Abu Dhabi GP - Post-race press conference - Pt.2
4 November 2012
Questions from the floor
Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat)
Kimi, was that your best start in a Lotus and after that, which one was the hardest competitor, the second safety car or Fernando?
I think we've had some very good starts before, but compared to the others, today was a pretty normal start on our scale. I managed to pass Mark and Maldonado before I changed into second gear. I'd had a very good start on the warm-up lap so I knew this was going to be good. That was our aim, to try to make a good start and we managed to do it, so it was key for our win today.
For sure, the safety car hurt us much more than the others. We had a good lead and then nothing, and then twice. The first time was when Hamilton was in front of us but it definitely didn't help us today.
Q: (Leonid Novozhilov - F1 Live)
Kimi Raikkonen, how and with whom and how many days will you celebrate this win?
I have almost two weeks. As long as I manage to get myself to the next race I think the team is happy. I try to get home at some point.
Q: (Kate Walker - Girl Racer)
Kimi, one of the highlights of the race was your radio messages, the ones that you were giving to the team. How distracting is it when you're fighting behind the safety car or whatever, to have them reminding you to warm-up your wheels?
It's a normal thing. It's the same with all the teams. For sure, they are just trying to help but if you keep saying the same things two times a minute, I'm not so stupid that I cannot remember what I'm doing. It's a normal thing, they are just trying to help. I know what I'm doing. I will ask for help if I need it. It's not the first time and it won't be the last time. It's been many times with other teams also but they are all there to help you and try to put you in the best position. Different people like different things.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Sebastian, was it a bit of racing into the unknown at the beginning; you changed the gearbox, the ratios? Were you pretty sure you could do this kind of race or were there some obscure points that you had to sort out during the first laps, to find out what you could do?
No, I don't think it was racing into the unknown. Obviously what we didn't know was how quickly we would get through the field. We knew that we were quite a lot quicker than the first couple of cars that we were approaching; obviously we have a different pace to Marussia, HRT, Caterham, so it was important to get through those. We took the chance to take ratios which helped down the straights, made life a little bit easier but obviously when you're not in the pack, you pay the price as well, so I think it did help us for overtaking but when we were in clean air, it was surely not optimum but it's always a trade. I think from Friday to Saturday we changed the car, not necessarily made a step forwards. We were changing quite a few things and getting closer to what we had on Friday which I think was a faster car so it was as simple as that.
Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat)
Fernando and Sebastian, Michael has had 56 races without a win after his comeback; are you surprised that Kimi won his 18th after his comeback?
No, I think it doesn't matter how many races it takes you. The most important thing is that you get the results you can achieve. I think Kimi drove a fantastic race today. For the first time the car was probably able to win and he did it. I don't know how their race was at the front, I was busy myself but I think we've seen this year that generally if you compare this year, the Mercedes was not as competitive as the Lotus, so it's as simple as that, not in every race but in the majority of races. I think Michael showed his talent more than once in the last three years, even though he probably wasn't as successful as he was before, I don't think it makes him any worse.
Q: (Khodr Rawi - F1 Arab)
Kimi, how special is it to be the first driver to win for Lotus since Ayrton Senna in 1987
It's a long time for them, I guess. I don't think there are any (of the same) people in the team any more. It's a name. It's the same team and it has been since Fernando was there, just a different name. It's a great name for us, good past but you know I race for the team whatever the name is, I don't really care so it's just for the guys who do all the work. Maybe it looks good in somebody's eyes but for me it really makes no difference.
Q: (Mark Fogarty - Auto Action)
To each of you: who is going to win the World Championship?
I wouldn't put money on me! They are quite close; I don't know what the points difference is. Ten? One bad race could decide the championship if they keep doing what they've been doing. It's hard for Fernando but we saw yesterday and in races before that anything can happen. If it's a normal situation I don't think much can happen but one small mistake can decide everything.
Yes, I'm confident. We will fight until the end. We are not fast enough, this is true and we are honest with ourselves, we know this. We need to accept this. It's a weak point, the performance that we have at the moment in our package, and we have some strong points which we will try to use.
I think we were not always fast enough this year but for the last couple of races we were, so looking forward to the next two races.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Sebastian, this has been a pretty troubled weekend for the team. On Friday Mark had the issue with the KERS, you yesterday in the morning, then the problem with the fuel. How much of a relief is it for you to come out of such a weekend and be on the podium losing only three points to Fernando?
Honestly, I would have loved to have got past Jenson quicker and past Fernando as well. I think the speed was there but it turned out to be quite tricky to pass Jenson, and took a lot of time. But yeah, I think we can be very happy with today. I think it's one of those races where it's difficult to predict the outcome. We have simulation tools etc telling you one thing but I was convinced that you have plenty of chances and I said yesterday, obviously it was a big hit for us because if you can chose between starting third and last you don't need to be a genius to make that one out. It was a big hit but I said yesterday that every chance is an opportunity and there were lots of chances today for us. I think we had a very good race, I enjoyed it a lot and I'm very happy with today's result.
Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto, Motor und Sport)
Sebastian, you said before that yesterday was a mistake. How angry are you that this mistake happened? You don't have to be Einstein to calculate how much fuel has to go in for three laps, especially after it had already happened to Hamilton in Barcelona. Do you think the team should have been more careful?
There are so many things that could have worked differently. I made a mistake on the last run, I aborted the lap, nobody ever finds out, nobody realises there was a problem. As I said earlier, it was a mistake, there was no intention to go stupidly close to the limit for a gain of nearly nothing. I think it's different to what happened to Lewis in Barcelona at the beginning of the season, obviously they deliberately put less fuel in the car and stopped on the in lap, but for us, we had enough fuel but somehow we had enough fuel on paper but not in the car. Obviously we stopped the car for emergency reasons, not to damage anything and then obviously it was quite a long procedure yesterday and unfortunately we couldn't drain the fuel that we wanted and it was not enough to provide the sample so it was as simple as that. Rules are clear. I think the penalty was very harsh but we had to take it. Rules are clear. If it happens to you in race three and you are in a similar position at the end of the year, nobody is asking and it's not a big fuss but if it happens to you three races from the end, obviously there's more attention etc. We had to live with that.
Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Fernando, your last win was at Hockenheim in July, more than three months ago. Do you think you absolutely need to win one or both of the last two races to gain the title and do you think it's possible to do it?
That will help, for sure, but I don't think so.
Q: (Vanessa Ruiz - ESPN Radio)
Sebastian, so in the end, after all the difficulties, do you guys consider your result a surprise or not?
I don't think you can talk of a surprise. I think we knew we were quick. I think if you look at the race, there were a lot of things that happened that you couldn't foresee. I don't know what happened to the HRT which caused the first safety car and I don't know what happened to Romain who caused the second safety car, but obviously these things are difficult to predict. I think we knew that we had a chance to get into the top five, even with a normal race. Given the pace was there, as I said earlier, what we did from Friday to Saturday, obviously we tried to improve the car, not necessarily achieved that but we are hungry, we want to try things to make the car faster. I don't blame anyone for that. I was one of the biggest drivers to make the changes, behind that on Friday, and they didn't work, but yeah, obviously we're not talking seconds per lap but small things and today we lost a position on the grid but we got the chance to change the car which we did and we knew that it will be a very competitive car. The speed was there, as I said, and obviously here and there we were a little bit lucky, but I think we created our own luck in that regard.
Q: (Shubha Chandran - Chequered Flag, India)
Sebastian, what kind of focus, commitment and mental strength does it really take to start from where you did, and eventually end up where you have, from a purely individual perspective?
The race is long. I said to the guys before the race that I trust them 100 percent and they can trust me. I will try everything. There's no reason to give up. Of course, if you look where we started, it was the worst possible spot but we gave everything we had and I think when you do that, you cannot fail so it was a perfect example of that today. Everyone was focused on the moment and enjoying it as well. Don't forget that, I think we are here, obviously, to fight for wins and stuff like that but we are also here to have a good time, enjoy and have fun and I think all the guys in the team at the moment, they don't want to be anywhere else. Obviously it's tough on Sundays. The tension is there, obviously you're nervous, excited, any race such as this one, especially with the difficulty of starting last but it's also the challenge that you like, to race every single lap. Obviously it's nice to sit here and look back. Some days it will be difficult again, when we sit - not here - and look back and look at the mistakes that we've made, but hopefully we will learn from those as we did in the past to maximise the times that we sit here.
Q: (Heikki Kulta -Turun Sanomat)
Kimi, does it take anything from your joy that when you win you kill your last hope of the championship?
No, I think we knew already, a few races ago, that we didn't have the speed to challenge at the front. We always said that we would keep fighting and trying to do the best that we can. We got the win, we might have lost the championship on the same day but I don't really care. We didn't really expect to be fighting with them anyhow. We've always been a bit behind and not really had the speed to challenge them in normal races and now in the last few races we've had very good speed and finally we put all the things together and won. We will try again next year.
Q: (Anne Giuntini - L'Equipe)
Sebastian, sorry to come back to yesterday's incident but we didn't really understand why you stopped the car, because a loss of fuel doesn't really damage the engine, normally?
Obviously it was a precaution. We saw some numbers going down and in order to save the engine at last, save the pumps in between etc, we decided to stop the car, convinced that we had enough fuel in the car to provide a sample but, as I said, for some reason we didn't have enough fuel so I don't know what happened. There must have been a mistake somewhere which was a big hit, like I said, but I'm sure we will learn from that and it won't happen again. I think we have done the exercise a lot of times, we know the rules. As I said, we are talking two hundred millilitres that were missing. If you go to the loo before qualifying or something like that it can make the same kind of difference. I think it's very difficult to measure. It was a mistake for which we had to pay a very hard price but c'est la vie.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Sebastian, in two weeks we're going to Austin, you have the first chance to win the third title and it's going to be your 100th Grand Prix.
Yeah, it sounds a lot. Obviously time goes by quickly. I'm sure when you ask Fernando and Kimi they remember their first couple of races and probably don't feel that it's so long ago. I think that more than anything, if you do something that you love, that you enjoy the time goes by quickly. Now, when I'm talking about 2006, 2007, when I started to drive a F1 car for the first time, I still know most of the guys and can recall the places I've been. If you then tell me it's six years ago, it sounds like a big number. I'm sure, when someone tells you the first time that you came into a F1 paddock, it's however many years ago, it might be shocking as well. Time goes by and obviously with age, you get a little bit smarter - hopefully. You learn certain things and you get a little more relaxed probably but also it's important to stay childish, stay hungry and do mistakes, otherwise how can you go forward. All in all, looking forward to going home, get some rest, charge some energy to be full charged in America to attack and obviously try to win.