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Singapore GP - Post-race press conference - Pt.1

22 September 2013

Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus F1).

Podium Interview
(Conducted by Martin Brundle)

Q:
Sebastian, it looked pretty easy from where we were sitting. How did it look from your carbon fibre seat?

Sebastian Vettel:
Obviously the start was quite hairy. Quite difficult with Nico having a good start, better than me. I didn't get going initially and then had to keep the inside clear to him but fortunately he went in a little bit too deep and I could get him back which was crucial because then we had some very good pace, controlled the first stint, with the safety car obviously it was difficult but then we seemed to come back. As soon as the safety car came in we had a very, very strong pace in the car. The car was incredible. I said to the team, you know this doesn't just happen like that, by accident or by luck. There's hard work behind, which I appreciate and it's just a pleasure to drive it around this crazy track.

Q:
You could just take off at will, whenever you wanted to. It seemed to be the only man who could beat you today had the slowest car on the track, the safety car. It was the only thing that was going to stop you.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, well I mean this is a long race, it seemed to go on forever, so there's a lot of things that can go wrong, the walls sometimes get really, really close, sometimes closer than you think. So you can't really afford to lean back. Obviously towards the end I was controlling the gap. It was helping that I was on fresh Options compared to these guys who were on very old Primes at the time, so we could control the gap to see the chequered flag.

Q:
And physical? You're looking pretty sweaty up here. Was it a tough race?

Sebastian Vettel:
I think we're all sweating, not just the champagne men are wet, I think we all sweat a lot. As I said, it's hard work out there. It's quite hot but we like it. It's one of the toughest challenges all year and it's a very good feeling when you cross the line as a winner.

Q:
Fernando, you're there. As always, you're right there. You made a lot of fans very happy again. Tell us about your start, it was electric.

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, it was a fantastic start. We knew that we didn't have the pace today so we have to invent something. The first possibility was the start, then different strategy compared to the others. We did both things: a very good start and a different strategy. I think it paid off at the end. A fantastic podium, a second place that tastes like a victory for us.

Q:
You pitted on lap 25 and put on the tyres that you ran to the end of the grand prix. When was that decision made? And how do you keep your tyres in when we saw the McLarens and many other drivers struggling with hopeless grip by the end?

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, it was a risky move but as I said, we are in a position in the championship where we have nothing to lose. To finish second in the race or to finish fifth: it doesn't matter too much to be honest so we push, we take care of the tyres, the car was performing really well in the race. And the fans pushed us a little bit to gain some extra tenths today.

Q:
This man [Vettel] had some speed you just couldn't live with though.

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, they were too fast all weekend and we have to congratulate them for a fantastic weekend and next time we will try to do better.

Q:
Kimi, you had a back problem in qualifying. Has that affected you during the race?

Kimi Raikkonen:
Luckily not too much but now afterwards it's not 100 per cent but it doesn't matter: we have two weeks' time to rest and get it right. I think we did the best that we could and finished third, so I don't think we could have achieved much more today.

Q:
You had to be patient through that race. You really had to believe that you could still be there at the end and take the places when they were there and not make mistakes.

Kimi Raikkonen:
Yeah, I think I had pretty OK speed and then I could overtake a few people and then in the end I was following Jenson and I could see that his tyres were going off so I just gave some pressure and then I have to get past him because obviously some people changed to new tyres and they were catching us quickly. I managed to pass him and pull away and luckily nobody managed to catch me in the end. So not too bad.

Q:
You say very calmly “I managed to pass him” but it was around the outside at Turn 14. It was at tricky one.

Kimi Raikkonen:
Yeah, maybe it looks more tricky. Obviously you have more grip when you brake on the line and you know more or less where you have to brake. Much easier than inside. So, not an easy one but we managed to get past and that's the main thing.

Q:
Sebastian, it's looking pretty good isn't it? But it's always this man [Alonso] who seems to be chasing you, up here on the podium with you.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, it's incredible but to be honest with you I'm not really looking at the championship too much. Obviously we're in a very good position, very strong position but I'm enjoying the moment. Days like today, like yesterday when you can feel the tension. I'm enjoying the moment. I love racing and the car's fantastic and it doesn't happen, as I said, by accident. Whilst there's a lot of people hanging their balls in the pool very early on Fridays, we're still here working very hard and pushing very hard so that we have a strong race. Days like this it's just a pleasure to be in the car. The guys are completely committed, fully behind us, so it's great.

Press Conference

Q:
Sebastian, as always, Singapore, a safety car features somewhere, it cut your lead early on, it obviously presented an opportunity in terms of strategy for others around you – but you used the word 'control' in your message to the team on the slow-down lap and I guess that's really what today was really all about. An incredible demonstration – the whole weekend – of control.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, well, I mean it doesn't happen just like that. It was surely not easy to get everything right all weekend. Extremely happy though. I think the whole team can be extremely proud. I know how much work is going in. Here obviously we have a funny rhythm. When it's nine o'clock the curfew kicks in. That's when our mechanics leave the track on Saturday morning. They are flat out checking everything on the car they can. Same with the engineers, late hours in the office here but also in the factory. So there's a lot of team effort going in. If we have results like today where we have the luxury to control the race at some stage, then it's because of those late hours, because of the commitment that goes in from everybody. It's just a privilege to be part of the team and be part of that. To enjoy the moment completely. It's one of my favourite races here. I've won here three times in a row – which is incredible – so I'm just extremely happy with that and extremely happy to be with the team at this stage.

Q:
Obviously the decisive moment of the race was the start. Rosberg initially got ahead of you but then you managed to come back around the back of him and get him into Turn Three. Can you give us that from your point of view in a little detail?

Sebastian Vettel:
The lights went off, I thought I reacted pretty well but was a bit lazy to get off the line. I thought that Nico might still be there. He was and we were side-by-side, kind of, so I had to give him room. But fortunately he was braking quite deep into Turn One and I was able to come back on the inside to get the position. Fortunately the next corner was a left-hander so I got in front and from there we had a very, very strong pace. Safety car didn't help but also I think didn't hurt us. In the very end obviously we had a new set of Supersoft, compared to those guys, they were obviously on very old Primes so by then we could control the race. Don't forget there is 1.5s difference between the tyres.

Q:
Fernando, another Alonso special. Seventh on the grid, second at the finish. Obviously your brilliant start contributed to that but also the strategy and a brave call to pit under the safety car and go to the finish on a set of mediums. What is that? 36 laps? How did that feel in the cockpit?

Fernando Alonso:
It was not easy, obviously, to finish the race with those tyres but we commit to that strategy when we pit under the safety car and we were controlling the pace all through the last stint thanks to the gap that we managed to build. Yes, the start again was very good and I was lucky to choose the right line. On Turn One there is always people going on the left, people going on the right in every circuit. We've managed so far to choose the right one. And then we were third which was already a good result for us. But when we didn't stop Rosberg pitting in the safety car, we decided to pit and to try something different. We were too slow this weekend. We were not in a level that we should be. We try a little bit different things and it pay off at the end with a fantastic second place. For us it tastes like a victory today.

Q:
You say you were too slow. You bought updates this weekend hoping it would get you closer to the pace of the Red Bull. That hasn't come through. You're now 60 points behind with six races to go. Does it feel like kind of a water torture? Do you have a trick? Do you have any thoughts on how you can turn this around?

Fernando Alonso:
Well obviously we have to be realistic. A few races to go already, the gap is still increasing every weekend and now it's sixty points. So, as I said, we need to be honest with ourselves and knowing that we need a lot of luck. We don't need luck in Korea; we need luck in Korea, in Japan, in India, in Abu Dhabi… we need luck every weekend if we are one second off the pace. We need a lot of luck. On the other hand, we are a very uncomfortable opponent, I think, because if we get that luck, we will be there.

Q:
Kimi, when you put those tyres on, did you know you were going to try to go on the finish on them – and what in your mind did you think was possible at stage?

Kimi Raikkonen:
We had a plan and we know that what moment, if the safety car comes, we try to go until the end, so I knew what will happen and luckily some other teams couldn't do it and had to pit. I was kind of stuck behind Jenson for most of the race but then I tried to give him some pressure and keep him pushing so I noticed that he started running out of his tyres and I could start to get in closer and closer. In the end I decided to try to pass him and managed to get past – because there were people who stopped for the fresh tyres who were catching very quickly but luckily once I got past I could push a bit more and keep the gap big enough to end it in third place. After the weekend where we had some problems with myself and not the ideal setup with all those things and where we were yesterday, finishing third, I don't think we could have asked much more.

Q:
Can you describe the back problem you've been suffering from and how do you feel right now?

Kimi Raikkonen:
I didn't feel it too much during the race but obviously afterwards it's not ideal and yesterday it was pretty bad. I almost didn't drive, so between that and finishing third I think we have to be happy – and hopefully we can sort those problems for the next race. It's not the first time. For a long time there have been some issues with my back. I know that I have some work to do at the end of the year so we have to see what we do.

Transcript Courtesy FIA


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