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F1 China 2013 - Sunday press conference - Pt.2

14 April 2013

Drivers: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).

Questions from the floor

Q: (Abhishek Takle – Midday)
Lewis, we heard Ross comment on the radio at the end, saying 'we're not quite there yet' but of course a good race for you. What area do you and the team have to work on to give you that little bit extra?

Lewis Hamilton:
That's a good question. I'm not really sure where we're losing out. Today, overall pace was just not there and there's definitely a couple of areas that we can focus on on the car but we've got to bring some more updates and keep on improving but the team is working on that. But at least, after this I will go and analyse a little bit and try to figure out whereabouts we're losing the time and see if we can zone in on that and try to improve there.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L'Equipe)
Fernando, who is your main rival for the title, as a driver and as a car? Is it Kimi and Lotus or Sebastian and Red Bull?

Fernando Alonso:
I think it's a little bit too early to say. We need to wait until maybe after the summer break or something like that to clearly see the real contenders. Hopefully we are in that group after the summer. Hopefully Felipe can be in that group as well, that will mean that the car is going well, and I think at the moment Lotus, Red Bull and Mercedes are in the same position as us, let's say. I don't see anyone has a clear advantage. Maybe Red Bull was very dominant in Australia in all free practices; in qualifying and the race they were suffering a little bit of degradation but definitely very fast. In Malaysia, they were maybe a little bit more in the groove but here they were similar to the others so let's wait and see what the updates of every car brings to the pace, and we will see how luck plays. It happened to Nico in Australia where he didn't finish with car problems, it happened to us in Malaysia. I think hearing Kimi's comments today... you never know whether the front wing will remain there and finish the race or if the front wing will go underneath your car and you don't finish the race. The same with Webber, who had the problem with the tyre today and didn't finish. This can happen to anyone and this will also dictate who are contenders as well, so the luck factor is there.

Q: (Trent Price – Richland F1)
Fernando, despite the problems in Malaysia, since Melbourne Ross Brawn has been singing the praises of Ferrari's long run pace. Do you think your win today with the margin that you had confirms that?

Fernando Alonso:
I think it's normally one of the strongest points for us, not only this year, also in the past two or three years, we are normally more or less OK on Sundays. On single lap pace we struggle a little bit, so whatever reasons, the long runs are normally good for us and tyre management but we don't also really know the reason so we need to be careful on that and maximise these type of weekends, when everything goes well, but I'm sure we will struggle on some other weekends and we need to maximise the points there. Sometimes we can win, sometimes the maximum is third or fifth but we need to do the job. I'm looking forward to next weekend because it's a very good test with very high temperatures and we will again see some problems and we need to deliver when the tough moments arise.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport)
Kimi, how much lap time did the problem with the nose and front wing cost you and did it compromise your strategy, would you have gone for or tried a two stop strategy without it?

Kimi Raikkonen:
There's no way to tell or not how much the front wing damage affected the whole race but obviously the car is not designed like that so it's not going to help. But I cannot tell you if it's a tenth or half a second per lap. I was surprised how good the car was, even with quite a lot of damage. It was unfortunate, but I think we also have to be a bit lucky not to lose more. Hopefully next race we can have a normal race and be up there again fighting for a win.

Q: Was it your decision not to change it?

Kimi Raikkonen:
Actually I wanted to change it and wasn't sure if they changed it because... I think they looked at the wing at the first pit stop but they probably thought that it would take too long or... I don't know really. I haven't talked to them. Also, the reason why they probably didn't change it was that the car was reasonably OK, I could still overtake people.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo)
Kimi, can you please describe your view of the incident with Perez?

Kimi Raikkonen:
I got the better run out of turn three and was on the outside on that little kink through to corner four. I thought that he would leave me enough space but he just pushed me off the circuit. I tried to avoid him but there was first grass and then the kerb and then the kerb saved me, I got grip but I couldn't slow down and I hit him at the rear. I don't know if he didn't see me or what happened, but there was no way for me to avoid him any more because I was there next to it and I ran out of road.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Kimi and Lewis, in your mind, with this tyre situation, is the most serious candidate for the title now Fernando and no longer Vettel?

Kimi Raikkonen:
He didn't get it but he has the same challenge. But as Fernando said, from race to race, one team is a little bit stronger at one race and the next race is a bit of a different story. I think all four teams are close to each other so whoever gets it best on Sundays and Saturdays I think will win, so it will be interesting.

Lewis Hamilton:
As Kimi said, I think it's a bit open at the moment, but obviously Fernando is doing a great job, but as you can see from the last race, you finish the last race and some of us may have those problems in the future – who knows? But it's far too early to say, I think.

Q: (Luigi Pernia – La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Fernando, was there maybe extra psychological pressure for you in this race, did you feel it or not?

Fernando Alonso:
Not really. I think there is pressure at every race I start. Every year, especially in Ferrari, especially every campaign you start people expect only wins from you, the World Championship. Every race is more or less the same. Every season I've started in F1, this is the 13th, there is a battle with teammates, always discussions. So this year is no different. I think pressure is always there sometimes. As I said, you can deliver a good result, everyone is happy. Sometimes you cannot do it and you need to improve. I think we've been working very hard this winter with the team and after the first two races as well, these three weeks were very useful for us in Maranello, working out a little bit which way we can perform a little bit better, especially in qualifying which is one of our problems normally at the weekends and also looking very carefully at driving style and what we can do to improve the performance with each year's rules which they keep changing and you need to adapt a little bit, so I'm very happy with the job done and I'm in the best team, so I should be confident that everything will go in the right direction.

Transcript courtesy FIA


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