TV unilaterals

Q:
Sebastian, a crucial pole at a crucial time. You have a great chance now of becoming the youngest ever World Champion.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, we start from pole, couldn't be better. I think it was a tough qualifying session. We knew that the conditions would be tricky. At night the temperatures drop a little bit. Yesterday in the afternoon, or the late evening, in the practice we didn't look too good and we were not 100 per cent happy but I think we made a big step today which allowed us to fight for the pole. I think it was very close with Lewis especially. In the end I think if we would have done two runs it would probably have been the better choice. I was surprised how much the circuit ramped up for us in the end but nonetheless we went out last and we did it. A very good job today by everyone, the whole team. It was a tight session, so now looking forward to tomorrow and see what happens.

Q:
That is 10 poles for you this season. It has been an amazing year.

SV:
Yeah, definitely. I had some kind of statistic the other day in front of me, how many poles per season some drivers have done. Guys like Senna, Prost, Michael (Schumacher). They are all up there and with 10 poles I am not at the top, so maybe we can work on that next year. But still it has been a phenomenal qualifying, no problems and always the car was very competitive. Very pleased. And 10 poles in qualifying in one season is a great effort and shows how good our car is.

Q:
Lewis, you had a few tricky moments in Q2, particularly with Felipe Massa. Then in Q3 you came close but not quite close enough?

Lewis Hamilton:
Today was a much better weekend, or start of a weekend for us. The team have done some great things improving certain parts of the car and it's enabled us to be a lot more competitive this weekend. A good feeling again for us. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We are quite chilled and we are quite happy. Great job also by Jenson (Button). A good step to hopefully score more points than the Ferraris tomorrow. I cannot really complain where I am.

Q:
In a situation like today how much does having the pressure off help you?

LH:
Massively. In 2007 and 2008 being at the last races with an incredible amount of pressure on, but this weekend is a huge difference for me. I am just here enjoying myself and enjoying driving the car and looking forward to tomorrow.

Q:
Fernando, you had the pressure on as you were outside the top three until the very last seconds. Tell us about the pressure you had to soak up there?

Fernando Alonso:
Well, obviously tough qualifying for everyone. Changing position constantly in Q2 and then Q3 as well. You never know how competitive you are until the Q3 finish. I think the first attempt was not great. I had some traffic in the first sector, so I knew that in the second set of tyres there is some potential to come, so I pushed to the limit and third place is great. I think yesterday we did a good job on the set-up, race pace and qualifying pace. Today I think it was a good qualifying for us. We just need only one more day and perfection.

Q:
From a championship point of view how strong a position are you feeling in right now?

FA:
I think we are more or less in the same situation as we were two days ago before first practice. We know the situation. We know four contenders. I think everything is down to tomorrow's race. Anything can happen in the race. We saw in the last two or three events some changes. In Korea, the Red Bulls were very strong and then they lost the race with some mechanical issues. In Brazil we saw some problems with some pit stops for Mercedes, for Felipe (Massa) as well, so in a race situation anything can happen. We need to complete the 55 laps without any problem. I think it will be a tough, long race for everyone but we are in a position at the moment that is very strong.

Q:
Sebastian, it is the title decider tomorrow. What are your thoughts going into this huge day?

SV:
Well, looking forward to the race. I like this track. Last year I had a very good experience here and the car was fantastic and I think in the race the car is even stronger, so we will see. As Fernando and Lewis said it is a long race and anything can happen, so we have to go step by step. Today we did the best job we can. We are in front of everyone else. If we make sure we stay there tomorrow I think we do our maximum and then see what happens.

Press conference.

Q:
Sebastian, given the championship position and given the situation you are on pole position, there are another three guys who would love that pole, how does it feel?

SV:
Good.

Q:
How good?

SV:
Very good. I think it was a tough qualifying session today. Last year it was tricky here already with the conditions changing so much between the, you call it the morning but it is the afternoon and evening. We knew it would be tricky and no-one really knew what to expect, which tyre would work best. It was tricky. Usually you see short runs, people going out one lap, one lap and it is different here. The circuit ramped up a lot. In the end in Q3 I did only one run. We waited for three and a half minutes and then we went out. Three laps. It was tight but it was enough. In hindsight I think probably it would have been a little bit quicker if we had done two runs but if there is anybody to blame it is myself as I thought it might be too risky on the options if the first lap is not ready and the tyres are not there yet. I decided for one run and it worked, so in the end I think we did a very good job and got the maximum. Just mentioning before, 10 pole positions in one season is not too bad, so whatever comes now I think it is a bonus anyway. That is what we keep telling the last couple of races. My season has been up and down and we should be in a different position and we are not. Still we are in a strong position. We put the car on pole here which is crucial for tomorrow's race. It is long race, a lot of things can happen. We will see. The car seems quick, so looking forward. I don't know, is there a car you can win this year? That would be a nice surprise like last year, so looking forward.

Q:
Does this relieve a bit of the pressure that is on you or are you not feeling any pressure?

SV:
It is always tight when you know you have the car to put the car on the front row, ideally on pole. I think here it was very close, especially with Lewis at the end. I think only three or four hundredths between us. It was tight and when I was slowing down and they were still on their hot laps, as they decided to do two runs, I was trying to get feed-back as much as I could. At the end you just have to wait. You can't change it. It was enough and that's good. Pressure wise as I said before we know in which position we are. We are not leading this championship, so probably there is more pressure on Fernando and Mark (Webber). We do our maximum. We are in a similar position to Lewis and enjoying the drive here and trying to win tomorrow and the rest we will see.

Q:
You got a good amount out of the car today as you said you changed it quite a lot from yesterday?

SV:
Yeah, we did. I mean it wasn't horrible. We were only two-tenths behind Lewis and McLaren. You don't know the fuel loads and so on, but I think pace was okay. We were not happy probably on the qualifying pace but much happier on the race pace. Today we did a step forward. Nothing tremendous we have changed, nothing big. I think small steps that just allowed us to go a certain bit quicker. It is tricky here. Tricky track with the conditions. You need to stay awake all the time and I think we did yesterday, working hard and long into the night and it paid off, so we will see what happens tomorrow.

Q:
Lewis, you mentioned that you felt the car was going really well yesterday and that the rear wing was working particularly well and obviously this is the reward today.

LH:
Yeah, the guys have done a great job to finally, not 100 per cent fix the rear wing, but get it working to a point where we can use it, so it has been a bit of a benefit this weekend. Generally we have got good end of straight speed and the rest of the car with some small improvements it is feeling really good, so very happy to be up there. This is the highest I have qualified for some time now, so it is a good feeling.

Q:
What about at the start of that last run as there seemed to be so much traffic around. Same thing for Fernando as well. Did that completely ruin the last run?

LH:
No, not for me. I was in quite a good position. Sometimes you want to be one of the last people out but fortunately I was just ahead of both Ferraris and I think Nico (Rosberg). Rubens (Barrichello) was still on the lap, so the fortunate thing he was pulling away, not backing up into me and I was able to bridge a gap between myself and him and have a clear run. I had a really good lap. I was quite happy.

Q:
Then earlier on you had a bit of a moment with Felipe going into that first chicane?

LH:
Yeah, these things happen. Fortunately I was able to complete the lap after that, so it was good.

Q:
Was there damage to the car from that?

LH:
Yeah.

Q:
Just the front wing or more than that?

LH:
I think just the front wing. Fortunately those bollards are not too damaging.

Q:
Fernando, as I say traffic at the start of that last run. Did that ruin it for you?

FA:
No, it was okay. There is a tight margin to cross the line before the time finish, so we were informed by the engineers that we had something like 10 seconds margin which is not great but it was enough.

Q:
It wasn't great for your team-mate? I imagine it was about half a tenth when he made it.

FA:
Well, yeah, it was not easy for anyone but at least for me it was fine.

Q:
Is it better to be third than second, do you feel? Is there a clean and dirty side of the grid here?

FA:
I don't think there's a huge difference but if there's no difference as I feel there isn't here, then you are eight metres in front of the fourth guy, so better third than fourth.

Q:
And the most important thing to be ahead of Mark?

FA:
Well, I think we will see in the race tomorrow. Obviously it's better to be third and having Mark fifth than third and having Mark first, there's no doubt, but as I said yesterday in the press meeting, I think the race is tomorrow. Saturday is important, we know, but at the end of the day as we saw in the last couple of events, interesting races, some mechanical failures, some problems, some mistakes, so we need to avoid all those tomorrow. The position in qualifying is OK, but the real race and the points are tomorrow, so I'm happy for the position today but we did nothing.

 

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