JA: Sebastian, it was a tricky lap, very complicated. We have seen the car, sliding a lot.
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, it’s a difficult one to get the right balance. I tried to push everything in the last attempt, but looking back I pushed too hard. You try to a little bit too much here and there and then you lose the tyre, the car and then it slides, you lose the line and you end up losing time rather than gaining. After the first attempt I saw that we are maybe there, so with a really amazing lap I maybe have a chance but tit didn’t come. In the end I’m happy, because the car should be good in the race, but yeah, it was a good session though.
FM: What is the feeling here to have the Ferrari car, you’re going to start on the second row, with all the French people here, it’s the first time we get back in France?
SV: Yeah, it’s crazy. I think I raced in the last French Grand Prix. It’s amazing to see so many people, the excitement, obviously the weather today was a bit comme ci, comme ça, but it’s amazing – so much support, so many fans for Ferrari as well and I think for all of us it’s nice to be here. Normally here this place is a bit grey but now there is a lot of colour, a lot of people and it really comes alive and for tomorrow I think we have a good chance.
Q: Congratulations. Seb: third place today. We saw in your final run a little bit of an error where you ran wide. Did you think pole position was on offer?
SV: I didn’t know. For us, qualifying started a bit slow; obviously with the conditions it was a little bit tricky. Starting slow meaning it got better throughout the qualifying and yeah, I was confident I could improve a little bit for the final attempt. But already at the beginning I tried to push hard and probably pushed a little bit too much so I lost a little and yeah, then you’re playing catch-up. I just didn’t get a great feeling closing the lap. It wasn’t as strong as the lap before. It was also slower. I thought that there was a tenth or maybe a tenth and a half, maybe enough to pip Valtteri, but obviously both of them improved. I think we can be happy with third. For tomorrow I think we have a good car. Yesterday looked really good, we have a little bit different strategy on tyres, so let’s see.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to Lewis and Seb. What are your thoughts on Charles’ qualification today?
SV: He was eighth? So… I saw only on the screen that Fréd Vasseur was pretty happy, so I thought one of his drivers did well in Q2. I didn’t see in Q3 but obviously eighth is an impressive result. I think they are still quite a long way behind with the car so I think for him, he’s doing the job. It’s good for him and good for Sauber as well, to be up there. And hopefully for them they have some chance to score points tomorrow.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) Sebastian, last time you used this tyre, 0.4mm, you did one pitstop extra. For sure you have more in hand with the car after the test of Barcelona. Same question to Mercedes, can it help the team in the race condition?
SV: Well, I think for tomorrow, it’s not Barcelona, the track’s not easy on tyres but we saw yesterday that we had pretty good long runs and no problems with the tyres, so yeah. Obviously we also start on a different set, so I don’t wish for an extra stop, compared to the others. The pitlane is quite long here. But we’ll see. First we focus on the start and then we see the true pace in the race but it should be good for us. Tyres… then we see, obviously in Barcelona Mercedes was very strong, so couldn’t go with them – but for here I hope it’s going to be different.
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Sebastian, just looking at the recovery you and Ferrari have made from yesterday, it’s been a bit of a trait for you guys this season. I know you can’t give away secrets, can you give us an indicator of how much has changed on the car and how different the car has been in your hands today from yesterday?
SV: Maybe I had a bit of a slow start as well yesterday. Obviously the track’s… we’ve been here but then there’s so many options to use, so maybe I was a bit slow to get in the rhythm but I thought by the long run it was a lot better. Car-wise, I know we didn’t change too much but, for sure, the things that we changed, they helped. Not dramatic, this I can tell you – but it was good to have the support from the factory. They were obviously looking into it, trying to get everything out for qualifying, and for the setup mainly. I think we were relying on the help from the simulator. Antonio Giovinazzi and, yesterday, Daniil Kvyat was here and helping us, so those two, thanks to them as well. Yeah, I don’t know why it is Friday we seem to be a bit off and then Saturday a lot better – but it’s obviously better that way than the other way around.
Q: (Bart van Dooijeweert – NU.nl) Question for all of you. We’ve seen a lot of cars struggling in Turn Six today and yesterday. What’s so difficult about that corner?
SV: I went wide on the last run. I think you have the sequence three, four, five before. So, it’s quite tricky, then, by the time you arrive for six, obviously, there’s not much straight between five and six – but the tyres are quite hot, the car is quite light and you know there’s a lot of time to gain if you can get a little bit early on the throttle, because after that there’s a long straight. I think that’s what we all try but it doesn’t always work. You then try to work around the kerbs as well to balance the car – but it doesn’t always work. That’s why I think it’s quite tricky. Today, I think going in we had some tailwind – which doesn’t help either. Going out, then it gets better but… yeah, I think the other way would be easier. A bit more help initially.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) How would you rate the track if it’s wet tomorrow for the race? Will it be difficult, slippery?
SV: Same. I did a test three years ago but different layout. I think the new asphalt makes it a bit trickier, the water doesn’t have any place to go so it sits on the track which is obviously limiting us from running. I guess the reason why we didn’t run this morning was because of that, or I know the reason why we didn’t run was because of that. And usually when the asphalt is new and there’s a lot of sunshine and then it rains, you saw this morning as well, it’s like shampoo or I don’t know, some foam or… yeah, it can get quite slippery, part of the oil is then released or something but I don’t know, we forecasted FP3 to be dry and it wasn’t, so let’s see. I’m not trusting the forecast for tomorrow. I think we’ll look at the grid, what it’s like and see what we do.
Q: Lewis, any difficulty for you here picking up the track layout with all the different options?
SV: Well, I think for us it’s not so much the lines of the track because if you go onto the track and if you walk the track and you go on your knees… we are sitting quite low, that’s what I want to say, so we don’t actually see so much of the lines, the colours, the blue and the red. I think the more difficult thing is that there’s no reference. Normally you have everything a bit closer to the track, a little bit more elevation and things but I think by now everybody’s used to it.