Q: Sebastian, I think that’s the best you could have hoped for today wasn’t it, getting up to P2. You almost jumped Bottas in the pit stop but I think Carlos Sainz held you up a little and a bit of a tricky pit stop?
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, I don’t know, I think something was stuck at the rear but it was tough race. We were a little bit out of position for the speed that we had. I think we could go with Lewis today in terms of race pace. I had a good start on the harder tyre, which was good, and I was in third. Then I think we did well. I think then it was a bit tricky knowing when to come in. And then obviously we had a little bit of an issue at the pit stop, as you mentioned, and we came out behind Valtteri and then I realised right away I couldn’t get him because his tyres were still too fresh, so I was sitting back and waiting and trying to line everything up for the last 10 laps and it worked. His tyres were getting worse and worse and I knew obviously how long those yellow tyres last from the first stint that I had, so I was quite confident I could get him at the end. Obviously P2 is not what we really wanted this weekend but I think it’s the maximum we could get today.
Q: Did you think you were clear after you had made that contact down at Turn 2 at the end?
SV: I was surprised to be honest. I was already ahead and I was just trying to brake so that I covered the inside line and not running too deep. Then I got a hit from behind, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. Then I was looking in the mirrors and I saw that Valtteri was there with Kimi and obviously after that I was clear and I was lucky nothing was broken and we could carry on.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) For Lewis and Sebastian. At the beginning of the race on alternative tyre strategies, it looked like at one point the race might be swinging more towards Seb, especially when Valtteri pitted and Seb looked like he was going to jump him. So obviously the race went in a different direction. Could I get your comment on how the race changed and also how it impacts the momentum of your respective championship campaigns.
SV: Yeah. In the first stint, I had a good start, obviously. We knew we had to try to do something different today. I think, as it turned out, probably Valtteri was taking it too easy and obviously, Lewis was able to pull away comfortably. Then, I think, looking back, despite the hot temperatures and so on, I think the ultrasoft worked probably better than we all expected. Obviously we tried to do something different with the soft and yeah, the fact that the ultrasoft lasted very well in the beginning, like Lewis’ pace showed, and also at the end for me, the tyres felt like new once I was ahead of Valtteri, even though I spent so many laps in traffic, showed that I think the ultrasoft worked better. So, that didn’t help to close the gap but I think we did what we could. We effectively passed Valtteri for P2 but then I think I got a bit unlucky with the traffic and lost a couple of seconds, and then obviously we had that little issue at the pitstop, so we ended up coming out behind – and then it was a different race. For sure we knew from the start that qualifying, where we qualified, we tried to do something different, I was happy to do that and I think the pace showed today that we were good. I think if you compare the stint on the soft to the other cars, obviously we were different fuel loads and mirrored strategy but was very good. So, I don’t know. As we’ve seen this year the pendulum seems to swing once this side, once that side, obviously y’know if it’s like this, consistency is the key. Scoring points. I didn’t do myself a favour last week but I think it’s part of racing. Stuff happens. Compared to last year, we lost the championship I think because our car wasn’t quick enough to be a match in the final part of the season, despite what happened with the DNFs. So I hope that this year, and I think this year has shown so far that our car is more efficient, our car is stronger and still has a lot of potential to unleash – so I’m quite confident with what’s sitting in the pipeline that we can improve . So, we’ll see. Should be an exciting second part of the year.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Sebastian, you had well over a pitstop’s advantage over Valtteri for the best part of ten laps – but you delayed the pitstop, presumably because you were worried about the ultras. Did you wait too long? Was that a mistake. And for Lewis, how to you feel about going into the gap with more than a win’s advantage?
SV: Well, obviously something didn’t go as we planned. It was good that we were faster on an older tyre than Valtteri and pulled a gap. Then I think it’s a bit difficult to foresee the traffic and – knowing how well you go through traffic or not – and in that case I lost quite a lot. So that was one. Then the pitstop, as I explained, but yeah, I think looking back at the race, Lewis’ stint in the first part of the race with the ultrasofts, as I said, Lewis mentioned a crossover close to ten laps. I think the ultrasoft was a lot stronger in the race than it was on Friday, and then what we expected going on. You soft-of know but you don’t know. Obviously Lewis’ information, they don’t call us and say ‘our tyres still look good – you can come in earlier.’ That’s not how it works. And obviously the worst that can happen is that you come in earlier, you gain the position and then you fall apart at the end. You don’t want to do that. I think what we did was OK. But then, as it turned out, with the circumstances and so on, we obviously lost out and we came out behind. Surely, that didn’t help. I think without that it would have been a much more relaxed last part of the race, probably hunting down Lewis, but with the gap that he had, I think it would have been difficult to catch – and then it’s a completely different story, especially around here to overtake. So I think we could have done the catching bit but not really the overtake, so, in the end it doesn’t change much to the final result. Just that it was a bit more work than coming out ahead.
Q: (Rebecca Clancy – The Times) What are your plans for the summer break? Will it be a break, will you be working, will it be holiday?
SV: If you were a man, I would have said none of your business but you’re a lady so I will be polite.
LH: Did you say an old lady?
SV: No, I said if you were a man I would said it was none of your business but since you’re a lady I will answer your question. Not very spectacular, I will just be home to be honest. Obviously I think we do enough of travelling in planes so I can’t be arsed to go on a plane, I’m pretty much happy to sit in one place and just enjoy. I think we’ve had an amazing summer so far, I hope it doesn’t swing yet because now’s the time for us when we have a bit of time off. I think other than day trips on the bicycle or – I don’t know – doing something boring like fishing or.. I don’t know, it will be quite boring and I’m happy with that.
Q: (Peter Varkas – Auto Motor) Sebastian, could you please give us your perspective of the crash with Valtteri? Did you think you have left him enough room, was he too aggressive in the braking and afterwards did you feel something wrong with the car because it seems you lost some parts?
SV: Yeah, I wasn’t sure. Obviously I felt all of a sudden that I got hit from behind. I think for him there wasn’t really anywhere to go, I was ahead and then when you are so close to another car, I think he… I don’t blame him, I think he had no grip, obviously when you’re so close it’s very difficult to stop the car and I think he locked up and we made contact. For me, I realised straight away that I had a much better run, my rears were in better shape, I got the inside track out of turn one and I had DRS so I was quite comfortable into turn two and knowing that I’d got him and I wanted to make sure that I don’t overshoot the braking but as I said, as soon as I hit the brakes and a little bit later, about when I turned in, I felt the contact from behind. I checked in the mirrors, I saw he was there and then obviously I was lucky that I could catch the car and also lucky with the contact that I didn’t get a puncture, so the team told me straight away that the tyres look fine. Then I had a feel but the car was fine until the end.