Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: 1 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing); 2 - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes); 3 - Romain Grosjean (Lotus).
Q: Sebastian, biting your nails at the end there. You took the decision not to go out and do a final run. Does it sit comfortably with you, being a gambler?
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah. Its a weird feeling. You stand in the garage when theres roughly two minutes to go in the session and you know that its too late. But then its much worse when you see the others at the final attempt and you know theres nothing you can do. Because you stand in the garage. I was watching the sector times very closely with obviously Romain, Nico and Mark in particular. Mark started with a purple sector one, very close in sector two, then Nico had a purple sector two, then Romain had a purple sector two. Then fortunately my last sector was strong enough to - yeah - just stay ahead. It was very close in the end with Nico. Thats a great feeling then, obviously, because it could go wrong but very happy obviously with the result. The cars been phenomenal all weekend. Yesterday I think the gap was a bit of a surprise. Todays been more what we expected - especially with Mercedes being very close behind.
Q: The gap is a tenth of a second Nico. Youve had the upper hand over your team-mate here but not quite over the Red Bulls.
Nico Rosberg: Yeah, unfortunately Sebastian especially has been really quick the whole weekend but it was very, very close in the end. A pity, because one tenth more, with the way they gambled in the last qualifying One tenth more would have been possible somehow, yknow? That would have been great but anyway, second place is still a good result. A great result. And it gives me a good position to start the race tomorrow and Im also very confident about our race pace. Its looking OK so I think a great result is possible.
Q: Romain, a confident decision from you in the first part of qualifying not to use the faster tyre. Were you feeling confident today?
Romain Grosjean: Well, I think the cars been OK today. If we look at how many laps we did in the whole weekend so far, P3 in the quali is not too bad. We knew we were strong this morning. I think we got a little bit caught by the night coming on and it was a little bit less quick than the fast time we expected in Q1 but nevertheless I think the team did a good decision about the strategy and the cut-off and everything, so then we had two attempts in Q3. Its good to be at the front in this grand prix.
Q: Sebastian. Youve won from pole the last two Grands Prix. Is it more of a challenge to do it around this Marina Bay circuit tomorrow?
SV: Yeah, definitely. Its one of the toughest races we face all year. I would say the toughest - physically and mentally - because its so long. One lap is so long, theres so many corners, theres hardly any room for mistakes, its very bumpy and, as you can see, were all sweating pretty much even though we only did a couple of laps in qualifying. So the heat obviously and the humidity plays a factor. It will be very tough. Surely pole is the best position to start from - very happy with that as it is tricky to pass on this track. But because it is such a long race I think there is plenty of opportunities for all of us. Usually we get a safety car at some stage in the race. Yeah, as I said, happy to start from pole, try to have a good start and then settle into a nice rhythm and see what we can do.
Q: So Sebastian, your 41st career pole, sixth of this season, three in a row now after Spa and Monza. Youve had a great record around here, won the last two times at Singapore. What is it about this Singapore circuit that really gets to you?
SV: I dont know. We race at night. I think even though it hasnt been in the calendar for many decades but still it seems like a classic and its a very nice place to come to. The circuit is a big challenge for all of us. Its so long, so many corners, very difficult to keep the focus for the entire lap. Tomorrows race will be very long, its usually the longest race we have with two hours duration. So, yeah, its just you hate it and love it at the same time. Obviously in qualifying if you get the lap right it feels fantastic. I think its the challenge that I love - that we love - when we come here.
Q: A quick word on your main title rival - Fernando Alonso seventh today.
SV: Yeah, obviously, I dont know. We dont really look at what the others do. At least I dont. So, I think the race is long, as I touched on, especially around here. I think the Ferrari was struggling the last couple of events in qualifying but they have a very, very good race pace. I think the last couple of races Fernando always finished on the podium, so Im sure they will come back. So, yeah, obviously its no harm for us today but first of all we have to look after ourselves and look at what we can do in the race. And then we see where we are. But Im confident Fernando will do everything he can tomorrow in the race to fight back.
Q: Nico, it was reminiscent today of Monaco back in May. Another street track and very competitive again for you.
NR: Yeah, I really like street tracks generally. Always been quick on them and again today I felt comfortable with the car. Really the whole weekend, the progress has been nice. Starting on Friday, I wasnt very happy with the car and everything, wasnt feeling very good. We just worked through it, and really optimised it and it was just perfect in qualifying then. Its just everybody together: me with my engineers, the mechanics, everybody working together well. Im pleased with second. I think Sebastian was out of reach this weekend, all weekend, so second is OK. And with a good race pace, should be good tomorrow.
Q: A quick word on how it went from a second [off P1] after FP2 yesterday to less than a tenth this evening.
NR: Well obviously they gambled a bit. Im sure they were still quite a step quicker than that lap time if Sebastian would have done another set of tyres. But for sure weve closed the gap again as we always do on weekends. And thats good to see that were able to do that.
Q: Romain, you touched on the fact that you had a lot of problems yesterday but its another big improvement from the Lotus team from Friday through to today and from your own point of view overcoming those difficulties. How did you do that?
RG: Well to be honest, yesterday didnt look that bad on the few laps we did - I think we had ten timed laps, something like that in total in the whole day but we were something like P5 yesterday evening and the lap wasnt great. So I knew we had a good baseline to start today and this morning went pretty well. And Quali, yeah, we had a good strategy again. In Q1 it was tight because I guess the Prime tyres were less quick than what we expected but then we had a very good set of tyres for the Q2 and Q3 and we did manage to have good runs. We could compare between the two cars, what they were doing and what we were doing and try to get the best of both. Its good. I think we could have tried to have a go at Nico but yeah, it was just not quite good for the first few corners.
Q: Is it fair to say youre driving like a man who knows that his team mate is moving on next year and you want to be the lead driver of the team next year?
RG: I dont really care. Relation with Kimi has been always not very speaky, and I just do my best on my own. I like the team, Im sure theyre quite happy with the way we work so far and yeah, just focussed on what I have to do and then well see for the future.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR.
Q: (Abhishek Takle - Mid-Day) Sebastian, I think you had a gap of around 0.6s after the initial runs in Q3. You chose to sit the last run out; were you surprised by the amount of time these guys gained? In the end the gap was less than a tenth.
SV: Well, its difficult to expect. I knew that obviously we had a cushion which is why we decided not to run again but the thing you dont know is how much the track improves so Im sure that there was a little bit of track ramping up plus the fact that if you run again you get a better feel for the tyres, for the track and you get a little bit more out of yourself, so we thought it was good enough and in the end it was good enough. But yeah, it was probably a bit closer. Both of them, Nico and Romain, had a very strong middle sector but fortunately my last sector was strong enough to keep them just behind.
Q: Just for clarity, on the radio you said you thought you could find another tenth when you were asked, and you didnt look 100 percent convinced when you got out of the car, so was it a team decision rather than your decision?
SV: No, its a decision we, we... obviously Rocky (race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin) asked me whether I was happy not to run again and stay in the garage and I said yes, Im happy. He asked before that how much I thought I could improve if I went again. I told him that probably there was a tenth, maybe two. You take a little bit of track into account, a little bit of yourself, how much the track ramps up is difficult to know so I thought there was a tenth in me - it is the most famous tenth in the world, that all the drivers seem to have in their pocket but they couldnt get it out in qualifying so its still there somewhere. It was very close and its not the best feeling when you stand there and watch.
Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) Nico, we have some similarities between this race and the Hungarian Grand Prix until now, that Lewis starts better than Sebastian, got the lead in the first corner and then finished the race, he won the race. Do you think you always have the pace in race conditions to keep in front of Sebastian or here the overtaking possibilities mean that he cant overtake you?
NR: Lewis was on pole in Hungary, Im second here so its a bit different. Not sure. Ill give it a go. For sure, hes quicker on race pace, we saw that on Friday so if I can get by, then its possible that I can stay in front but its all down to the start. I think the left hand side has a little bit less grip than the right hand side on this track at the start but we will see. Its possible.
Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto, Motor und Sport) Nico, where did the big jump from the first outing to the second come from? Was it just the circuit being better, was it because maybe you have been a bit conservative in your first outing or did you change something on the wing setting or whatever for the last outing?
NR: Very difficult to explain. I dont know. I didnt expect such an improvement either but I think it was the same for everybody so maybe its down to the track ramping up or cooling down a bit more, track temperature dropping or something of the sort. Im not sure.
Q: Were you surprised by how much quicker the used supersofts were when you went out on them the second time at the beginning of Q2? Sebastian maybe take it first.
SV: I didnt go out on them.
NR: Was I surprised at the time I could do? Not really, no, because I knew the track was getting better and I saw what my team mate did in Q1, pushing, so no, I wasnt surprised.
Q: (Don Kennedy - Hawkes Bay Today) Sebastian, youve won the last two races here, youre on pole and youre probably anything from half a second to a second faster than everybody else. Do you think now we can expect you to be more confident about not only winning this race tomorrow but also the championship?
SV: I think it was quite close. Whether... I think the track ramped up, whether we could have gone with that we dont know because we didnt do the run but Im sure we had a little bit of time in hand. But yeah, for tomorrow I think the car feels fine, the race pace looked very strong on Friday, yesterday, so yeah, if all goes well we should have a very good chance to get a strong result but to be honest with you, I try... Im not just trying... I do keep it very simple. Ive got to do my homework. Just because of the fact that the last couple of races were pretty good doesnt mean that theres a guarantee that this one will be good again and the next one and so on and so forth. I think its the wrong strategy to lean back and see what the others can do. You might get surprised, so we keep going flat out, I keep pushing myself 100 percent. The target tomorrow is to win, not only for the championship but more so, to be honest with you, because its such a nice race. That means a lot to me. As I touched on, the challenge around here is one of the biggest we face all year so thats why it means a lot to finish this race on the podium and even better if you can win it. You dont have to be a genius (to work out) if you win, you score more points than the others and it feeds on itself.
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