FIA post-race press conference - Turkey 07 Jun 2009
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
1st Jenson Button (Brawn GP), 1h26m24.848s; 2nd Mark Webber (Red Bull), 1h26m31.562s; 3rd Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 1h26m32.309s.
Q: Jenson, on your slow down lap you used the word outrageous to describe this car. That was an outrageous win for you today.
Jenson Button: Thank you. I mean today the car was the best its felt all year. We have been quick on other occasions and the car has been a bit loose and hasnt really suited my style but today the car was immense. It really was. I have got to say a massive thank you to everyone. It just keeps getting better. I dont know if this circuit suits our car more than others. I think some of it was due to the rubber on the circuit: That really helped our car. But, yeah, the car was fantastic today. I wish I could have all the boys on the podium. I had one of my engineers but they all deserved to be up there as they did a great job.
Q: Mark, a great result for you. More fuel on board at the start of the race and a two stop strategy compared with your team-mates three stop strategy. Talk us through that.
Mark Webber: Well, it was a very good afternoon for me. The first stint I knew I had to try and hang in there as long as I could and that worked out pretty well. I managed also to go a lap longer and save a bit of fuel as well. That really opened up me going away from the rest of field. I knew Sebastians strategy as well, so I knew I would have a chance to have a sniff at him as well to get another position. I knew the podium was pretty much taken, it was just a question of whom out of Sebastian and myself would get the second place behind this guy who was on another planet. I knew the second stint was crucial for me and I had to push really, really hard as usual as all the drivers are doing in the race but when someone is on a different strategy it is invisible to see them obviously and it turned out well for us. My engineer kept me in the loop with what was happening and I did enough damage in the middle stint to be able to jump Sebastian and at the end it was okay, we just turned the engine down and brought the car home.
Q: Sebastian, P3 for you. Another great result but from the pole this time sadly no win. But you were leading for a little bit on the first lap.
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, up to turn nine and ten. It worked out okay at the start. I stayed ahead. Then I nearly lost the car at nine and ten. It was my mistake. I think all race it was difficult there. It was a bit of tail wind and it was extremely difficult, so even on the second lap I nearly lost the car again, so it was quite tricky. But still I think it would not have made a big difference as Jenson was just too quick today, so I think I wouldnt have been able to hold him anyway. After that I knew my strategy. But we have seen that Jenson was not behind us and we were not opening a gap to him. It was the opposite, so I thought we were switching to two stop. We did not and then obviously in my second stint I was in traffic to Jenson and he was on a heavier fuel load than me. I nearly passed him. There was one chance but it was quite tricky and after that I lost a little bit of time there and it turned out that the three stop possibly was not as quick as two stop today. Nevertheless a good result for the team. I am not happy but I think we can be very satisfied to take second and third and it is getting closer, so that is a good thing.
Q: Jenson, it must have been a nice moment for you on the opening lap when you are following Sebastian. We get towards turn nine and ten, a little bit of wind there, and he leaves the road.
JB: Yeah, at the start I was very happy that I got away in second position. My start was good actually on the dirty side of the grid. Sebastian covered the inside which I was surprised about as going onto the dirty side I didnt think was the best idea. We sat behind him for the first half of the lap and then Sebastian ran wide on the exit of ten and that was my opportunity. It is difficult to overtake here and as you might have seen we were sat on the limiter for a lot of the straight, so I would not have had the opportunity to pass at the end of the straights.
Q: You were under pressure from Sebastian on the second stint when he had a lighter fuel load. What was the situation like for you there?
JB: It was okay. I knew that he was going short. We sort of knew what lap he was going to stop on. But it is still never a nice feeling, even when you know you have got more fuel in the car, to see a car catching you eight or nine tenths a lap. I just had to be as consistent as I could. I knew that if Sebastian was behind me it was going to be difficult to overtake, so I backed off in the corners I could to help the exits and as soon as Sebastian pitted I pushed a bit harder and got the lap times down a bit. It was still an exciting race but I must say I personally think the races before this, especially Bahrain and Barcelona, I think the Red Bulls were on our pace. I really do but today we were a step ahead, so it is a nice feeling.
Q: Mark for you the start was opened up a little bit with Rubens Barrichello making a slow start. Give us your thoughts off the line and then behind Jarno Trulli on the opening lap.
MW: I didnt get a bad start compared to Rubens. He had a very poor one and Jarno had a very good start and then I was behind Jarno for the first sector and there were quite a few opportunities to have a stab at him. He made quite a few mistakes on the first lap. I was on the outside of turn eight but I was also mindful of the fact that I had Ferrari and a KERS car behind and I didnt want to lose another position to him. It turned out when Jarno ran wide, doing the same mistake as Sebastian, that was very fortunate for me and I just got my head down. Of course the track was different today, so it did play a role in the first lap.
Q: Sebastian, I hate to ask you again but can you talk us through that moment on the first lap, as you are putting Jenson under pressure in the middle phase of the race.
SV: Well, I mean as I said it was very, very windy there. A tail wind compared to other days when I think we had a head wind. Therefore it was extremely difficult. There is a kind of a dip there that you go through and I lost the rear and went wide at turn ten over the Astroturf and nearly lost the car and a lot of speed also for the straight, so it was no problem for Jenson to pass me. Then later on in my second stint I knew then I was quite a bit lighter than he was. I was catching up massively and I think there was one chance in the last corner. I tried to pass him. He covered the inside and he ran slightly wide but I didnt have the best exit anyway as I approached the last corner also from the inside, so it was also not enough to pass him down to turn one. It would have been too risky. After that its the same game. You kind of feel your tyres going off and then there is not much you can do. Obviously in the tow I was on the limiter for part of the straight and it was not possible to catch up anymore and there basically I lost the race.
Q: You were asked late in the race by your team not to pass Mark. Your thoughts on that?
SV: They did not tell me not to pass Mark. They just said Mark is faster. Similar to what he did we just turned the engine down and just drove the car home. I mean if you start from pole you want to win. If you lose the lead already in the first lap it is not so good and you just see that someone has much quicker pace. It is not that nice to see and obviously then we lost because of the strategy the position to Mark, so in the end I was third. Of course I wasnt that happy with that and just kept pushing to the end. Obviously both of us turned the engines down but still I would rather go fast the last couple of laps and enjoy rather than just going around without any sense.
Q: Jenson, what a set up for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
JB: Yeah, I said on the radio to my engineer. The British Grand Prix is always special even when times have been tough, so going there leading the championship by 26 points is quite a nice feeling. I am looking forward to it very much, so we will see what happens.
Q: Jenson, up until seven or eight laps from the end it was a margin of 20 seconds which is pretty remarkable.
JB: Yeah, and this is the first race really where the car has just been absolutely perfect for me. We have had very good pace in other races but I have still found it difficult to drive. But here the car has been fantastic. Coming from where we were on Friday we have made some good changes over the weekend. I think when the circuit grips up it really helps out car. I wanted the whole team on the podium with me as this was definitely a victory for all of us. To beat these guys fair and square is a great victory for us I think.
Q: What were the tyres like at the end of the race as the margin in the end was 6.7 seconds from 20 seconds?
JB: I dont really know how the tyres were in the last stint as I backed off quite a bit, saving the engine. As we have only got eight engines a season you have got to be careful with what you use and when, so I wanted to conserve the engine a little bit which I did. The tyres were okay. They started graining a bit but not anything that would have cost us any time. I also knew these guys were turning down as I could see their lap times dropping off, so the last 10 laps I am sure were not the most exciting in the race but that was the best option for me.
Q: Was Sebastian's three stop strategy a surprise to you?
JB: It was. It really was. Especially when he was behind me on the first stint by five or six seconds. I was very surprised that they went for a three, maybe they thought that we were going to do the same. I dont know. We filled the car up after we saw what they had done and it worked very well. But when you are leading with a five second gap and you see it closing down, whatever the guys fuel load is behind you, it is still a strange feeling when he is picking you off a second a lap. When he caught me up I just had to cover the lines a little bit. We geared slightly wrong for this circuit as the wind changes quite a bit. I was on the limiter for five seconds on the back straight, so I was very worried about that and Sebastian slipping up the inside. But it was fine, so I was able to hold him off and I knew if he stayed behind me before he pitted on lap 32 or 31, that from then on it was an easier race for sure. The car was great to drive and I enjoyed every single lap. I didnt have any big moments or anything, so yeah, a great day for us.
Q: Mark, similarly how were the tyres at the end as you were being gained on by Sebastian?
MW: We knew that there was no point of us two smashing into each other with five laps to go, so we just brought the cars home really. Jenson was down the road, so it was a stalemate. We had everyone else covered, so it was a great day for the team to get second and third. We expected to be closer to the Brawns but we got caned fair and square today, so this is a deserving result. I also enjoyed the race today. The track was quite good to drive as Jenson said it rubbered up and it was pretty enjoyable to drive. It would have been nice if there was one less car in the race but he was there. In the end I was happy with how I drove.
Q: And it was your second second place this year.
MW: It shows how good the car is. We are in position to challenge at most grands prix now and that is very rewarding for the whole team including Renault. Everyone is working incredibly hard. Obviously Brawn have had the jump from the off. There have been a few other venues where we have been a little bit closer here and there. We expected to be closer here but we werent and we need to work a lot harder now for Silverstone to try and make a little bit more pressure on them. Obviously Rubens has had a tough day but the guy leading the championship keeps going away. Its not bad for the constructors for us today but for the drivers Jenson has gone away a bit more.
Q: Silverstone is almost a home race for you anyway in terms of where you live. What are your feelings about that race and how do you think the car will react there?
MW: I am looking forward to Silverstone for many reasons because I think it will be a great atmosphere unlike here. There was no-one here and Silverstone is going to be fantastic for Jenson and all the drivers. We like to perform in front of a lot of people. It is one of the best grands prix of the year. The English people love their motor sport. I love the track. It is a brilliant circuit and it is a home race for the team as well, so there are many reasons to look forward to it.
Q: Do you think the car will be good there?
MW: Yes. We will see how good.
Q: Sebastian, it was interesting that you said you lost the race at the start. But also do you think the three stop strategy was the wrong one?
SV: Yeah, to come back to the first lap I made a mistake at turn nine and ten. We did a good job from the line and defended first position. Then I think it was the most critical corner today as the wind direction changed and we had a tail wind there and it was always very slippery and very difficult to get the entrance right. I just lost the car and went more or less straight and was quite lucky not to lose the car but obviously lost the position straight away to Jenson. But I think today we have to accept that they were on a different planet. I was quite happy with the car. I think we both were. The car was fine. The circuit was good and to come back to the strategy, it is not a secret anymore that we had the plan to go three stop. We thought we had a fair chance today to beat Jenson and the Brawns. It turned out not to be. After the first stint it was more or less clear that I was short on fuel and therefore I was surprised that we still went on a three stop strategy as from there onwards it did not make much sense especially as I caught up Jenson in my middle stint and lost time there. I basically lost the race to Mark as well, so all in all we probably didnt do the best job there. If you start from pole you want to win the race. We did not, so I am not that happy. But still as Mark said, it was a very good day for the team. A lot of points. It is getting closer even though maybe today was the first day that Jenson showed what they really can do, so lets see. But I think we have reasons to be confident. It was a good race today. I had a good car. I was quite happy and there are new bits to come in Silverstone, so lets see.
Q: You were very quick at the end there, how many more laps would it have taken?
SV: Its difficult to say. In the end I came out behind Mark by quite a bit. I was surprised it was that much and then my engineer came on the radio and said Mark was faster. I think I just have to ask you what you would do in this kind of situation. You start from pole, you realise that your strategy doesnt work as it was supposed to and youre not in the position you want to be, so the last thing you do is just go round slowly and drive the car home. I think both of us turned down the engines but I enjoy driving, so I would rather continue to go quickly than start to slow down and carry the car home.
Q: Interesting line out of this final corner when you were behind Jenson, you were much tighter through there.
SV: I think one time, initially when I caught him up, I wanted to dive down the inside going to the last corner and he defended, so it was not possible and he made a mistake, running a bit wide, which gave me a better exit for turn one but it wasnt enough. All in all, I seemed to catch up in the last couple of corners: 12, 13, 14, also compared to Mark. Its quite a Mickey Mouse complex but I kind of like it. I like this circuit, I felt good from the first lap onwards and again, it wasnt at all bad today. I think I had a very good car, I was quite happy, a bit of understeer/oversteer here and there. The most critical point was probably turn nine and ten but I think mainly down to the wind conditions but all in all it wasnt bad. Were just not quick enough yet.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Mathias Brunner Speedweek) Sebastian, is there much of a discussion going on on the radio, whether to do two stops, three stops or is simply a decision that you are told and basically thats it?
SV: Obviously you know what you are going to do in certain scenarios. You discuss strategy a long time before the start of the race and it was clear that in case we would be leading and we would have a certain gap to the car behind, because we were quite a bit shorter, then we would have gone for a three stop. At this point I havent spoken to the team but at this point I dont yet understand why we were still on a three stop. I think a two stop would have just secured second position. We tried, it didnt work, so well know next time.
Q: (Ian Parkes The Press Association) Congratulations Jenson. Just watching you in the TV press conference, you looked a bit emotional, a bit teary-eyed. What is it about this win which has meant so much to you today?
JB: I think it was every race that Ive won this year has been pretty emotional. The old memories obviously come flooding back but I think its because we thought it would be a much tougher fight today and also when you get into a car that every single lap you drive youve got a smile on your face because its working so well; this race was that race. I could have carried on driving for another 200 laps because I was enjoying myself so much in that car. Today was a day when weve shown that we have made a good step forward. People will say that this is our true pace and it has been all year but thats not a fact. Ive given everything every race this year and I think weve found the best pace possible at every race weve gone to this year but at this race I think we have made a step forward with the balance of the car and the aero of the car, so it was a nice feeling. Even ten laps in, 15 laps in I thought its probably not a good idea but I really wanted to radio the team and say this car is just outrageous. It was tempting fate a little bit, so I left it until the end of the race. But it was just a very enjoyable day. This is the day really that I think is for the whole team; I really wanted them to be on the podium with me. I suppose they are at every race but especially at this one. I think it meant a lot to the team because they could see how good the whole package was.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri La Gazzetta dello Sport) Jenson, the question is when are you planning to win this championship because it looks like youre pretty much unstoppable?
JB: I would love to win every single race this year but Ive got another 19 guys on the circuit who want to stop me doing that. Im in a good position, for sure. This race showed that we do have the best car but I think that we have the best package. I think this car really suits me, so Im driving it at my best and everybody within the team is in a very good position and I think that they are giving a hundred percent also. You would say that the situation at the moment is perfect but it could very easily go the wrong way. These guys (Red Bull) can suddenly bolt something on that will bring them to our pace or even quicker, so you cant take it for granted and youve got to keep pushing. You cant lift off and hope for the best or try and take it easy. You still have to keep pushing. Ive got a 26 point lead which is just out of this world but Im still not going to lift off. I want to do the best job I can at every race I go to and Im still going to make every move that I possibly can to win every race. But I also know that that is not going to be easy. I will have a bad race this year and I will get beaten and its being ready for that situation I suppose.
Q: (Will Buxton Australasian Motorsport News) Congratulations guys. Question for all of you. You were all in the FOTA meeting this morning. Having been in that meeting, having listened to what everybody had to say, how much have you learned about FOTAs position, about their solidarity, their strength, and how much has that influenced or affected your feelings about the future of the sport and where its headed?
MW: Well, FOTA were very good this morning. They called in all the drivers with the FOTA teams just to give us a heads up and bring us right up to speed because obviously the circumstances out there in relation to the sport are changing pretty quickly. So for us to go there and listen to all the team principals and all the people making decisions for their own teams, to talk to the drivers who have been with them for a long time in certain situations, and our position is that we are totally in support of FOTA. All the FOTA drivers are with FOTA in the future. We want to race against the best drivers in the world, we want to drive for the best teams in the world and thats the way we want to see it go forward. We hope there is a not a compromise whatever they need to do to work with the FIA to have a very, very good championship next year and thats it really. Were very, very confident and were trusting the FOTA teams and they are absolutely binding together, they are so strong together and this is what were very happy about because this is what it needs to bring the governance of the sport in the correct fashion that we need to go forward.
Q: (Ercan Kazaz Hurriyet) Jenson, the next race is in the UK. Do you expect the same support that Lewis enjoyed last year from your home fans, ad would that create pressure or motivate you?
JB: Every year Ive been to Silverstone to race in Formula One its quite amazing the support you get, even when youre not driving a competitive car and when you cant get a result you still get a lot of support which is fantastic. The British public has always been behind their drivers. Going there this year is obviously a different situation: Im leading the championship. In previous years, when the car has been difficult to drive and we havent had any results, in a way youre a little bit embarrassed because youve got so much support. Youve got so much support but you cant give them anything back but to arrive there leading the championship, I feel that, in a way, its giving them something to really get a hold of and sink their teeth into and really enjoy. Yeah, so arriving at Silverstone Im going to be very excited and looking forward to the weekend but when you get into the car youre a hundred percent focused. In a way its another race while youre actually in the car. Before and after its very different, for sure, but the great thing is, a lot of people that work in Formula One are British, we have a lot of fans in the United Kingdom, so hopefully we will put on a good show for them and we will have a sell-out crowd and this will help us in the future have a Grand Prix in the UK.
Q: (Mathias Brunner Speedweek) Mark, of the upcoming tracks where do you think Red Bull Racing can most likely challenge Brawn GP?
MW: Well, its difficult to say. We expected to be a bit closer here, to be honest. Jenson was on another level today. There was no way anyone was going to beat him. Its not that were really going to change our mentality going forward. Were doing everything we can to make the car as fast as possible for every venue we go to and thats starting with the next Grand Prix in the UK. You would think, looking at the past, whether it was Barcelona or a little bit Malaysia those sorts of circuits and Shanghai where there were some quicker sections that would suit us, so maybe Silverstone is somewhere where we can maybe get closer. Nürburgring? Its very difficult to say at the moment. I think if we went to Nürburgring as the next race Brawn would still have an advantage. We need to keep going on the path we are but we need to bite into the back of their development if we can somehow and soon. Obviously we need to do it soon because the more races we do, there are less to come.
Q: (Ed Gorman The Times) Mark, following that one up, youre renowned for saying it more or less as it is. Jenson, then, was trying to make the case that things could still go wrong for him, even though hes won six out of seven races but do you, in your heart or hearts, really believe he can be stopped from being World Champion this year?
MW: Jensons in an incredible position. To have a 26 point lead is an amazing position to be in but the way the points-scoring system is at the moment, for him to chip away is still not that easy if his main competitors are consistent. Hes got a great benchmark to start from now. Two DNFs changes things obviously. But theres no question about it, hes in fantastic shape, going forward, seven races down, ten or eleven to go. Even if hes cruising and picks up a lot of results, not on the top step, its going to be a long, long time for people to get that back. Finishes are crucial for him and hes been around long enough to know that.
But just adding to my statement before, I said there was no atmosphere in Turkey. I think that there were a lot of people that tried to come in today but obviously its not that cheap and things like that but we should have let them in for free at the end. It would have been nice for the show to let people in. Im sure theres a lot of people that would want to come to the Turkish Grand Prix but cant afford to because its very expensive. Jenson and I spoke about this on the parade lap that on the day maybe we should have made an announcement yesterday or even this morning to get some more people in here to let them experience our sport and thats a shame that it didnt happen today.
Q: (Michael Schmidt Auto Motor und Sport) Mark, youve opted rather for the conservative strategy during the last three races, as it is mostly decided on the Saturday before you put fuel in for Q3. Is that what you are pushing for?
MW: No, its just the better way for me. Ive had a little bit of problems with Q3. Yesterday I nailed Q3 pretty much how I wanted to, so with that in mind, its always better to have a little bit more fuel and have the options in the afternoon on Sunday. Obviously the KERS cars are a risky business because you can also qualify around them, so thats a major trap for me in the first stint but going forward Im obviously planning to qualify the best I can in Q3 and have the best strategy for the race. I know theres no points on Saturday afternoon and I want to get the best result on Sunday.
Q: (Frederic Ferret LEquipe) Question to Sebastian: you said arriving here that your car suits the track and you were confident with it. When you saw Jenson flying away what did you feel you still miss in your car, to beat the Brawns race pace?
SV: When I saw him flying away the first thing I thought was shit because obviously we wanted to win today and we were not quick enough. As I said before, I was happy with the car, I felt quite comfortable all weekend. Yesterday was very good, I think. Today we were just not quick enough. I dont see that theres one particular place on this circuit, for instance, where we were losing time. I think its just a little bit here, a little bit there. Again, I think we have a very good car, especially in medium- and highspeed corners and I think thats not where we are losing too much time. I think its probably more in the areas like the last sector here, in the low speed corners, but I dont really see that we have been much weaker in general there, so I think its a bit everywhere, maybe. Just a little bit more in the slow speed corners.