Podium Interview - Conducted by Johnny Herbert)
Sebastian, tell us how that race went for you. You had to deal with two pace cars at the same time during that race. How was it for you?
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah! Not great getting stuck behind the safety car. Obviously we had a little bit of a gap. Extremely happy with the result, great job by the team, we had two very good stops. I think it was quite good to have the safety car coming out the first time, we were just a couple of corners before the pit entry. And then fortunately we had enough pace to always open up a little bit of a gap even though I think Kimi and Romain, to be fair, were pretty competitive the longer the stint was. So I think they did maybe a better job with their tyres, looking after their tyres. But, all in all, yeah, fantastic. I'm just loving what I do. The team is fantastic, I think we all have a good time and just enjoy the moment really.
Kimi, finishing second, well done buddy. You had to start a little bit further back in ninth place. How was the drive to get yourself back into a chance of getting on the podium?
Kimi Raikkonen: It was OK. I mean from the beginning I lost I think one place on the first lap, no, on the first straight, but then there was an accident so get it back. The car was just understeering too much, the whole weekend, even today, so I have to try to look after the front tyre and that was really the limitation on how much I could push and obviously we were stuck behind the traffic after the pitstops and then we decided to stop earlier and it was a good move and obviously the safety car helped a little bit but we had the speed and we could run until the end. So even without the safety car we could have maybe run until the end and still have a podium position. So it was good - but not ideal.
Tell us about the pass on Romain going into Turn One. It looked rather close.
KR: I think he moved a few times on the left. I got a good run, he made a mistake in I think the second-last corner and I got the good run and I heard that there will be yellow flags at the end of the straight so I knew he's not going to pass me back with the DRS because it's not open with the yellow flags. So I thought I would try to overtake and it was not too difficult.
Romain, well done, you did such a cracking drive. Obviously getting yourself into second place, that lovely fight. Tell us the story of the fight with Lewis to start with.
Romain Grosjean: Well I think it was pretty good fun. We had a good start, good run for the back straight and then could go for the place with Lewis. Then I think he kept a little bit of KERS to go for Turn Five and I had to defend a little bit but it was pretty good at the start and then after the first pitstop again, same story, so yeah, it was a hard job. And then it was good to be very close to the Red Bull. They didn't go too far away so I think we had a good chance to catch them back but unfortunately for me - and luckily for Kimi, that's good for the team - the safety car came and we had to pit at the same time and the same tyre age. I think we wanted to get a little bit of an advantage. Then I made a small mistake, my fault and Kimi could pass me - and then yellow flags at Turn Four, Turn Three and I couldn't use the DRS. Tried to push hard at the end, good to be back on the podium, good for the team and happy to be here.
Seb, one thing we kept hearing about was a little bit of concern about the right-front tyre. What was the issue there?
SV: This track, it's known that the limit is the front-right. We saw it the previous years, and basically it's good to have the team on the radio warning you - because obviously you see what's going on, the tyre grains immediately and then kind of stabilises. But when it stops graining basically there's nothing left and that's quite dangerous because it's quite likely to have a big lock-up. You have a flat spot, which could end with pitting the stint earlier than you want or having a tyre puncture. So yeah, they were quite worried, similar to last year. I thought I had it more or less in control but obviously it's good to communicate.
And what about leaving here, we've got Japan coming up. Looking forward to that? Is that a place you enjoy? By the look on your face yes.
SV: I think it's the best track in the world, to be honest. The fans are crazy - completely crazy in a positive way so really looking forward to Japan. I think all of us who get massive support there, big fans of motorsport, passionate about Formula One and I think they enjoy the whole weekend, so I'm very much looking forward to one of the highlights during the season.
Sebastian, how important was it right at the start of the race to get that cushion?
SV: Yeah, it's always tricky here because the way to the first corner is quite short but then you have two big straight lines. To be the first car is the worse because you have no tow. I had a good start and could focus on the first corner. I had a very good exit and was able to get a couple of metres between myself and Lewis and then I think Lewis was in more trouble with Romain from behind into Turn Three and I obviously benefit from that and had a little bit of cushion and again for the next straight and then kept the lead - which I think was crucial. After that I tried to build a gap and keep it quite consistent. I knew that on the soft tyres it will be tricky and yeah, obviously with the safety car later on it got quite busy.
And did you expect to do only around 11 laps on the soft tyre right at the start?
SV: Well, to be honest I think we came in last. I think we reacted to the other people behind. I think Lewis pitted lap nine, Romain lap 10. In that regard we had to react because obviously a ten, twelve lap-old supersoft tyre is slower than a new Prime, so we were responding to them. I think we could have stayed out another two or three laps but yeah, it didn't really hurt our strategy. I think we estimated more or less to pit around that time.
And given what was going to happen, with that last safety car, when you came in for a stop did you have new Primes and how hard were you pushing after that?
SV: The safety car came in. Fortunately we were… I think I was turning into Turn 15 and I saw the safety car coming out so we pitted immediately. So did Romain. I think Lewis… Kimi pitted a couple of laps before that so his tyres were a little bit older but obviously took quite a long time before the safety car came back in and then there was another safety. So I think in terms of tyre age it was no problem. Obviously the cars get lighter towards the end, so fortunately we didn't have to challenge the absolute maximum out of the tyres because I think the Lotuses were probably a little bit better in terms of endurance. Yeah. So, I think the speed was there and in the end obviously I tried to build up a little bit of a gap to Kimi and keep it quite consistent.