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Indian GP: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
29/10/2011

Sebastian, a new record, 16th pole of the year for your team and, you personally, seemed to have something in hand out there in qualifying?
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, it was a good session for us. New circuit, new venue, tricky for all of us first time round in qualifying. I think it was tricky. We have seen all weekend with the dust on the track so in the end we ended up with one racing line clear of dirt and just a little bit out it makes you lose a lot of time so it was quite tricky. But I think we managed pretty well. The car was fantastic, to be honest since yesterday, this morning as well and throughout qualifying. I think in the end there was a little bit left in the first sector. It is quite tricky, I think we saw some people going for two times laps, others only one. I think then it becomes a bit trickier to hit the first sector. There is a long straight as well after Turn Three so you want to make sure you don't lose time so I am extremely happy. It is good to be here. I think it is a very interesting race, a challenging circuit, looking forward to tomorrow and first time in India so excited to race tomorrow.

Lewis, it was close after the first run in Q3, then you aborted your final run and, of course, you are moving three places back on the grid as well so your thoughts really on qualifying today?
Lewis Hamilton: It was interesting that you smile about that. No, really it has been a good day for me. I am quite surprised that we were able to split the Red Bulls and it is great to be on the front row in terms of how we qualified. Of course, we had the penalty which was a bit of a silly mistake from myself and I have paid the price but from tomorrow we have good race pace and it is a long race with two DRS zones so overtaking should be a lot easier than perhaps other places. I am still optimistic regardless of where I start.

Mark, Red Bull looks good around here. Your thoughts on the race tomorrow and what you can do on this new track?
Mark Webber: Yeah, as Seb said it has been a good challenge for all of us, new venue. Tricky to work out the right strategy for qualifying. The tyres weren't easy for one timed laps so we had to work out how we were going to do the strategy. Lots of teams tried different styles to get the best lap time out of the car. First sector it was tricky to get right on one time. I could have done better in the first sector on my only run basically and then I got yellow flags with Felipe (Massa), so I couldn't do my second lap. But overall good job from the team. Came to a new venue but prepared well and have laid a good foundation for a good race tomorrow.

Sebastian, the race tomorrow, any plans for what you will do if you and Mark are running one and two towards the end of the race?
SV: No, we will see. First we have to get there and as Lewis said it is a long race. Lewis starts in fifth I think, Fernando (Alonso) behind and Jenson (Button) as well so they will surely put a lot of pressure on us. We will see. It is a long race. It is a new track, we don't now really how the tyres will respond. It looked as if the tyres should last quite a while but we have seen a couple of surprises so we will find out tomorrow. It is not the time now to worry about those things. First we have to race, race hard, enjoy and then see where we are. I think Mark and myself we obviously target to win the race. Ideally, we want to finish in one-two so it is going to be an interesting race tomorrow.

Press Conference

Sebastian, the pace today just seems remarkable?
SV: Yeah, I was petty happy. Happy with the balance yesterday which I think was the foundation and happy throughout qualifying. Q1 was managing the traffic et cetera but we made it through on the hard tyre which was essential. Q2 I think was pretty smooth, we only needed one lap. Then we decided for Q3 to go, again, one timed lap whilst others decided to go for two laps so different strategies to get the tyres up to speed. Not easy then to hit the lap straight away especially the first sector as there aren't many corners in the first sector so you can't really warm the tyres up there. Second and third sectors are a different story as then you have got a lot of fast corners. But all in all I am very happy. A great session for us and the car was fantastic. In the end the lap was fine but it wasn't 100 per cent, a little bit here and there, but I think you always come out of the car thinking that maybe here and there you could have gained a bit of time. But overall very happy with the result. It is good to start the race from the front tomorrow and I think it is going to be an interesting race.

You have mentioned that going off-line it is very dirty. How much of a hazard is that going to be tomorrow when you are lapping people?
SV: We all want to race so the people who are in the front of the field and the people who get lapped, we all want to stay on the racing line and drive our own race so could be tricky. Off-line it is quite dusty and depending on where you have to go off-line or where you are forced to go off-line to maybe lap another car to make a pass could be critical for the next couple of corners. It is not only you lose in that corner where you went off-line but also afterwards just to get the tyres back to the grip level you had before. In this regard it could be interesting, especially at the beginning of the race it will be quite slippery. We have seen that at the beginning of all the sessions. To be honest, once the dust had gone the asphalt is very, very grippy and the cars stick to the ground. All in all they did a great job. It is a new track and first time we have been other places there has always been a little bit here and a little bit there. I think it was not an easy project, but you don't really see much of that apart from a bit of dust on the cars.

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