Questions from the floor

Q:
(Ian Parkes - The Press Association) Lewis, I'm going to have to disappoint Sebastian but our source is a good one, because his team principal, Christian Horner said that they didn't use KERS all weekend. On that basis, how impressive does that make Sebastian's performance in that car without KERS?

Lewis Hamilton:
I think it makes it very clear that they have a fantastic car as they have had for the last year and a half. They've had the fastest car since towards the end of 2009, and they continue to have the fastest car, but to turn it over to what we've done, coming from a car which was probably going to arrive here probably two seconds off the pace to being maybe a second off in qualifying, if they had KERS, and race pace being very, very similar, I think that's probably the most impressive part for me. I think it's very rare that you see such a big leap in performance in Formula One. I feel really privileged to be up here because we thought it was going to be quite a bad weekend and I'm back up here, back in the fight, only a few points behind the guy in front who has a much, much faster car. But we'll close that gap, I have no doubts about that, and clearly showing from today, after our first stint, we can compete with them in the race, so get ourselves up at the front and we can give them some pressure.

Q:
(Sarah Holt - BBC Sport) Vitaly, your team boss, Eric Boullier said that you'd worked hard over the winter to make sure that you could finish races to your true potential. Can you explain what you did over the winter, and also, does this show that you can now lead the team in place of Robert?

Vitaly Petrov:
Winter testing was quite long. You know we have a new exhaust and we didn't know how it would work. We spent quite a long time trying to understand the aerodynamics and a lot of things, and really when we came here we didn't know where we are, we didn't know how quick our car was, but it looks like we were quite strong, but not like these guys. We still need to continue to push the same way, work hard. In Malaysia we will have some new parts so we will see.

Q:
(Sarah Holt - BBC Sport) Do you think you can lead the team in place of Robert?

VP:
I don't think I need to answer anything. I think you can see and also.... Yes!

Q:
(Sarah Holt - BBC Sport) Sebastian, as Christian told the BBC that you haven't been running with KERS after trying it on Friday and deciding that it was perhaps a bit unreliable, does it seem as if you don't need to use KERS for the rest of the season, then you're super confident that your car is so quick in other areas that you don't need to use it at all?

Sebastian Vettel:
You could have told me that before the race, because I was wondering. I pushed the button all the time and nothing happened, so I should have had a word with you! No, I think it's pretty obvious. If you ask Lewis how much KERS is worth, there is performance in there. Obviously we work very, very hard on that. It's something we're not proud of, but we need to keep working hard and improve for two weeks' time. We have solutions, more or less, which should help us and make it possible to answer your question. But surely, you can't rely on just having a good car or everything running smoothly. You want every single bit that you can get to make your car go quicker so KERS is one of the basic things this year and it's worth something between three to five tenths a lap. I don't need to tell you how much that is over a race distance. So, yes, we are working on that.

Q:
(Livio Orricchio - O Estado do Sao Paulo) Vettel, Hamilton said just now that the most important thing to him was that the gap in race conditions was reduced in comparison to yesterday. In your point of view, did you expect a better gap in comparison to your competitors in race conditions.

SV:
First of all, in Abu Dhabi we said that I also have a first name, so you are allowed to call me Sebastian. It's always a long way before you start racing. We have been working very hard on that, to make the car quick in both scenarios, qualifying and racing. I was very happy today. Obviously, as I said, at the stop we made a bit of a change. There's not much you can do. You can't stop and change the set-up but it seemed to work quite a lot better and if anything, at the second stint, I was out on the tyres two laps longer than Lewis who pitted on the same lap. I think the pace was fine so we controlled the gaps well. The last stint was obviously hard to read, but all in all I'm happy with our pace yesterday and today, so it's not as if there's reason to panic.

Q:
(Phil Brannagan - Australian Motorsport News) Sebastian, if you started the race knowing you didn't have KERS, were you worried about the first lap, given that the cars near you did? Were you particularly determined to pull out that 2.4s gap? We don't often see a gap that big after one lap.

SV:
Well, I think I had a good start. Obviously starting from the clean side here is a bigger advantage than other years. As Lewis said, he struggled with some wheelspin. We have seen throughout the winter that the tyre behaviour is different to what we were used to with the Bridgestones, so starting on Pirellis is different to starting on Bridgestones, in terms of the actual race start. I was happy with my start. I don't think it was 100 percent perfect but obviously better than the cars behind me, at least the ones I could see. Obviously I can't see Lewis in the mirror straightway but then I saw that I was pulling away... I felt I was pulling away well. Then I saw him in the mirror fighting with Mark which was a bit of a relief, just as all the other races you start and if the guy next to you has a worse start or you catch the guy in front of you it gives you a good feeling. So after that, obviously I used the first lap - not stupid - but obviously tried to pull out a gap as much as I could.

Q:
(Michael Schmidt - Auto Moto und Sport) Lewis, was it just a dirty line that was the problem at the start, because it seemed that it ate up the whole advantage of KERS in comparison to Sebastian?

LH:
I don't know. I would have to sit down and analyse it. I don't know if it was too much. I'm sure the dirty side had an effect on that, but the guys behind me had a better start, at least, I saw Jenson had a slightly better start than me. I don't know if it was the input that I had into it or... What I know is that when I dumped the clutch, I just got masses of wheelspin. I did make a change to the clutch settings on the way around as I was asked to, and maybe it was too aggressive, and after that I was just really trying to recover from it, so I was just wheel spinning. Fortunately I had KERS to save me, but if I hadn't had that I would have lost position to Mark and potentially to Jenson.

Q:
(Dan Knutson - National Speedsport News) Lewis, we saw a lot of marbles in testing. When you were lapping people or going around backmarkers, were there less marbles in the race?

LH:
There definitely seemed to be slightly less marbles, yes, but by the end of the race there was still quite a lot of pick-up, maybe definitely more than what we used to have. I didn't really do too much overtaking, to be honest, but the guys generally went off-line. It was quite dirty off-line but I don't think there was too much pick-up.

Q:
(Frederic Ferret - L'Equipe) Sebastian, is there a kangaroo on your trophy?

SV:
No. I'm not disappointed. In my mind there is a kangaroo on the trophy.

Q:
(Frederic Ferret - L'Equipe) Vitaly, the first time you saw your car and the aggressive design of the exhausts, were you thinking that you could get a podium so quickly?

VP:
No. It's difficult to say. It's racing. Qualifying is one story, racing is another story, so it can be everything. What happened today we will take and we can be quite happy but in qualifying it's difficult to fight with these guys in front, but sixth position was quite a good result yesterday. I always believe because anything can happen in a race, as it happened today.

Q:
(Livio Orricchio - O Estado do Sao Paulo) To all of you: one of the stars of this race was the movable wing. Does it really help to overtake?

SV:
Well, I think the massive advantage that you all have is that you actually saw the race. We didn't. As far as I know, I had the opportunity to use it a couple of times, as I said, getting close to Jenson, sometimes when I was close to a lapped car, for instance. I cannot really answer your question because I don't know what happened behind me. LH:
I only used it once and it didn't really make too much difference because I wasn't close enough to the car in front, so I can't really comment too much on it. VP:
I used it a few times. I was lapping some cars and Alonso was behind and it helped me pull away from him a little bit. So as soon as I saw my blue light come on, I used it, so I think I used it two or three times.

 

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