24 March 2013
Post-race press conference - Malaysian GP - Pt.1
Yeah, absolutely. The team did a fantastic job, it's great to be up here for them. If I'm honest I really that Nico should be standing here. Generally he had better pace than me throughout the race. He's a great team-mate and did a fantastic job today. On our side I was fuel-saving for a long, long time and unable to keep the pace of the guys in front but nonetheless we brought it home, the guys did a great job and I'm proud to be up here for them.
Nico was certainly asking in very strong terms to be allowed to come past you at one point, but at that point I think Ross had called the race off hadn't he?
Yeah, I can't say it's the best feeling being up here but racing is racing and I really just have to keep looking forward.
We've got to ask you about that pit stop – you fancied stopping at McLaren, for old times' sake maybe?
Yeah, I just did a Jenson. He did that a couple of years ago. Used to, for so many years, driving to the McLaren pit stop I don't know how I got it wrong. So big apologies to the team.
I respect you're such competitive drivers, such competitive athletes. You're all kind of happy/unhappy up here today. It's been that kind of race. But at the end of the day, Sebastian, looking pretty good for the championship – not in the long-term but for your championship position obviously it's been a great day.
Yeah, I think in that regard it's obviously a long race. It's good at this stage of the year to score points and we go from there but thinking about the championship right now, it's way too early. I think it was a great race for the team today. I think we did better on the tyres than we expected. Obviously it dried pretty quickly but we had a pretty clean race in terms of tyres after that.
Sebastian, congratulations, your 27th career victory, equalling Sir Jackie Stewart and on a day when one of your main rivals for the championship, arguably, Fernando Alonso scored no points. You said at the midway stage in the race, something along the lines of “I'm faster than Mark, let me through.” But in the end, you did it yourself. Can you tell us how your race unfolded.
Obviously it was an interesting one to start with and mixed conditions. I think we weren't too bad on the crossover going to dries. Probably a little bit too soon. Some places on the track looked pretty dry but they turned out to be still quite a bit damp. I think coming out in traffic didn't help, so I lost the lead at that time, which I think put us in position two, three at that time because after that it was quite a long race, trying to look after tyres. Towards the end I feel I had quite a strong pace and obviously at the very end on a new set of medium tyres had a bit more speed and it was a close fight but I think… yeah… as you can see I'm not entirely happy. I think I did a big mistake today. I think we should have stayed in the positions that we were. I didn't ignore it on purpose but I messed up in that situation and obviously took the lead which, I can see now he's upset, but yeah, I want to be honest at least and stick to the truth and apologise. I know that it doesn't really help his feelings right now but I think other than that, obviously a very good race for the team. We handed the tyres I think pretty well today. To sum it up, apologies to Mark, obviously now the result is there but… yeah, all I can say is that I didn't do it deliberately.
What exactly do you mean? Was there some understanding between you that you've broken?
No. I think obviously we talk about these kind of things before we go into the race and its not the first time we race each other. I think the difference in pace at the end probably wasn't fair because he was trying to save the car and the tyres and, as I said, I did not ignore that but I should have been aware, to be honest. Obviously then took quite a lot of risk to pass him and that was the end of the race then.
Mark, obviously there have been some times in the past when you've been very close together and things have been said. Your reaction to what Sebastian has just said.
Well, I was happy with how I drove today. I think it was a very good team result. We went into the race a little bit worried about how the race would unfold for us as a team in terms of performance. You still have to drive the grands prix these days at eight-tenths – it's not like the old day when grand prix drivers are driving flat out and leaning on the tyres like hell – because the tyres are wearing out. So it's not the most satisfying thing for us as grand prix drivers these days – but it's the same for everybody. And then yeah… got myself into a position where we were controlling the race. I was being told the target lap times, again in relation to how the tyres are. Obviously Seb and Lewis come back to me at one point in the race, I responded and lifted the pace up and got away around the stop. And then we had a pretty good situation tee'd up towards the end of the race. And then after the last stop I thought that it would be interesting how the team would deal with it and I was ready for a sprint to the end. And then the team obviously rang up and said “the race is… the pressure is off now. We need to look after the tyres to the end. Basically don't fight each other.” I turned the engine down. We have some codes in terms of getting the cars to the end. In the end I'm happy with how I drove and… yeah it doesn't… yeah, emotions are… probably not the best time to talk at the moment.
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