Questions from the floor
Q: (Kate Walker – Girl Racer)
Seb, despite your enviable record in this sport, quite often people say… or they may not give you the credit that you might feel you deserve because you've always had such a strong car. How does it feel for you hearing people say 'oh, I'd like to see him in a different car, I'd like to see him in a worse car'? Does that demotivate you or motivate you to just prove everybody wrong?
Well I think if you look back, I don't know how far, but as far as I can look back, I think there was never people, y'know, really, really successful in a really bad car. I think you always… I think it's a natural thing to happen that one day you have strong drivers in a strong team so you end up with a strong combination and then obviously that is difficult to beat. I think it's natural to start in a weaker car, I think we have all been in that situation. Michael started in a Jordan which wasn't competitive but he set some highlights, Fernando I think started in a Minardi, set some highlights. Obviously in my case I started with the BMW, replacing Robert for one race, which was a great chance and then afterwards I got the seat in Toro Rosso, which at the time was not a very competitive car but I think we did a very good job and even won a race. Obviously with the circumstances allowing us to close the gap back then but… yeah, nevertheless I think we had a great season, finishing in the points a couple of times and obviously after that to step up to Red Bull Racing and 2009 was a great and fantastic season for myself, for the team, for the first time to be competitive, finishing on the podiums, win races, so I think it was a fairly normal way that I went.
Q: (Simon Cass – Daily Mail)
Another one for Seb, would you like to have a team-mate like Felipe Massa? And you were very cool about the situation last weekend: will you be just as cool about the situation last weekend if you're not World Champion on Sunday?
Well what they do is not in our hands. I didn't follow up if Felipe had a real trouble with the gearbox or not but as I said it's not our job to focus on these things. After seeing Felipe on Sunday night in Austin I'm not sure whether he would be a good team-mate! No, I'm joking. I think obviously it is a different approach compared to my team but that's how life is. I think everyone handles certain situations in a different way.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L'Equipe)
Michael, you know both of the contenders for a long time, what kind of memory will you give us for Seb and for Fernando? And question for Seb and Fernando, what kind of memory will you keep from Michael?
Well, I mean obviously with Fernando I have had quite a few more years together competing and fighting championships. Obviously that is slightly different in this respect, it was tough moments. I mean, he was unfortunately in quite a few moments looking very strong and doing too good a job honestly – should have taken it easy and looked after the old man! But on Seb's side, we've been friends for a long time and I sort of follow his career into Formula One and seeing him doing so well, obviously makes me proud. We've both grown up on my home track in Kerpen and to see from where he started to end up and kind of being dominant for quite a while recently, that's quite an achievement.
And you two on Michael.
I think we will always remember the privilege to race and compete with someone like Michael that will be record in history of Formula One, maybe for a very long time and we've been there, we've been in the grid close to him. As Michael said, some good fights and great respect on the circuit and always constantly learning with someone that changed a little bit this sport.
I think it's a little bit different for Fernando than it is for me because obviously I had the privilege to meet Michael when I was a small kid. He was my childhood hero. Maybe he can close his ears or shut his ears now, but he was a true inspiration back then, for me and for many other kids, as he mentioned, in Kerpen. He was our hero. Obviously we had the honour to meet him. He was taking care of the championship held in Kerpen and came to the last race, gave all the trophies to everyone, every child, more than 100 at the time, so he was very patient and now, obviously, we understand that the busy schedule that he had, taking that extra time for the fans but especially for us, for the kids who were racing, was something very special, a very special memory. When I met him the first time, obviously I didn't know what to say because I didn't want to ask something stupid but for sure, I remember these moments and then later on. Today I think it's a little bit different because you are more grown up, you have a normal relationship so when I talk to him now, it doesn't feel like talking to my childhood hero, it feels like talking to Michael so I see the person rather than what he has achieved but obviously, if you remind yourself of that and the fact that I was racing against him for the last couple of years, unfortunately not as close as he probably shared with Fernando, but still that thought or that image was very very far away when I was a small kid, because obviously he was already in Formula One but for me it was a dream so very far away but very special for the last couple of years, very special the relationship we share and I think he will always be an inspiration for myself.
Q: (Marco dell'Innocenti - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Sebastian, Bernie Ecclestone said to the German Bild Zeitung that despite you already having won two titles and maybe now a third, you miss out on charisma, compared to former drivers such as Hunt, Senna, Lauda. And he also said that not only you but all the drivers of your generation are more or less in the same situation, because, he said, teams pampered you too much and the FIA put muscle to you, so you are not free to explain yourselves. What do you think about that? Maybe this is also a general question; if somebody else would like to answer, I would appreciate it.