(Conducted by Mark Webber)
Q: Sebastian, 48th victory, 100th podium, a couple behind Alain Prost, so run us through it – what a race.
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, obviously pretty good. We got a bit lucky with the safety car but yeah, really enjoyed it. A great turnout today, you saw in the grandstands, I really enjoyed the lap back in. And for the race, I mean my start, I was hoping for it to be a little bit better, but it didn’t really work, so I had to settle for third. And then, towards the end of that first stint I lost a little bit the connection to Lewis and Kimi ahead. I was struggling a little bit with the tyres. I felt happier with the soft tyres, with the yellow tyres at the end, for the second stint. Obviously I was praying for a safety and there was a car that stopped in Turn 4 and I was like ‘no, it’s not coming out’ and then somebody stopped, I think it was a Haas, in Turn 2, and then when I saw it I was full of adrenalin, even though the race is frozen, but still to come into the pits, everything on the limit, trying to get back out, because they told me it was really close with Lewis. And when we got out ahead I knew it was difficult to pass but he kept some pressure on, especially at the beginning of the last stint and then at the end, during the last five laps at least I could enjoy it a little bit more.
Q: Sebastian, we meet up again on this podium with (you) victorious. It’s a nice meeting point in terms of Ferrari winning, the season starting off on the front foot, last year it was a titanic battle with Lewis, off to Bahrain in a few weeks. How do you see it playing out?
SV: Obviously we were a little bit lucky today. Lewis had a great lap yesterday. He deserved pole position. He drove a very good race; controlled it in the beginning. As I say, we got a bit lucky, but we’ll take it. We put a flag up in Maranello for every win and I asked them to do that this morning back in Europe. We’re not yet there where we want to be. I’m not yet exactly there with the car, you know. If I don’t feel what I need to feel then it’s a bit tricky. I think we all know. But I think it gives us a good start, a good wind and fresh motivation for the coming weeks.
Q: (Yianni Mavromoustakos – Talkingtorque.com.au) Firstly congratulations to Seb, now for all three drivers, how did you find the Halo in race conditions.
SV: During the race, it was no issue. As Kimi said, it even helped. I don’t know what you call the thing in the car… it worked like a sun visor, that helped. In the parade lap, that’s when it was bothering because you couldn’t see so well the people in the grandstands. Was trying to find, is it better to look below, or… wasn’t tall enough to get above. Other than that, no difference.
Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Question for Seb, what do you still miss in the feeling of the car. It’s up to the balance of the car, the power of the engine or what else?
SV: No, I think the car has huge potential but yeah, I’m still struggling a little bit. I think if we also compare to where we’re still a bit weak, it’s where I also feel that the car is not yet there, so, what am I missing, when you talk about something that you miss as a driver, the car doesn’t respond the way you like and it’s still sliding in places you don’t want it to slide. I’m quite… I want the car to be spot on when I hit brakes and turn in, and in that window, I’m not yet happy, so it’s always sort-of a compromise. Of course, it’s our job to drive around problems that we have but if I could chose, I would like it a bit different and yeah, it’s not a big drama. I think we can live with it but I feel also if we get on top of that then you feel more confident. A track like here, when you have confidence it makes a big difference. I think today was quite windy, very gusty. You always try to push but equally to try to be a bit safe – because you don’t want to throw it away. That’s exactly where it makes a difference: if then then have the confidence and you trust the car, you don’t think for a second, you just go out and do it. At the moment, it just feels a bit too conscious. So, let’s hope I get to think less, and we need to think less in the next races.
Q: (Paul Gover – Herald Sun) Party time for you guys tonight. Will you be inviting the guys from the Haas team perhaps as well?
SV: I don’t know what the problem for them was. Obviously, as I said before, the Virtual Safety Car did help me today, no doubt, but as I said as well, there were other races where it didn’t, so that’s the way it goes. I’ve been on the other side as well. I said as well that, y’know, Lewis was probably the quickest out of all three of us but that’s how it goes and for sure, wearing red is a good day today.
Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) Tabloid time again. Sebastian, are you concerned about ‘Party Mode’, do you think it’s legal what Mercedes have got?
SV: I think so. I think also Lewis was right yesterday. I think that… y’know we do get a bit of data, GPS data and stuff like that… I think they did turn it up for Q3 but not by seven-tenths. I think probably if you look at qualifying carefully, I try to do so last night. It’s fair to say they were quick in Q1, quicker than us, Lewis was quick in Q2 and then his second run, I don’t know, something happened. So, his last run in Q3 was the only proper run at the end and he had a clean run and I don’t think the gain that he had in time was down to engine. Probably a tenth, a little bit more, but not seven tenths. So, the credit is for his lap that he did and not for the engine power. It’s completely fine what they’re doing because they didn’t do anything special. Not more than they did last year, probably even a bit less by the looks of it. So, it was clear that he just had a very good lap and he drove well.
Q: (Phil Duncan – Press Association) Seb, do you take any extra satisfaction in the win today, given the comments that Lewis made yesterday about wiping the smile off your face after qualifying?
SV: Not really. He said he was joking and I believe him. I think we are old enough, I don’t think we need to go on that sort of level. It’s fine as long as we joke with each other and I don’t think… apart from a point last year, we don’t have a problem with each other. I think even if we are very different persons, I think we share – all of us – a common passion and that makes us quite equal again. We love racing and we try to do our best, once we’re in the car and beat all the others. I think in that regard, I don’t see why we shouldn’t get on with each other.
Q: (Daniele Sparisci – Corriera della Sera) Seb, in your feeling, what is the difference between this victory from the one from last year in Melbourne? Which one is more unexpected?
SV: The one today. I think last year we had more pace in relative terms. Last year we were putting them under pressure. Even though Lewis was in the lead, I think we managed to put him under pressure so yeah, I was forced to pit and we benefited from that. Because we had the speed today… I think we didn’t have the true race pace to match them but we weren’t that far off. In the last stint, even though we were probably lucky with the safety car or virtual safety car, we still had enough pace to stay ahead and make it very difficult for him to be close and try and do something. I think also compared to the others, it didn’t look like there was a whole train behind us so I think we had some decent pace.
Q: (Phil Branagan – Auto Action) Question to Seb to follow on from that earlier one: because the result was so similar to last year, and the race played out similarly, would you say, compared with Lewis’s car you were better off this year than you were a year ago, worse off or about the same?
SV: Well, at the moment we’re a bit worse off. Last year we had more pace at this point. If you look at the gaps the whole weekend and we’re not yet a true match. Obviously we had very good pace today, Kimi was very strong in the first stint. I think I was probably a tiny bit stronger in the second stint but it was a different race for us. But I think if you look and you are fair, then Lewis was fastest whereas last year I think we were fastest and it was very very close and therefore at this point we know that we are not yet where we want to be because we want to be fastest.