Participants: Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), Fernando Alondo (Ferrari) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Kimi, did you believe from that seventh position the win was there for you today?
I was pretty disappointed this morning after the qualifying. Obviously there was only one lap really on the dries and I took it a bit too easy and got a bit of a small mistake in one corner. It was more timing and getting it right than really the maximum speed from all the cars, so not the ideal starting place but it was still ten places better than last year, so not a disaster in that way. I knew that my car is quite good. It's been feeling good all weekend and when we did the longer run it felt good. We only destroy the front tyres so we knew if we get the front tyres lasting it should be fine. In a way I was pretty confident – but of course you have to get through the start and the first lap and it's the first race so you never know what's going to happen with the conditions and the circuit after the rain and with tyres, so there's a lot of question marks. I felt I had a good car and it turned out to be pretty good.
Alan Permane said to you, on the subject of tyres in parc ferme, “we got it absolutely right today.” Was that just one of the ingredients where everything seemed to fall into place for you?
Yeah, I mean our plan was to do two-stop and it's always difficult, especially the first races, to really know when to stop, and not doing it too early and not too late. We got it, like he said, exactly right. The team worked very well and we had a good plan, and we follow the plan and it work out perfectly for us. I could save the tyres and I could go fast if I needed and I could really drive very easily. One of the easiest races I've done to win the race. Hopefully we can have many more of this kind of races.
Fernando, turning to you, you had to stop one more time, was there ever a chance that the Ferrari could run longer? Was it the way that the car wore out the tyres that cost you victory today?
I think it's difficult to know if we could do two stops today. You need to commit, more or less, to one strategy before the start of the race because you race differently. Obviously we were attacking, we tried to pass Sebastian in the first part of the race, Felipe and me. We could not do it in the stint. In the second stint we were again also behind Sutil at that stage of the race. I think we felt all these things against… maybe you can go a little bit longer in the stints but we have to stop, try to overtake these people that we felt they were slower than us in the race and if you commit to that, obviously there is not a way to find a two-stop so, I don't know, the race without traffic… could be.
Your team-mate Felipe Massa got the better start, how surprised were you to see him get off the line so quickly and how much of an effect did that have on the early part of your race?
No, well, I had a much better start than Felipe and a much better start than Hamilton especially but they close each other in the middle and I have to lift off. If not, with a longer straight I think I could arrive second easily in the first corner but it was a little bit problem there and then Nico also was very aggressive on the first corner, so it was not easy start and obviously in the first race no-one wants to take an extra risk. But yeah, that was not a help in the first part of the race and then some traffic all through the race. First with Sebastian and Felipe and then with Sutil, Hamilton, Rosberg, Sutil again and two people, I think one Caterham and one Williams that, obviously it is a first race for them but it seems they were not very concentrated today.
Sebastian, Adrian Sutil's name has been mentioned a couple of times. How big a thorn in your side was the sight of that Force India out in front?
Well I think in the end you have enough laps in the race to even things out. Surely it didn't help at that stage but, y'know, it's pretty simple: if we had the pace we should have passed him. We didn't. I was quite a bit quicker when I arrived at the back of him but then couldn't pass him. I think running in traffic it has quite a negative effect on tyres. The same for the people behind me so I wasn't that afraid there was a lot of pressure from behind because I knew that they will be in the same problem that I was with the car in front and, yeah, at some stage even he pulled a little bit away. So, as I said, I don't think, considering all the laps in the race, it made a massively difference. We jumped him after the stop. Yeah, it was quite a good overtaking into turn three, I think. And it was important, I think, to get past. Obviously Fernando, I think, stopped a lap earlier and was on the fresh tyres so he could use the momentum to get past the group, which worked well for him. After that though, we could see that he was a little bit too quick for us today and in the last two stints he was pulling away. I have to admit I was quite surprised when I was still missing one position in my calculations because all the cars that I saw made sense but I never saw Kimi in the race but he ended up way ahead of us and then I saw him on TV, and then saw that Fernando was then second and Kimi was leading. Overall, as I said before, very happy with third place. I think surely when you start from pole, you want to win but I think we can be happy with the pace all weekend. The car left a very good impression. The whole team seemed to operate very calmly and considering it was the first race of the season we seemed to just continue where we stopped last year. So yeah, I think it was a good day for us. Obviously there's a bit of homework to do, regarding the tyres. I think two-stop was out of our range today, so we'll see where we are next week.
But did it surprise you that starting from pole the pace wasn't there to go on and win the race?
Well I think the pace was there. The naked pace. Qualifying was pretty good for us. I think we had quite a good run, and then also the first two laps of the race were pretty good and also the first two laps on each set of tyres felt pretty good – but yeah, obviously after that we couldn't keep it up and surely the times set in the front, from Fernando but Kimi especially, were quite impressive considering the amount of laps on the tyres. So, we couldn't do that and that's why, I think we lost out a little bit today. But, as I said, it's a very tough, very long grand prix and very nice to be on the podium at the end. We have quite a good record here so I'm happy that we had another podium finish today.
Transcript courtesy FIA