(Conducted by Mark Webber)
Q: Sebastian, it looked like a really, really…
Sebastian Vettel: It’s Mark’s birthday today, so happy birthday!
Q: Thank you very much. It’s not about me today, believe it or not, it’s about you guys. That looked like a tough fight. Obviously you two were really duking it out lap after lap after lap. Obviously maybe not the most spectacular race, wheel-to-wheel, but as a racer I could see what you two were laying down.
SV: Yeah, it was good fun. It was really intense, because as you said, every lap I was waiting for Lewis to make a mistake, and he didn’t. He was probably waiting for me to make a mistake; I didn’t. Re-start? Maybe that’s why maybe I’m not entirely happy. I was fearing that I’m not close enough but I was too close. So on top of the hill I had to go out and then it’s a drag race, I’m on the outside and nowhere really to go, but it was good fun. I think we had a very good pace. If you compare this track to Silverstone I think it was a lot better here, so yeah, we’ve done good steps forward and looking forward to next week obviously, our home race, so yeah, it’s been a good race overall.
Q: Sebastian, sport is all about taking chances when they pop up. Obviously you had a new set of ultrasofts, you saw Lewis going on to the softs, you must have thought ‘here we go, this is my chance’. Take us through that restart, it was very close, how did you come down the hill, how did you get through Eau Rouge? How do you feel also, just in general about being this close on a track which, after Silverstone, on paper should really have suited Mercedes far more than it suited you?
SV: That’s a lot of questions. Obviously, I knew that we had a tyre advantage with the ultrasoft versus the soft, for the first couple of laps in particular. The restarts. So you could also see, exiting Turn One, was all over Lewis. It was not that hard to follow so close and maybe that was the problem. My restart in the initial part was too good. I was too close, so yeah, for sure if I had to do it again maybe I would try something different but at the time I… we know that they have very good straight line speed in their quali mode and at the start of the race I obviously felt how strong they were up the hill on the start, so I did not want to be too far either. Finding that optimum is difficult. Lewis also lifted a bit down to Eau Rouge, which I think he could afford because he knows he has a very good top end at the top of it. But yeah, I think overall it was a very good race. It was good fun. Obviously not that exciting probably to watch because we were very close but nothing happened but good fun in the car because I was waiting for him to maybe have an error he was probably waiting for me to have an error or an off but it didn’t happen so the quality was very high I thought, and very consistent lap times despite the tyres, I think, dropping lap by lap. But yeah, never really had a chance. Maybe half a chance, quarter of a chance but yeah, I think the positive thing is that we had very good race pace. It was very difficult to follow in the middle sector but we stayed close and then we benefit in the first and last sector. Overall the car was very good. We didn’t change too much compared to Silverstone which shows, on the one hand that Silverstone was just a bad weekend but we improved also the car so… especially in race pace, very strong. I mean we were, on average, a second off, or nearly a second off in Silverstone, so it’s a big step. I’m very, very happy. I think we are on the right track and I don’t think we have a circuit we should fear, going from now.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriera della Sera) Sebastian, you had a good chance with the start but what about the scenario with the safety car? Have you imagined what could have happened?
SV: Well, we had the safety car so no, I didn’t imagine much. I was following Lewis, I think we had more or less the same pace. Obviously it was difficult to follow super close and get in range and really try and create something so – I don’t know, the gap to the car behind with Valtteri was around five/six seconds, growing, especially at the end of the stints where I think Lewis and myself had better pace than the rest. I don’t know, it was fairly healthy, there were 14 laps to go, something like that, 15 laps to go so probably would have finished the race like that. It wouldn’t have made a difference, at least to us but for sure with the safety car then, yeah, I smelled a chance. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be a great chance and as I said, not entirely happy with the way I executed but that’s how it went. Nevertheless, as I said before… it’s normal, as I said before, as a racer you always look at what you could have done better but you also need to appreciate the fact that it was a very very good weekend for us, all the way. Both cars very quick, competitive and closer than I think one could expect before the race.