Winning combo - Mark Webber & Sebastian Vettel Q&A 16 May 2010
Mark Webbers second win in a week means he has earned a maximum 50 points from the last two races. Sunday also saw him become only the second Australian to triumph in Monaco after Sir Jack Brabham. A good day indeed then. For Sebastian Vettel it was second place, but the German insisted he was not disappointed, especially as he leaves Monte Carlo level on points with his Red Bull team mate, the new championship leader
Q: Mark, how does the champagne taste in Monaco?
Mark Webber: Very, very sweet! And in the evening Im sure I will give it another try. But yes indeed, it was a very special day. Even a special week. Two race wins within one week and bagging 50 points is already very special, but to win in Monaco is a quite unique thing in itself. There is no driver that raced in Formula One that would not have liked to win here and it sure is the biggest highlight of my life in terms of race wins. Its a very special event and a very challenging race for the driver. The walls are everywhere and the concentration is at its maximum, and with the safety cars you always had to get back into your rhythm and get everything to temperature again - tyres, brakes. Obviously Seb (Vettel) had little problems at the re-starts, which helped me a little bit. In the end he drove a very strong race as well and we made it a one-two.
Q: Its been not only two race wins within one week, its been two pole to podium wins
MW: Yeah, it was indeed an amazing week for me and obviously I enjoyed every minute of it. After we came back from China I thought that I have to get my finger out when we get back to Europe and to win the first European races is amazing. I wouldnt mind if it would go on like that - I like it that way.
Q: So in the end the safety car was your biggest opponent today?
MW: Yes, happily enough I only saw the safety car in front of me and not another Formula One car. True it is not good to have so many safety cars in one race - it only can be distracting and you can pick up debris that might lead to a serious issue. We had people crashing, we had a few fires, but hey, that is Monaco. Fortunately for us weve been able to keep out of all that. Our race obviously was straightforward and boring - thats how we like them.
Q: Can you tell us how your race unfolded?
MW: Well, the start was not the best, but I got into a good rhythm very fast and managed a gap to Sebastian early in the race. Then I was just focusing to get the maximum out of the tyres, but not too much. The first pit stop went very well and I settled in very easily. But then came the safety car - in fact we had a lot of safety cars in my second stint and it is always difficult to get everything restarted again. In fact I had to win the race four times today! You probably risk a little more to get away from the other guys and then the safety car equalizes everything again and you have the same guys on your heels again. In the last 15 laps I had the impression that the barriers seem to come closer and closer. This race is really testing you.
Q: Frank Williams, your team boss before you joined Red Bull, said that you are now a contender for the title and that there is no point in denying it
MW: Ah, lets see. Its nice to have a lot of points at the moment. But the season is still long and we will go to venues like Montreal or Budapest and other tracks where we have to go with eyes wide open to get a result. But there is no need for the Italian people to panic yet: Ferrari are also very strong and everything is still wide open. There are not only two drivers who fight for the championship.
Q: Your Monaco triumph marks only the second Aussie win here since 1959 and Sir Jack Brabham - that must make you very proud
MW: To be honest I wouldnt be here without Jack. My father started to follow single-seater racing when he was very young and was a huge fan of Formula One, and when Jack started to win my father really got into it and I am the result. To win here in the same streets as Jack did obviously two generations ago is an amazing thing for me.
Q: You seem to be like a very fine wine - getting better with every year
MW: Well, yes, the last two races went very well for me, but I sure have to keep pushing and my motivation is very good. Ive always taken every year as it comes and this year feels very right.
Q: Sebastian, what is your take on the championship now?
Sebastian Vettel: Well, Mark and I are obviously equal in points, but Mark has already two wins and in such a situation that is what makes the difference. But that is the momentary situation. Its a still a long season ahead and in two weeks in Istanbul things can look very different.
Q: Is it easier to battle you team mate or easier if it were someone else?
SV: It definitely is easier with your team mate because you know what he has and what he is doing, whereas if you are fighting someone else youre only guessing what his next steps will be. But in the end its not only about Mark and myself. You never should underestimate your other opponents. Teams like McLaren and Ferrari - even if they are a little bit behind at the moment -will come closer for sure in the course of the season.
Q: Obviously you had a good start - seems you made everything right in those crucial few seconds
SV: I was not that satisfied as I realized that the engine speed was dramatically going down and that immediately made me think, Oh boy, now its going to be difficult. But obviously the grip was there and then I immediately noticed that I was starting better than Mark in front of me. Then a look to my left side told me that I was also accelerating better than Robert (Kubica) and heading for the first corner I had a comfortable second position - and that was crucial.
Q: How hotly was Robert breathing down you neck? Sometimes he came pretty close
SV: Thanks to the wind I didnt really feel it so much! But yes, the yellow car was always there and there was no way to deny that when looking into the mirror. The bee was there behind me throughout the race, but sometimes its good to know that overtaking here in Monaco is one of the more difficult endeavours. So I was relatively relaxed and I focused on those corners where it could become critical, so no real problem.
Q: Mark probably drove the best race of his career here and seems to have huge self confidence. What is your plan to catch him?
SV: Well, I think the likelihood there is that it goes the other way around. Today Im happy with my second place - I would say no more was possible. At the beginning and after the safety-car phases I always had a bit of a problem getting up on temperature and you could see that I was losing time on Mark and was able to get closer only after a few laps. Why that happened we have to find out when analyzing the data. Overall I consider it a good race for me with good points - points that can make the difference for the title win.
Q: The RB6 seems to work perfectly well on any race track, no matter fast or slow. Are you both your biggest competitors?
SV: Never underestimate the other teams. Maybe at the moment we have a good run and the car feels great on any kind of track, but in this competitive environment you always have to push the hard for the next development step. For sure at the moment we are in good shape but you should never rest on your laurels.
Q: How did it feel to walk up those stairs and receive the trophy?
SV: Well, in fact only three stairs - and I would say that a traditional podium as we have at all the other races is more impressive. But sure it is a special moment. It was the first time for me here so that will linger in my memory.