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Spanish GP - Post-race press conference - Pt.2

13 May 2012

Drivers present: Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

Questions from the Floor

Q: Leonid Novozhilov - F1 Life
Kimi, second place in Bahrain, third place in Spain; is this the maximum for you or can you win?

Kimi Raikkonen:
The fact is the reason why I'm disappointed is because in the end if we have done everything right, we could have put ourselves into first place. The car has been fast enough but we've been doing small things not correctly and I've done some mistakes on my side but if everything was 100 percent OK we could have won. There's no issue with the speed of the car, but it's so close between all the teams and drivers that if you have a small problem or a small issue during the weekend then it's going to cost you a lot. If you're three tenths behind then you're suddenly not in the last qualifying. As you give yourself the chance to be fighting at the front, I think our car can do it but everything has to fall in the right place to be able to win.

Q: Leonid Novozhilov - F1 Life
Pastor, you are now a national hero. Are you ready?

Pastor Maldonado:
For sure everyone is so happy in my country. I'm very lucky to have a country behind me, pushing so hard, to see me here in F1 and especially to be here, between these guys. I'm pretty happy for Venezuela, I'm happy for Williams as well. They did a wonderful job to give me a great car for this race. We are getting better and better, race after race.

Q: Adrian Huber - Agencia EFE
Fernando, after the first five races, and all the problems you're supposed to have in your team, no one has scored more points than you have now. How much more confident are you today than you were on Thursday, or on the inside were you expecting this?

Fernando Alonso:
No, I am a definitely surprised by the quantity of points that we have; I'm a bit surprised by today's result, or the weekend's results. We were confident of improving the car, we were hoping for some signs of improvement here in Barcelona. As I said, in Bahrain, we were nearly out of Q3 and then in the race, P9, one minute behind the leaders, so we arrived in Barcelona with some hope, some optimism about the upgrades but I think the result, the overall weekend pace has been a little bit better than expected, because we were quick in qualifying and quick in the race but this, in my opinion or how I feel after the weekend, I still don't know where we are. I think we need to wait for more races, for the championship to stabilise a little bit because I think we maybe over-performed a little bit compared with the potential we have and maybe some other teams under-performed or they had some problems to get their tyres working or something, because, as I said, some of the results that we saw this weekend feel very strange.

Q: Carlos Miguel - La Gaceta
Fernando, if we take a look at the race, maybe it was a bad decision to stop so late after Pastor after you'd had the problem with the Marussia because it's so important in F1 to stay in front from the aerodynamic point of view.

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, obviously you never know. After the race it's always easier to review the strategy. The choice was always to stop on the same lap or one lap later than Pastor, always try to cover the position. When Williams decided to stop in the second pit stop, we had one Marussia in front of us for a lap and a half. When we saw that in the second sector, we were already exiting behind Pastor so at that point, we decided to keep going for a few more laps and try to get the opportunity at the end of the race, with a shorter stint. I think we didn't lose the win because of the Marussia because if you had the pace in the last stint, you had to overtake Pastor and we didn't because they were faster than us, but for sure, we went out of the plan because of the backmarker.

Q: Jaime Rodriguez - El Mundo
Pastor, could you explain the start of the race, because you had a good fight with Fernando, and I want to know if you've received congratulations from your president in Venezuela?

Pastor Maldonado:
You know it wasn't the best start ever from us. I think the clutch slipped quite a lot. Fernando had a better jump than us. It was so close, I tried to defend the position but he was already on the better part of the track, so I decided to back off and follow him. At that moment, I thought that the race was long and we changed our strategy, to attack Ferrari. I think from the second stop we did pretty good and I think we surprised them because we did it so early. And the call? No, not yet because I was on the podium before, so no time to even see my family, my people. Maybe he will call. I don't know.

Q: Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat
Fernando and Kimi, did you believe that Pastor could be your main rival today, and if not, how big a surprise is it?

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, I think so. We saw in general that during the weekend that Williams was good. Lewis was maybe the favourite for this race after the pace we saw from Ferrari on Friday and the pole position by half a second yesterday. With Lewis's penalty, Pastor was the strongest at the front so no surprises.

Kimi Raikkonen:
Williams have been quite fast for two races in certain points and I think, as we've said before, it's very difficult to say who is really the quickest overall because at one race one team is there and then suddenly they are tenth in the next race, so it's bit of an odd situation where we are this year, but it gives a lot of chances for all the teams who have the speed and when the tyres are working for them they are much better than the others. The tyres seem to be the key thing. If you get them working well you seem to be fast. Sometimes you just drop out of the window a little bit and you have a hard time.

Q: Marco degli Innocenti - La Gazzetta dello Sport
Pastor you are the fifth winner in five races, so the top of the field seems to be very close. Do you put Williams and yourself among the possible winners of the championship?

Pastor Maldonado:
For sure we are a little bit backwards compared with the leaders, with Fernando and Vettel, but we need to keep working. We are not the best team at the moment. The car looked pretty good today, but I think we need to keep pushing some particulars at Williams, especially in the car, but everything is possible. The gaps are so close at the moment, I'm driving well, I have a good feeling with the team, with the car, so everything is possible. For sure we are looking to do our best, looking forward to winning some races, to getting a couple more podiums and I'm really happy because the team hasn't won many races for many years so this is a great moment for us. I hope to continue like that.

Q: Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo
Pastor, you were in the same team last season. When you finished the season you were in front of only three teams: Marussia, Hispania and Caterham, and now you are in front of all of them; what has happened to explain such a change in performance from one season to another?

Pastor Maldonado:
We made big changes in the factory, we have new staff in some of the departments and completely changed the approach to building the car. I need to say that this year's car has great performance, great potential to become even stronger than it is and for sure, this is great for motivation, to motivate the team, the factory, to keep pushing like that. I think this is the way. We are motivated and we need to keep pushing.

Q: Adrian Huber - Agencia EFE
Pastor, it looks like this could be a very long Sunday in Venezuela. Do you have any information as to what's going on now or can you imagine what might happen there?

Pastor Maldonado:
I can imagine that there will be a party everywhere but I don't know at the moment. I need to see some of the fans, my family there. I think everybody who saw the race and for sure all the people are happy at the moment and this is great for Venezuela after nearly thirty years without any driver in F1, so I think it's a great moment for our country.

Q: Michael Schmidt - Auto, Motor und Sport
Fernando, you have already said that at the moment everything is possible and not many things are explainable which is very strange for F1. I don't think we ever had this situation before. Do you, as a driver, enjoy this uncertainty or would you like to have some more answers on open questions?

Fernando Alonso:
I don't know. I don't know how to answer. We probably like the unknown situation that we have now, so you arrive in Monaco next Wednesday and you don't know if you will be a winner or if you will be out of the points. That's what we feel at the moment, not only for us. But in a way, after eleven years in F1 and seeing Ferrari dominate most of them, now that I'm at Ferrari, I would like to have more stability and a dominant car.


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