Q: All the best for tomorrow. Sebastian, second row of the grid, third [place]. I think everyone thought after what we saw at Barcelona that Ferrari were going to start strong. Where do you feel [the team is] after the last couple of days?
Sebastian VETTEL: I don’t know. Congrats to Lewis and Valtteri, they had, by the looks of it, a very today qualifying. For us it was OK. I had an off in Q2, which wasn’t planned but I tried. I don’t know. The car feels alright, it’s not that there is anything wrong (inaudible) but today I thought it was OK. I think compared to those guys we were just not quick enough. The race is tomorrow, though. I think we have a good car nonetheless. This track is very specific so not worried too much, but for sure it’s not great. I would have loved for it to be the other way round.
Q: To play the long game is a big thing this year. You’ve won this race more than a few times. Can you win this grand prix tomorrow?
SV: Of course. I think we can. You never know what’s happening. Last year we got a bit lucky but the race is over when there’s the chequered flag. I think we have a good car, we have a good race car and we are in good form. Obviously Mercedes are the clear favourites after the result today and the pace they have shown so far. But we are here to race. Otherwise it would be quite dull. I think all the people would agree. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I think our starts are pretty handy, so we’ll go from there.
Q: Sebastian, we saw a little off for you in Q2. How did that affect the performance of the car going into Q3?
SV: It didn’t. During winter testing I was joking with Valtteri that I was quite jealous he did some rallying in the winter. Maybe it was in the back of my mind and I wanted to try some myself – but not the right time. I tried, obviously, to find the limits in Q2, and went a little bit over the limit. Fortunately the car was fine. Q3, run one, or generally Q3 was fine. Overall, that fortunately did not impact our qualifying.
Q: And how surprised are you by the gap to the Mercedes drivers?
SV: Certainly surprised. I think everybody is – probably even themselves. I think yesterday we didn’t have a good day. Today felt better but in terms of gap and pace, it was very similar. For sure there’s some homework for us to do to understand. I still think we have a great car and we should be better than this – so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We’ll see over… I don’t know how many laps… 56? 58? 58 laps we have some time to get a proper read of where we are – but certainly Mercedes are the clear favourite if you have such a big gap and comfort throughout qualifying. All the sessions. We’ve got to live with it today but tomorrow is a new day. We’ve done it before, around here especially, so, we’ll see.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Sebastian, you talked about you still think you’ve got a great car. Did you feel that here, you’re missing something that you felt you had at Barcelona, or is it just that Mercedes have made a surprising leap up the order, basically?
SV: Well, it’s difficult to compare. We have something like 10, 15 degrees more ambient, hotter track, different circuit, so overall different conditions – but the car felt really good at testing and probably around here, so far this weekend it didn’t feel as good – yet. As I said, yesterday was a difficult day for us. It was tricky. Today felt a bit better – but there’s not an awful lot of time to try different things. Obviously you have to get on with it and the sessions come fast: especially in qualifying, you can’t really change much. If anything, you get a better understanding of maybe where you’re losing out or where it feels uncomfortable. So for us, I think, there is still a bit of margin but certainly the gap is there today, and it was a surprise. We didn’t expect it coming here but now it is that way. And, as I said, we focus on tomorrow and don’t worry about the gap now.
Q: (Christian Menath – motorsport-magazin.com) Question for Seb. Would you say it’s fair to say you have a bit more problem to extract maximum performance out of the soft tyre – because yesterday the long run looked a bit better compared to the others and today in Q1, when you had the medium tyre on, you were not that far away?
SV: Well, it’s difficult to read Q1. I think people are playing around with how much, first of all, how much they push, how much they push the engine especially. I think everybody was surprised how much the track picked up as well in Q1. So, Q1 is not a great session to read into. I wouldn’t say we have a problem extracting the grip from the tyres. Obviously there is a lack somewhere, because we are too slow – but didn’t feel like it. I was very happy with the laps that I had in Q1 on the medium compound – but hard to have a reference because nobody else was really on that tyre at that time, so yeah, for tomorrow, we’ll see. Tyres so far this weekend were no headache and should be quite straightforward tomorrow. I expect a solid race from the tyres.
Q: (Laurence Edmonson – ESPN) Seb, could you just explain exactly what it is that you’re lacking because you mentioned yesterday that you didn’t have the confidence in the car? Could you just go into some detail on what is missing, and is it the same on heavy fuel?
SV: I thought the sectors might still be there. I think a little bit of everything. I don’t think the straightline is a problem so I think we are quite competitive down the straights but I think we’re just losing in the corners. There are 16 corners around here and I think it’s a fairly even spread so probably by the looks of it… and so far it was more in the medium and lower speed stuff rather than the high speed stuff which, I would say, also speaks for a strong car in general. I haven’t got the balance yet which maybe I would like to have, especially in lower speed, and not the confidence and trust which again, around here, can make a big difference because it’s a bumpy track and I hope they don’t resurface it because it’s part of the character of this track. It’s fairly evenly spread around the track but I would say more towards the lower speed corners and it’s easier, I would say, to lose time there. But given the gap is so big, we must lose time in more than one place, for sure.
Tomorrow? I don’t know, I think in the race it could be closer but also the long runs that both of them had yesterday looked very strong and ours looked OK but not as special as theirs so we will see. I think today the car was better and I expect it to be better also tomorrow so we should be a bit closer.