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Q:
Sebastian, you have only led this World Championship once this season and that is today.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, I am a bit speechless. I don't know what you are supposed to say at this moment. It has been an incredible tough season for myself, for all of us, physically and mentally especially. We have always kept believing in us and our team and the car and I kept believing in myself. Today was a special day all around. This morning I got up and tried not to think about anything, tried to avoid contact with people too much, just try to do my own thing. I knew that the only thing I could do was try to win this race and do my best. As you say we have only led this championship once and when it mattered. I am speechless. The car was phenomenal. The start was crucial. It was very tight with Lewis but then in the first stint I had a bit of graining, so that Lewis got a bit close but then the car stabilised. From then onwards it was a dream. It was good for all of us, it cooled us down, that Lewis got out behind Robert Kubica and got held up, so I could make a gap. To be honest I didn't know anything until I crossed the chequered flag. The last 10 laps I was wondering as my race engineer every lap was trying to give some advice and trying to help me carry the car home. I was thinking why is this guy nervous, we must be in a bloody good position. Then crossing the line he came on the radio very silently and said 'it is looking good, but we have to wait until the cars finish'. I was thinking 'what does he mean' and I hadn't seen the screens. I just wanted to make sure, not get any distraction, just focus on myself. Then he came on the radio and screams at me that we have won the World Championship. I don't know, it is just... I have to say thanks to a lot of people. I will surely forget a lot of those. But to start with the team, all the guys here at the race track, all my mechanics, all the mechanics in the team, not only mine everyone. Engineers. We have an extreme, strong - sorry I make this long - amount of people working together in harmony. Back in Milton Keynes the guys are pushing like hell and I think they enjoy this moment as much as last week. Back in Austria all the people that have supported me since the beginning. It has been an incredible journey with Red Bull and after this season with the ups and downs to come here now and lead the championship after the last race is unbelievable. I can only say thanks and also thanks to all the people back in karting. Some of them are here, some of them are in Kerpen supporting me but also back in my home town, Heppenheim, so I just got to say thank you very much.

Q:
Some of the spirit of competition this year with these guys and Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber has been a very intense battle all the way through.

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, it has. I think we have seen incredible fights and a tight season. I don't know how many times we had a different leader in the championship. Some people got written off of this championship very early, then they came back, meaning Fernando with Ferrari whereas in the beginning you thought 'okay, Ferrari is dropping back'. They fought back very hard. McLaren came back. Lewis was leading the championship. All of us can write a book about races where we should have finished in higher positions. Lewis had a retirement in Hungary, myself in Australia and Korea. All of us I think we had to go through ups and downs. It has been an extremely intense and tough season, mentally especially, to always be there and sometimes just being able to ignore what people are saying and trying to get your own thing done. This was the approach going into the race. Now it is looking good as it all worked and I am very, very proud.

Q:
Lewis, as Sebastian said, you pitted before him and then you got held up in traffic. Was that avoidable?

Lewis Hamilton:
I have no idea. We will have to have a look afterwards. I am sure the team did everything for the right reasons. At the time we needed to try and jump Sebastian. I think it was unfortunate we came up behind a Renault.

Q:
Your thoughts on the season and a very tight championship?

Lewis Hamilton:
Yeah, well it has not been the most spectacular season for us. But huge congratulations to Red Bull and to Sebastian. They really did a fantastic job throughout the year, so fair do's to him. I think for us it was a great end of season result, for me and Jenson. I think we pushed very hard throughout the year, so a big thank to all the guys back home at the factory for not giving up. Next year will be a better year.

Q:
Jenson, a very long first stint for you. What was the thinking behind that?

Jenson Button:
We were trying to get out in front of Robert Kubica who also was going very long but on the prime tyres and it was working pretty well. But as the stint went on there was more degradation on the soft tyre and it was not possible to jump him and Lewis.

Q:
It is a very strong end to the season for McLaren. What does this tell us about McLaren's challenge for next year?

Jenson Button:
I think the season as a whole has been very up and down for a lot of people as Sebastian has said. I would like to say a big thank you to the team. This is my first year with the team and I have had a great season. I really feel at home and I think the experiences we have gained this year, Lewis and myself, with working closely with the engineers and everyone in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team means we can really build on this season for next year. We are going to have a little break now but then we will be back on it and already pushing the team as we both want to be back in the position this guy is sat in, right in the middle.

Q:
Sebastian, sum up your feelings?

Sebastian Vettel:
I guess I am pretty empty at this stage. I don't know what to say. Surely I will find some reasons to keep on talking forever. It is unbelievable. As I said yesterday I went to bed and kept thinking about the race and what might happen and had some good imaginations and always a good feeling for some reason. But then I thought 'now you have to sleep, you have to forget and just fall asleep'. Finally it worked. Took a while and I woke up and felt good but it was extremely tough today to keep the head cool. The race went phenomenally well. The car was enjoyable every single lap, so I can only say thanks to the whole team. Renault played a big role in this race as well helping us a little bit, keeping these guys behind. I don't know what to say. For some reason it doesn't feel like this is happening. I asked those two guys 'how did it feel, was it also that strange?' but I guess it will sink in when I finally go to sleep but I think we will have daylight before that happens.

Press conference

Q:
Sebastian, how does it feel?

Sebastian Vettel:
Good.

Q:
Only good?

Sebastian Vettel:
Yeah, incredible. I don't know what to say. I am still a bit empty. I can't believe it. When I crossed the line I did not know if it was enough or not. All weekend I did not try to focus on the championship as the situation was pretty clear. We had to try to win this race, do our maximum and the rest was up to the others. I did the in-lap and just enjoyed it. Since I am a little kid I follow Formula One. Before the race I said to myself 'look there are so many people coming here to Abu Dhabi to watch the race'. So many people thrilled about this race about to take place, watching the World Championship decision and to find out who is going to win it. Just to be part of that race and part of that fight, to be one of the four, I was feeling extremely proud, happy. I don't want to sound philosophical but we travel so much all year and we get to see so many places, different people, and I was just feeling extremely happy with myself as I can do something I really love. People keep saying we are not doing too bad and I am able to enjoy it. I said to myself 'no matter what happens it has been a good season' with all the trouble we had and things slowing us down and taking points away from us. Then crossing that line. I was already thinking... I was tempted to watch the screens but I didn't as my engineer, the last 10 laps, kept telling me all sorts of things, the gaps and pace. Partly I asked for it, to know where I am. But things I have to watch out for which is fine but I think in none of these 19 races he has been so alive in the last 10 laps. I was already thinking 'what is going on?' and I was seeing sometimes on the screen Lewis behind the Renault and also I think it was Alonso and Ferrari behind the Renault. But then I just tried to forget and kept driving and focused on myself. As I said the in-lap and just now, the whole podium ceremony and coming here... It kind of sinks in, but it is still not. I don't know what is best to say to be honest. Extremely proud. We have one guy in the team who knows all the World Champions every year since 1950. Just ask him the year and he gives you the World Champion. To be on that list now with drivers like Senna, Michael (Schumacher), those two guys, I mean I don't know.

Q:
Lewis, you seemed to have really good pace today. You were very quick once Robert had pitted. You were on the pace of Sebastian.

Lewis Hamilton:
I think that all weekend we've generally been very quick, almost outqualified him in qualifying and in the race I think we were as fast or right behind him. Unfortunately, I think the Renault team helped the Red Bulls and kept me behind. It was impossible to overtake. I was on the limiter at the end of the straight, so I couldn't get close enough. It was sitting behind Kubica until he came in. As soon as he came in, I was able to bring down the pace and it was very easy to do that. I just lost too much time. But nevertheless, it was a fantastic race and a great job by Sebastian.

Q:
Jenson, good start and great tyre management.

Jenson Button:
Yeah, I thought I would take it a little bit easy on the tyres on the first few laps and I think it was ten laps in and I started pushing, started catching the front two and then they pitted. The only thing we could really do was stay out and see if we could keep the tyres in good nick and jump Robert, because obviously Lewis got stuck behind him after the pit stop. So I was out there for I don't know how many laps but a long time on the tyres. Every tyre was flat-spotted by the end of the run but I pushed as hard as I could, it wasn't quite enough to challenge Lewis in the race, in the strategy race but yeah, to come home third in the last race of the season is a good way to end the season. Our team should be happy that we have progressed. It might be a little bit late, but I think our performance this weekend was very good and we should be happy with that. There's a lot of very useful information there and a lot of excited people about next season already. I don't want to talk about next season quite yet, but we're going to have a break and obviously we're going to get straight into it. Our aim is (twenty) eleven already.

 

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