2013 Canadian Grand Prix - Post Race Press ConferenceTranscript of the Post Race Press Conference organised by the FIA for the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix.
1 – Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull Racing)
2 – Fernando ALONSO (Ferrari)
3 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
PODIUM INTERVIEW (Conducted by Eddie Jordan)
Q: [to Vettel] Three World Champions, I’m spoilt for choice here. What a great win, a text book win, pole position, you seemed to win it at ease. Tell me about it.
Sebastian VETTEL: Thank you. Thank you everybody. I think it wasn’t that bad for us, I think. Yeah, great race, I had a very good start, which was important and then I was able to really go with the car and yeah, obviously on the supersoft we saw the tyres were falling apart but I think we were just as good as everybody else. I was able to build a gap and then kept that gap basically the whole race. At some stages we had a full pitstop on hand and it’s a little bit easier then to control the race, control the gaps etcetera. Great race, great job by the team. I had perfect pitstops even though we had some time on hand. And also for North America, I think it’s a great race for Infiniti. All in all, a very important race for us to win. Finally we get it off the list. Very proud of that. The sun came out today. Couldn’t get any better. Racing in front of the crowd here is always…
Q: …I have to ask you about that because it seems quite unbelievable to us that you’ve never won here before, nor indeed has Red Bull. So what does it mean to get the monkey off the back?
SV: Yeah, obviously we’ve had good races before but it didn’t come together to win. Two years ago I was very close. I lost it in the last lap, it was my mistake, so made up for it today. Great feeling, as I said. Great car today by the team and I think we were able to really pull away from the rest of the field, which was most important to then control the race. I could really enjoy every single lap. Difficult at stages through the traffic but as I said, great and …
Q [to Alonso] …When I read your report yesterday when you said that you thought you may have a chance to come from sixth position to hopefully get a win here, I was saying ‘how’s he going to try and do that?’ And you nearly did it. Magic, magic tenacious drive.
Fernando ALONSO: Hello everybody first of all and bonjour. Yesterday obviously we didn’t have a good qualifying, I didn’t put the lap together and also the conditions didn’t help but we knew that the pace in dry conditions of the car on Friday was good, so we had some hopes. Obviously we are fighting with top drivers and I have a very good fight with Mark, with Nico, with Lewis at the end. And it’s not easy. Even if you have a little bit more pace, they are super-talented ones and it was difficult race. But at the end I think the second place has a victory taste because we scored some good points after a very difficult weekend.
Q: You seem to have a lot of fans here Lewis.
Lewis HAMILTON: I have a great time here every year, and thank you for all the support, I have a great time.
Q: I’ve got to ask you, we all were enthralled how clean, how correct and yet how exciting the fight was with Fernando. What did you damage on the car?
LH: I think some small part of my wing came off. It was very, very close, we had a good battle, he was very, very fair and I hope we can get a bit quicker in the next race.
Q: You qualified in front of your team-mate, you raced in front of your team-mate. That must have been a bit of a help after Monaco, I presume. You feel really good about going forward with this team?
LH. Yes, the car’s getting better and the guys are doing a fantastic job, so we just need to keep pushing to close the gaps to these guys.
Well done Sebastian that must be, not a relief necessarily, but you must be very happy first of all to have won here finally and for Red Bull Racing as well. But there were a couple of moments where you very nearly touched the wall and you went wide as well. What happened in those two instances?
SV: Obviously I was pushing very hard at the beginning to get away and open a gap and yeah, I think it’s Canada, you obviously go close to the walls here or there, sometimes a little bit closer than I wanted but fortunately I didn’t brush the walls. I’m really just trying to just open as much of a gap as I can. I felt I had more pace in the beginning of the race, it’s difficult to foresee what’s happening later on, when you swap tyres, also in terms of range – how far we were going to get on each set of tyres. We weren’t sure if it was a one-stop or a two-stop. So all these things you don’t know so it’s good to have a little bit of time on your hands, which was the reason why I pushed very hard in the beginning. Obviously it was clear quickly after the first stint that we had a good gap and controlled it. Obviously it was difficult with the traffic etc, but I think we had a great car and we always had enough pace on hand to react and control the gap. In the end I went straight in turn one. I think I could have saved or caught the car, but I didn’t want to risk a spin. So I decided, should I stay should I go, then I decided to cut the corner, slowed down. Obviously there was traffic again with a backmarker, so I let him by to really make sure I rejoined the track in a safe way, which cost a lot of time. But yeah I was just a bit too late in the first corner heating the brakes.
Well done. Fernando, you had some great battles and it took quite a while to get past Lewis. Was it just the speed coming out of the hairpin? It took quite a while, even with DRS.
FA: I think it was the pace difference was very, very small. With other battles we did maybe I was a little bit more fast, a little bit faster than the people I was catching. With Lewis we were really very close on the pace and there was some moments going out of turn eight to see who had the detection point and then in turn 10 the same thing, at the last chicane, so there was some action there. But it was nice to have these battles, particularly this race with so talented drivers, so intelligent drivers, that, you know, you fight wheel-to-wheel at 315km/h and you feel safe. You feel you are racing and you are competing. It can go your way or it can go the other way, but this is real racing. So, very happy to see this back after Monaco. It’s a little bit different.
Lewis, once again on the podium here in Canada. We thought you might be trying to get Fernando back again. Was that a possibility?
LH: Clearly not, because I didn’t get him. He was massively quick and it was very difficult to keep him behind. I tried my best. I got close once he got past me, but he was just generally took quick for me. But you know, it’s still a good result for me considering that these guys are massively quick.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and National Speedsport News) Lewis, earlier this week you talked to us about your brakes. How were they in this race, maybe the best they’ve been all season?
LH: No. Not really. Generally, again, very similar to other races. Still need to improve and that’s where Fernando was really catching me everywhere.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando, how much has yesterday’s qualifying been hurting you because starting sixth getting to second was a big race. Could you have done better, do you think, if you had started on the first or second row?
FA: I don’t know really. I think you will never know. Qualifying is qualifying and it’s better to be on pole position but I think the last pole position in dry conditions was September 2010 so it’s not the strong point of the team. On Sunday, we normally pick up the pace a little bit about which we are happy because the points are gained on Sunday, but it’s true that at some races, if you start too far behind, it’s difficult to recover, but we will try to improve next time.
Q: (Kate Walker – GP Week) Sebastian, you had a dominant victory today. You’ve won three of seven races so far this season and you’re leading both Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships, but despite all this, you’ve probably been the most vocal critic of the tyres. I was wondering if you had revised your opinions on the rubber, given your performance and your continuing strength.
SV: Well, I think it’s pretty simple. The criticism we had or I expressed was not based on performance. I think it was based on safety and I’m sure if you ask other drivers, maybe they weren’t that strong in the press, maybe they think they have an advantage with this sort of tyre, but we had some occasions this year where the tyre suffered delaminating, the top layer came off for not exactly known reasons, probably debris but you will always have some pieces on the track. I think it’s not possible to have an entirely clean track everywhere and I think that has been the criteria. Every time I complained about balance or the tyres and their behaviour, every time as I said as well that on that day there were other people doing a better job and first of all we had to get to their level to start complaining about performance but obviously when you say something, it’s in fashion, these days to take what you like instead of probably publishing the whole answer.
Q: (Nicolangelo Cioppi– Cittadino Canadese) Sebastian, what happened again on lap 52, I don’t understand exactly?
SV: As I said, I was a little bit too late into the first corner, lost the rear on the way in. I could have stayed on the track but I wasn’t sure. It was quite tight, obviously you have the right hander following immediately and I didn’t want to risk a spin so I decided to cut and make sure. I lost four or five seconds in that corner compared to normal, so I think it was fine. It just seemed to be the safer option to avoid the spin and carry on that way. I was just a little bit too fast. That’s what happens. Fortunately there was no wall so I was lucky.
Q: (Nicolangelo Cioppi– Cittadino Canadese) Fernando, in Monte Carlo we talked to one another and you were very confident for Montreal, and you said to me ‘I’m going to be on the podium.’ Congratulations, and I would like you to say something to the Italian community here because there’s a very very big Italian community.
FA: In Monaco we were not competitive for different reasons. In a way, we were not competitive here on Saturday, maybe for the same reasons, for the conditions that we need to do a better job compared to the others. In some conditions we are not competitive enough, so we need to work on that. And then for the Italian people here in Montreal, I think they support Ferrari all the time, they enjoy Formula One. You see the atmosphere in this race is very very unique, not only here on the track but from the time you land at the airport, you see a very enthusiastic people about this race. You put the TV on, they are talking about the meteo for the Grand Prix. They’re talking about the qualifying, the practice, the shops on the streets are full of flags, Ferrari flags etc, so it’s very nice to race here. We didn’t give them a win today but I think we put on a good show for everybody and hopefully we give a win for them in the next one when they are watching TV.
Q: (Carlos Miguel Gomez – La Gaceta) Fernando, are you worried for the British Grand Prix, with your pace in qualifying because normally it’s cold weather; do you believe you can be OK in Silverstone?
FA: I believe so. I think it’s a different circuit, completely different asphalt, generating a lot of stress in the tyre: Silverstone, Nurburgring compared with very easy tracks on tyres like Monaco, Canada where you are looking for one or two stops. Silverstone will be different, I think. We know that the temperature is not helping us at the moment, but we cannot say anything because there are other people going very fast in those conditions, so it’s up to us to improve. We have some ideas and hopefully at Silverstone we can improve on that.
Q: (Bill Beacon – Canadian Press) Sebastian, after you took the chequered flag, you sounded that you were very pleased to finally win in Montreal. Was that important to you and the team?
SV: Yeah, I think it is important to us, but not because... I wasn’t desperate to win here. I think we’ve had strong results in the past and I wasn’t ashamed coming here having not won this race, so I wasn’t desperate when I got up this morning and thought ‘I have to win, I have to win.’ But I was very pleased because it’s a very nice race. I think Lewis had the privilege to win here three times and I think that in terms of atmosphere - Fernando touched on it - the whole city enjoys the Formula One Grand Prix. We have a lot of spectators. I think it was good today to have sunshine, it was quite bad in terms of weather yesterday, but there were still a lot of fans and obviously today, again, a fantastic atmosphere and to me this race belongs one hundred percent to the calendar, because I think for all of us drivers we enjoy a lot seeing grandstands completely sold out, a lot of enthusiastic people, the whole town living the Grand Prix. I think it’s similar to the Grand Prix in Melbourne in a way which is also not a race track, it’s in the middle of the city as well, so I think we enjoy that, and I think that’s why we were very happy or we are very happy today.
Q: (Jeff Pappone – Globe and Mail) Fernando, when do things started getting desperate? Seb seems to be gaining points at every race now and you’re falling further and further behind. When do you really have to start winning?
FA: I think we are eighty or eight-five points behind. It will be a very critical situation, which is more than three races. In the past - I touched on this in Australia or Malaysia - in the last six or eight years, there were people recovering from more than 30 points on the old points, which is three races so it’s 75 or 80 points. So hopefully we’re going to arrive to that number.
Q: (Jordan Irvine – NextGen Auto) Lewis, Mercedes dominated second position for 63 laps of today’s 70 lap race and then you lost out with seven to go to Fernando. Was there any one thing that you didn’t have that meant to you lost that position with so little time left?
LH: I guess it’s just grip, just lack of grip. The car was fantastic, I’m assuming those guys had even better than that. But generally it’s been really good. I was just lacking a little bit of grip in the lower speed... perhaps the chicane. Fernando seemed to be particularly quick in the lower speed corners.
Q: (Massimo Lopes Pegna– La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sebastian, how important is this win today; beside the win, how important is to gain seven points in the standings and maybe to get quicker to the critical point that Fernando was talking about?
SV: To be honest with you, I care for the win today. Obviously you don’t have to be a genius to know that you get more points than anybody else for that result but as Fernando said, the championship is still long and obviously I was in a different position last year at this time and I was able to catch up quite a lot towards the end. I had very strong races. Fernando was a little bit unlucky here and there and we were able to beat him, so we were able to come back but this was ten races from where we are now so I think there are so many things that can happen at that stage of the championship, I’m happy to stand on the grid and focus on the race, trying to win, and the rest we will see later on if we are still in a strong position. I think there’s enough of you reminding us if we’re not, you are there as well.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Lewis, OK, the last two circuits were not demanding in terms of tyre wear. It looked like Mercedes made a step forward in terms of the tyre wear, that was the weakest point you had. Can you explain this development you’ve made on the car, what happened exactly to make this step forward?
LH: I think it’s just been a work in progress. We haven’t really... we haven’t cured anything, it’s not been a long period of time since Barcelona where there was big trouble. I guess we’ve just been to two tracks where it’s not got high speed corners, so therefore it’s not really been a problem. We’ve worked on a couple of techniques to look after the tyres a bit more, brake cooling and all that kind of stuff has been added as well, which helps.