British GP - Post-race press conference - Pt.2
30 June 2013
Drivers: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari).
Questions from the floor
Q: (Graham Keilloh - F1 Plus).
Early in the race, after the first three rear tyre failures, there was some radio contact on the television advising drivers to stay off the kerbs, but it seems subsequently that wasn't really heeded; just talk us through the thought process of that, why you subsequently decided to take the risk?
Are you saying we were still taking the risks of going on the kerbs? Well, for myself I wasn't, I was staying off the kerbs and I got a tyre problem myself, but it worked out well, I was able to pit before it broke apart because the safety car came out. I was a bit lucky there. And then after that, when Mark was chasing me, it was a compromise between how fast is he coming at me and how much am I going to take out of the tyres, so I was staying off the kerbs, taking it easy in the high speed where the most damage is done. Then I had to pick up the pace a little bit towards the end as he was getting quite close so that was really difficult to judge.
Mark, they broadcast at least four or five messages from Rocky (Guillaume Rocquelin) to Sebastian telling him to stay off the kerbs; were you getting a similar amount of that kind of message?
Yeah, Simon was keeping me up to date with the... That's all they could give us was staying off the kerbs because they were saying that they probably didn't really know why the tyres were failing at the rate they were. So yeah, I did what I could in all the right hand corners to have... turn one, exit of seven, also Copse and Becketts and Stowe, all the fast corners, trying to stay away from there. It's not always easy but in general I tried to adhere to the advice, because yes, you want to gain a little bit here and there, but as Nico touched on, it's not much fun driving a Formula One car on three tyres so you have to make sure that you do what you can to listen to the team; they're on the pit wall with the most information so you have to do what they say.
Same, always the same. They kept telling me to avoid the kerbs but obviously if you're in position twelve you need to attack, you need to change the racing line, you need to use the DRS. This is a circuit where we've been racing for 12 years in my case and I've never had these problems. I think the kerbs were perfectly OK.
Q: (Mike Doodson – Auto Action).
Mark, you're not the kind of guy who normally blames his equipment, less so perhaps than other people, but this story of your starts goes back a long way. No doubt you've analysed it over and over again. Looking back today, was it possibly a human failure on your side or was it an equipment shortcoming of some kind?
I need to look. We know it's not the strength of our situation up until Monaco. I think Monaco and Canada, same procedure and we're running into the back of these guys. Same in Canada, I went round Bottas and we were very very strong off the line. Today, reverse was in gear. I was obviously ready for the start, everything was set, but I didn't go anywhere, obviously. I think it was quite slippery off the line but we had a lot of issues getting away. It is frustrating, mate, but I need to go through it and we're working on things to make it more consistent in the future, but it's just such an important part of the weekend and it's a no-brainer that you have to get it right, all the effort that goes in. There's no question about it, it's cost a lot of good points over the time but yeah, it shouldn't be that difficult but it turns out that we've got to improve on that area and I'm happy to be part of that.
Q: (Jaime Rodriguez – El Mundo).
Fernando, in the last races, every Sunday you seem to have to overtake five, six positions from the start to the end; I wonder if you would explain what you feel, both physically and psychologically?
I've been doing this for the last five years, unfortunately. It would be nice to start on the front row of the grid but we are not good enough on Saturdays and it's something we try to work on as a team: the package, car performance, tyre preparations, driver maximising the lap. Whatever we are missing on Saturdays, we haven't been on pole position for a long time but we fight, we gain some good experiences in my career, especially in 2008 and 2009 were maybe not so bad seasons in the end, with no good results but very good experience and you try to play safe, obviously when you are fighting very hard with some rookie drivers etc it requires a little bit of extra care but we managed today to do some good moves and some good points, but as I said, it's something that we don't like to do and we would like to improve Saturday's situation.
Q: (Christobal Rosaleny – Car and Driver).
To all of you: I know Nurburgring is not like Silverstone in terms of fast corners and all of that, but if somebody tells you that the same thing is going to happen, that the tyres could explode there, would you race or would you tell the people that's enough?
Well, we shouldn't get into that situation. We need to do what needs to be done to sort it out and make the tyres last.
I think we've been trying to have input for the last three years and it's deaf ears. Anyway, we're part of the package, part of the show. The show goes on by the looks of it.
Yes. Same. Theoretically the cars are the same all year. They were OK on most circuits so it should be OK, but for sure it's something that what we saw today is not good but we drive the cars so we understand nothing about what is the real problem or what it is the real solution so it's a question for them, for sure.
Q: (Luke Smith – NBC Sports).
Nico, before Sebastian's stoppage, the gap between Sebastian and you had remained quite constant. Do you think you would have been able to catch him if he hadn't have had the retirement?
I was trying, I was pushing hard trying to stay with him but it wouldn't have been possible. No, I would have been close all race but to catch him and pass, I didn't have enough speed unfortunately. But I think pace-wise, possibly I was a little bit quicker, yeah, because very often I was able to come back to him once I started pushing again before the pit stops and when you're in the dirty air from the guy in front, your tyres wear a little bit more and you lose out. I think I had good pace in the race today.
Q: (Stewart Bell – Herald Sun).
Mark, you were on fire from that last safety car period to the end; what was that like for you, that last stint, especially given it was your last British Grand Prix?
Yeah, it felt pretty good mate, I knew that I was going to make pretty light work of the guys ahead of me because they were on old tyres. I wanted information on Nico, I wanted to know what compound he was on and how his pace was before the safety car because I hadn't seen him before in the race at any stage. They said that he was pretty quick so I was pretty keen to get past those guys early and then go from there, but both of us managed to get to the end of course on the limit but also managing the scenario with the tyres. So yeah, it was a nice finish to race. It would have been about a hundred cherries on top if I'd managed to get past him but I didn't. He deserved the win and we made him work for it which was good and rewarding, but we could have got much more out of the car in the race today to be honest.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport).
I think all of you were asked by your race engineers after the tyre failures to stay off the kerbs; how much did it affect your racing, in particular Mark and Fernando who had been in fights or battles with other drivers?
Well, it's a compromise. You want to still push as hard as possible but you have to check your line a bit, change your trajectory, the radius is tighter, obviously, in certain corners, i.e. the quick stuff, Copse, Stowe, turn one, staying away from there. It turns out maybe it wasn't really the kerbs, who knows but it's just better to factor in everything that you possibly can. Some laps, when you're in disturbed air and you get behind a car and you get a little bit wide then that's life, you've got to... you can't be super accurate when you're tucked up behind the guy in the quick stuff so that's just the decisions you have to make and yeah, we managed that as best we could.
I didn't change, I didn't change lines. I didn't change lines. I was fighting with twelve cars all the race through so you go in the dirty air, let's say, and you lose downforce and you go straight out over the exit kerb. As I said, it's hard to believe that the kerbs were the problem because we've been racing here for 12 years with those kerbs.
Q: (Jaime Rodriguez – El Mundo).
Nico, do you think that without the Montmelo test Mercedes could be winning races like now?
For sure, yeah. Definitely.