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Q: Sebastian, lining up on the front row, it’s a long run up that hill. How are you feeling?
Sebastian VETTEL: I think it looks a shorter distance on the inside, no? I guess that’s what I have to say, being second. No, congrats to Valtteri, obviously it was very exciting because we were all so close. I thought I had a little bit more. I left some in the high speed for the last run, but in my final run when I got there I was already a little bit down. I had two decent laps. There was always… one hundredths, you know, there is always somewhere. But overall, happy, let’s see for tomorrow. Hoping for a good start and then for a good race.
Q: I guess the main thing for you guys and the advantage comes down to the first lap and you’ll try to use that extra speed you’ve got on the straight?
SV: Yeah, it’s not that long and part of it is uphill, but we will see. I hope to have a good start off the line, which will be crucial, and then we will see where it takes. Obviously all of us are on the medium tyre, so nobody has an advantage there and then, yeah, it’s a long race. We will have a busy race tomorrow. The first lap for sure is important but there is a lot of racing after that.
Q: Many congratulations Valtteri. Forty-three per cent of the races here have been won from pole. Sebastian, your 100th career front-row start. How satisfying is that?
SV: Gosh, I’m getting old. Obviously it was a very nice session, it was really fun to drive the car thus afternoon, but if you are so close to pole and just on the wrong side of it then I guess Valtteri had a bit more fun. It was OK. I don’t know, what was the gap? It was very small, like one or two hundredths. So that is always there. I had a very good first lap and I had some margin maybe in the last sector where I was maybe taking it a little but too conservative, making sure that I finished the lap, set the lap first and then improve on the second lap. Unfortunately, I didn’t improve, so my plan didn’t quite work. Overall, it was good. I think we will have a strong race tomorrow. The car felt a lot better today than yesterday, which is also what we needed, so let’s see what happens tomorrow.
Q: What are the tactics on your way to Turn 1 tomorrow. Do you think the man next to you might be a little bit tentative because of the championship? Are you hoping that’s the case anyway?
SV: I don’t know, I’ll just pass him and then we’ll see what happens! If he’s thinking about it then I have a good chance. We’ll see. Obviously it’s a long race. The first lap is important but we have a lot of laps after that. But if I can pass him, I pass him.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Sebastian, how much worse are the bumps this year, compared to last year?
SV: A lot worse! I think the ground is the problem here, it moves, for some reasons. I don’t know what they installed under the track when they were laying the track but yeah, I think they are aware. I mean, they tried everything. They brought some people out last night to grind parts of the track again to try and make it better for us – but now there’s not so much you can do. We’ll see, as Valtteri said, it’s not going to change the world upside down tomorrow in the race. I think it’s more an issue for quali where you’re really pushing to the ultimate limit and, you go also significantly faster. So, I guess tomorrow should be fine – but for sure it will be a bumpy race. I hope all three of us do well tomorrow but I think the last thing we need is somebody tapping our shoulders after all the tapping we get through the corners around the track. So, yeah, we’ll see what happens.
Q: (Lennart Wermke – Bild) Seb, question for you. Frankfurt beat Bayern Munich 5-1 today in the Bundesliga, I feel that’s quite an emotional result for you, what’s your opinion on that game and do you feel for Niko Kovač who’s very much under pressure as a Bayern Munich coach?
SV: We are playing football or we are racing here? Is it that boring to watch? You have no question about what we actually do? I think there’s rain forecast in China tomorrow. Do you want me to comment on that?
VB: I heard it’s snowing in Finland…
SV: I’m a big Frankfurt fan but, to be honest, I didn’t know. I found out just before qualifying, so obviously by then the game was done. I think it’s a good result for my team and Niko Kovač has been part of Frankfurt for a while, so of course I feel for him – but I hope he finds back the success very soon.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Question to Seb and to Max. The run to the first corner is pretty short, but it’s uphill. Does that improve the chances to overtake compared to the same distance but flat?
SV: Well, they say we have more power so probably it helps if it’s uphill, because you need more power but, yeah, it’s not an awful long way. We will all try to have a good start and then you go from there. That’s the main target. I think the uphill bit doesn’t change so much. It’s trickier here for braking, so I think we need to be watching out but other than that…
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) For all three. The bumps were bad but were you ever even vaguely tempted with your engineers to do a softer suspension setting?
SV: No compromise, no sacrifice! Put a cushion in my seat, that’s the only thing to soften it.
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) For Seb and Max: the two of you usually like to roll out quite cool, special crash helmet designs. We’ve had a few US specials here. Last weekend in Mexico Lewis asked his fans on Instagram… to quote him he asked if he thought that the rule to only have one major design change each year was BS. I just wondered what you thought about the restriction on helmet designs and if that rule was relaxed, would you do more throughout the year?
SV: Well, I change it anyway so… I think it’s our helmet and we should be free to do what we want, so I think the rule is major BS. Yeah, I think it’s a part of… we have very little room left to sort of express ourselves and the helmet is probably the only one and if people like it, that’s great, if they don’t like it well it’s not their helmet so I think we should be in charge for designing which way and which colour our helmet has.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Moto und Sport) Seb, you said the car was much improved compared to yesterday. Was it also on the longer runs, could you find out in P3?
SV: Yeah, obviously we didn’t do long runs in FP3 but I think overall the car felt better than this morning so… we changed quite a couple of things which I think helped and they will also help in the race. How the pace will be, obviously we will find out tomorrow but at this stage I’m quite confident. I think we also struggled in particular on the hard tyres so I think we just didn’t get them to work and that should not be an issue tomorrow.