(Conducted by Nico Rosberg)
Q: Sebastian, great weekend, first Ferrari win in 16 years, how does it feel?
Sebastian VETTEL: Unbelievable. I think it was a very intense race. I was hoping at the start to have a bit of a better launch but Kimi had a good start. I had nowhere to go, so I had to be patient. Then, there was a phase in the first stint that was really tricky, The tyres started to slide, I think you remember how that feels, it was quite uncomfortable. I think Valtteri and the pack was catching up a bit; we were facing some traffic. But then I had a… I don’t know, a second attempt, a second set of tyres. I had a couple of laps where the car was really, really good. I pushed, everything I had, because I knew if there is a chance to win then that’s it. So I was able to use that window and came out ahead, so at that point I could control the race. After the restart it was really tricky with the cold tyres. I think every one of us was really struggling, Daniel said he brushed the wall in Turn 1 first lap. So it was really difficult but after a couple of laps I was able again to control the gap to behind, so fantastic job, the team has done really well, so great thanks to them and a fantastic weekend for Ferrari.
Q: Was that planned, that when Kimi comes in, you stay out a bit longer?
SV: No, not really. I don’t think there… we couldn’t plan much. The plan was to try and pull away, which we did. Then, Valtteri had really good pace. I think we were struggling a little bit, both, with our rears and at that point the window opened. So as soon as Valtteri pitted, Kimi responded. For me, I think I still had a bit of a gap, nothing to lose in P2, so I tried to push as hard as possible and within two laps I was surprised myself to be able to pull a gap to be able to come out in front.
Q: Sebastian, back to you, the Ferrari car is looking good at the moment, do you think you are going to be able to keep it up for Canada?
SV: We hope so. Canada is a completely different track but to be honest, for now I am just going to enjoy the win here. You know yourself, it’s very, very special to win here. I think we’ll have a fun night and then we have enough time to prepare for Canada.
Q: Where’s the party?
SV: I don’t know, you tell me! You won more times than me here!
Q: Sebastian, there are wins and there are big wins. First Ferrari Monaco victory for 16 years, as Nico was saying, first Ferrari one-two since 2010 and more importantly perhaps a 25-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship, so what does today mean to you?
SV: If you want the honest answer, I think it’s most important that we had a very, very good day, a win. A supreme day for Ferrari; it’s been a long time. Yeah, I think it means an awful lot to the team. I will not find the right words but for me it was a pretty special race. At some point I was thinking, “there must be a Safety Car” and then it came at the end when I didn’t really need it but fine. I dreamt all night about how to get ahead of the start because I knew that would probably be the only chance I would get. It didn’t work. Kimi had a good start, mine was OK, so I couldn’t really go anywhere. Then, I think in the first stint I was just trying to pace myself, trying to stay within range. At some point I was really uncomfortable with the rear tyres, they were sliding quite a bit. I think when the gap opened again that’s when Kimi pitted. I knew that if I have any chance that might be it until I get the call because Valtteri was on fresh tyres so it’s likely that he will go quicker, so I just tried to push as hard as I can and wait for the call to box. When it came and then when I came out ahead of Kimi even, I was surprised myself. But for sure I take it. It’s a great win. Those couple of laps were really crucial, I was pushing flat out. I had better laps than in quali today in the race. I was very happy with how the race went. The car was great. So to sum it up, it’s just been fantastic, a fantastic weekend for the team and a great reward. This team is working very hard. Obviously this year is very different to last year but the people are the same, the spirit is the same, so it’s important that we keep pushing, improving the car. We had again a couple of new bits for this race. Yeah, the next race will be completely different but I don’t really care now, just looking forward to tonight.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Question for Seb. Seb, you looked very emotional on the podium. What were you thinking about in those moments? And what does it mean to have 25 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton at this point in the season?
SV: It’s a long way so I’m not really bothered about that. It was more the fact to stand up there and see the team. I think obviously, it’s a small part that we have here at the track but thinking of everyone else back in Maranello in the factory. We got a lot of hard times last year and this year everything seems to be upside down – but the team is the same, the people are the same so it’s really clear to them. I guess in these small moments you just realise that it’s a special group of people. If things go well, we’ll work hand in hand, we must make sure we keep the momentum up in the next couple of races – but I think we’re just having a great time. Obviously, we wanted today to have the one-two and we got it. So for the team obviously it means a lot. It’s been a long time – you know the numbers better than I do – since Ferrari won here and then to get a one-two is just fantastic. I think you can see when the guys are singing the Italian anthem. I think it’s impossible not to get goosebumps and feel very special standing up there representing them. For me, I think that’s what makes racing so special. I love driving, I loved driving today, I loved a couple of laps that I had where I could really, really push to the limit and I was so close to touch the wall, a couple of times I thought, ‘OK, I’ll lose the car’ and I just managed to get it back, so that’s obviously great fun. Big adrenaline around here because you don’t have any room for error – but then to have the rewards, standing on the podium, just send a message to base, to the factory, is what it’s made for.
Q: (Beniamino Casadei Lucchi – Il Giornale) Question for Seb. It’s a fantastic victory. But now, if you were Kimi, what do you think?
SV: Well, obviously I… we were right behind each other. In that case I think it’s normal that the lead car gets the priority because you go normally faster on the new set of tyres, and I when I got the lap times from Valtteri, he was doing 16.1, I think, and Daniel was a little bit faster with the old tyres with 16.0. I was, at that point, at 16.4, so I was a little bit slower, so I was assuming Kimi must do something like Valtteri. So I just… I knew that the team would call me as soon as we were really tight to Valtteri. We had a little bit of a cushion. I was just going flat-out, trying to go as fast as I can because for me it means that I’m staying ahead of Valtteri, first of all, and close to Kimi. I was surprised myself when I came out ahead. So, yeah, I think the warm-up on the supersoft was fine. Arguably you can say it worked for Daniel and for myself today, it worked well to stay out longer but I think if you were looking at it before the race then you couldn’t predict. We are racing, we get along well, I can understand that Kimi’s not entirely happy today. He drove well in the first stint and then obviously you get the message to go in. You do the pitstop and then you push. Obviously it’s a bad surprise when somebody comes out ahead. For me, I take it, there’s no reason to lie, obviously I’m very happy but I can understand obviously that he’s upset.
Q: (Daniele Sparisci – Corriere della Sera) Seb, how do you feel to be the first Ferrari driver to win here after Michael Schumacher and compared to the other victories with Ferrari, does Monaco have something special?
SV: Well, I think Monaco is always something special, it’s just the nature of the weekend: a lot of attention, a lot of people which is great, a lot of support. Definitely I felt that with the beginning of the season that we had, Ferrari fans and Ferrari flags are increasing so that’s nice. A lot of people screaming, from outside, Forza Ferrari. A lot of Italian lines which in the recent years maybe I didn’t get so much so that was great to see. It’s obviously a great day for the team. I’m just… I’m pretty exhausted now, to be honest, so I’m very happy and it’s great to get the points, it’s great to get the win so it’s been a fantastic day for all of us. To be the first one after Michael for Ferrari – I don’t know, I wasn’t aware (of that). I think the most important thing is that we won today. I’m sure there were occasions more recently where Ferrari could have won but the most important is what happens today.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Seb, there’s nothing wrong with team orders, they’re not illegal and you are the leading driver in the championship and it wasn’t clear before the race whether the overcut or the undercut would be the best strategy. So was there a plan to give you a chance to get ahead of Kimi at some point?
SV: Not really. We spoke about the race before. It was clear that, as I said, I think they had the same plan to be honest so the lead car normally gets priority so if I had a choice at that point, sitting behind Kimi, if I was going in the pits first, that’s maybe what you like to do because you are sooner on the fresher tyres so I think it’s probably one of the rare occasions where the overcut turned out to be positive, so I’m really glad I made that work. From the team point of view, there was no plan of any team orders or anything and as I said, I can understand that obviously Kimi’s not happy, I would feel exactly the same, one hundred per cent the same, but as I said myself, I was surprised that the overcut… I don’t think Daniel had priority over Max going into the race. I don’t know where they are in terms of points and so on so I don’t think they look into that but I think the rule of thumb… the rule is pretty clear when you qualify ahead and you are ahead in the first stint, you get priority on the first stop and that’s what happened. As it turned out, obviously today it worked in my favour which, as I said, I will take it but we are a team at the end of the day and I can see that Kimi’s not happy.
Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) To Kimi and Sebastian, obviously now it seems that Mercedes is sometimes very quick but at other tracks they have serious problems. Of course it’s early in the championship but do you think this consistency of the Ferrari car can really win you the championship this year?
SV: I don’t know.
KR: It’s quite an early part of the year so we’ll see. It’s very hard to know what happens in the future but we will keep trying and try to make the best out of every weekend and just do what we can do. We cannot control what the others will do but no, I’m sure everybody will have some difficult weekends during the year. We will try to minimise those. When you have a hard time, try to make the best out of it.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Sebastian, did you expect that Kimi would stop on lap 33 before the first part of the race and then when you knew that, did you think this is my chance to overtake him? And were you informed of Lewis’s position during the race?
SV: Well, I was told at some point where Lewis was but I didn’t really care so… You have to do your own race around here. Daniel clipped the wall at the restart, I brushed the wall on the laps to the grid so it’s really close. You try to go as close as possible to the walls and you must not allow yourself to drift away… your thoughts to drift away for even one corner so you need to stay at it. Small mistakes, like Ericsson had yesterday in qualifying, they have a big consequence and this can happen to all of us. We all try to chase the limits, we all try to go close. I wasn’t too keen to know what others were doing. Obviously we have a plan before the race. I didn’t look down and count and say OK, we are getting to the window but when I saw that Valtteri pitted, I saw it also on the screen, and then I was told that Bottas is in the pits at the same time, then I knew that he would try to undercut, otherwise what was the point for him to pit. If he believes that it’s faster then he will stay out and try to put us under pressure once we pit, so he was obviously waiting for his chance, went for it and then I was told in the same lap that Kimi’s obviously getting the pit stop and I know that I can’t pit at the same time, we were too close behind each other to come in on the same lap, so I knew that at least I get one lap, maybe I get two, I don’t know, depending on the gap to Bottas which increased again to three, four seconds before the stop. At that point I was just trying to go flat out, that was my race, obviously it made my race today which, looking at the final result, it’s easy to say but at that point it was impossible to predict. When I heard the lap times of Bottas, the first lap, I think 16.1s, I was really… OK, I need to stretch myself. As I said, I was surprised that I could take so much pace from the car and I was going even below the 16s. At the same time, Daniel was lapping in 16.0s so there seemed to be a second tyre somehow, because the laps before I was struggling as much as Kimi was with the rears so yeah, I think there were a couple of laps where we weren’t comfortable at all, Valtteri was closing the gap, that was not the plan.