Malaysian GP - Post-qualifying press conference - Pt.2
24 March 2012
Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (1st, McLaren), Jenson Button (2nd, McLaren), Michael Schumacher (3rd, Mercedes)
Questions from the floor
Q: (Frederic Ferret - L'Equipe)
To all of you, are you surprised that Red Bull is longer any good in qualifying?
It's quite clear that last year they had a huge advantage with the blown diffuser and they don't have that now. Everyone's a lot more equal.
Well, they're not bad, they're fourth and fifth on the grid so it's not terrible. We definitely had an advantage today, it was a lot smaller than in Melbourne and we did a very good job today. If they've got everything out of the car, yes, we're two tenths quicker than him. It's small, it's not the advantage that we've seen over the last couple of years. And the race is a very different thing, I think they proved that in the last race. Obviously Sebastian got a bit lucky with the safety car but still, their pace was good in the race so we expect that again.
It's a tight business and Red Bull, as Jenson mentioned, looks a bit stronger in race conditions rather than in qualifying conditions, because it's all very close together, it's not so surprising. It's surprising that there are quite a few other teams close around, like us. I wouldn't have expected to be that close, glad I am here as well as in Australia because those are two completely different tracks and that is obviously a good indication for the rest of the season.
Q: (Marco Degl'Innocenti - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Michael, you said you were surprised because some other teams are closer but one team is a little less close now. Are you surprised at Ferrari?
I think we all expected – or we still can expect - Ferrari to be back up there on top. It's obvious that they're not at the moment. I guess they understand their reasons but whenever you have a reason, it will take time to fix and it's just a matter of giving them this time, but I have no doubt that sooner or later they will be back up there.
Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto, Motor und Sport)
Lewis and Jenson, Sebastian Vettel qualified on a hard tyre today, can that be an advantage?
I don't think so. I think the tyres are pretty close in terms of lap time. They obviously see a positive in it, otherwise they wouldn't have done it, so somebody obviously thinks there is a reason for doing it, and thinks that it's an advantage. But you've still got to run the option tyre and who is to say that it's slower or the degradation's worse? It's difficult to know, really.