(Conducted by Martin Brundle and David Coulthard)
MB: Sebastian, you secured second in the world championship but pretty lonely race for you?
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, it was. In the beginning I tried very hard and I think I had as good start but then nowhere to go. I locked up a little but and flat-spotted the first set of tyres a tiny bit with that. But then, after three, four, five laps I just couldn’t go any faster and they seemed to pull away and from there onwards it was pretty lonely. But then I have to say, in the second stint I really got into the car, got into the rhythm and I think we had stronger pace in the second part of the race. But not good enough to match those two guys. Congrats to Valtteri, very happy for him, and again, very much congratulations to Lewis on his season. He deserves to win the championship this year, in the end. I hate to say it, he was the better man, so I’m sure we will do our bit over the winter and hopefully come back stronger. Lastly, thanks to all the fans, the support for Ferrari has been incredible, so thank you very much. Forza Ferrari.
Q: Sebastian, I bet it’s nice for you to have some company after a fairly lonely afternoon for you. At the end, 19 seconds the margin, but pretty much the same pace as the Mercedes when you got onto the supersofts. What does thus result say about you and Ferrari’s challenge as we close the championship?
SV: What do you mean what does it mean?
Q: This isn’t really representative of the way you’re ending this season?
SV: Well, it’s a race. We took it all very seriously, so I think it’s serious. I think we had a strong year overall. Obviously we didn’t win, neither the Drivers’ nor the Constructors’, so we can’t be happy with that, because [it was] what we generally set out to achieve. Overall we were not quick enough. Simple as that. In the end you can break it down to a lot of details and this and that but overall the package wasn’t good enough but I think the positives outweigh the disappointments we had here and there over the year, because you must not forget where we have been 12 months ago and the incredible achievement that’s come together over the winter to set up this year, and throughout the season to keep improving the car, the engine, so a lot of work but overall but we saw today that we got a fair beating and couldn’t touch them in quali and in the race, so obviously there is lots for us to do better.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Sebastian, you make the car look great through the first sector, where I was watching the quick corners. I’m just wondering in the first stint where the Mercedes did get away from you. Was it a power thing perhaps, which translates into downforce or sector two, maybe sector three?
SV: Well, the first two laps were pretty good, I was able to follow and I thought, ‘OK, I can stay with them’, and it became apparent that in particular, I would say, the beginning of the second sector, the section around Five, Six, Seven, I think Five and Six they were faster than us all weekend. Straights, I think you benefitted from the tow even if you’re a bit further back to I don’t think it’s fair to say that they gain all the time in the straights. In the last sector they were very strong, so even if Lewis had to follow Valtteri closer than I was to Lewis, he was still faster than me in the last sector. So, I think that’s where it got away. I think in the final stint on the supersoft, overall we were more competitive, I felt happier with the car all around. So yeah, I just couldn’t… I hovered in terms of lap-time it was pretty much the same until the end of that first stint for us – but those two in front, they were able to just go faster with the fuel going down. That’s something I couldn’t do.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) Sebastian, with a victory in Singapore maybe you would have had scenario and maybe the story would have been different?
SV: Yeah, for sure it makes a difference, if you finish a race rather than finishing it in the first lap but overall I think we had a good year. You have to be also fair, in the end Mercedes was better, they were faster – look at the amount of pole positions, of race wins. I think we had our chances, we used them, we had races were we probably got away with a good result even though it was on the edge. I’m thinking about races like Bahrain where we were very close to have a failure. We won the race in Hungary which I don’t think we were supposed to win with the steering failure we had during the race. We finished races that might as well have been, could have been a DNF. On the other hand we had other races where we didn’t finish. It’s obviously bitter because you’re not in the fight. That’s the frustrating bit about those races but they’re part of racing. So, that’s how it does sometimes. In that regard obviously Mercedes has been more consistent. The issues that they had, thinking about gearbox at the beginning of the year were less costly and happened to them on a Saturday or early in the weekend – but that’s how it goes. Overall I think it’s a straight fight and they just did better but again I want to emphasise the positives for us. Really the steps we were able to make. The way the team has grown together. I don’t think you always see the full picture. Maybe we are less vocal about it than other people as well – but in the end we do our job, and that’s what bought us here in the first place. If we keep doing that I’m confident that we can be in a better place next year.
Q: (Angelique Belkopytov – AutoDigest) Question to all three of you: finally on the podium we saw the new F1 logo. What is your opinion about that and do you agree with the change?
VB: I kind of like the old one. I only saw it very quickly.
SV: Just say you don’t like the new one!
VB: What’s wrong with the old one? I don’t know. I think it’s quite cool.
SV: I liked the old one better.
LH: The problem is logos… I think the one that we already had was an iconic logo I think. Just imagine Ferrari changing their logo, or Mercedes changed their logo. I don’t think the new one is as iconic but maybe it will grow on us.
Q: Lennert Wermke – Bild) Niki Lauda just retired as a TV pundit after 21 years with RTL; he just told the people live on air. Can you share some special memories with Niki being a TV expert with RTL?
SV: Well, he’s certainly been straightforward and direct and just himself, I think that’s why he had the job for 21 years you said? I’m sure he will be keen to give some answers also in the future, not worried about that but yeah, obviously he decides for whatever is best for him so… I don’t know. I didn’t hear all the stuff he said about me which maybe is good or sometimes is bad. Yeah, I think we’ve all been praised by him on TV and all been… the opposite of praise by him, live on TV. As I said, I think he’s very much appreciated for the job that he did because he’s outspoken and straightforward.
Q: (Darya Panova – F1 Only) How can you describe this season in just one word?
LH: One word… I mean epic? It’s kind of been epic, it’s kind of a boring word though isn’t it? Is there anything else, a better one? Historical? That’s kind of old. Can someone help us out?
Q: (Ysef Harding – Xiro Xone News) It’s time for the holidays, it’s time to take a break for a minute. What do you guys?
SV: They call me Mr Miyagi as well. Probably find something to drink tonight and then sober up tomorrow, do the test, after that not much break. Obviously we’ve got work to do so I’m happy for them to go to holidays but we won’t. Certainly around Christmas there will be a bit of time to relax but yeah, I think we want to be in better shape next year so work on that and obviously, as I said, for the team it’s flat out from now, already the last few weeks it’s flat out. I think people are generally mistaken by… I don’t know, I got a weird call the other day at breakfast and here obviously the race happens later so I had breakfast at ten and there was a guy who said ‘I didn’t know that Formula One drivers had such a relaxing life.’ I don’t know what normal people do when they have breakfast, if they are running or exercising, so I don’t know. I didn’t get his point but I think generally if you think that from now until March we sit around questioning ourselves what to do. There will be some time to do some stuff that we’d like to do, follow some hobbies, get time at home with friends, family but yeah, I’m very hungry for next year.