PRESS CONFERENCE

Q:
Tonio, a really difficult start to the season. How has it been?

Vitantonio Liuzzi:
You said the right word, difficult, really difficult, but we knew that from the beginning. Everything started really late. We are building the new car for this year so we knew we would not have an easy start. We went to Australia with not one kilometre in the new car and basically the first kilometre was done in qualifying so I think the result was not too bad. A step forward from last year. We understood just a bit, doing seven laps in Australia but I think we went to Malaysia with more understanding about the new car. We showed a much stronger result. For sure we have to still work hard and the team is pushing a lot. Already here we have some upgrades. We will have some more for Turkey so everything will be better. The team starts to work much more professionally so everything is going in the right direction.

Q:
Do you think you can get on terms with the other teams that were new last year?

Vitantonio Liuzzi:
I think we will be close in this race. We will close the gap even more in the next few races. The car and the team are growing. The developments should be coming soon so it will depend also how other teams will react in these next few races. Virgin is the closest team with whom we have a gap who we could fight. Lotus made a big step forward but our intention is to grow more and more this year and to put the right basis for a proper 2012.

Q:
Is the 107 per cent rule something that you think you can get through every single time?

Vitantonio Liuzzi:
I think it shouldn't be a problem anymore. In Australia it was a problem as we did not have a kilometre in the car so we did not know what to expect. In Malaysia we were well under the 107 per cent and Malaysia is maybe the toughest circuit for that kind of problems. We are planning to improve the car soon and every race so we hope that we don't face any more that issue as we want to fight closer and closer with our competitors and be ahead of them soon.

Q:
Lewis, interesting little point you made in your preview - whether you remember it or not - about Jim Clark and the fact that you have become the driver who has driven for one team the longest in the history of Formula One racing. Just tell us about that.

Lewis Hamilton:
I think this is my fifth year with my team, but we have had more races probably in this decade than probably what they had back in Jim Clark's day so maybe I have just done more races. I don't know if it is actually more years or not. I think it feels pretty good to know that I have been consistent and that I have had a good track record with a great team and that it is going to continue.

Q:
And loyalty is something you place quite highly I think?

Lewis Hamilton:
Yeah, I think my family, particularly my Dad, was one to really point out that was a very important value that I should grow up with. From a very early age I felt that was something quite important. Of course, loyalty is an important key to relationships in life but they are not the deciding factor. But you have got to try and keep good relationships with people as long as you can.

Q:
You have got some updates that you are using I think tomorrow that you tried in Malaysia. What are you expecting from those?

Lewis Hamilton:
I have no expectations going into tomorrow. I think the car, the temperatures are better here, so the car I am sure will be better this weekend than it was last weekend. With the upgrades, they were upgrades that came to the last race but didn't particularly work and so it is just an attempt to try and get them to work as there is a decent amount of potential. But whether or not we will get it done and we make it work who knows - but it will be something we will continue to work on.

Q:
Both you and Jenson Button were faster than Red Bull at times during the last grand prix. Can you carry that over? Can you be faster than them consistently? Obviously, it all depends on if they take a jump ahead as well.

Lewis Hamilton:
I think a lot of factors come into it. My guess is in the last race they had to probably cool their car a lot more so they probably lost a bit of time there. Whether or not they had as good a KERS or as much KERS as us I don't really know. It was close there but I am sure that they will be back on top form this weekend and have even more pace than they did in the last race. Whether or not we will be as close as we were in the last race we will find out here. Race pace tends to be quite similar to theirs, it is just generally in qualifying they seem to have an advantage.

Q:
Rubens, a disappointing start to the season for you. Does it have an affect on a driver of your experience?

Rubens Barrichello:
I think it would have an affect on a driver with any experience, really. It is not the dream start to the year we wished we would have had. Having said that all the time you are working hard and making the car better. By a mistake I put myself out of contention in Australia in qualifying and the race was going good until the problem again. In Malaysia it was just not there. The car was not competitive and we were struggling. I am sure it is going to be a lot better here. We have new parts, we have new things and we are hoping for a much, much brighter weekend.

Q:
Where do you see yourselves in the hierarchy? What sort of level?

Rubens Barrichello:
In which way?

Q:
In terms of qualifying as you have not actually finished a race?

Rubens Barrichello:
I think we would have qualified top 10 in the first race. The second race we were 15th and it was the best we could have achieved. Here I don't know. We just need to see how the car will develop. Without any changes I guess we can be a top 12. With the changes I hope we can be top six.

Q:
You were the first winner of the Chinese Grand Prix. What do you remember of that, particularly what happened on the podium?

Rubens Barrichello:
Ha, ha. I remember having a shower with Mr (Luca di) Montezemolo. It was a nice champagne shower. It was a good event. I remember that year the tyres were having some problems on the front, but as soon as you went through the phase of that you were able to push really hard. That is what we had the whole weekend and I was able to keep it consistent and to win the race - which was great.

Q:
Sebastian, pole here for the last two years. You won in 2009. Back-to-back race wins, do you feel yourself that you're on a major roll at the moment?

Sebastian Vettel:
I don't know. Obviously you feel good after the races we have so far, especially last weekend. We try to make this feeling last but we come here and we have to refocus. It is pretty much the same approach that we have had in every other race as well. It will be a tough weekend. We have seen the last two events here that the weather can play a very important role so we will see what happens.

Q:
In Malaysia, Christian Horner said that the major focus was mainly on tyres. Is that going to continue?

Sebastian Vettel:
I guess yes. I think it will be the same situation here. How the tyres behave we will find out probably tomorrow. Melbourne and Malaysia was quite different. It could be that we will have a similar situation here as in Malaysia, but we don't know, we have to confirm. It is a different track again. Outside conditions are different, it is quite a bit cooler here, less humid, so as I said I guess tyres will be one of the most important. They always have been and this year with the new tyres we have and the amount of stops we have to face on Sunday they will be important and I guess we will find out a lot more tomorrow.

Q:
How much do you see McLaren and Ferrari as rivals?

Sebastian Vettel:
Pretty much and also Mercedes. We have had only two races this year and we have been very fortunate to run at the front. McLaren was pushing very hard. They made a very strong impression already in Melbourne, also considering where they have been at the tests where it was difficult to read the true pace. Ferrari were very, very quick at the testing as well as Mercedes, especially at the end. We are just two races in and we have seen from last year how many things can change in only a couple of races. Some tracks maybe suit your car more than others so we will have to see. In the end we don't care so much about the rest, we care about ourselves and we try to do the best job we can and hopefully that ensures we have a good chance to run at the front again.

Q:
Michael, a former winner here as well. You came from sixth on the grid, which is the lowest anyone has come from to win here. That was the last podium you had. It has been a disappointing start to the season I am sure you will agree even though you got the first points in Malaysia?

Michael Schumacher:
Yep, I probably have to agree on this.

Q:
How disappointing?

Michael Schumacher:
Well it is natural or obvious that we had other expectations. We have spoken about the reasons why a certain performance was not able to be delivered. That is where we are but in Formula One it is not the first time it has happened to me that things do not go to expectations. It is what it is and the only way to go forward is to work off your problems and that is what we are about to do right now.

Q:
It was said there was going to be a big post-mortem, a big examination after Malaysia. Have you had that and what has that revealed? Has it been positive?

Michael Schumacher:
Well we learned more and more about the car. Naturally timing after Malaysia to China there is a very short amount of time available and it is not the case that we have major upgrades for this event. We will have for other events. It is more actually to understand the car and pull out the true and complete potential. There is more potential than we have been able to show, but we haven't yet found the tweak to make use of it.

Q:
Is there one area that you are particularly concentrating on? Is it aerodynamics? Is it tyres? It is always tyres I guess.

Michael Schumacher:
You know, the secret of Formula One is not one particular area. It is always paying attention to all kinds of details. There are less important areas, absolutely, but we kind of try to figure out all the little bits and pieces and get them working.

Q:
That is still on-going?

Michael Schumacher:
It is an on-going process I am afraid. But when the tough get going the going gets tough, sorry when the tough get going...

Q:
I think we know what you mean.

Michael Schumacher:
Yes exactly, you know what I want to say.

Q:
Good try though.

Michael Schumacher:
When the going gets tough the tough get going. I got it right now.

 

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