Talking of that, congratulations Sebastian, a bit unlucky really, you pitted under the virtual safety car and there was a safety car straight after.
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, my start was OK but then I realized that the intermediates had quite a lot of degradation. It was very dry in some parts of the track so I knew they would not last. I was happy to take the risk. Obviously virtual safety car you save a bit of time in the pit stop. And then the safety car came just when I was about to start to feel that the dry tyre was a lot quicker, so I couldn’t use the momentum, the advantage and I lost a lot of positions. But then I had a very exciting race; I really enjoyed it. I was stuck a little bit in the train for a whole but then I finally made the move and then, yeah, I tried to chase Lewis down as much as possible but I had the feeling that every time I put a lap in he was able to respond, so I think we were a good match, it could have been a different race but a good recovery and as I said, wheel-to-wheel racing… I touched wheels with Daniel as well….
You took the paint off the side of his tyre!
SV: It was good fun at least.
Take us through those moves, because I think any racing driver in the history or Formula One would like those moves on his CV, because they were committed weren’t they? Down into Turn 6 you were really going for it there.
SV: Yeah, obviously my target was to catch Lewis and I was stuck in the train and I was getting a bit angry or annoyed and I wanted to get by and I had the feeling that I could go a lot faster in these conditions, so when I was behind Daniel I saw him blocking down the inside because I had a good run out of Turn 4. I said ‘OK, you have to try it around the outside, brake really late and hard’. Fortunately he didn’t lock up. I had him in the mirror, checking, otherwise I have to open immediately before he would make contact. Then on the exit I was a bit compromised, a bit in the dirt, getting a bit of wheel spin, but then I got a bit my elbows out. Yeah, he really squeezed me, but it was good fun and I had the inside for the next corner.
Q: Who had the faster car today? Mercedes or Ferrari?
SV: Well, you won, so…
LH: Yeah, the only summary we can come up with is that. It is, as I said, very, very close and there were times when Sebastian put laps in and it was hard to even match the time. The last ten or 12 laps he was doing a 35.6 and I was doing a 35.8 and it was very hard to get to where he was. Then there was other times in the race when I was quicker.
Q: Sebastian, perhaps I can put that question to you as well. Who do you think had the faster car today?
SV: I’m maybe not clever enough but I try to not confuse myself. So I just go with the fact that who wins the race deserves to win. Every race we do I think the race winner deserves to win. So, yeah, Lewis did the best job. Obviously we were a bit unfortunate maybe with the Safety Car maybe early on – but even if it wasn’t there you never know how it could have impacted on the race. Was it enough? We thought… I thought yes – but then it’s a long race from there and it could have been a different outcome. But yeah, it was really good fun. Like Lewis said, I had a bit more to do in the race than he had. I saw he was controlling the pace, probably, in the beginning. Once I got past Kimi and Daniel I obviously tried to hunt him down but knowing that it would be difficult with that gap. And in the last couple of laps I asked the team to give me an average of what we needed to catch up etcetera, just to know what I have to do. When they came up with the conclusion that it’s a bit more than half a second a lap… yeah… I kept pushing because you never know, maybe Lewis is doing a mistake, or has an issue with the car so I wanted to keep the pressure on – but yeah, I enjoyed the fact we were racing, even though not side-by-side or right behind each other but five, six, eight seconds apart. To hear that he was pushing as well I think is good news. So in terms of pace it was probably a match. Sometimes he was a bit faster, sometimes I was a bit faster. Overall it was good fun.
Q: Could you have challenged Lewis had you not lost so much time behind your team-mate?
SV: Ah, would, could, should. I think Lewis was quick. Full stop. I think they did a good race, he did a good race, so to get into these kind of conversations, or discussions, usually there is no point. Today we finished second, very happy with that, we take it, good points. More than that, and much more valuable than that, it was an entertaining and fun race for me. I had some overtaking. It was difficult to get close to the car, like last race you felt the effect but here I think it’s a better track to overtake and yeah, it’s the way it should be in my opinion: you need to make it stick so it shouldn’t come for free. You shouldn’t just open the flap and sail past. It was good fun. I can’t complain.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sebastian, what do you expect from the Bahrain race, another great battle against Lewis as in Melbourne and maybe better than today?
SV: I don’t know what to expect. Obviously in a week we will know. I think if we can challenge Mercedes again, that’s very good news. They are very very strong. They have had a very very strong run the last couple of years. This year as well, so a good package. If we can be close it’s good. I think we need to look after ourselves. I think there’s stuff that we can do better, must do better, can improve so I’m happy to get a surprise, but expectation I don’t really have.