important. The team is ready, so looking forward to that.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L'Equipe).
Lewis and Sebastian: you are the best of those going for pole. Is there any secret to the last lap that you do, and what are your thoughts before going out for that final lap?
Lewis Hamilton: [to Sebastian Vettel]
What is your secret?
Can't tell you. I'm not sure whether there is a secret. Qualifying, we know, is all about one lap and to be honest, today it was very difficult, very tricky because the wind plays a huge role here, sometimes blowing more than at other times, with gusts and generally it seems to be very slippery. Obviously the grip is lower than last year because the cars have less downforce and it makes it quite tricky, as we touched on. A lot of drivers lock up easily under braking, especially in qualifying when you want to brake as late as you can, but knowing that if you lock up you miss the apex and then you lose time. It's quite difficult but ideally you just try to go through the lap before it happens - at least I had a little bit of time in Q3 - and try to focus on the key points, go through what I have to do and what I have to look out for and then it seems that I did so in the last run. So happy that I got everything together, just on the limit, and got the best out of the car, so I was very happy with the last run.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado deSao Paulo).
Sebastian, you have a lot of new parts on your car and the first time you're going to use them in race conditions will be tomorrow, in these very hard conditions. Are you worried about the reliability of your car, considering there are so many new things?
No. You're right, obviously it's the first time because the first time they were on the car was on Friday and since Friday there was no Grand Prix. It makes it difficult but there's always a first time for everything. Obviously we try to build the parts so that they are reliable so as I said, I'm not worried. I think it will be tough, it will be hot but it's not the worst race of the year for the car in terms of the ambient conditions, so I'm quite confident.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport).
Sebastian and Lewis: do you realise that you have a big opportunity tomorrow to keep a huge advantage to the third guy who we suppose is a contender in the championship, Fernando Alonso. Are you working on a strategy to save points?
No. I anticipate that they will come through very strongly throughout the race, so whilst qualifying for some cars is not important, you look at the Lotuses and you look at… even Mark will be very competitive tomorrow. They have great long run pace and they can look after the tyres better than others, due to low speed downforce. I also know that Ferrari had upgrades this week - at least so Fernando told me - so I anticipate that they are going to be very competitive. Again, as I said, I'm very surprised for us because we didn't have any upgrades this weekend and so to be where we are is a big bonus for us.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport).
From what you have learned about the tyres here, can it be another race like Montreal where people in the race come out of nowhere with different strategies or different tyre management?
I think Montreal was different; the tyre choice was different in Montreal. We had the supersoft and soft and I think we already saw on Friday in Montreal that the tyres last pretty well. On Sunday then, some people were able to prove that doing a one stop and obviously when it's close between one and two stops then there can be a difference and people come out of nowhere. Lewis did the right thing, two weeks ago, by going with two stops. We did the wrong thing but I think it should be different here. The race is not so many laps and the tyres are a little bit different. It's going to be hot again but I think it's a different race, different track, different conditions.
Q: (Panayiotis Seitandis – Alpha TV).
I would like to ask all three drivers: given the fact that this is a street circuit, next year we have New Jersey, we now have an effort in Greece to have a similar race in Athens. What do you think is the perfect mixture between street circuits and proper (permanent) circuits and of course what's your opinion about coming to race in Formula One in Greece?
I don't know how many street circuits compared to other circuits we should have, but I love street circuits. They always provide entertaining races, perhaps not always the tracks that enable you to overtake as often as other places like Spa but still, as a driver, they are the most fun because on street circuits you have less room for error. I've only ever been to Greece once. I went years and year and years ago with Nico Rosberg. We went on holiday there, when I was about 13 and I've been dying to go back ever since. I was going to go earlier on this year but the weather wasn't as good as I had hoped. I imagine at some stage in the future, once the world and Greece is past the stage they're in now, I think we would welcome a race – at least I would.
As Lewis touched on, I think street circuits are always good fun. It's a different challenge because you haven't got room for error, but one thing you can't have on a street circuit is fast corners, really, because there's no run-off and no space. I think the street circuits that we have are pretty quick but it's maybe the exception. If you would build a new track again or look for a new layout you probably wouldn't go that close to the limit, knowing what could happen, so therefore we need to make sure it's not going to be all street circuits in the future but surely, it's very good fun, a lot of bumps and that makes it very technical, very difficult, challenging for us and if we could have a race in Athens it would be great. It's a beautiful country, I was there last year so yeah, obviously there's a lot going on right now and it's not looking too good but being German, we are doing our best to help – not yesterday, that's sport! As I say, it would be great and a great opportunity for Formula One as well, but I don't know if there are any plans so we'll have to wait.
I agree with Lewis and Seb. I think it's not only fun for us as drivers, I think it's fun for the fans and I think we need both conditions just to try to put Formula One in the top position. Spain, here, is a great one, especially because of the city and a lot of facilities but the future is like that. We follow the future and for sure we enjoy these kind of tracks.
Q: (Sylvia Renée Arias – Revista Parabrisas Argentina).
Pastor, I would like to know if there is extra power for you to have all these people coming from Venezuela, more than 100 people? Do you feel it's nearly like a home Grand Prix?
It's not a proper home race but here in Spain we have a big community of Venezuelans and as well, it's quite easy (to get here) from Venezuela, we have many flights. It's a really good feeling to see them, especially in the stands, full of flags. It's good. I hope to give them back some good news tomorrow, so we will see.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo).
We had 0.291 from Grosjean first to Massa in Q2. Does this tiny difference make you drive accurately; does it change your approach with the team's set-up? What does it change in your regular work?
I think it makes it extremely difficult. I know exactly what happened to Fernando because I had the same in China. There were three tenths; Mark was first in Q2 and I was eleventh. It's not nice, because you probably always know that if you're looking for five hundredths which would be enough, a little bit here and there, but that's the risk you have to take to set the time in the first place, but it's tight and there's very little room for error, especially like here where it's very slippery, very easy to lose a little bit, lock up the wheel towards the apex, don't get it perfectly right, maybe the exit is not 100 percent either, so it's tricky but you have to attack otherwise you're not there in the first place.
No, it doesn't really change the approach in qualifying, you're always attacking and if anything it just means you need to be more precise.
I think now, with these gaps, you just need to put everything together just to be there. It's difficult for everybody, especially for the tyres, to get the maximum out of the tyres is not easy and when you get it, you are here.