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Brazilian GP - Thursday press conference - Pt.1

22 November 2012


Q:
A very important weekend for everybody, the final weekend of the championship and lots of pressure all round, apart, perhaps, from Michael Schumacher. You've been here before Michael, you have an extraordinary record at this race and you're finally ending your championship bid after many, many years, after many seasons. What are your feelings coming into this weekend?

Michael Schumacher:
I guess I have some experience and that's why, probably, I'm rather relaxed about the happenings. On top [of that] we are not in any championship fight compared to last time that happened to me, obviously. Well, I'll just take the best out of it and enjoy it as much as I can.

Q:
Is there a certain sadness?

Michael Schumacher:
Probably not, no.

Q:
Quite happy to leave it.

Michael Schumacher:
Yeah, I have tried that mission to end successful. It didn't work this time but I'm quite happy to finish from here and go for a different life again.

Q:
Felipe, if we can come to you. You've won here twice before, what can you do to help Fernando win the championship.

Felipe Massa:
Well, first of all I'll try to win a third time. That's always the right direction to think about racing – always thinking about victory. Here is a very special place for me and I'm going to try to win and hopefully Fernando can finish second without any problems to win the championship.

Q:
Just give us a bit of a summary of your season so far. What are your thoughts on the season?

Felipe Massa:
I think it was a very difficult season until August. So, struggling… in some of the races I was not struggling but I could not put together the result. Always happened something in the race that I couldn't finish in the right position. I would say after August everything was better and we were able to put together the right… almost the right result at every race. It was a very good second part of the season and very good preparation for next year.

Q:
Lewis, we saw what you can do in this championship last weekend, a fantastic race, and of course you won the championship here; you know what it's all about this final race of the series. For you, you've been with McLaren for many years, it's your final race for McLaren. How do you approach this weekend?

Lewis Hamilton:
Good morning everyone. It's quite a unique experience for me. I've obviously never been in the situation I'm in this weekend, where it's my last race for the team I grew up in. It's going to be a tough one. Nonetheless, we're going to push as hard as we can, as we did in the last race, and try to win. I've never won here before. So I'm going to have to try and beat Felipe, as he wants to win it. It's such a beautiful race here so hopefully the weather will hold up for us.

Q:
After so many years with McLaren what are your feelings leaving the team?

Lewis Hamilton:
I only have good memories. I leave with just the greatest memories, the best experiences and hopefully a lot of good friends I will continue to be friends with throughout the future. I was just saying to them that even though I'll be with Mercedes, I'll probably keep coming back to have lunch and dinner back at the hospitality because the food's great there. So, I hope Mercedes' hospitality lives up to the one we have.

Q:
Bruno, a summary of your season so far.

Bruno Senna:
It's been a very challenging season, lots of learning. We got some very good results and some tough races as well. Considering it was my first full year in Formula One, and with the small handicap of not doing free practice on Fridays, I think it's been a pretty good year. In the end most of my races have been very strong. Just starting from a different position from where I should be starting has made me score less points than I could have had. In the end of the day it's learning and you normally do much better on the second attempt at the same thing, so for sure there will be a lot of improvement to be done for next year.

Q:
Are you confident there will be a next year? The future seems to be undecided at the moment.

Bruno Senna:
Yeah it's undecided and I think we will have to wait until after the season to see what's going to happen. Let's hope it comes in a good way and we can be in a competitive car for next season.

Q:
Sebastian to some extent we look at an unpredictable weekend, in that the weather seems to be unpredictable and there's a little bit of a question mark over the reliability. To what extent are you nervous about this weekend?

Sebastian Vettel:
In terms of general preparation we do what we can. Weather-wise, it's Sao Paulo. It's the same as if you go to Spa, you know, things can happen quickly and the weather can change a lot here, so… yeah, I spoke to some locals and I think there was a big rain two days ago which wasn't expected. Probably for Saturday, Sunday there's some rain on the way, but then again you don't know how much and when so I think I asked Pirelli yesterday if they have all the containers here with the rain tyres, and that's the case, so I don't think we have to be concerned.

Q:
At the same time you can be confident: 13-point lead in the championship, you've had excellent results here, Red Bull have had excellent results here.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, I think the circuit seemed to suit our car in previous years. I think we need to confirm it. So all eyes on Friday, to start the weekend, to get into the groove, but I think we can be as confident as we could in this stage. Obviously we know there is a lot ahead but we are in a great position.

Q:
Michael, we'll come back to you again. It's been 20 years of grand prix racing. How can you sum it up?

Michael Schumacher:
Well, I don't think we have long enough here to sum it up, but let's put it that way: It was mostly 20 good years and lots of fun and lots of excitement.

Q:
You'd recommend it to Sebastian would you?

Michael Schumacher:
Well, I just remember when I was in the early days, I said if you're going to do this four or five years that's going to be probably most of it, and then I will be tired and I can't see myself longer than this. Obviously it became almost 21 years. I'm pretty sure it's difficult for those guys to imagine that longer time ahead, but let's see.

Q:
Fernando, it's quite difficult for you from where you are, 13 points behind in the championship. What are the chances this weekend?

Fernando Alonso:
Well, I think we need to try to do a normal weekend, try to score as many points as we can, obvious it will be good to be in the podium and score a minimum 15 points and then when we cross the line we see where Sebastian is and we try to do some numbers after that. The first priority for us is to be in the podium, let's say, which give us the possible to score more than 13 points and then we need to wait obviously for the results from Red Bull because we have not… it is not in our hands, we have not much to lose, we have only the possibility to win something and we will try to do our best.

Q:
Regardless of what happens this weekend, what do Ferrari need to do to be in a better position for next year?

Fernando Alonso:
Well, we are working hard, it was a tough season for us, the first couple of months were not as we expected. When we put the car on the circuit the first time in Jerez we were two seconds off the pace and we didn't understand how was the car working so we changed many things. There was a lot of work going on in the wind tunnel in Maranello, in the car itself and after some understanding of the car we were a little bit more in the pace and we were able to fight for podiums more or less constantly all the season and that gave the possibility to be right now fighting for the World Championship. But we are not totally happy with the performance of the car all through the season and many changes will be for next year and hopefully we can recover a little bit of the gap we have now. In winter we will have to do an extra job compared to the other teams to recover this gap.


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