FIA post-race press conference - Great Britain 21 Jun 2009
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 1h22m49.328s; 2nd Mark Webber (Red Bull), 1h23m04.516s; 3rd Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP), 1h23m30.503s.
Q: Sebastian, your first dry grand prix victory. Fantastic start. In the first stint you are pulling away at a second a lap from everyone else. You were told to calm down by your team in the middle stint but was it really as easy as it looked today?
Sebastian Vettel: You know, it is never easy. It is a long, long race and I think particularly at this fantastic circuit everyone of us is enjoying it a lot. Fast corners. it is a dream, really, so you have to stay focused and keep your eyes open all the time. It is not easy. But as you say the start was very important, then in the first stint I tried to push as hard as I could to pull away and make a gap which I knew would be crucial as then I would benefit basically the whole race from it which worked perfectly well. I had a fantastic car. I mean it was unbelievable. I was able to push, push, push more and more and more and the tyres were very consistent, so very good tyres as well. I am very pleased. The second stint wasn't easy at all when the team said to me 'be careful'. I had a lot of traffic and a lot of lapped cars at that stage and they were battling each other, so it was quite tricky you know when you come from behind and you cant really get close. They are fighting between themselves. It was anything else but easy. You had to stay patient and it was difficult as I knew I had a big gap but I couldnt see, so I was always asking and checking how much is the gap, how is the pace, how are we doing. It was great and in the last pit stop I was in clean air. From then I think the last 10 laps I was counting every single lap down and I had quite a big gap to Mark, so I was controlling the race from that point onwards. You could say the last 10 laps were quite easy but before that obviously it wasnt. I was pushing very hard and in the second stint it was more like a slalom. I had to pass a lot of lapped cars but after that obviously it was fantastic. I am very, very pleased with the result. I mean fantastic. It shows that we are on the right way. Every single one has been working hard and it doesnt matter whether here at the track or back at the factory. Bringing the car to where it is just now is fantastic. It was all kind of last minute but we did it and we proved both of us that it is a step in the right direction, so I am very pleased. Also I want to thank Silverstone. It is only my second time here but I enjoyed it so much and when I looked left and right in the last two laps the people were already standing up and clapping and cheering. It was fantastic. The emotions then especially as I crossed the chequered flag. Every single person in the grandstands I have to thank. It was fantastic. The atmosphere was great. This is what I was dreaming of when I saw the first grands prix here in Silverstone in the era of Mansell and so on, so it is kind of unreal now to think I am here and I have made it. I have won this grand prix, so I am very, very happy.
Q: Mark, where was your chance of victory lost? Do you think it was yesterday in qualifying or today in the first stint behind Rubens?
Mark Webber: Probably yesterday. I mean we needed to get on the front row at least and I think then the first stint today we knew the way that Sebastian was pulling away and Rubens was doing his best, his car did not look that easy, and I was just sitting in behind. It is so difficult to get close here, so the race was virtually lost in that first stint. From then on Sebastian had such a gap after the first 20 laps of the race that it was absolutely no chance for me to bridge that gap. It was way too big. As he said we had a lot of traffic in the second stint. Then in the last stint it was just a question of getting the car home. The guys reported that I had some damage at the back of the car, so from the second stop we had to use a different gear pattern for the last stint but in general I want to echo Sebastians words. This team, the guys have absolutely buried themselves, at the factory. The night shifts, the attention to detail now they go into, is an absolute credit to them. They have been led very well and they are responding to that. And results help. It is an incredible injection for them to get these top results, a one-two on the home turf. The factory down the road is the ultimate result for them. It is the best I could have done today. I dont think I could have got much more from that result, so congratulations to Sebastian, he did a good first stint and that is what laid the foundations. That was really my race. I enjoyed it and again Silverstone what an amazing track. We love driving these Formula One cars here. It is just incredible to go through that first sector lap after lap after lap. It is a brilliant place for a Formula One car and certainly destroys a lot of the other venues we have been picked in the last few years of our careers if you like. And the British fans are always fantastic, so it was great.
Q: Rubens, a lot of pressure on Brawn GP this weekend. It has been a difficult weekend for the team. What do you take away from this and how much pride do you personally take from your performance today?
Rubens Barrichello: A lot of pride because at the end of the day it was very difficult. I mean yesterday as I said we were thinking that third was the best we could have and we knew that if the track didn't change a little bit it was going to be difficult to beat them. They were the class of field this weekend. I am proud of the achievement I had. The second stint was very, very difficult on the harder tyres. It was difficult to hold on to people and with the winds crossing the track which sometimes would throw you onto the marbles. In turn one I had a couple where I was running off the track and it was very, very difficult to know if the wind would hit you or not at that time, so it was difficult to follow the lines. Unfortunately they were really, really fast but I did what I had to do. My target to the end of the year is really to close the gap on Jenson and I think we all did today. Also I want to thank all the doctors that helped me this weekend because I was in terrible back pain and Doctor Cecarelli and the doctors at Toro Rosso and my friends there that helped me and my physio as my back really hurt the whole weekend and they helped me big time, so I could finish the race in good feeling.
Q: Sebastian, was this dominance this weekend all about the track and the conditions or are you and Red Bull really on a roll now which is going to say something about the second half of the season?
SV: I wouldn't mind if we could continue like that but I think it is a bit of everything. This circuit is fantastic and suits our car. A lot of high speed corners. Mark was saying the first sector is just great every single lap and I have seen our car is behaving fantastically well in all these sorts of corners, medium speed, high speed, so the rhythm is really nice here, so I think that is one reason. On the other hand I think we have made a nice step forward. I think it helps us of course in medium speed and high speed corners but also in low speed, so I think we have improved the car a bit everywhere. Therefore I think it all came together and we did a good job, the whole team was working perfectly fine and therefore I think if you want to say it in that way we were quite dominant today.
Q: Sebastian, give us an idea about how different the tyres were. Did you have any problems with the different types?
SV: No, I mean looking at the result I wouldnt say problems. I am very, very pleased obviously. To sum up the race the most crucial stint was the first one. I knew I had to have a good start and then defend first position and then I tried every single lap to push as hard as I could to build up a gap. I knew that it would only help me for whatever comes in the second and third stint. It worked perfectly well. I could see on the board every single lap nearly a second more, a second more, a second more, so it was fantastic to see. The tyres were, I have to say, very consistent, both compounds, the soft ones and the hard ones. We were not 100 per cent sure before the race which was the preferred one. You never know on Sunday. The conditions can change and so on, so it wasnt that easy but I think in the end we did the right thing. Then obviously towards the end you feel a little bit the tyres starting to go off, so it becomes a bit more difficult out of the low speed to control the traction but I think the car was fantastic today. As I said in the first stint I was able to open up a very big gap. The second stint was quite difficult because there was a lot of traffic, a lot of lapped cars, and it was sometimes quite tricky and also my engineer came on the radio and reported to me to be patient enough as obviously they were fighting between themselves and I was catching up. The only thing you want is to pass, so you want them to let you by. On the other hand they are fighting themselves. I have been in the other position and saw the leader behind me, me in the middle of nowhere and fighting against the others. Then the last thing you want to do is pull over and let the car behind you by to lose time. But I have to say very good behaviour by all the drivers. Of course you are losing time. But still I think it was a very, very good for every single one. Then in the third stint obviously I could see on the board again and I was all the time in radio contact with the team asking for pace and how we were doing and so on. In the end we were just about saving the car and bringing the result home. Fantastic here; one and two. The factory is down the road, so as I said yesterday I can only make huge compliments. Every single one, it doesnt matter here in the factory or at the track, has been working very hard and it has been tough to get this car where it is now so, especially the update we had for here was pretty much on the edge but we made it and I think it totally paid off. Results are the best way to say thank you to every single one. Also a lot of people were here at the circuit. Apart from all the spectators, I have to say the atmosphere was great. I regret a little bit I am not an Englishman as the fans are fantastic. Already in the last few laps I could see the people standing up and cheering. At the time I wanted to wave and say thank you but then I said there have been stories in the past where it didnt look too good with drivers doing it and that was the last thing I wanted to do. Then when I crossed the line it was unbelievable. Also the whole podium ceremony was fantastic, so thank you.
Q: At half distance you lost three seconds. Was that because of traffic?
SV: Yes, as I said the middle stint pretty much the middle of the race around lap 30 - I caught three cars. Fernando (Alonso), Lewis (Hamilton) and Nelson (Piquet) and it was quite tricky. As my engineer said to be patient I tried to be. I knew I had quite a big gap and I wasnt in a rush to pass. The last thing I wanted was to have a collision or anything. Also with the debris at some stage I was quite cautious but I think that was the main reason. I had no issues from the car. It was working perfectly fine from lap one to lap 60.
Q: Rubens has mentioned the winds affecting his car. Did they affect yours?
SV: Yes, it did. He is totally right. I think the best example was turn one. I think from the beginning of the race to the end of the race the wind turned roughly 180 degrees. You could feel on the speed you were simple able to have going into Maggots and then Becketts. It was quite tricky. You arrive there and you are always on the edge and sometimes the wind is just taking you and then you end up in the marbles. You try not to lose too much time but I have to say the car was very, very good today especially in sector one, so I was very pleased, so we were able to cope very well I think even with the windy conditions.
Q: And Nürburgring next.
SV: Yeah, Im looking forward to it. Its my home race, we have had this home race for the team, kind of, strictly speaking not! I think as everyone noticed the anthem this time, the national anthem for the team was the right one (Austrian) but the factory is down the road, so its a fantastic result here at home. And the next one is for me at home, which is great. I hope to continue and try to repeat what we did here, which wont be easy but for sure, thats what were aiming for.
Q: Mark, when you were behind Rubens, how much were you bottled up, how close could you get, was it just a matter of waiting for him to make a mistake?
MW: No I wasnt worried about I think its Rubenss second or third Grand Prix, so hes quite experienced and I knew that he was doing the best he could and that was the case. Its very hard to get close at Silverstone, it was a question of me saving fuel. I was just saving fuel and more fuel and then just making sure I jumped him at the first stop. Obviously it was disappointing to see Sebastian disappearing because I knew how important that situation in qualifying was which happened to me. But anyway, I dont think I could have got much more out of today. I said before the race, the first race is with Rubens and if that happens quite quickly then maybe I can have a race with Sebastian. If my first stint was behind Rubens then Sebastian was going to have a boring race; thats what I said before the race and that turned out to be the case. He had quite a straightforward afternoon and so did I, actually, in the end. As Sebastian said there was a lot of traffic in the second stint and in the end it was just controlling throughout the stint. There was no way, ever, given how close we are, that I was ever going to close twenty seconds in two stints, it was never going to happen. Were pushing the car together, the development is in the same direction, so all this stuff is good for us. The guys have buried themselves at the factory, including Renault with the engines. Obviously Dietrich (Mateschitz), the big boss back in Austria, is very proud of us today, getting a first and second again this year and Im looking forward to my day when I can jump into the seat next to me. But today Im actually happy with what I got out of it. Sebastian deserves to win today, so well take it to another day.
Q: You mentioned a gear problem just now, you didnt seem to lose too much time with it; could you just explain what happened?
MW: The guys said I had some damage to my bodywork. I dont know if it was from the Bourdais/Kovalainen shunt at turn eight because I was quite close to that and it just happened in front of me. I dont know where the damage was to the car but the guys asked me to actually it wasnt a gearbox problem. I had to use a different rev profile for the lap, so we needed to use different gears in different corners, so that was always a new challenge for the driver to work out exactly what the engineers want you to do. Then they said dont do that too long because now the engines getting another problem, so we had a few little things bubbling away but it didnt really affect Im sure Ill find out a bit more about it later but it was a case of me getting the car home.
Q: Rubens, when you were ahead of Mark, did you know you were probably in trouble?
RB: Yeah, we knew from yesterday the car that they had, so it was going to be a difficult one. It was close actually. When I came around the first corner and he was exiting the pits I needed not a little bit to stay in front but all in all, you saw him, when he was in front he disappeared and there was nothing I could do. And to make things worse, I think it was probably a tough choice to go on the harder tyres right in the middle. There was very little between the tyres all through the weekend but in the race I think the softer tyres performed better, so to have a long stint on the harder tyre was a tough call. Then I saw Rosberg and Massa coming along, so it was a tough race for me. The car is balanced but we lack grip. We were hoping that the weather could get a little hotter but it never did, so it was a struggle but having said that, Im happy because all in all I took some points out of Jenson, so for me thats the target that I have achieved.
Q: Youve had a bit of a worry about the tyre temperatures at this circuit. Do you think that may be the same situation at the Nürburgring? We dont know what the weathers going to be, obviously.
RB: Nürburgring can be snowing or it can be deadly hot, so its a very difficult place to see whats going to happen. Its three weeks away, we have a chance there that it could be hotter or anything but we need to work on that (tyre temperature). We had that situation before in Shanghai and the Red Bulls were quite strong and I believe that thats the situation right now. We havent all of a sudden lost performance, we just think its to do with a little bit of the weather.
Q: You mentioned your back; when did that make itself apparent?
RB: On the trip, on the way to England (from Brazil) I started to feel my back, especially my lower back, hurting. After I ran on Friday morning, when I got out of the car, it was really, really stiff. The massage wasnt doing anything and obviously nowadays you cannot take any medicine, so I had to check the doctors and check everyone and they helped me big time. So Im feeling good. Luckily the position that Im sitting in the car is comfortable for the lower back. From now on its going to be a problem but its fine as long as its not a problem with the car, its fine.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Joris Fioriti AFP) This is question for Rubens and Sebastian: do you think you are putting back interest into the championship after the six wins out of seven races for Jenson Button, and how difficult do you think it will be to catch him?
RB: Jenson has been quite strong in every race this year. Lets say he birdied the first holes, I hope he bogeys the next ones and I can birdy. Its pretty much like that. I hope that this is a turnaround here.
SV: As Rubens said, I think Jenson was very strong in all eight races weve had so far and he totally deserves to be in this position. Looking at the championship, he obviously has quite a comfortable lead still but were trying to do our best and I think the only thing that makes sense is to use every single opportunity we have. As I said before, were working very, very hard, the team is very determined and we know where we want to be, we want to win. I think thats the only way to turn it around. For sure it wont be easy but we are totally up for the fight. The season is still very long, anything can happen still. You never know what is going to happen.
Q: (Bob Bull BBC Three Counties Radio) Question for Rubens: Felipe Massa was right on your tail having started from eleventh. Are the Ferraris getting closer to the Brawns as well? You didnt beat him by a great amount.
RB: Well, I think Ferrari is strong everywhere in any case. The fact is that with their car, and whatever the behaviour is, they are stronger in some races and not in some others. Here, they didnt seem to be very competitive in qualifying, especially with Felipe, but then he had a good strategy and he made up the gap. But the cars are very similar. If you take Istanbul, in qualifying, for example, there was 1.4s between the whole grid. If you have the car adjusted to one particular track youre going to have something happening quite quickly. Plus, I think Formula One is now developing so fast and we have new parts for the car at every race and everyone is doing that. Youre going to see teams coming from the back, for sure.
Q: (Mohammed Khan The National, Abu Dhabi) Sebastian, what will it take to overhaul Jenson? You talk about perfection, is it going to take perfection for the rest of the season for Red Bull to catch them?
SV: I think the only thing it takes is towards the end of the season to collect more points and then at the end you sum it up and whoever has scored more becomes champion. Thats all it takes. Of course theres hard work behind it, as Rubens says. Every single team is pushing hard. I think the fact that were very competitive this weekend is down to a lot of factors. First of all, I think we have made a step forward. The car was brilliant here and this circuit suits us. On top of that I think the conditions were right for us, we had no issues with the tyres, so everything was working and it was very close to being perfect which is very, very difficult to achieve but it should always be the target. In the end, you cant really foresee whats going to happen but I can assure you we will try very, very hard to improve, even from where we are now and try to collect more points than all our competitors.
Q: (Don Kennedy Hawkes Bay Today, New Zealand) This was billed as Jenson Buttons race to lose, if you like. Do you think youve not only gained on the track from the result today but also psychologically, and perhaps Rubens that might even apply to you?
RB: Like I said, he was on a roll. Its almost as if everything was opening right up in front of him and he used that for him very well. Theres nothing to say against that. We are sportsmen and if you can make that into a turnaround and work for yourself with the energy and try to get everything for you, youre doing very well. But I think Jenson is quite mature already, so hes going to be strong. Its not that I think that with one sixth place he can flick it up, I think everything that were going to conquer towards the end of the season were going to conquer, hes not going to give us any opportunity but thats why its nice and I think its a good challenge.
SV: In the end I can only confirm what Rubens says, you know. When it comes to me, Im not really a fan of all these psychological tricks and mindset and so on. All I try to do is to squeeze the car out every single time, every single lap and to do the best I can. Of course, sometimes you might have to attack more than is probably good for you and you might risk a lot and sometimes lose it. Yes, it happens, I think that happens in sports, that happens in motor racing and I think thats human. As I said, in the end you have to use every single day you have and the one who is most consistent and has done the best job fully deserves to win in the end. It might be a one point advantage or a fifty points advantage to the guy behind.
Q: (Sean McGreevy CSMA Magazine) There have been a lot of politics this weekend. In your opinion, what does F1 need to do to secure its future?
SV: Ha, thats a good one. I knew that something would come up. I think we have to see everything clearly. Were all in the same boat, all the drivers. Everything we want, and in the end the only thing we want, is to race against each other. We want to compete with the best cars in the world against the best drivers. I think that has been the attraction of Formula One and thats why Formula One is the peak of motor sport. We are all here to race. When it comes to all these politics, I know theres a lot going on. Maybe you can say I should be more concerned but all Im worried about now is what happens to me in the sport. I think that as a professional sportsman you should always have your focus on what really matters, and if you ask me what matters, the only thing that matters right now is what we do with the car at the track, so I think that is the most important thing. On top of that, I think its quite complex and to really have an opinion you have to have enough knowledge and to have enough knowledge you have to be one of the people who are able to know what is really going on and I have to admit that I dont really care that much whats happening. All I care about is what happens to my car and what is happening to me at the track. I think we are all of the same opinion in a way. The last thing we want is to have too much holiday. We all like and we all love racing, I think thats the reason why we are here, and we want to continue fighting against each other and find out every single weekend and every single year who is the best one.
Q: (Adam Scriven Racing Post) Mark, the earlier questions about the championship situation werent addressed to you but youre still very much in the title race. How do you rate your chances at the moment?
MW: Well, Im getting some pretty good results. Ive had very consistent Sunday afternoons. Saturday is crucial, we know that, in terms of how tight it is between the four of us, and especially in the last few events. Im still very confident that I can haul some good points in the future. Whether its enough to be consistently ahead of these guys remains to be seen but thanks for flagging that up. Im out there and yeah, Im very happy with my performances so far this year. It doesnt take much to turn things round, so Im looking forward to Nürburgring. It could be mixed conditions and then weve got Budapest. Yeah, there are some good races coming up which will test us again and yeah, Im looking forward to it.