Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers - Paul di Resta (Force India), Jules Bianchi (Marussia), Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber), Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Felipe Massa (Ferrari).
Q: Paul di Resta, youve had a bit of a drought over the past five races or so. Do you put that down to bad luck?
Paul di Resta: I suppose you can, but at the same time weve had some unfortunate issues. But I think the important thing is to keep pushing on. Singapore was obviously looking like it was going to be a great result from a difficult qualifying session, the speed was in the car, but it wasnt to be. Hopefully this weekend we can get it together and get points back on the table, which is always the goal within the team.
Q: The team has suggested that youve been affected by the change of tyres since the British Grand Prix, would you agree with that?
PdiR: I definitely think the tyre hasnt helped but I think at this stage, and this far in with the new tyres, can you blame that? Weve not optimised it like we did the last set, but I think everybody within the team has a great handle on tyres and its just about unleashing the potential of them. Weve maybe not got it over the whole weekend but the way we managed the tyres in the race in Singapore was obviously better than most people were able to. We just need to try to get the qualifying performance and I think if we can do that then it gets us back on track and we start having a good weekend again.
Q: I hope so, thank you. Jules, obviously youve signed, weve had the news of that this morning that youve signed again for Marussia, although there were several other seats available, but youve resigned for Marussia. Your feelings about that?
Jules Bianchi: Obviously its a great feeling for me. It was a really late call this year and Ive already signed for next year so its amazing for me. Im really happy to stay with Marussia because I feel really confident with them, I feel like at home. So I hope it will be a great season next year and I really want to thank them for that.
Q: How do you feel about the potential for next year, particularly with the Ferrari engines. And also your own potential, how are you going to develop?
JB: For sure, I will feel a lot more confident because I will have a lot more experience in Formula One, I will have all the winter testing. We will have new rules, with new engines, with Ferrari. For sure that will be a great thing for the car and for the team. I dont know what to expect but for sure we will have an improvement.
Q: Esteban, you had your best qualifying in Singapore. Was that the circuit, just everything coming together? How important was that for you?
Esteban Gutierrez: It was very important, because it was getting very critical not being able to qualify properly. Obviously when you start P9 or P10, theres a huge difference between starting P10 and P16 or P17. It also changes a lot your perspective because youre fighting with better drivers at the front as well. It was, I think, a great experience, a good step and a very solid one and Im looking to keep this in a consistent way until the end of the year.
Q: And obviously weve got a Mexican Grand Prix on the calendar for next year. Tell us how important it is for your country to have that grand prix, for motor sport in your country. But also, about the circuit itself, because I think youve been there. Is it ready for a grand prix?
EG: It has to be adapted. They have to do some work. Now there is a closer chance it will happened but its not yet assured, so theyre working very hard and Im sure that the promoters are trying to find a way to make it happen. Obviously for us it would be a very special one.
Q: Felipe, it is four weeks since the announcement regarding your future with Ferrari. Can you tell us more about your future in Formula One?
Felipe Massa: Well, not yet. So its to concentrate to the last race. We talk with a few teams, yknow, and I dont think its the right time to speak about that. I think its the right time when you know where you are going. For the moment we are aware, I think, of some good opportunities. Its better to wait and say at the right time.
Q: Youre getting on quite well with the current car it seems. Youve out-qualified your team-mate five times this year, last time in Singapore. How do you feel about the current Ferrari?
FM: I feel OK, I feel good. I mean I feel comfortable inside the car and managed to put some points in the last races. Important for me, for the team. Just concentrate to carry on like that these last races and try to get some more podiums, some more better results even from what I had until now. I think qualifying is going well as well, so lets try to do everything we can to get some good results now in these last six races and finish well with Ferrari after our long and nice time together.
Q: Lewis, last year you had an incident-packed race here but at the same time youve had a couple of second places as well at this circuit, included that wet race in 2010. What are your memories of this circuit and what are your feelings about this race?
Lewis Hamilton: I dont really remember any of my races here! I remember qualifying at the front on one race but otherwise weve had some half-decent races but I havent won, so theres nothing really good enough to remember, Id say.
Q: I particularly remember in the wet, when you were going around and around and around behind the safety car and you saying Cmon, lets go racing.
LH: Ah yeah, I remember that. But thats normal, that sort of thing.
Q: Since Silverstone youve had a good run of points as opposed to your team-mate who hasnt had quite the same run of points. What do you put that down to? A difference in driving style between the two of you?
LH: Well, the last couple of races havent been so good for me. But before that, yeah, again Ive just grown with my understanding of the car. Growing an understanding of how to really extract the most from it. Working better each time as were growing as a team in terms of how we communicate and everything. So I hope this weekend is even better in that sense. Were constantly making changes, even after the last race weekend, there were some things we can improve on, particularly on communication. So were hopefully going to see a better weekend this weekend.
Q: Is there one type of circuit thats better than another?
LH: No, no. Im actually really surprised this year that the car is good everywhere. Its been a real blessing and I anticipate it should be strong again here this weekend. Whether or not we can keep up with the Red Bulls, well see - but my target really is to get these guys, the guys in the red.
Q: Romain, Eric Boullier in his preview of this race gave you a big vote of confidence saying that you had really come together, that you performing extremely well. How do you feel about your performances recently?
Romain Grosjean: Pretty good to be honest! I knew we were on a good run since the Bahrain Grand Prix except Monaco where I had a bad weekend and Canada where we struggled a little bit - but things were going together and I think it shows up in Germany that the final things came together and it was better and better. Singapore was a good race as well. We came back with a more normal package, the car was back at the front, which is enjoyable and hopefully its going to be the case for the last six races of the season.
Q: Was Singapore a track that you liked or do you just have the confidence now? Has there been a breakthrough in some way?
RG: Well, I think it was not a track that I liked or disliked. It doesnt change much on the lap-time or the driving style. I tried to get on with everything I can and the car is getting better and better. I think we had a very slow start to the season. Since then we worked hard and its like we lost all the testing and the first three races. So, started on the back foot but bring things together and Singapore was back to the normal wing level after lets say after Spa and Monza where we struggled a little bit more and should be good for the rest of the season hopefully. And, yknow, just keep doing the same thing as were doing.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Abhishek Takle - Midday) Felipe, following on from the earlier question about your future, how optimistic are you in terms of your chances of getting a competitive drive next year and should you not get a competitive drive next year, would you still want to continue in Formula One?
FM: Well, I think Im quite optimistic that Im going to find a good direction, a good solution. As I said, I will not change my mind. I want to have a car that can give me some good possibilities to fight, not a car in which I would not have a chance to fight. So if I have that, Im not interested, as I said.
Q: (Frederic Ferret - LEquipe) To all of you: first of all, how do you rate this track as a driver, and secondly, what do you think of next years calendar with 22 Grands Prix?
RG: Its too far from Seoul.
FM: I think its a very nice track, I like to drive here. Regarding the calendar, I think its a lot to think about because its not really comfortable, not just for us as drivers but for the teams, so I think if there were a little bit better thinking behind it they can do a much better calendar for next year.
LH: I really love the track, they did a good job. Its nice to drive. You dont get as many people coming to watch as we would like but as Romain said, its quite far from the main city. Just arriving today, seeing how beautiful the weather is, the scenery around it, its really quite a peaceful place. In terms of calendar, I love racing so I would do many more if I had to but as Felipe said, its difficult on the team. The years getting so long. I think were already testing in January so theres not a lot of down time for the guys back at the factory or us people who are travelling.
FM: I think the problem is that there are races where you go to Japan and then youre not going to another race straightaway, so youre going back to Europe and then youre coming back here. You can do many races - not a problem - but you need to do it in a better way.
Q: Esteban, your first impressions?
EG: Well, its going to be an interesting track to get to know, its my first time driving this track and Ive already had a look at some media footage and it looks quite an interesting track.
JB: Well, I did FP1 last year with Force India. It was a good track, I liked it so now we have to wait and see how it is in racing.
PdiR: Again, like everyone, I think its a good track to drive, its got a nice flow in the last sector. Equally, its got some good opportunities if youre attacking or defending in the first sector. For the calendar, I think its obviously a great thing to go to new countries and new tracks and let other people experience the sights of Formula One, so very positive and I think like Lewis, drivings important and however many races that will be, I want to be the one whos taking part.
Q: (Trent Price- Richland F1) Felipe, Fernandos been relatively vocal about saying that it was the tyre construction that affected Ferrari mid-year and Nicolas Tombazis says no, it was more of a development curve that we took in the wrong direction. Youve done a lot of Friday work on the car; where do you see where the issues are?
FM: For sure, if you dont have the car to win the championship you didnt do the perfect job, its clear. Weve had so many little things that either didnt work as you expected to fight for the championship, but I dont think you need to put names on the table. I think you need to speak about the whole group of work. I think thats the most important thing.
Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) To all of you: since the Spa race, Sebastian Vettel set three poles and won three races, even on a circuit where he couldnt be so fast, Monza, for example. Whats your point of view about that; how can he get such a big advantage from one moment to another one?
FM: Well, I think if you look at the last race, how his pace was, qualifying and in the race. If you appreciate that few teams will have new pieces on the car from now until the last race; similar to what he did in the last race, hes going to have some more victories, I think. For sure, his pace was better than everybody in the last races. It depends on the track, especially in Singapore. Were going to tracks where you need more downforce and they always show great performance as well. We will see. I hope it wont be like that but the chance is pretty much in their favour, that he can have more victories.
LH: I agree, theres not really much more to say.
RG: Well, they look quite impressive. They did a good job to bring them something that brings them a decent lap time gain so no, P2 is almost like a victory.
PdiR: I think all you can say is that the combination has not only worked this year but its worked over the last four years. The difference that theyve made from the beginning of the year to now is obviously working out in their direction and nobody is challenging them.
Q: (Abhishek Takle - Midday) Felipe, Pat Fry said in the run-up to this race that youre going to be using the Friday practice sessions to test 2014 parts, so how involved are you going to be with that programme of testing those parts?
FM: I hope I can test everything they give to me for next year, to have some experience, to understand a little bit. I dont know. To be honest, this year theres not a lot to be done for next year so the car will be completely different next year. So many things will be different so I think its not so easy to try things on Friday for next year because everything will start from zero next year. But if we have some new pieces, I hope I can have them.
Q: (Simon Cass - Daily Mail) Paul, is your contract situation sorted out with Force India for next year, do you have a contract, because Vijay (Mallya) says hes going to leave the decision late as he usually does? I was just wondering where we were with that.
PdiR: The teams policy is not to discuss contracts at the moment, so I think you need to go to the press office and speak to them. Ill concentrate on this weekend and the driving part of it.
Q: (Dan Knutson - Auto Action and National Speedsport News) Lewis, is it possible to do a perfect lap and then, if you do that, how do you improve on it? Not just here, anywhere.
LH: I dont think theres a perfect lap. I think you can always improve, even if you do pull off a great lap, theres always some areas where you feel you could potentially gain, but then perhaps you lose in other areas. So getting a perfect lap like in the simulations we have are generally perfect laps. I think thats something were all trying to do every single time we go out and the closer you get, the more exciting it gets.
Q: (Ben Edwards - BBC) Lewis, quick question: just looking back at the Singapore race. When the team analysed the performance of both you and Nico and Sebastian, you were so close to him in qualifying in terms of team pace, then he had that two seconds a lap advantage when he was sprinting, but do you think that was a bit of a false picture because he was very much pushing to open up that gap and maybe you guys were obviously in a different position in that race. Do you think that the gap we saw open up was a slightly false picture?
LH: I dont, personally, think so. No. I think thats the true pace of their car. Perhaps they have a lot more in the bag than we get to see, so its just cruising, generally. I think in the race on the restart everyones pushing flat out so there should be no reason why they should be able to pull away that much quicker. If you look at their on-boards, hes on the power, full throttle at least twenty meters before everyone else which is a huge advantage.
Q: What sort of reaction does that make you have and the team have; what can you do about that?
LH: Theres nothing we can really do, were always asking for rear downforce, always want to be able to get on the power sooner. But the last time I was able to put the pedal down that quick was what, 2007, 2008? 2007 when we had traction control, so its a lot different.
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