Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: 1 - Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing), 2 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), 3 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Q: Mark, congratulations. Its been a long time this pole position this year. Its your first time fastest in a qualifying session.
Mark Webber: Yeah, its a great track. We all enjoy driving here. The laps werent too bad to be honest. You always want a little bit more here and there but in general it was pretty good. Sebastian had a problem in qualifying, so a little bit of a hollow pole position if you like, because he still did a phenomenal lap, but Im happy to be on pole. Youve got to grab the opportunities when you can and still put the laps in. Bit of a mixed session, people were throwing options and primes all over the joint in Q2; people were on scrubbed and unscrubbed. So it was a bit of a mixed session in terms of trying to predict who was showing their hand. But in the end we did the laps when it counted and thats what was important. Very, very nice farewell for me to have pole here on my last attempt at Suzuka on a really phenomenal circuit. Ill never forget the first sector today. Thats what us guys strive for and yeah, our profession is all about that so it was a real highlight for a lot of us out there today.
Q: You said yesterday you needed to find performance. You obviously found that performance. How did that come?
MW: To be honest we needed to check the car this morning with the different wind conditions. Thats important. I think youll see everyone today went a lot quicker. So we were factoring that in. The circuit had changed a lot. Also, its a very strange circuit, its a very out and back track, its a very narrow circuit, a lot of kilometres but in a small gully, so obviously that was something we have to take in mind in terms of our preparation today for the wind. I think we did what we could. Weve still got some quick cars around but in general weve got a good car for the race. Head down tomorrow.
Q: Well done. Sebastian how much do you think losing that time this morning hurt you?
Sebastian Vettel: Well obviously we had a problem this morning but I dont think that made a difference in terms of finding the rhythm, I think weve done plenty of laps around this track. First of all, congratulations to Mark, I think he did a very good lap. We did have an issue in qualifying but Im not a big fan of without this, with this, if this. Its always unknown. As a fact, we are P2. So, happy, obviously, with the result. Front row for the team, which is great. The car was phenomenal today, as Mark touched on. The first sector - I think you realise afterwards that the car was fantastic through there and you dont get many days like that, where the car feels great and you can really push it to the limit. Enjoyed qualifying and happy with second place.
Q: In fact, in the two laps you did in Q3 it looked as if you just went a little bit wide out of Spoon on one lap and Im not certain what happened in the middle sector on the final lap
SV: Nothing. I kept it on the track. Obviously I tried hard on the first attempt, a little bit too hard. Tried hard on the second attempt but managed to stay on track. Obviously you gain a little bit before you go off track in the first attempt and then you lose down the straight and obviously the second time around I was a bit more conservative but gained down the straight, so overall it was a net gain. But, yeah, I think we were all pushing to the limit today, as Mark touched on. Again, with the wind it was tricky, some gusts here and there but in the end we are pushing and mistakes happen.
Q: Lewis, I dont know how happy you are with third place. Youve been a major challenger all weekend.
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah. No. Im really happy. I think the team did a great job so far this weekend and realistically it was difficult, or almost impossible, to finish ahead of these guys. Theyve had a much better package generally for a long, long time but I think weve come a long way and to be as close as we are, I think is a huge compliment to the team. The car was feeling good. My car felt awesome so I cant imagine how it felt for them - and congratulations to Mark. Im looking forward to racing them tomorrow.
Q: Whats going to be the major factor tomorrow? A lot of people talking about tyre management and making sure you dont lock-up - that its too easy to lock-up at this circuit.
LH: Well, there are not many big braking zones but locking is always an issue. Degradation is going to be really the key tomorrow. I hope we can get a good start, being on the cleaner side and be able to at least put up a little bit of a fight for these guys, dont let them walk away with it too easily.
Q: Mark, its usually you who makes a really good start away from the press conference but the important thing is can you make a good start away tomorrow?
MW: Yeah! Havent been too bad of late, I dont think. Were doing the prep we can, the clutch is in good shape and we should be able to get away well and head down after that for a good race.
Q: Whos going to be the major threat do you think tomorrow?
MW: At the front of the grid in the grand prix theres no-one ahead of you so it always has to come from behind if theres a chance, so Ill focus on myself and try and get some gaps if I can. Obviously Seb, Lewis, Lotus as well in the race. Who knows? Youve just got to be mindful of the fact of tyre management, get the strategy right, execute a clean grand prix from driver, pitstops, everything together. Its got to work. Were more than capable of that. Obviously a super-experienced team, we know what weve got to do tomorrow. Looking forward to it.
Q: Sebastian. What was the problem this morning? What actually caused you to lose so much time this morning?
SV: We decided to change the batteries on the car because we had an issue with KERS. Unfortunately we had the same problem in qualifying - so I think we have a little bit more time after qualifying now to have a look and see whether theres something else broken or damaged. The whole team was pushing very hard. Obviously my car crew but also Marks car crew helped out to fix the car in time and get it out for qualifying - so we tried everything. It worked sometimes and as I said Im sure well find the problem tonight and hopefully it works tomorrow.
Q: Lewis, Were there big changes in conditions today, what with the wind? And also drivers were reporting more grip as well.
LH: Yeah. The wind direction changed, I think 180°, so you had a tail wind down into Turn One but then massive headwind going through the Esses, so it changed the characteristics of the circuit massively. I guess every car will have gained a lot more downforce, so it got a lot quicker today.
Q: And how much has that changed for the race itself?
LH: I believe I was told its going to be like FP3. I think it was a little windier this afternoon, potentially. Hopefully it should be the same tomorrow.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Frederic Ferret - LEquipe) Mark, did you put the black cat on Sebs car and do you think that this is the end of your bad luck curse this year?
MW: You just have to look forward. Its tough enough as it is to see the results that you lose, the amount of points that weve lost, theres a lot of things which are out of my hands which you can get frustrated by but at the end of the day you have to look forward because it takes energy if you look back, so looking forward. Yeah, we have a great opportunity tomorrow. When I started up the last lap, when I came out of the last chicane and I thought its my last lap in a Formula One car here at Suzuka - come on, lets really enjoy it but also put the car on the limit. I did my best. I enjoyed today; tomorrow will be the same mentality. Its a beautiful circuit in a Formula One car, the tyres are finishing the lap which is also brilliant for us to push for most of the lap so in general its a nice day, and as you say, lets hope it continues for another 24 hours and in India and so on and so on, to finish off as nicely as we can.
Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) Mark, theres no way not to ask this question: your teammate needs a victory to maybe - maybe - become World Champion. Here you are in front of him on a difficult circuit to overtake. Would you consider to work for the team?
MW: I think its such a long year. Sebs had a phenomenal year. He will do his race tomorrow, I will do my race. Its not like its the last race of the championship, obviously, in terms of what can unfold or whatever. Sebastian has a big points lead because of the work that hes put in up to now. He cant qualify on pole for every race. Tomorrow is a new day and lets see how its looking at the end of the race. Normally you talk about these things and they never happen but in general, yeah, well be there for ourselves tomorrow.
Q: (Abhishek Takle - Midday) Mark, we saw some replays of you exiting the pits in front of a McLaren, Perez. Can you explain what happened? Were you aware... were you told he was on a flying lap?
MW: He backed off so the engineers told me that he had finished his lap so we could pull in front of him because he was going to pit. If he was on a quick lap obviously I would have got out of the way.
Q: (Trent Price - Richland F1) For all of you: weve seen a lot of drivers lose a lot of time in the chicane over the weekend; have you guys opted for a compromise set-up for that or is it just something in the characteristics of the cars?
MW: The chicane is a normal compromise problem for this circuit. Its a very slow chicane, its from a big speed in terms of braking, theres also a bit of rise in there if you want to use the kerbs, and things like that and then the traction is also very important. As usual, with every Grand Prix track we go to we try to compromise the car as best we can. Were aware theres a lot of lap time in the chicane but theres also a lot of lap time in the first sector so we do what we can. The driver sometimes has to fill the pockets in terms of those compromises.
SV: Sorry, what was the question again? I have the results here. Sorry. I think Mark has... I think you lose a little bit of the tyre towards the end but Im sure thats what he said.
Q: (Dan Knutson - Auto Action and National Speedsport News). Mark, you said its a bit of a hollow pole because Seb had problems but out of the 12 (poles) how does this rate? Is it still quite sweet because its at this track?
MW: Yeah, youre right Dan. Youve got to take them when you can get them. Its not like they hand them out. It was still a big lap. Ive had a few laps in qualifying where Ive had to attempt to qualify as best as I can without all the weapons as well and today we had the weapons sharp and we did a pretty good job on a phenomenal circuit. When you drive here... this is the links golf course of the golf world or the big wave stuff for the surfers or whatever. For us, its a really testing circuit. Unless anyone sees a Formula One car here live to see what happens in a sector, its very hard for them to understand how quickly we go through there.
Q: (Ian Parkes - Press Association) Seb and Mark: McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed that Peter Prodromou has signed for the team, potentially for next season, certainly for 2015. Can you two guys give us an idea of what Peter has brought to Red Bull over the past few years, given the titles that youve won?
MW: Peters a great guy, obviously a huge amount of experience. Always enjoyed working with him. Obviously hes an integral part of the team and did good job, been there a long time. Its the first Im aware of how formal youre talking about it but these things happen in Formula One. Theres a lot of good guys moving around in teams. Were open to that and that can happen. If thats the case, I obviously wish him all the best. Thats the small industry that we work in.
SV: I only heard of it just now. As Mark touched on, hes obviously been a very very strong character in the background responsible for a lot of good stuff that has happened to us over the last couple of years. Whether its more than just a rumour or not Im not sure. Independently, hes a very nice guy and whatever he decides to do, as Mark said, you wish him all the best. For sure I hope he stays with us but I dont know. I only just heard, when I got out of the car.
Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) Mark, you have been facing problems at the start of the race in many races and here, maybe, its one of the most difficult because its downhill. Do you have any special preparations for the start?
MW: Do my best, mate. Fingers crossed and go from there. Weve had a few good ones. Obviously some pretty average ones: Seb in Singapore, it was not the best for him but Lewis has had some good and some poor ones as well. At Nurburgring we went straight round the outside of him so it can happen but I love taking the challenge on and tomorrow we will face it and do what we can to get into turn one first and then the race starts from there.
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