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Indian GP - Post-qualifying press conference - Pt.1

29 October 2011

Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Mark Webber (Red Bull).



TV unilaterals


Q:
Sebastian, a new record, 16th pole of the year for your team and, you personally, seemed to have something in hand out there in qualifying?

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, it was a good session for us. New circuit, new venue, tricky for all of us first time round in qualifying. I think it was tricky. We have seen all weekend with the dust on the track so in the end we ended up with one racing line clear of dirt and just a little bit out it makes you lose a lot of time so it was quite tricky. But I think we managed pretty well. The car was fantastic, to be honest since yesterday, this morning as well and throughout qualifying. I think in the end there was a little bit left in the first sector. It is quite tricky, I think we saw some people going for two times laps, others only one. I think then it becomes a bit trickier to hit the first sector. There is a long straight as well after Turn Three so you want to make sure you don't lose time so I am extremely happy. It is good to be here. I think it is a very interesting race, a challenging circuit, looking forward to tomorrow and first time in India so excited to race tomorrow.

Q:
Lewis, it was close after the first run in Q3, then you aborted your final run and, of course, you are moving three places back on the grid as well so your thoughts really on qualifying today?

Lewis Hamilton:
It was interesting that you smile about that. No, really it has been a good day for me. I am quite surprised that we were able to split the Red Bulls and it is great to be on the front row in terms of how we qualified. Of course, we had the penalty which was a bit of a silly mistake from myself and I have paid the price but from tomorrow we have good race pace and it is a long race with two DRS zones so overtaking should be a lot easier than perhaps other places. I am still optimistic regardless of where I start.

Q:
Mark, Red Bull looks good around here. Your thoughts on the race tomorrow and what you can do on this new track?

Mark Webber:
Yeah, as Seb said it has been a good challenge for all of us, new venue. Tricky to work out the right strategy for qualifying. The tyres weren't easy for one timed laps so we had to work out how we were going to do the strategy. Lots of teams tried different styles to get the best lap time out of the car. First sector it was tricky to get right on one time. I could have done better in the first sector on my only run basically and then I got yellow flags with Felipe (Massa), so I couldn't do my second lap. But overall good job from the team. Came to a new venue but prepared well and have laid a good foundation for a good race tomorrow.

Q:
Sebastian, the race tomorrow, any plans for what you will do if you and Mark are running one and two towards the end of the race?

Sebastian Vettel: No, we will see. First we have to get there and as Lewis said it is a long race. Lewis starts in fifth I think, Fernando (Alonso) behind and Jenson (Button) as well so they will surely put a lot of pressure on us. We will see. It is a long race. It is a new track, we don't now really how the tyres will respond. It looked as if the tyres should last quite a while but we have seen a couple of surprises so we will find out tomorrow. It is not the time now to worry about those things. First we have to race, race hard, enjoy and then see where we are. I think Mark and myself we obviously target to win the race. Ideally, we want to finish in one-two so it is going to be an interesting race tomorrow.



Press conference


Q:
Sebastian, the pace today just seems remarkable?

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, I was pretty happy. Happy with the balance yesterday which I think was the foundation and happy throughout qualifying. Q1 was managing the traffic et cetera but we made it through on the hard tyre which was essential. Q2 I think was pretty smooth, we only needed one lap. Then we decided for Q3 to go, again, one timed lap whilst others decided to go for two laps so different strategies to get the tyres up to speed. Not easy then to hit the lap straight away especially the first sector as there aren't many corners in the first sector so you can't really warm the tyres up there. Second and third sectors are a different story as then you have got a lot of fast corners. But all in all I am very happy. A great session for us and the car was fantastic. In the end the lap was fine but it wasn't 100 per cent, a little bit here and there, but I think you always come out of the car thinking that maybe here and there you could have gained a bit of time. But overall very happy with the result. It is good to start the race from the front tomorrow and I think it is going to be an interesting race.

Q:
You have mentioned that going off-line it is very dirty. How much of a hazard is that going to be tomorrow when you are lapping people?

Sebastian Vettel:
We all want to race so the people who are in the front of the field and the people who get lapped, we all want to stay on the racing line and drive our own race so could be tricky. Off-line it is quite dusty and depending on where you have to go off-line or where you are forced to go off-line to maybe lap another car to make a pass could be critical for the next couple of corners. It is not only you lose in that corner where you went off-line but also afterwards just to get the tyres back to the grip level you had before. In this regard it could be interesting, especially at the beginning of the race it will be quite slippery. We have seen that at the beginning of all the sessions. To be honest, once the dust had gone the asphalt is very, very grippy and the cars stick to the ground. All in all they did a great job. It is a new track and first time we have been other places there has always been a little bit here and a little bit there. I think it was not an easy project, but you don't really see much of that apart from a bit of dust on the cars.

Q:
Lewis, you aborted your second run that time. It looked as though you lost a little bit of time in the second sector. Was that the reason why>

Lewis Hamilton:
No, it just wasn't a better lap. My first lap was very, very good. Probably as much as I could have got out of the car. I think I may have been able to get maybe half-a-tenth or a tenth maybe but it was very much on the limit on the second run. I was a tenth down going into turn 15 but I didn't see much point in wasting the tyres for a potential half-a-tenth or something so I came in. But overall very, very happy with my position. I am starting from fifth but this is as good as I could really have hoped for and the track is actually really great as Sebastian just said. I think real congratulations to the people here in India who have put together this circuit as it is not breaking up and it is really fantastic to drive.

Q:
You gave the impression yesterday that there was more to come. Was there much changes made overnight?

Lewis Hamilton:
I don't think I did.

Q:
OK, I got the wrong impression. Was there much changes made overnight?

Lewis Hamilton:
No.

Q:
So you were pretty much straight on the set-up that you wanted?

Lewis Hamilton:
Yeah.

Q:
That hasn't evolved with the track?

Lewis Hamilton:
No, not really. Through the session you put on more front wing but otherwise not really made any changes throughout the weekend. Simulator – track, the correlation seems to be quite good.

Q:
Mark, you might have been starting third but you are starting second. I don't know if there is a clean or a dirty side here yet?

Mark Webber:
It doesn't look like it, but we will find out tomorrow. It was an interesting session. Qualy around here was always going to be pretty interesting given what we saw in P3 and also yesterday with what we saw with the tyres and how they are behaving and how you prepare them and get them ready. We saw some different strategies, people looking to do a few laps, people electing to do one lap. First sector is very tricky when you do one timed so definitely left some change on the table there myself, but after that I was pretty happy with the lap. I haven't seen Seb's second lap as I didn't get to do mine because of the yellow flag so pretty happy with the recovery from P2 when I was in a bit of strife really. Feel much, much happier with the car now and we have certainly done what we can to help it for the race so looking forward to it.

Q:
How much did you change as yesterday you said it didn't seem to be so good yesterday?

Mark Webber:
Yeah, quite a lot. We are also at a point in the season when you can also try and test a few things so we started off very well in P1, both of us obviously, and Seb had a pretty smooth P2. Mine was less smooth just for different reasons because we always try to improve the car and also try to gain some experience for future references so in the end we basically went back to a lot of the stuff. Like Lewis said the simulators are pretty good these days but you just don't quite know how the grip level is going to go on the track, but it is not too bad and it is probably the smoothest track in the world actually. It is very, very smooth and it is pretty quick and exciting. I think the debris off-line will get worse during the race and in the quick chicanes we are going to have a lot of much when people are making some errors here and there so that's going to happen. But, generally, it should be fine.


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