Q: Sebastian, tell us how that race was for you?
Sebastian VETTEL: Well, happy to be on the podium, but tough, because we tried to stick with them, but we just couldn’t. They were too quick, right from the start. Obviously I had a bit of a race with Max, which was good fun, but the objective was to chase them down, but as I said, they were just too quick for us today. So well done to Lewis and Valtteri.
Q: A great moment with Max. You hung him outside to dry on the outside on the grass, but that was good racing.
SV: Yeah, I saw him coming and the speed delta at the end of the straight is quite big now, so knowing Max as well, I knew that he will try. I was sort of predicting that he would try and go down the inside and try to cut back and it worked. I had a bit of a moment in which I had to open the car a bit, but it was good because I just kept nearly a car length ahead and then at the end going into the last corner for him I guess wasn’t sexy so that was good fun, but as I said, we would have loved to be a bit faster.
Q: The team eased you past your team-mate Charles Leclerc early on, did you feel that was right move?
SV: Yeah, I felt I could go faster. Then it was a bit difficult for me to find the rhythm, so I had a couple of wobbles where I locked up and lost the advantage I gained. But I think it’s fair if you see the whole race that we were just not able to stick with Mercedes. It’s a bit of a shame he couldn’t get Max in the end. I was following the tower in the middle of the track and I was hoping for him to pip Max. I think it was very close. But as I said, plenty of homework for us. Nevertheless, it’s a good result but not a great result.
Q: Sebastian, your first podium of 2019. Was the car where you wanted it this afternoon?
SV: I think we have to answer with ‘no’. I have to answer with no. We have a very strong car, there’s nothing wrong with it but I think we’re not able to yet put it in the window. Especially for myself, here and there. I’m not entirely happy yet compared to where we started off. Obviously the three tracks we’ve been to now are quite different. The conditions we had are different – but I think we start to see a sort of pattern and understand what – especially throughout a grand prix distance – understand what we need, what I need, to really unlock this car. I think these couple of weeks and the next weeks will be very important for us to understand where we need to go in the next months. Clearly today we were not as fast as Mercedes. Bit of a shame we couldn’t get third and fourth but overall I think we optimised. There were stages in the race where we were strong, and stages of the race where we were weaker compared to where we wanted to be.
Q: You said that you didn’t have the pace of Mercedes. How intimidated are you by the pace of the cars of the guys on your right?
SV: Nothing that shocks us. I think, at this point, it’s a question of putting it together. Obviously Mercedes had a good run with the first three races. I think in Australia we struggled with the conditions, and probably set-up. I think we learned our lessons for Bahrain, it was a lot better. Still, here and there, there are some parts of the race where we are too weak. And I think it showed again this weekend. So, I think we can be very happy with where we are on the engine side. It seems to be strong. I think overall our car is working and there’s nothing wrong with it – but I think it’s just about placing it in the right window and then being able to extract the performance that the car has, which I think Charles was able to show in Bahrain more than myself and yeah, it seems to be there somewhere but at the moment seems to be a bit more difficult to find where it is, to be able to be a fair match to Mercedes at this point.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to Sebastian. Have you asked the team to ask Charles to let you past? If not, do you think it was fair to do that?
SV: Well, let’s put it this way, I knew the moment it was happening that I would have to face these questions. Not sure I want to answer because I’m a little bit against the way you – all of you – work, because you take bits out of answers here and there and put it into the wrong light. So, if you ask me again in half an hour down in the paddock, maybe I give you a straightforward answer and you don’t write it down or record. Seems the way that, not maybe all of you but some of you are working. Yeah, I felt I was faster in the car, I was asked if I can go faster. I answered that I felt I can. I was a bit surprised when I was in free air – not surprised but I was struggling a bit to put the laps together. Once I found a rhythm, I was able to chip away – but yeah, obviously the objective was to try and catch Mercedes. At the point obviously the gap was already quite big.
Q: (David Scheider – Autobild Motorsport) Sebastian, there was an incident yesterday with Max Verstappen in qualifying. How did it feel to fight him today on the track?
SV: Well, yesterday was outside; today was inside! I think it’s very clear. Obviously I went to see the Red Bull team after qualifying and they admitted a mistake by not telling Max, so I think he tried to put himself in a good place and he wasn’t aware of the clocking ticking down. Today had nothing to do with it. I saw him coming down the inside and I knew that he would try something so I was already trying to prepare the exit which worked well for me and into sixteen, the last corner, I wasn’t quite sure whether he would come back or not but it probably didn’t make sense for him so happy to stay ahead and from that point onwards I was able to pull away. The first lap, I think we got a bit unlucky after the stop with the McLaren. I wasn’t quite sure what the McLaren was doing and whether and where he would let me past so it allowed Max to be closer than the following laps.