Australian GP - Post-qualifying press conference - Pt.1
17 March 2013
Participants: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Note: the post-qualifying press conference was held on Sunday rather than the scheduled Saturday, due to qualifying been abandoned because of heavy rain and fading light at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Australia.
Sebastian, surely that was the best way possible to start the season?
Yes, obviously it's been a very good weekend so far for us, I have to say. Obviously, we came out of winter testing and didn't know what to expect, but since Friday we got into the groove, I had a good feeling with the car, so I think we confirmed that in all conditions. Obviously a bit tricky yesterday and I think it was the right decision to call off qualifying and continue today but the main task is coming this afternoon.
And the team seemed to run it absolutely right. I think you probably had another lap to go if necessary right at the end?
Yeah, but then obviously with these conditions there is the fact of always getting quicker just because the circuit dries up and you get more confidence, you know, the exits of the corner when you turn in. You can adjust the amount of risk you take but obviously there is always the tyres. The supersoft used by the majority of people, or everyone, is very good for one lap but you can definitely feel the step down in grip, so we'll see what happens this afternoon. But for now a perfect result for us as a team. Mark in second, so I think it's a great way to start the race but it will be a long race. Weather-wise I'm not sure what is going to happen, probably a little bit better than it was so far but we'll see.
And surprisingly, perhaps, this is fairly similar to Barcelona testing in terms of temperatures.
Yeah, so that's what we are going to find out – whether it's similar in terms of tyre wear this afternoon. Could be quite funny. I think it will be all about watching after the tyres. We've had a lot of practice in winter testing, the temperatures were very different; the circuit was very different. I think that's the main difference, even though now it seems a bit cooler than the last couple of days.
Mark, you're equal best ever grid position here. What are your hopes for this afternoon?
Yeah, first of all I think it was a great job from the team. Very, very tricky in those conditions and also very easy to make errors on any side – driver, procedurally, planning, all sorts of stuff. We survived the small bullets yesterday and then also got through today's session with not far off the maximum we could get. In the end it was very chaotic, very difficult to get all the planning right. I think all the drivers are probably quite frustrated that they didn't put slick a little bit earlier because it was just the third sector that was a little bit wet and you're not quite sure h0ow the slick will take – the intermediate was well out of bed, you're not sure how the slick will go. In the end it was a good quali and as you say this afternoon we're now in a position to have a good afternoon. Five per cent of the job's done. We know that the big stuff's this afternoon, looking forward to the race. Unusually we finish quali and talk to you guys and we've got to get ready for the race now. Certainly we're ready for it. I'm ready. The team's ready, so looking forward to it.
What can you do about that chap [Sebastian] beside you?
Well, yeah, there's got to be some calls made today on tyres and strategy and see how the balance of the cars are, and yeah, so it's going to be a tight grand prix, potentially. But also if you're not in the window with the tyres or having the balance where you need to be… it's so early in the Championship for all of us on these tyres and working out how we're going to execute a long grand prix, so things can blow open as well. I think we've done as much as we can in Europe. As you say, temperatures are very similar to Barcelona today – if not the same. 13 [°C] track or something like that. Quite uncanny really – but that's just the way it is. Seb's always a strong competitor and he's one of many out there that can go OK – but I'm confident I can have a good race.
Lewis, looking back at yesterday afternoon, I guess it's quite a relief to be sitting there.
Definitely, definitely, the guys did a fantastic job to get us out on time. It was very tricky out there but I'm very happy I got the job done. Obviously these guys [Sebastian and Mark] were incredibly quick but I'm really happy with the job we've done. And to be this far up coming into this season – I said yesterday that it was a blessing they moved it to today and it really was.
Presumably you were able to put on a new rear-wing because it was damaged – even though the cars were in parc ferme?
Well, it was during the session, so yeah.
Third-fastest with a new team as well, that must be a great satisfaction.
It is: it's incredible. What an incredible job the team have done. To come from last year where they were struggling quite a lot to now. I really feel we have a car that we can really work on. It's a great foundation to build upon throughout the year – so keep up the good work guys.