(Conducted by Martin Brundle)
Q: Sebastian, you’ve matched Alain Prost’s total of 51 victories and surely that was one of your more satisfying victories? What a drive.
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, obviously the safety car spiced it up. It was a nice time because Valtteri was pushing like crazy. I had the advantage on tyres but it was not so easy to find a way through but then I surprised him. I wasn’t sure I’d make the corner but I did, so it worked really and very, very happy. Great thanks to the team supporting me and the people in the background because yesterday I was a bit damaged but much better shape today, it was no problem, so yeah, really, really happy.
Q: I can see you have still got a lot of tape on your neck. We were concerned you were going to struggle to finish the grand prix.
SV: I was as well going into the race but it was fine. I think with all the adrenalin going… probably I will feel it a little bit tonight. It doesn’t matter. It held up. The race was fantastic; we got a great crowd. A race I enjoyed a lot, I think the people enjoyed it a lot, really an amazing day.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Christian Menath – MotorsportMagazin.com) Seb, you said the Safety Car spiced it up a bit, but don’t you think it helped you a bit because it seemed like you had more problems with the tyres in the first stint and in the second stint Valtteri came a bit later and would have probably been able to push you a bit more?
SV: No, I disagree. I think in the first stint it was crucial to open the gap, which we did. And then in the end, I think Valtteri’s tyres were a little bit in better shape but in the second stint we were largely controlling and I think it would have been fine until the end. Obviously with the safety car then it was one or the other. Obviously we are the first car, us deciding to pit, obviously they stayed out. I think if we stay out, they pit. So he had a free pit stop and I lost a position to him but after the re-start I knew we have our chance, with fresher tyres. Obviously then there was another safety car and then you’re losing laps but it was crucial to make the move early on. He was pushing very hard and did a good job and it was difficult to get past in the beginning because his tyres were still fine and he was in free air. But I was able to surprise him and then I could control the last couple of laps, turn things down and bring the car home.
Seb, anything to add on the competitiveness of your car?
SV: Well, this weekend was a bit different, obviously, it was very warm, which is a bit unlikely for here, compared to recent years. Also there was less wind, new asphalt, so a couple of new things but I think the main thing is that we were competitive, which we weren’t in the past. It’s a tricky circuit, you need to get the balance right, of downforce and drag. I think we have a very good car, we brought some bits, they seemed to work, so, I think we were very, very happy with the result. Obviously… yeah, it’s been a difficult track for us. This year I think we were a match. Probably there were still some weaknesses in the race at different phases. As I described, I think the end of the first stint, I think Valtteri was a bit faster to overall I think we had pace in hand, managed the second stint and managed the race well. If you have a car that is fast, I think you can make things happen, and that’s what we did today.
Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) Ferrari drivers, would you like to reply? Are you using interesting tactics? Is it your mindset to go out and take one of the Mercedes drivers out or is it just unlucky?
SV: Well, things can happen but I think it’s quite silly to think that anything that happened was deliberate, at least, I would struggle to be that precise, you know, to take somebody out. In France, I lost my wing so I screwed my race. I think it’s easy to obviously attack and have a great move and also easy to have an incident. I don’t think… I mean, I only saw it briefly on the monitor, I don’t think there was any intention and I find it a bit unnecessary to even go there.
Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawkes Bay Today) Sebastian, you were having a good look at the gold trophy when you were on the podium, presumably looking at some of the great names that are on there, a trophy that Lewis almost owns. How satisfying is this win for you and how important do you see this now in the championship, given that Ferrari seem to have the measure or at least equal pace with the Mercedes round here?
SV: To be honest I had a look and the trophy obviously carries over names of previous winners but it stopped in 2005 so I was wondering where the last 13 years have been. And then when I came back to the podium room, they showed me that there’s another bit that they forgot to put on but for sure it’s a very prestigious trophy with a lot of names. I think it’s the original motor sport… racing here’s always something special, the track is phenomenal, the fans are phenomenal as well. I’m looking whether we can have something similar in Germany, that would be great. Obviously I won the race a long time ago and it’s great, it feels great to win it again. I think it’s one of the most satisfying tracks as a driver and to come out on top obviously is a great feeling.
Q: (Luke Smith – Crash.net) Sebastian, can you talk us through that final battle with Valtteri and the move that finally got him for the lead?
SV: Yeah, it was quite intense. Obviously I had the advantage on the tyres but he had the clean air so in the high speed stuff I was able to follow, but it was difficult the closer I got and I saw sort of sniffed my chance already and the first laps after the restart out of turn four and then on the Wellington Straight down to turn six, yeah, and the final move, obviously I was able to surprise him so I think he thought that I won’t dare (go on) the inside and the braking zone was coming quite fast but I thought OK, I have to go for it because I was obviously also struggling… the longer I spent behind him, struggling with my tyres as they got hotter, and losing that advantage that I had a little bit, and I felt great when I was side by side and wasn’t sure if I would make the corner but I did, so it was great and once I was ahead, obviously I could use that advantage to pull out a gap and control the race from there. But it was crucial, it wasn’t easy, they seemed to be very strong on the straights, the mid part of the straights but yeah, obviously with DRS and a tow, I was a bit stronger at the end of the straights so it worked. The main thing is that it worked and it felt great.
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Sebastian, you said that you were trying to surprise Valtteri with that move at the end but were you surprised when he didn’t react to the move and try to close the door?
SV: No, obviously you sort of imagine where you could be at the end of the straight. I had a good exit, I would have liked to have been closer but I wasn’t but I still thought it was good enough to have a shot so I gave it everything and yeah, I obviously tried the outside on the run before and he was very late on the brakes and so was I and then I couldn’t really go anywhere so I thought OK, you can’t do that again and you have to somehow surprise him and the fact that I think that I was a little bit further back and we were close to the braking zone he was covering the inside but then still gave me a little bit of room and that’s what I used to make the move happen and obviously once I was on the inside and I had clean air from the front, the car was great and I could make the corner. I wanted to win and I had to go for it. Obviously I think he struggled a little bit more towards the end with his tyres but I wanted to get by as soon as possible and that was the key.
Q: (Christian Menath – Motorsport-Magazin.com) Seb, we’ve seen on your headrest some additional parts. Can you explain what you did exactly for your neck and we also saw that you were fine tuning it on the starting grid?
SV: Yeah, it felt good on the laps to the grid so I took some off. Obviously yesterday was a different day. Qualifying wasn’t very enjoyable. I did as little runs as possible and I had the padding just to support in the corners where you don’t… like turn eight that is easily flat so I was resting my head yesterday and today it wasn’t necessary so I had a good feeling and the race was no problem.