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

7 October 2012

Questions From The Floor

Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera)
Felipe, you had a great day and Fernando was unlucky but the question is, do you believe that the pace of the Ferrari is enough to match Red Bull now?

Felipe Massa:
Well, let's say not on this track. I think that on this track Sebastian has incredible pace compared to all the other cars. We saw that in qualifying and in the race it was the same. Anyway, I think it changes from track to track. Maybe this was a track where they were stronger during the whole championship. I think we need to wait and see track to track. We need to keep pushing very hard, we need to work very hard in the factory too to bring the right pieces for the car as well and try. Nothing is finished for Fernando. He did many many good races until now. What happened today was not nice for him but these things happen in the championship. It's important that we push hard and concentrate on the next race. He's still leading the championship and that's important.

Q: (Paolo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Felipe, this was also a pretty important race for you and your future, also for you Kamui. Do think that this podium, for both of you, will help you to secure your seats at Ferrari and Sauber respectively for next season? Yesterday you said that this could be your last Suzuka. Is that true?

Felipe Massa:
I think so.

Kamui Kobayashi:
Yeah, I think so too.

Felipe Massa:
So, we think so.

Kamui Kobayashi:
We think so together, you know? We will have a good meeting tonight, to speak with our managers.

Q: (Paolo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Soon?

Felipe Massa:
Yeah. I think so!

Kamui Kobayashi:
I think so.

Q: (Frederic Ferret - L'Equipe)
Sebastian, your first title was won by you chasing; the second was you being chased. What is your view on what might be the third one?

Sebastian Vettel:
I don't know. I can answer your question when I'm fortunate enough to win for the third time. Whether that's this year or not I don't know. Like I said, I'm very careful. I think we had a long journey so far, and it's been a tough year. Still there are many races to go so today I don't want to talk about the championship. I know I finished in front of everyone today, I won the race, so I know that I scored more points than anybody else today but you don't know what happens next weekend. I think we have a very tough remainder of the season with a very new calendar for all of us, with a lot of back-to-back races. Basically next week Korea, then two races, one in India and Abu Dhabi, and then obviously America and Sao Paulo. I think there's still a long way to go and as I said, we have to focus on every single race and try to do our best and then we will see whether it's good enough. The target is to do our maximum in those five races, then we calculate our points. If it's enough, I think it's fantastic. If it's not then it's not the fault of these five or six races that we will do at the end.

Q: (Nobuaki Tadaki - Tokyo Sankei Shimbun)
Kamui-san, in the closing laps, Jenson was catching you and the podium was getting closer too and your many fans were cheering you. Would you please explain how you were feeling in that situation?

Kamui Kobayashi:
Well, it was a difficult moment. I think my tyre situation was quite tough. We spent more than 20 laps on them, especially in the last three laps my rear tyres were really getting bad. Of course, I needed to push, I could not slow down to save the tyres. Whatever I had, like oversteer, I had to really push. In the end, into the last lap, I was pretty sure I could hold Jenson because normally, I think, after the main straight, there is no chance to overtake on this track. Apart from that, I think getting on the podium but I was focusing on every lap because if I missed one corner, we could easily have lost my position so I think it was a good challenge for myself. And I think Jenson was pretty fast in the last stint. Finally, we survived and let's say it was a great job from the team, because they gave us great advice while I was driving, and I was pretty sure to hold him and I was very happy. Every fan was shaking their hands at me, especially on the last lap so it was fantastic.

Q: (Kate Walker - Girl Racer)
Sebastian, since you first started in F1 you've been breaking record after record. Today you equalled Fangio on wins, you now have 25 percent victories from your race starts. Do you find these constant statistics - the reminders of these statistics from the press a pressure at all or do you just forget about them and get on with the racing?

Sebastian Vettel:
No, I think they're very special. Obviously I'm not aware of those kind of numbers but I think that's a special thing about F1. We had great drivers in the past, great champions and great characters, and I think for all of us... when I said earlier the last time I was with Kamui on the podium it was probably in Formula Three and both of us had a dream for F1 but at the same time, you know you are a young guy, you are racing in Formula Three, you know it's only one or two steps away but then it's so far away still. There's only a handful of us, 24 drivers in F1. I think first of all you feel extremely fortunate and proud to be one of them and to race a F1 car, stand on the grid, winning a race, driving for championships. At the time we were racing in Formula Three this was so far away. Obviously I knew these kind of guys, when you talk about records. When I was young I was following F1 and Michael most of the time. But you never dreamed... imagined yourself being one of those guys and breaking any kind of record, even if it's just having the best start or something silly which would already make you extremely proud. I think it's an honour and as I said yesterday already, a circuit like this, where you really get to feel what the cars can do... unfortunately it's impossible to explain to you how it feels, so it's only something we share amongst ourselves and I think it's something we should not forget at any stage, and it's something very very special. I think it's one of the best jobs you can have in the world in my - in our - point of view, but then to be successful it obviously starts to feed on itself and makes it very very enjoyable.

Q: (Ted Kravitz - Sky Sport)
Sebastian, how important has qualifying been for you? You look at earlier on in the European season you've sometimes struggled to get even close to the front row. Now you've really been doing the job in qualifying. How key is that in the championship run-in, and also do you feel that this is finished business after this time last year when you were made to be conservative and not win for the championship?

Sebastian Vettel:
I think it's very important... at the beginning of the season I think there was a little bit of a trend of saying that qualifying was not that important this year because the races were very upside down. Some of the races changed completely in the last ten laps, but I think it still shows how important it is, to be well positioned after Saturday's qualifying for Sunday's race. If you then take an average of 15 races or whatever we've had so far and you see how important qualifying is still, I think it was important for us to make a step forward on Saturday. Still, I think it's very easy this year to not have the perfect Saturday afternoon - I experienced it last time two weeks ago in Singapore, how quickly it can change. I had a very good car, I was happy and everything seemed to work as per plan in Q1 and Q2. Then you arrive in Q3 and you don't understand why you can't go quicker. This morning I read an article about Felipe, or Felipe did an interview and I think he experienced the same thing yesterday. We do so many new sets of tyres, so many qualifyings and it's then difficult to say OK, I didn't get the grip on that run and it just didn't come together and that's why I was lacking the speed... because you always want an explanation, you want to find the reason why you weren't quick enough. It seems this year that cars are obviously much closer together and the window seems much narrower this year, to make the tyres work. You especially feel that in qualifying so that's why things can change quickly. You might get a messy qualifying even after a brilliant start and then it might compromise your whole weekend, so that's how quickly it can change.

Q: (Marco Dell'Innocenti - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Sebastian, at the end of the race, they said to you to be careful and in spite of it you set the fastest lap. Are you sure that nothing could happen, and secondly did you race with the double DRS today?

Sebastian Vettel:
Well, today in the race I wasn't really using DRS, so it didn't really matter. Fortunately I didn't have to use it. I think we've made improvements over the last couple of races. As I said earlier, qualifying was a bit our weakness and has seemed a little bit better in the last races.

At the end, I obviously wasn't trying to take any unnecessary risks. I was trying to control the gap to Felipe. I think last year I was sometimes in a similar situation with a gap of five or six seconds and trying to control the race too much and it got very close towards the end of the race, so I didn't want to lift at any stage. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't want to lose the focus and concentration and in the end, obviously I thought to myself maybe it's not the smartest thing but as I said, I wasn't trying to do something stupid but you don't get to race a car like that too often in your life, where you feel in control and the car is balanced and you're just very happy with what the car does, and how it behaves, so I was able to put some reasonably quick lap times in at the end.

Q: (Paolo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Felipe, was this the hardest one of the last six races for Ferrari on paper and what do you really have to do, where do have to concentrate the most to try to come back?

Felipe Massa:
Are you talking hard for Ferrari or hard for me? Well, I would say our car was competitive here, not compared with the Red Bulls, but I think we had very good pace in the race. We had very good pace in practice as well. When I did a long run on Friday I was one of the quickest guys on the track, so I think the car was good here. I'm sure Fernando would have done a good job today. But anyway, we need to improve, we need to bring more new pieces, we need to push in that direction, to improve the car. Just going back to the qualifying, I didn't have a good qualifying. Actually, I had a very good qualifying until the second set in Q2. Before that, I was always in the top five, top seven and I couldn't use the tyres. As Sebastian said, sometimes you have that opportunity and you cannot use it, and I didn't have any grip on the front tyres, and I think that was the biggest problem for my qualifying. I'm sure that starting in the top five would have been as the race was today, because I was fourth after corner three. Starting at the front is very important. The race is easier, you can control your tyres better and use the pace in a better direction. For sure, qualifying is very important.

Q: (Tetsuya Otani - Car Graphic)
Kamui, at the restart after the safety car, you had a pretty big gap in front of you, between Sebastian and you. What was the situation for you?

Kamui Kobayashi:
Actually I was stuck in gear. It was holding in first gear, it was already on the rev limiter and I couldn't shift up to second and I need to brake, so I was really surprised. Anyway, I couldn't fight with Sebastian. I didn't mind, I couldn't hold my position. He started pretty early, before, quite far away to the safety car line, so I had enough to recover. But it was a bit of a surprise.


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