F1 Bahrain 2013: Post-race press conference - Pt.2
21 April 2013
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) and Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
Questions from the floor
Q: (Abhisheck Takle – Midday).
Sebastian, as you said, dominant performance today but how crucial was it to get that place back from Fernando early on and do you think you would have been able to win with the advantage you eventually you had without getting him back at the start?
Well, certainly we had more pace than we expected today, which I think is related to the way that we worked with the tyres. We know that the car is quick, we saw that yesterday that we were able to pull a strong qualifying lap together. Sure, it was crucial because another car in front and especially once you start to settle into a rhythm it's difficult to overtake. I think today it was probably helped a little bit by the fact that there was quite a strong headwind down the main straight, so the advantage for DRS or for overtake was probably a little bit bigger than usual. At the beginning, I thought that if there was a small chance to get into the lead I have to take it because then I can take care of the tyres the way I like and hopefully divert the race the way that we planned beforehand, whereas if you sit behind someone and get stuck then you struggle, you lose grip, you start to slide and the tyres start to go off and you might have a different race, but surely with the pace that we had, I think we could have had a strong race, even not being in the lead immediately but I preferred it that way for sure.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat).
Kimi, you have been on the podium six times here in Bahrain; which has been the best of these six races?
I don't know. It doesn't really matter. Second is obviously better than third place but we haven't won and that's what we try to do. Today we got good points, we didn't lose too many to Sebastian but obviously it doesn't help to finish second if he's winning all the time. So we try to find something but all of them have been improved, in a way.
Q: (Kate Walker – Girl Racer).
Sebastian, we've heard quite a few negative comments about Pirelli's rubber so far this year but the loudest voices that have complained have come from your team. Now you're actually leading the Drivers', leading the Constructors' (championships); we're seeing you do very well. Does this mean that we're going to see an end to the complaints from Milton Keynes about the Pirelli tyres?
Well, I think that certainly the fact that we won the Constructors' championship the last three years makes people listen so probably more than other people. At least, from my point of view, I did talk about the tyres, I did complain but I always said that as long as there are other people doing a better job then we have no right to complain, we need to catch up. I don't think you have to be a genius to see that from race to race some people suffer with the tyres - maybe someone more and some people less – and cannot go the true pace of their cars. It's obviously very strategic these days but then again, it's the same for all of us. Out of four races, I think we've had two good ones and two maybe average ones but then if you look at the results, the average is not really disastrous either. To come third and fourth is a very strong result and I'm sure not complaining about the results. Comparing Formula One to a couple of years ago, you probably have to ask Kimi more than me but it's surely different, the fact that you can't push as hard as you like every lap, you have to work with the tyres and sit at a certain pace and go from there. So I think that's what we - at least the drivers that I have talked to – that's what we think is very different and to some extent less enjoyable than in the past.
Kimi, how much different is it to seven, maybe eight years ago?
First of all, I don't think Pirelli could please everybody, whatever they would do. There's always somebody who will complain, even if they changed and made them happy then I'm sure there will be people who want something different and not happy so I don't think it's their job to try to always change things if somebody's complaining or doesn't like it. Even in the past, if we would have put the same amount of fuel in the cars, we couldn't have run at full speed all the time, because the tyres would have gone off so I don't really think it's all that different now. We just made more stops and ran less fuel in those days. I would say that's really the biggest difference. I'm sure the tyres wouldn't have lasted long in those days.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport).
Sebastian, how different is this win to Malaysia, where there was a lot of criticism, and do you think that without Fernando's DRS problem it might have been a little bit harder today?
Regarding the second question, I don't know or I can't judge the Ferrari's pace. I think the last couple of races they have been very strong, so everything else but a strong performance today would have been a surprise to be honest. But how strong, I don't know. I think we felt pretty happy today and in very good shape. I don't know where Felipe finished but we can't really judge Fernando's race with the problem that he had with the DRS that I was told, so difficult to say.
The first question was? Ah yes, if you race for victory, you try to pass whoever is in front of you so I think Malaysia is a long time ago now, I think we've moved on and I think that in terms of crossing the line first there's no difference. But obviously we were in a better position at the beginning of the race already, so a very very different race in that regard.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo).
Romain, we read that Alain Prost said that your problem at the beginning of the season was self-confidence. Do you think that a result like this – if that is the problem – can help you?
I think that the fact that you're able to come back from a very difficult situation proves that I think he was wrong. I haven't seen him this year, I have a deep respect for what he did but I think it's easy to speak when you are not here.
Did the new chassis help at all?
No. It was different matters. We got a bit lost last year. Our struggle mid-season – Hockenheim, Budapest and Spa-Francorchamps – and then we came back. There is so much technology with those cars and it's true that Pirelli tyres are not easy to drive and every time we have a small problem somewhere it makes it worst but when you manage to get it right then it's OK. It was just something with the feeling of the car; when you're not confident with your car it's not self-confidence, it confidence in your car, there's nothing you can do.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat).
Sebastian, with these tyres, who would you rate as your strongest competitor for the championship?
Well, I don't know. It's a long, long championship. I think if you look at the first four races Lotus is very quick, they manage the tyres pretty well in the race. Ferrari is very quick, the cars haven't changed too much compared to last year. If you look, pure performance is very tight. On a Sunday it can be different because of the way you take care of the tyres; sometimes you're in a better shape, sometimes not. But I think the Ferrari is an all-round car as in they're always quick and they've been very competitive in the race. Mercedes is surely very quick over a lap but probably a little bit too aggressive with the tyres. Yeah, a little bit surprised by McLaren but I think they will come back at some stage this year, probably already in Barcelona and that's how it is but to point out the main rivals, I think we need to look after ourselves, make sure we score points and everything else is difficult to predict.
Q: (Khodr Rawi – F1Arab.com).
Romain, was it possible to do a two stop strategy like Kimi today? And do you expect the same kind of performances in the next races?
Well, it would have been possible if we hadn't had to stop on lap six or seven, due to the temperature problem and the front wing from a McLaren that flew and completely blocked the radiators. We had to stop because we were having water issues and the rear brake drum was completely closed, the brakes were not working any more. Kimi was in front of me, so it was better to stop rather than losing the brakes. Then tyre management was OK, I think it's getting better and I don't see any point where shouldn't be able to repeat the performance.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo).
Sebastian, we know that Christian Horner is pushing Pirelli for harder tyres and we saw that it looks like today your car behaves a bit better on hard tyres. You had three sets of new hard tyres. Can you comment on that?
Well, I'm not sure I understood everything but I think on the tyre strategy we were more or less committed to that yesterday, using all the softs in qualifying and able to position ourselves on the front row nicely for the race, and then trying to make the first stint as long as possible and go from there with three sets of new hard tyres. In the end, I think there was not that much difference between the medium and the hard, we already saw that yesterday on high fuel performance. We felt a little bit happier on long runs, probably on the hard, that's why we decided to go that way and it seemed to work. It's difficult to say how good or bad the medium would have been because we didn't have a new set of medium tyres. I didn't see what other people did but I think that the fact that we sit here is pointing out that we did a good job today on that front.