Drivers: Lewis Hamilton
(Mercedes), Sebastian Vettel
(Red Bull Racing) and Mark Webber
(Red Bull Racing)
Lewis, it was all about timing today and your timing was absolutely perfect.
Yeah, it was. It was obviously a good job by the team. I was so surprised when I crossed the line. When I started the lap, it looked like, on the board... I saw on the screen that I was about seventh or eighth and I thought 'Oh my God', especially as it was raining more. I went wide in turn one and the dash display is usually telling you whether you're up or down and it said I was three seconds down and then five seconds and six seconds, so I didn't understand what was happening in the lap but I just kept pushing. I could see I was catching Sebastian towards the end but what a blessing, I feel so fortunate to be up here.
Particularly the middle sector seemed to be strong. So clearly through the Mercedes and yourself are well hooked up. How do you explain that?
I think generally I feel quite comfortable in changing conditions and I feel I'm able to find the limits when the conditions are really on the edge. And in the middle I pushed quite a lot in the middle sector particularly as I thought I was down three seconds, so I was really caning it. But, yeah, the car's feeling good.
Sebastian, today was obviously also keeping your nerve. What were you thinking about the closing stages? Were you thinking that there is as much to lose here as there is to gain?
No, there's always something to gain. Yeah, it wasn't clear that the first lap we did in Q3 was the lap, on intermediate tyres. Obviously we all went out for the start with slicks tyres. It was quite entertaining because it started to rain pretty heavily. Then on intermediates, as I said, it wasn't clear because in the beginning it looked like there was more and more rain coming, so we were all rushing to get a lap in. But then it stopped raining and the circuit came back very quickly ands the last lap turned out to be the fastest lap, with the circuit drying. It's difficult to know how fast you can go. Obviously I saw Lewis catching up in the last lap and I thought I could have gone a bit quicker here or quicker there. In the end it was quite close I think across the line. In these conditions anything can happen. A shame to miss pole, once again. I'm quite happy today. The boys did a very good job changing tyres from slicks to intermediates and got us an extra lap. Unfortunately the circuit wasn't ready but all in all I think a good day for the team, so let's see what happens tomorrow. We expect similar conditions to today, rain, dry and a bit of everything, so we'll see.
And Mark, your final qualifying session in a F1 car at this Spa-Francorchamps circuit and it delivered its usual mixture of conditions. How was your session?
Yeah, difficult for all of us to make the right calls. But in the end I think we got most things right. It's very easy to look stupid in those conditions, from a team side, from a driver's side, making the right calls. In the end, we got most things OK I'd say. It's a little bit bizarre with the DRS on or off in the session, actually in Q3. It's available in the first part of quali but not at the end, but it's the same for everyone, so it's a very, very difficult thing, as Lewis has touched on, to know where you are, how the track's moving around so much. It was quite a ballsy thing for me to go slow in the middle lap know if the track's going to be better on the last lap, to save the tyres, because they're struggling quite a bit in those conditions, on the inters. In the end, it wasn't too bad a lap and it was quite tight obviously. So, yeah, pretty happy to be right up there for tomorrow's race.
Back to you Lewis. Obviously it's not been the easiest weekend so far from the looks of things as far as practice has been concerned for you and the Mercedes team. Tell us about the race tomorrow. You're obviously starting from where you want to be, but can you keep these two guys behind you?
I think this weekend they've both shown that they have incredible pace this weekend. But I'm hoping that whatever the conditions are tomorrow we can try to fight it out with them. The guys have done a fantastic job in bringing a good package here. I generally feel we're quite close. I still feel the Red Bull
is generally a little bit ahead of us in performance and that's why results like this today feel even better because it feels like we extracted more than what the car can actually do, so I'm really happy with it.