F1 Bahrain 2013: Post-race press conference - Pt.1
21 April 2013
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) and Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
(Conducted by David Coulthard)
Sebastian, fantastic victory. You're laughing and I haven't asked you a question already!
No, it's good to see you. First of all, thank you very much, fantastic race. Big, big thank you to the team. A flawless, seamless race from start to finish. I knew it was crucial straight away after the start to get into the lead if I could and then go from there and look after the tyres. The pace was phenomenal. The car was very quick and it just started to get better and better towards the end. Really, a beautiful race where you could push every single lap. We took care of the tyres, so overall very happy. Also to have a woman on the podium [is good], I think it's not happening every day. Gill Jones, she takes care of our electronics in the team, she looks after the boys, so great to have her up here as well.
There certainly was great wheel-to-wheel action on those early laps. Can you recall much of it? Was that just instinctive racing or can you give us a standout point from those early laps before you went on to your dominant victory?
There's no alcohol in this, so I can recall, yes. It was obviously very tight already in the first corner with Fernando on the outside. Unfortunately I had to give way. I wanted to line it up to get Nico probably on the next straight but then Fernando squeezed in. But then I got him back which was crucial. I saved some KERS and could out-accelerate him into Turn 6. And then Nico was a tough one. I really had to think for a while because he was quite quick down the straights. Obviously the headwind today helped all the cars behind but still it wasn't as straightforward as I was hoping for and then again quite tight and out of Turn 4 I again managed to save a little bit of KERS up and got him on the inside and the track was clear and we could unfold the true pace of the car.
It was a great race. If I could come to our second-placed finisher here: they call him the Iceman but they should really call you Mr Consistency. Another podium. Tell us about your strategy today. On reflection do you think that was the right one? Was second place the best you could hope for?
Yeah, I think yesterday wasn't ideal. We planned to… I wanted to already, Friday, try to do a two-stop because it felt OK and today it worked well so we gained a lot of places. I didn't have a very strong first or second lap, so I lost two places. After that the car started to come to me and I could start pushing more and more, and in the end it was OK.
If I could move around to your team-mate Romain Grosjean. If anyone is getting a feeling of déja vu, this is exactly the same podium we had last year. Romain, great race. You must feel a little bit of pressure off the shoulders because although this is only race four, the first three races didn't really give you the results you were looking for. How do you feel?
Yeah, that's completely true. The first three races have been consistent but not what where we wanted. We worked hard, the whole team. It wasn't easy to find out what was missing to get the feeling back into the car but basically we got it. Started the race with a strategy a bit different from everybody. We started on the hard tyre, thinking that we go long on the first stint, but got the debris on the car, so the race was a bit harder and we had to do some good fights on track but this is why we're racing and what we enjoy. So, very pleased to be here, same as last year. Now just keep this consistency and get the results.
Well, we're very happy to see you up here. If I could just come back one more time to our race winner: I'm just spotting, you've got some lucky charms outside your boots, I've never noticed that before. Do you want to tell us about that before giving us your feelings about where you are in the championship right now?
I don't know, probably in a good position regarding the championship…
Can you show the fans around the world or is it top secret?
Not top secret but I don't get my legs so high because I'm not a woman… I've had them for a long time and they seem to work. One is actually from my grandmother, actually the other one as well. Again, very, very straightforward race and incredible the pace we have today. We surely did not expect that. In the end it was quite controlled. We managed the gaps and we still had enough tyres to push towards the end. The other thing I would finally point out is congratulations to Renault. It's the same order as last year so basically the first three cars on Renault engines. The guys back in Viry in France are pushing very, very hard and sometimes get criticised for not having the strongest engine but in the end we stand up here, three Renault-powered cars, so merci beaucoup, well done to them and looking forward to the next races.
Sebastian, was that the sort of race you expected? Long periods when you just seemed out on your own, driving against a delta – or did you just expect it to be much more closely competitive than that?
Surely I did not expect that. I think, yeah, was pretty dominant today, as I said, certainly not the expectation. Yeah, in the beginning, obviously quite tight, wheel-to-wheel racing. I knew it would be crucial to get in the lead if I can because then you have a little bit of an advantage, looking after your tyres and managing the race from there. I could feel that I was able to pull away and the medium compound felt pretty strong but then obviously we had three sets of new hards and for us the car seemed to work very well on those tyres. Obviously I realised in the second stint that I was able to open a gap so I thought, 'right, I'll take my chance as much as I can to pull away.' Because you know it can only help at the end of the race, you don't know what is going to happen. It probably buys us some flexibility. Fortunately we never got into a pressure situation again. But a very strong race. We were able to look after the tyres and really manage every stint the best way we could. I have to say, big compliments to the guys at home, to the guys here, on the strategy side. Yesterday wasn't probably that straight forward but we decided to save the tyres that I mentioned and they seemed to work very good today and we had a very strong race, it all worked in our direction, so very pleased.
Speaking of strategy, Kimi, you said you wanted to make a two-stop strategy work. You felt that was the right way forward. But did you need to be five, six places further up on the grid? Was it qualifying that cost you a chance of the win today?
I think it didn't help but I think overall we would not have had the speed for beating Red Bull in here this weekend. And even if yesterday we could have been a few places better but still we couldn't have challenged on speed whatever we would have done to the front. So, I mean, I don't think on the speedwise we could really have challenged for the win. But I would say then second was the best that we could achieve and also third for the team so a good result.
Romain, at the end you seemed awfully pleased with that third place, congratulations to be back on the podium. You say 'this is where we should be'. Do you also believe this is where you should be?
We've got a difficult start to the season. I think we've put in a lot of work and effort to understand what was exactly going on – and it wasn't easy to find out but basically I think we came back where we should be. Yesterday qualifying was a bit disappointing but never mind, we had a lot of new sets of tyres for today, which was good. At the start of the race… well after the first few laps there wasn't optimism because we have a lot of big debris coming into the radiator and the rear brakes and we had to pit it very early because the temperature was going up. So I knew that the two first stints would be normally quite long on hard tyres and then do short on mediums but we had to pit and change the tyres. But then the car was good. And I think it was one of the races where I had the most overtaking manoeuvres and fights on track. Easy, not so easy, and the last ten laps was pretty good because I had a Force India in front of me. I knew I was much quicker but for how many laps is the medium because they start to lose pace? So I was trying to take care of them but at the same time pushing hard and finally back on the podium. The same podium as last year, so it's pretty good to be here.