Malaysian GP - Post-qualifying press conference - Pt.2
23 March 2013
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari).
Questions from the floor
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo).
Fernando, you are experiencing something new at Ferrari now and maybe also in your Formula One career: your teammate is as fast as you, maybe even faster. Does it stimulate you?
I think I've been racing 27 years now in motor racing - I'm getting old – so it's not the first time that we have very close competition. It was very close the last three years as well, but I know that for you it was not that close in terms of results because I think Felipe had some bad luck, some incidents sometimes, some mechanical problems other times but the last three years was much closer than I think that it looked in the points at the end. So this year it is again very close, no big difference, maybe a little bit closer and for sure the last two races we are behind on the grid but so far on Saturday there are no points so we need to keep working for Sunday. It's the best news for the team, because we need to have a competition between the two drivers in the team, we need to share information between the drivers in the team and now I think all the data that we have from free practice, from qualifying for everything is very useful to compare and to analyse to make ourselves better, so this is only good news for the team and we will push each other to our own limits and this is good news for the team.
Felipe, do you want to respond to that? Do you feel completely re-energised?
Yes, sure, I feel very happy, very automatically driving the car. I like the car that we have this year much more compared to the car we had last year. I think I understand a lot more the direction for the set-up and everything - we even understood that last year, from August to the end of the year. I feel really happy driving the car. When you try to do something you don't feel comfortable with you maybe cannot do the perfect lap with the car so I think that's really important for me, for the team. The best thing for the team is always to have the best drivers finishing in the best positions, so that's really a positive point for the team and for myself as well, for Fernando, so I think it's a good direction.
Q: (Abhishek Takle - Midday).
Sebastian, you mentioned that the rain helped you a little bit in the end, but looking at your pace in the dry, do you think you might have been able to take pole had the rain stayed away?
It's difficult to say now. What I meant obviously was that I think the timing helped in that regard, not getting to Q3 – I think we had the pace to do that on our own. It more helped in regards to saving a set of tyres for tomorrow, depending on the conditions and in general - it's difficult to say – but we were looking quite competitive all weekend. I was feeling happy in the car so there's nothing that speaks against that but would/could/should – we don't know so I think the pace set in Q2 by Nico, I think, who was fastest, was a pretty good lap. We had a strong car but whether it was enough to beat that time or not I don't know.
Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association).
Felipe, you've now out-qualified Fernando for the last four Grand's Prix; after all you went through last season, do you feel that your performances now are a response to all those critics who wrote you off last season when your future was so up in the air?
Well, I feel comfortable in the car. I think whenever you feel comfortable you can do a good lap and you can use the car to the maximum, it's possible. It was really clear that I was not comfortable last year and the year before, so many things around the car, bad luck, around myself as well, so there were so many things that were not working in the proper direction, but now they are and I know how quick I can be, I've showed that many times in the past. If everything works well, we can be competitive, it's pretty sure about that. I believe in myself and I think it can be really important for the team, for Fernando as well, for everybody. We need a stronger team, a strong position and fighting for the best position in every race so I'm happy, that's a good direction.
Q: (Carlos Miguel – La Gaceta).
Fernando, are you looking to pass these guys in the first corner or are you confident of the car in race conditions and you must wait during the race?
Well, I think the start will be the first opportunity. I think if everything goes normally I will have a very good start so we should be able to at least maintain the position, if not attack, so we will see how are the first meters tomorrow. I think that in this Formula One that we are experiencing today, the start is very low priority. I think that 56 laps is a very long race, a lot of strategy calls to make, a lot of tyre issues that everybody needs to get through during the race. Some people maybe look better in the first part, some people maybe look a little bit better in the second part or approaching the stints. I think the start, as I said, these days is of less importance than in the past but for sure tomorrow we will try to do a good start, similar to Melbourne – hopefully – and try to be first and second in the first part of the race.
Q: (Cristobal Rosaleny - Car and Driver).
Fernando, do you think having Kimi in seventh place on the grid is good news for you, because maybe Sebastian has been struggling more with the tyres this weekend?
As I said, I don't think the (grid) positions are very important these days or the first lap positions. If you have a good race pace, as I think Kimi has or Lotus has, I think they will arrive sooner or later in the race and will put some pressure on us, so I think we need to be very calm. Kimi started fantastically well in Melbourne, winning the race, he's very strong this weekend here but the race and the championships are both very long and it's not only Kimi fighting for the championship, so we will see. I think at the moment it's very close, Red Bull is strong, Mercedes very strong, again today, as Seb said now, in Q2 Nico's time was quite impressive so there are four or five teams that at the moment are on top of everybody. We also need to be competitive in the race to develop the car if we want to win the championship.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera).
Felipe, we heard Fernando's evaluation concerning the race pace. Is it the same for you or is it different?
Well, yesterday we didn't have so much time to do a long run on both tyres, so we don't know. I don't know. I think it's difficult to be sure how it's going to be with the car on race pace, because yesterday I did a long run on the medium tyres but not many laps and then it started raining. So I don't know. I think maybe it can be that our car is better in the race compared to qualifying, compared to normal conditions in the dry, but we need to wait and see tomorrow.
Q: (Leonid Novozhilov – F1Live).
Sebastian, what is more interesting for you, rain or dry and why?
Well, if it's dry we obviously saved some tyres today that could help. If it's wet, I'm not sure we have enough. It doesn't make a big difference. I think we have to go with the conditions, fortunately they're not in our hands, so obviously it's good for you but also it's very exciting for us, as Fernando touched on, finding the right lap to make the call to come in or stay out. We've seen in the past that sometimes you are just on the spot, sometimes you are not, so it can make a big difference to the race but if that happens, it's very exciting for us inside the car as well. In wet conditions generally, I think you drive the car with much more feeling. It allows you a little bit more to overcome a lack of pace or something like that during the race or overtake someone. Nevertheless, I think we need to be focused every single lap and go from there.