Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Podium Interview
(Conducted by David Coulthard)

Q:
Sebastian, your 31st Grand Prix victory, you're now just one behind the man who finished in second place. That looked pretty easy for you today.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, it was fantastic race for us. From start to finish really very good tactics. Obviously it helped the first lap to have the tow off Lewis through Eau Rouge and then I was flying. Once I passed him we had incredible pace and really could control the race until the end. We were a bit afraid of the rain coming towards the end but I think it just passed the circuit. Great race. Thank you to the team, thanks to Renault. All the guys have been working very hard and... yeah, fantastic result, can't be any better.

Q:
You passed a milestone today if you're into statistics. You seem to like to get the fastest lap towards the end of these grand prix but you've now led well over 2000 laps in your grand prix career. Were you aware of that one?

Sebastian Vettel:
Now I am. Thank You! Yeah, incredible. We are a bit confused down here because the crowd is booing and cheering and booing and we don't understand why.

Q:
We're not going to highlight why that is at the moment. [Note: the drivers were unable to see a protest taking place around and above the podium]

Fernando, this must feel like a victory today. You've never won around the Belgian Grand Prix circuit, which is surprising given that you've got 32 victories in your career but that was typical attacking stuff from ninth place.

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, we had to recover some places. We were not OK yesterday and everything went OK from the start and then the car has the speed to overtake some cars and it was a little bit boring. After we get the second place we are nowhere near Sebastian and not a big threat from behind.

Q:
Looking ahead to Monza, you must feel pretty much buoyed for Ferrari, going to what is the home grand prix for the Ferrari team.

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, definitely it's an important weekend for us, for the team. Last year we were very close to repeat the victory that we get also in 2010, so we arrive fully motivated again and in Monza we would like to give some smiles and some satisfaction to the tifosi and we will try our best.

Q:
Lewis, that's your 54th podium, that equals you with Niki Lauda who is one of the senior management at the Mercedes grand prix team. Does that statistic mean anything to you and what do these points mean for you this afternoon?

Lewis Hamilton:
We had a tough race, these guys were a little bit faster than us but the team did a great job throughout the weekend and I'm really happy with the results. Of course to be put in the same sentence as someone as legendary as Niki is a real privilege. I'm happy with the result we had, I'm glad to see so many great fans here this weekend. They made the weekend.

Q:
Once again we heard you on the team radio saying you were taking absolutely everything out of the car and the tyres. You went off into the summer break as the victor, you've come on a roll of four pole positions. Looking ahead to the next grand prix, what do you think you've learnt from this Belgian race.

Lewis Hamilton:
I came in this weekend and when we started I felt that we perhaps didn't have as good a package as these two here. I think we'll go away after this weekend, we'll try and see if we can improve for Monza. But definitely when we get to Singapore, I think we'll have a much better chance there.

Q:
[Sebastian] I believe your points lead is extended to the largest ever margin you've had. You must feel good looking to the second half of this season.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah. Obviously winning helps. Just really controlled. The car was much better than I think we expected going into the race. So we had a bit of pace on hand to control the race. I really enjoyed that a lot. I think the guys on the pit wall as well, it was not as stressed as at other times. Fortunately there was no rain, so in terms of critical calls there were none to make. It was a very good afternoon for us and obviously looking forward to Monza where we don't expect, maybe, to be that strong but let's see.

Press Conference

Q:
Sebastian, your 31st career victory - two less than Fernando - and your fifth this season. Clearly the decisive moment was the opening lap of the race. Tell us about that and how it set you up for the rest of the afternoon.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, obviously very difficult around here to plan your start because first of all you need to have a good launch off the line and then there's a long straight coming. A bit like Korea. I tried my best to line up behind Lewis and basically benefit from a massive tow through Eau Rouge. I think especially in the opening lap when the tyres are not yet completely there and the fuel tank is full, Obviously the cars are quite heavy up the hill and produce a lot of drag and I was able, in the tow, to make up a lot of speed and when I got side by side I had a lot of advantage over Lewis and was able to get straight ahead. So, yeah, it worked very well, what I was trying to, let's say, plan at the exit of turn two. And after that I just tried to settle into the rhythm. I tried to open a gap to be flexible at the first stop and yeah, until the end we had incredible pace. We didn't expect that. We knew, probably, going in that, in the dry, we should be able to beat Mercedes on the track but we knew other cars - Lotus, Ferrari - they looked very competitive in the dry, so in that regard yeah, we had massive pace and could control the race until the end.

Q:
You've increased your championship lead as well, now over Fernando, almost two race wins clear. How are you feeling about it at this stage?

Sebastian Vettel:
For sure a positive message today but I'm honestly more happy to win the race today: it's a fantastic track and especially when the car works well, you don't want the race to stop. The car is getting lighter and lighter and I was very comfortable at the end on the Primes. The car, as I said, was just a pleasure to drive. You don't... I didn't think about the championship or points. Obviously I know the higher up you finish the better it is: ideally ahead of everyone else, which worked today. But yeah, such a great circuit. We've had good races here in the past so it's nice to have another one, another great memory today. So, that's what honestly I was focussing on most. For sure, regarding the championship, it's a bonus.

Q:
Fernando, obviously for you also the start was pretty decisive. Ninth on the grid, up to fifth on the opening lap. You passed Rosberg, Webber, Button, Hamilton to come through to second place. That's quite a recovery from what must have been a very disappointing qualifying performance yesterday.

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, I think the weekend was more or less good for us with recovering some feelings that we lost in July with the car especially. We were a little bit more competitive - or we felt a little bit more competitive this weekend. Not for sure maybe for pole position but to be in the first four or five positions on the grid, maybe that was possible but yesterday I think were extremely unlucky with the situation in Q3 with weather and the track: where we were, in the place we were, at the time we were was wrong. So, unfortunately some times in these changeable conditions you are lucky, sometimes unlucky. I remember Malaysia very well in Q3, we were in the right place in the right moment and we were second and third of the grid. Yesterday was a little bit the opposite. So we had to plan a perfect race from the start to the pace of the car, to the strategy and everything worked fine and we could recover some places and extremely important for the championship also to get some good points again after three races not so good.

Q:
Lewis touched on it yesterday in the press conference here, that throughout the practice and qualifying as well the Ferrari looked quite quick and looked like it had taken a step forward. Do you feel that over the course of this weekend? Is that giving you encouragement? Obviously we're going to some very different kinds of circuits in the next few weeks but are you taking encouragement from this weekend?

Fernando Alonso:
I'm happy. I'm happy with the feeling that I had this weekend. I'm happy with the parts that we brought here, seems that they are working fine. We need to take things very carefully because, as you say, this is a very specific circuit and we are not first and second in any practice or any qualifying or any race. We are ninth and tenth in quali and now we are second and seventh in the race. At the moment it is still work to do.

Q:
Lewis, great getaway from pole into the first corner but describe the remainder of that first part of that first lap from your perspective.

Lewis Hamilton:
It was not particularly exciting or anything. It was pretty straightforward. Half-decent start and I felt like I got a good exit out of turn one but these guys... Sebastian just caught me massively, particularly through Eau Rouge. There was no defending really. I could only move once, so I moved once and just had to watch him glide by. After that it was very, very difficult to hold onto him. And also when Fernando came by, particularly down the straights, he was just pulling away.

Q:
At one point on the radio you were saying "I'm getting everything I can out of the car." Obviously finishing around 27 seconds behind at the end of the race. Is that a concern for you, given the way you translated pole to victory before the summer break?

Lewis Hamilton:
Not really. I think every year you come here - here and Monza - you come with a new package, new front and particularly rear wing and sometimes you hit the nail on the head and sometimes you don't. I think we've done a decent job but obviously these guys have done a slightly better job. Whether or not we can make an adjustment before the next race, we'll wait and see but I think more importantly we'll be back to being very competitive - or more competitive when we get to Singapore.

Transcript courtesy FIA

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