F1 2017 · Russian GP

Russian Grand Prix Post Race Press Conference

GP RUSSIA F1/2017

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

Q: Just going to interject here for a second because we see Toto down there and he of little faith gave you a one-year contract. I’ve got a pen Toto, we need a three-year extension on that minimum with proper money, is that OK? Coming back to you… where’s he gone. [Sebastian], Felipe Massa, tell me about him, what happened on that last lap?

Sebastian Vettel: I obviously tried everything to catch Valtteri and maybe I thought there might be some opportunity on the back straight. I was sure [Felipe] would lift around Turn 3, it’s flat out, and let me be, so I wouldn’t lose much time, but then I think I just wasn’t sure what he was going to do and I ended up losing a bit more than I was hoping for. But it doesn’t matter. This is the man of the race today, big congrats to Valtteri, it’s his first grand prix win, so it’s his day.

Q: Very well said. I have to ask you, your strategy: you ran much deeper into the race on those tyres and it looked like it was paying off. 

SV: Not really, we didn’t come out ahead. Yeah, we had fresher tyres in the end. Obviously there was a gap to Kimi behind and we just decided to try and extend as much as possible to hope for maybe Valtteri running into trouble with traffic, us having a clear track. That was the plan. So I think we tried everything, but obviously we lost the race at the start, which was a bit of a shame. I had a good start but…

Q: I was going to ask about that. You were a bit unlucky, both of you, on the front row of the grid but you have the longest run to the first corner but you got out-dragged?

SV: Yeah, that’s basically it. I think our start was basically a match with Valtteri, maybe he gained a bit of momentum in the beginning but then obviously he had a massive tow. I defended the inside but by the time we approached braking he was already in front and able to shut the door on me, so well done, and that’s where he won the race. And then he did a superb first stint, I couldn’t stay with him, he was very, very quick all; race, no mistakes and as I said – man of the race.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Sebastian, in reality it all came down to the start, didn’t it? How was your getaway from pole position? 

SV: I thought it was OK. [To VB] Was it bad, my getaway?

VB: I had a little bit better one…

SV: Well, later on, yes. No, I thought there was a bit in the very beginning where I could have been a bit more aggressive but it was a bit hard to tell because for the formation lap, for some reason… I have the time of day in the car and it was two o’clock and the lights didn’t go off. So I was ready to go. I don’t know why there was a delay. Maybe whoever’s responsible to turn the lights off, didn’t turn the lights off! What I mean by that is that I didn’t get a proper read of how the grip was at the grid, so I think I ended up maybe a bit too conservative. Still, I had a good start. I had a look in the mirror, mine was I think better than Kimi’s. I saw Valtteri coming and I thought ‘OK, it will be close’ but it felt like I had a tent dragged behind me and he was gaining a lot. He was able even before we hit the braking to come back and shut the door. So I did well but nothing I could have done, I had the outside line but nowhere to do so in reality that’s part of where we lost the race. And then the first stint: we were just not quick enough to stay with him. In the end of the day we can talk about my race but today is Valtteri’s day. He drove a fantastic race, he had incredible pace. Also, if you look all weekend where he’s been compared to his team-mate, so, y’know, he’s done a superb job, it’s his day and he deserves to win today because he drove better than all the rest of us. So… it’s not easy to swallow. I would have loved, obviously, to come back but that’s the way it was today. Well done.

VB: Thanks.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

And Sebastian, had you got the jump on Valtteri and made it to Turn One first, are you confident you could have stayed ahead?

SV: Well, it’s difficult to pass, let’s put it that way. I think it would have been difficult for Valtteri to put a lot of pressure on, even though I would say he had superior pace in the first stint. I think if you look at the stint I was struggling in the beginning, then sort of froze the gap and then was able to close. Now, if Valtteri’s closer to us, let’s say if we were in the lead, then obviously I don’t know the gaps behind, whether they have changed their strategy or not – but didn’t turn out to be that way but for sure, if we had track position then I think we had the pace also to keep it. At the end I think we were quicker on the supersoft but we were behind so, yeah. Also I was on fresher tyres so it’s not entirely fair. Overall he was a bit quicker in the first stint. For the race overall it was a good match, so yeah, the first lap mattered. As I said, he executed the start well, which obviously this year is crucial. It was in our hands so he did a good job and then he drove a very good first stint which didn’t give us the opportunity to put him under pressure and do something around the stop because we were simply too far away.

Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) To Sebastian. Now you turn to the European leg of the Championship with 13 points of advantage on Lewis. How much is it in accordance with your dreams and how much is it a surprise?

SV: I don’t know if I have an answer for you. We had a good run up in Barcelona at the tests, so looking forwards to Barcelona, the car felt good. I think we’ve improved it from early March to now – but yeah, I don’t need to think about the Championship because you’re kind enough to remind us where we are. I think we’ve had a very good start. It would be wrong to sit here and say that’s what we expected – but we’re here to win, we’re here to do our best. If we look back I think we have more or less extracted the maximum. So very happy with where we are as a team – but we can still learn and we can still improve and I think that’s the way we go forward. Nothing is for granted, Barcelona is just another race and we have a lot of races to go this year. But before that we have two weeks’ time to look at what we have done so far and improve. Today I think the speed in general was there, the balance dropped away from me a little bit in the first stint. I struggled with the fronts and couldn’t attack as much as I was hoping for and as much as I was probably able to in qualifying. So things that we could have done better but the race is done today so yeah, I’m generally looking forwards: we have a strong car, a strong team, the spirit is good, so lots of positives.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Valtteri and Sebastian, is there any technical explanation about what happened before turn two and the overtaking? Was it just a question of the slipstream or was there some technical explanation?

SV: I didn’t see much. You had a better view, I guess.

VB: Yes, so from my side I felt like I had a good start, maybe initially slightly better than Seb but very close I think, and obviously here the slipstreaming is the main thing. It’s nearly one kilometre into turn one. If you can get a tow, you can carry the speed and I managed to do it, even though I was on the outside I managed to get in front of Seb and close the door and that was it really.

SV: The straight was a bit too long so maybe we can move the grid further up. For me there was not much I could do. I think it was a drag race. Obviously I didn’t have a tow. There was a bit of headwind as well, the wind was blowing the wrong way so it’s another 10/15kph off, the speed that you lose with the wind blowing against you rather than from behind. I guess it helped him but it didn’t help me today.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) For sure you don’t have a crystal ball but next race most of the teams will present very different cars and these changes have been conceived using all the knowledge gained in the first four races of the season with these new regulations. What do project for the next phase of the season with all these cars? Do you believe it’s possible there can be some dramatic changes to what we have been seeing until now? 

SV: Well, I was just thinking whether I should buy a crystal ball. So many times we get questions up here, looking into the future. You said we don’t have one, which is right, which is why I was thinking maybe I should get one. I think it will be same as everything else. It will be a surprise, I think it will be a very close race between Mercedes and us, I hope, and I also hope that Red Bull find some pace. There’s a lot of rumours around. They are a strong team, they know how to build a quick car so I expect it’s a question of when rather than if but the sooner, the more exciting it will be but for us. I’m confident that we have the right people, the right tools on board and we will make progress. It obviously depends on what others are doing.

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