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Italian GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
14/09/2008

Sebastian, what were your emotions winning your first grand prix?
Sebastian Vettel: Unbelievable. The whole race we had no problems, the car was working really fine. I had a fantastic race with a very good strategy but all that was gone when I got the chequered flag and crossed the finish line. The lap back to the pits and the whole podium ceremony was just unbelievable. I think for sure this is the best day of my life. These pictures, these emotions, I will never forget. It is unbelievable. It is so much greater than you might think it is. It is great. Again, I can just say a big, big thank you to all the guys working in the team. I think they did a fantastic job. Who might have thought about that at the beginning of the season. We had a poor start but then it got better and better and in these conditions we can make a bit of a gap by staying longer on full throttle. It is great, fantastic. I am speechless.

Talk us through your race and being so much quicker in the speed trap.
SV: Well, for the speed trap I think there is an explanation. We didn't go for a more downforce configuration, thinking it might be dry today, so we stuck to the dry level and didn't touch it, so on the straight lines we were bloody fast compared to all the others. The safety car helped me and being first and having no visibility problems at all was the key and I could make quite a good solid gap of about six to seven seconds to Heikki straight away. Then I was pushing very hard and sometimes went a bit over the limit and nearly lost the car as it was so difficult at the start as there was a lot of water. I think it got trickier when we were in the middle of the race and there was no standing water anymore. I think all the people went left and right looking for some water to cool down the tyres. It was very, very slippery and then in the last stint I was in a very good position. I stayed a bit longer than Heikki and he put on the intermediate tyres, so I was on the radio with my team talking to my engineer and he said 'it is fine, let's go for inters.' I think it was the right choice. What a weekend. A perfect weekend. Pole position, race win, unbelievable. I don't know what to say really.

What was going through your mind in the closing stages?
SV: Sometimes I was thinking there is still P1 on my board, how can it be. I am fuelled to finish, there is nothing, no pits stops, so just keep it together. Then I have to say I was extremely focussed every lap. I didn't lift and try to save the engine or the tyres or anything. Of course I was looking after my car but I was trying to keep attention because especially towards the end when there was kind of a dry line throughout some corners it was crucial to stay on that dry line. Just half a metre too wide and you can be off, so it was extremely difficult to keep up your concentration but in the end I was just trying to push and trying to increase the gap to the guys behind. Unbelievable.

Heikki, was there a win out there for you today?
Heikki Kovalainen: Clearly not possible to win today. Sebastian and Toro Rosso have been strong all weekend. I had a little bit of a problem earlier on in the race, in the first couple of stints, especially with the extreme wet tyre and some problems also to warm up my brakes, so I was just struggling to find more time and trying to go faster. We kept pushing and towards the end it got a little bit better but I think it was the maximum we could do today. We picked up some good points and we can look forward to the next grand prix.

Did the brake and tyre problem relate to the ambient temperature conditions or was it a mechanical issue?
HK: No, I think it is related to the ambient temperature and how to get them working and it was just a little bit difficult today but it wasn't easy for anyone out there and I am sure everybody had some problems. I felt that was where the performance was today and I couldn't find it earlier on in the race.

Did this problem materialise at all during the wet practice or qualifying sessions?
HK: A little bit but to me it felt that it was a bit of a surprise to have that kind of problem in the race especially after a first few laps as normally in the first few laps it might be a bit of a problem but it should go away but it felt more difficult for longer, so that was a bit of a surprise.

Did the safety car start make that situation worse or help it?
HK: No I think it helped it a little bit to get the temperatures up a little bit better for the first lap. But it is difficult to say whether it make a big difference or not. I think it was still going to be difficult whatever the start was going to be.

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