Crash.Net F1 News
British GP - Post-race press conference - Pt.2
8 July 2012
Drivers: Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing).
Questions from the floor:
Q: (Dan Knutson – Honorary).
Congratulations Mark. As you say this season will be nip and tuck but you have points every race but one, you're the second guy to win twice – it must give you confidence that you're going to be in the thick of this championship fight.
Absolutely, I'm not low on confidence at the moment. It's going well. I think in Barcelona we didn't help ourselves with the strategy in qualifying to put ourselves outside the Q3 by being too optimistic about the pace of the car for that Sunday afternoon. So, overall, so far so good. We will enjoy today's result, really soak it up. That's what's important. You have to remember how hard we work for these results and tomorrow morning, it's Hockenheim. That's what it has to be about. I think it's a long, long season. I'm not getting too fired up about any particular championship positions at the moment. But what is for sure is that I have a nice haul of points to keep going with. I'm not sitting on 20 points trying to start my campaign from here. So it's going well so far.
Q: (Leonid Novozhilov - F1 Life).
Mark, you are in second place in the championship. Now you're ahead of Sebastian Vettel by 16 points. Will you continue to attack, or let Sebastian Vettel overtake you?
Yeah. I think at Hockenheim we will let Seb through! No, honestly, I will try to give your question some decent respect. Look, it's a championship for all of us. I've had a good run in the last few races. Obviously Seb had a retirement when leading Valencia so that's the way it's been. I've been there to have two very special victories so far this year, albeit in different circumstances. As I say, I would rather have the points that I have than those that some other people have. I'm not looking at who is third, fourth, fifth. I am looking at the little guy next to me and he's going well as well, so we need to keep pushing hard.
Q: (Peter Windsor - ClarkSport).
Fernando, a couple of questions: how much did being on pole influence your decision on tyre choice? I wondered whether there was an element of being conservative at the start because you were on pole. And secondly, your second stint, was the length of that defined by covering Mark? Could you have gone longer in a perfect world in that second stint and perhaps made more use of the tyre at that point?
I think tyre choice was a little bit determined by the pace we saw in FP3, the little dry running that we had. We felt more confident on the hards so it was our preferred choice today. And then, if at any point of the race it had rained and we put on intermediates you didn't have to use the softs any more so it was a better combination of possibilities that the hard gave us today. And then the length of the stint? I think the second was quite close to the limit of the number of laps. Maybe we could have lasted a couple of extra laps in the first one.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo).
Fernando, this is more or less a similar question: when you stopped on the 37th lap, you had 15 laps ahead of you on the softer tyre. You did only 12 on the harder tyre at the beginning. Did you think you could finish the race in good conditions with the tyres.
No, I was confident in the tyres, to be honest, because Felipe used the soft tyre in the first stint and I think he did 14 laps, so 14 laps with maybe a heavy car in the first stint and we were 15 laps to the end with a light car. So we were quite convinced the softs were OK but they were a little bit slower, obviously a little bit too much understeer, so the balanced changed and killed the performance of the car a little bit and we were a bit too slow. We knew, more or less, that the soft was a little bit slower, so we needed to open up a gap in the first two stints when we were on different tyres to Mark and we knew that that gap was for sure getting closer and closer at the end when we put on the softs, and what we opened up at the beginning was not enough.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo).
And for both Red Bull drivers, after the astonishing performance in Valencia, if it hadn't have rained here, did you expect more from the car during the race?
Obviously we got some confidence with our car in Valencia. I think that before then, we'd been finding our way with the new regulations, but I think we understood a little bit more about the RB8 in Valencia, and that has been an on-going process here. Potential is an over-used word but we've got to try and get the most out of the car in all conditions. I think we've definitely improved the car from Barcelona, this is an even quicker circuit, and also what you have to keep in mind is if you're a little bit out of the balance window here – not with the tyres but I mean balance chassis-wise - aerodynamically around here you are in big big trouble, so we had to tune the car as everyone did, as the weekend went on. We learned a lot in P3, the only dry running we had, so I think we're very happy with the car around here. Probably not had the advantage that we had in… obviously Seb had a clean Grand Prix. I was in a bit of traffic but Valencia was probably a bit stronger, but here we won the race. So it turned out OK. Fernando wasn't slow, but I think the team's done a great performance with the car here.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport).
Mark, this morning you told me that wet conditions would be better for you, given the temperature. Do you think that the temperature increase at the end affected your performance a little bit?
When I saw you this morning, we only had the (dry) running from P3, which, to be honest, wasn't particularly smooth sailing for us. We had a look at what Fernando had done in that session and he looked very good on balance and his sectors were pretty strong, taking into account fuel loads or whatever, we thought Fernando looked pretty good, so we had that in mind, going into the race, obviously, how we would go. Don't forget last year as well; he gave us a hiding during the Grand Prix as well through balance and overall high speed performance and grip, if you like, so Ferrari has always been pretty strong here, and Fernando as well. So in the end, a little bit surprised that we were maybe as competitive as we were in the dry, but hey, it's a great problem to have and we put together a great Grand Prix today.
Q: (Sean McGreevy – CSMA Club Magazine).
Mark, you're consistently successful at Silverstone. What do you enjoy, what do you like about racing here?
Well, this morning I took the dogs for a run. The good thing about going home to them is that they don't know if I've had a shit day or a good day, they're always happy to see me. It's good to be staying at home. All of us know how much we love hotels so it's just good to be at home and even though it's my job and it's all sportsmen and women's jobs to enjoy - whether you're a golfer, tennis player, racing driver – you have to enjoy or get the most out of every venue that you race at but it's only natural that there is... like Fernando in Barcelona, there is that extra little bit that makes you a little bit more relaxed and a bit more comfortable, which you try and replicate at every single Grand Prix, but with all due respect, it's not the same at Hockenheim. I love racing everywhere but here it's extra special. As I say, I won my first race here in '96 in a Formula Ford so the love affair continues.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport).
Sebastian, when you look at your lap times, you were OK in sector one and three, maybe even the fastest, but you were consistently lost out in sector two. What was the problem there?
I don't know. I got told we lose a little bit too much in the second sector. We probably had a little bit of trouble in the fast stuff at the end of the race, so I think all in all we were quite competitive, but yes, we lost out in the second sector so we need to see why that was. Generally I felt pretty happy. In the last stint, to be honest, I wasn't so happy with the car, I picked up a lot of vibrations. I don't know why as I didn't have a lock-up or anything. We need to have a look why that was. I have one question: does anybody have a clue about the tennis? What's the score? Three all in the first set.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L'Equipe).
Mark, you said that from the outside the race was not spectacular; what is the main difficulty for you during that race? Managing the tyres, the start, overtaking Fernando?
Yes, understanding the pace to do and to have the range to split the race evenly, for a two stop Grand Prix. That was the main focus, to make sure that I could get to the stop lap which the guys were trying to predict me to hit, which pit stop lap they wanted me to hit, and get there with the best combination of pace and tyre life. Ultimately that is the best way to get to the chequered flag. Obviously you put a lot of faith in the pit wall. The guys are helping you to work out what level of pace you run at, and also balancing the car at the pit stops was important, working with the guys on the front wing. We made quite a big adjustment at the first stop after my first stint and then I was much happy with the car in the second and third stints.
Q: (Manuel Franco - AS).
Fernando and Sebastian, is the second victory for Mark and second in the championship a surprise for you?
No, not really. I think Mark had a difficult season last year with a little bit too big a difference than normal with Sebastian, but in 2010 he was leading the championship until Korea so he's not new in this position of fighting for the World Championships. This year, with all the tricky conditions and all the different winners we saw in this strange championship so far, I think Mark is good with those difficulties.
Not much to add. Obviously I have the advantage in that he's in the same team so I can see what he's doing but I don't think it's a surprise.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere Della Sera).
Fernando, you told us about your mixed feelings: are you more worried to have lost seven points to Mark or you will maybe be more happy to have gained on Sebastian?
I think at the moment, as far as I'm leading, I'm more happy than worried. If Mark was leading the championship, I would be worried about losing another seven points, but at the moment, the weekend in general has been fantastic for us, because we left Valencia with maybe an emotional win, a lot of points in our pocket, compared to our rivals in the championship and we arrived at Silverstone, a completely different circuit, we didn't know how the car was performing here. We had a very difficult qualifying for everybody yesterday and we survived that qualifying with pole position and today we also had a tricky race. We didn't know what the weather was doing and I think the car performed well, we avoided any contact, any accidents that might happen at the start or in some battles. We are again bringing home more points than we probably expected, because when we arrived on Thursday, if someone had told us that we would leave on Sunday with 18 points again, I think we would have been very happy.
Q: (Ted Kravitz – Sky)
Is it Federer you're going for Sebastian?
Q: (Ted Kravitz – Sky).
There was a message on the radio that you should use Torque Five or something like that. Was there a technical reason why you didn't have Mark's pace today, and looking to your home race in Germany, what are your thoughts on that, a race that I don't think you've won?
No, we didn't have any problems. When you face your stint, you know roughly how many laps you want to do etc, etc and you try to manage the tyres at their best and you try to use the tools that you have in the car. Obviously you can change your front wing settings at the pit stop, but other than that, once you are out on the circuit, you haven't got that much to play with. You can play a little bit with the diff, obviously adjust your driving and adjust the mapping from the engine point of view. It's hard to bring it down to lap time, but it's just more driver comfort, what you prefer at the time. And yeah, obviously I'm looking forward to the next race, looking forward to Germany. It should be a very good one for us. I feel the car is picking up speed, so I definitely feel happier since the last race. This one… I think we struggled last year here, in particular. Ferrari had the upper hand so I think this year we had a much better balanced car in that regard. So it seems we are on the right track so let's see if I succeed this year. It's a race like every other. Sure it would be very special to win, but I don't score more points just by winning my home race.
Q: (Mark Fogarty – Auto Action).
Fernando, if there is a change in your team next year, would you like to have Mark as your teammate?
I don't know. I think it's just imaginary pictures. I need to put something on my shoes to be a little bit taller. That would be the only thing if I changed teammates. For the rest, it doesn't matter. I would be happy with any teammate. I say again, I'm extremely happy with Felipe. Today, again, he showed the performance that he can do, with a normal race, trouble free etc. We will see what the team decides.
Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawkes Bay Today).
Mark, does today's result make a difference to where you might drive next year, given that you've got number two on your cap and that seemed like a number one drive?
It helps my situation to stay in Formula One. At the start of the year I didn't have a contract, I'm pushing to get a contract for next year. Going reasonably well, got a few points, a couple of wins and I will work very hard to try and stay in Formula One next year. So, the answer is no.