(Conducted by Martin Brundle and Jean Alesi)
Jean Alesi: Sebastian, a few words in Italian for the Ferraristas.
Sebastian Vettel: Allora, grazie a tutti. Tifosi, io sento di essere la megliore publico al mundo, davvero. Questa guerra é difficile – lo so que arriviamo, arriviamo! Forza Ferrari, grazie!
JA: Sebastian it was quite difficult at the beginning to catch up straightaway, you had to make some overtaking. How it was at the beginning?
SV: It was entertaining. It was quite good fun. Obviously my start was not so good, I had a lot of wheelspin. It took a while before I could really trust the car and then I made some progress. We got some good overtaking there. Then we were a bit isolated. We didn’t have the pace of the leading two drivers today. Nevertheless, going round, seeing the people gives a lot of hop. Even if this race has been difficult I know that we have a very, very strong car and we will have a very, very strong end to the season, I’m sure of that.
Q: Sebastian you described it on the slow-down lap as a difficult day. I wonder if you could just drill down into that what aspects in particular were difficult for you and answer the question why you feel that the pace wasn’t closer, either on the supersoft or the soft?
SV: Well, to be honest, I’m still pretty overwhelmed from the lap back to the pits and the podium ceremony. I think it’s been amazing, the power of the people, to see so many fans for Ferrari is unbelievable. Yeah it was a difficult day, a difficult start. I didn’t straightaway feel the car; I couldn’t go with Kimi and Valtteri, so I had to wait to make progress. Then my race was fairly isolated. We tried to keep as close as possible but we simply didn’t have the pace. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons, but I don’t want to get too technical today. The last 20 laps I was struggling. I went off in Turn 1 and I think something broke in the car. The left-hand side of the steering was a bit down and I couldn’t trust the car, especially on braking and it’s a braking track. So the last laps I don’t think they showed the pace we could have gone. Overall you could say it was a bad day, but I know the team is on the right way and there is a lot of stuff that is going to improve. Overall, it has been amazing so far to see where we are but I know that we only get stronger, so I’m in a very, very positive mood, despite the number and all that. I am not worried about these… overall, it was a difficult weekend but I know that there is still a long way to go and we have got the people behind us so it is a great feeling.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Sebastian, how much of a role to you think it has played in your struggles that there was no dry P3 where you could have optimised the car setup after it was not really perfect on Friday. Is it a relief, in a way, that this is such a unique track and there will be no others like this until the end of the season?
SV: Well, Monza is specific. I’ve had races here… simply the fact how confident you feel in the car can make a big difference. I wouldn’t say I don’t trust my car or don’t trust our car but I think this weekend has been a bit up-and-down. Practice, for sure there were a couple of things on the list that we would like to try but didn’t get the chance but I’m sure that’s the same for everyone. I had a good feeling on Friday. The long run was a bit scrappy because of traffic but in terms of raw pace, the Mercedes looked very strong. They confirmed that. I think it got a bit closer with worn tyres towards the end, second stint, I think you cannot judge. We were running on our own, they were probably just cruising – because no pressure from behind. So you can’t read the whole race but overall you need to be fair and say that they did the better job and they deserved to win – no doubt about that – but I think considering the day yesterday and where we started from, I think it was the optimum result.
Q: (Nicolangelo Cioppi – La Voce degli Italiani del Canada e USA) For Lewis and Sebastian. How do you feel beating Michael Schumacher’s pole position yesterday, 68, now you have 69 pole position and how you feel to beat Ferrari in his house in Monza. Is different I think from any other race track. And for Sebastian. Is it possible to win again or the Mercedes is too strong for Ferrari – because it was 30s difference between first and third.
SV: Being technical you can say, I don’t know what it adds up, the gap, the amount of race laps. I think we probably lacked something like half a second per lap today but there’s not all the parts of the race you can judge. I’m not worried too much about the gap. As I said before, Monza is a specific place. If you have that extra bit and confidence then it makes a big difference. So, I’m not too stressed about that. We probably knew it would be a difficult race. Probably expected as well that we would be closer but all in all, it’s not nice to see them two winning but I think with the third position, at least we gave everything we had and that’s the most important. We gave everything for the people out there. The support has been amazing and, despite the numbers, the gap, you can name the negatives but I’m very, very positive right now, to be honest. I know that people are going into the office tomorrow more committed than before. The spirit is there, we just need to keep it up. It’s a journey, we see where it takes us. It’s been a long way that the team has come from three years ago but we are nowhere near satisfied despite maybe having had a good season so far, it’s not good enough. Ferrari needs to be at the front and Ferrari needs to be on top of everything. So that’s where we want to go. For sure, they are giving us a very, very hard time, especially at the moment, but we’ll see. It’s a long journey still and, as I said, I’m… yeah… still full of adrenaline from the podium, the atmosphere was amazing. You can ask whatever you want now, I don’t care! You will always get a positive answer.
Q: (Leigh O’Gorman – Walker Watson) For Sebastian. Considering your position in the championship at the moment, at the start of the race, are you more or less conscious about having to get through relatively inexperienced drivers like Esteban and Lance – or do you just take them as if they’re any other competitors?
SV: I guess more the second part of your question. I mean, I think you judge when you follow, both of them did a good job. We were faster, that’s clear and y’know, I knew that I had to get past quickly because with the DRS you can build a sort of a train and then it’s quite difficult to get past. Plus they were very quick down the straights, both of them, but… no, I think Lance knew we had stronger pace, so he was quite fair. Esteban tried to cover a bit more but I had a very good run out of the last corner so for me it was clear I would get past and I just had to choose left or right and I just wanted to make sure, so that’s why I dived down the inside. But, no, to be honest, there might be the odd one standing out but overall drivers in Formula One have had a long history of racing and they know what to do.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Sebastian, do believe it can be hard for you to continue the fight in this final part of the championship because of the tracks: Sepang, Suzuka, Abu Dhabi, maybe Austin circuits that on paper look like they favour Mercedes?
SV: Well, I know how to read but I don’t really care what’s written on the paper. They’re all tracks that I like, to be honest, so I’m very much looking forward to them. I think we are here to race, so if it’s hard it’s good. Easy is boring. I think that’s what we all want and I’m definitely looking forward to it. At the moment you can say that Mercedes has an edge. Saturdays they’re very strong which obviously has its contribution to Sundays, it’s not a big secret but I think we are strong, we don’t need to hide and there’s plenty of positives. Things are coming, I’m sure they are developing their car. We are developing ours so I’m not so fussed about what they doing. I’m more focused on what’s going on inside us, inside Ferrari and it makes me quite positive, what’s coming, so we just need to see and then there’s always the extra element of racing that you can’t predict, that you can’t put down on paper and that’s usually the most exciting bit so I’m very much a fan of that and a fan of the moment and see what we can do.
Q: (Daria Panova – F1Only) First of all, I want to congratulate Sebastian for this fantastic podium in a special Grand Prix for Scuderia Ferrari. Question to you: in Spa, Mick Schumacher drove his father’s car, the Benetton. If you had a chance to drive an old Formula One Ferrari car, which car would it be and on which track?
SV: Funny you mentioned that because Ferrari has a programme where clients can run historic Formula One cars and if ever I get the opportunity, I will definitely pick 2004. I think that must have been a dream car to drive. Circuit? I would pick my favourite track, not that easy logistic-wise but Japan, Suzuka. I think the car had a lot of downforce, very light and extremely quick, so that would be a unique experience. Yeah, something that maybe one day, if I do well in the next couple of years, could be a nice thing to do.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Sebastian, do you think that the title could be won or lost with your teammate and Kimi not taking so many points from Lewis?
SV: No. I think, you look back, there’s always ways to look at points and stuff. I’m not so much interested. Above everything, you race for the team and then obviously you race for yourself, you try to do the best yourself and I think you saw the battle today. I don’t think he waved me past but I didn’t expect him to and it was tight. I was quick at that time and could make progress, so it was good to get past but he had a better start, he got past Valtteri so we’re both fighting for the best and the optimum result today. For sure the pace was a bit down so it’s always a bit more tricky but no, I mean, as I say, we’re both racing. If you are racing in the same car then naturally, in a way, you’re racing for the same bit of track. Look at those two, they were running very quickly and not a lot of gap between them. Also then, if you’re so close to each other it’s obviously crucial to be ahead in qualifying, opening laps, after that they will always be difficult. Rules are fairly clear that the teams have in terms of who gets priority and stuff like that so… Yeah, it’s the name of the game so I’m not… I think much more important than look at a championship with teammates, points, whatever is the chemistry inside the team and I think Kimi’s well known for the fact that he doesn’t talk so much. Inside the team he talks quite a lot and yeah, we get along well, his feedback is valuable and I think we get on with each other and there’s zero stress for the team which is a good thing.