Minggu, 18 April 2010
1st Jenson Button (McLaren), 1h46m42.163s; 2nd Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 1h46m43.693s; 3rd Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 1h46m51.647s.
Q: Jenson, what a race. Another great call for tyres at the start, a safety car re-start for you to control and then some heart-stopping moments in the final laps.
Jenson Button: I mean the safety car for clearing debris off the circuit was just... I had my heart in my mouth when that happened as I just did not know what was going to happen. We had built up such a good gap and then, unfortunately, everyone else caught up, so it made it very tricky. At the end of the race when we put the inters on, the new set, I felt really good. The car felt great and I wasn’t pushing the tyres too much. I could see I was pulling a gap to Lewis and then it started racing again. I made a mistake at the hairpin and ran wide and from then on I just could not get any heat in the tyres and every bit of water I touched I aquaplaned, so I really had to back off. This victory is very special and really means a lot. It was a tricky race out there and again we called it right and it means a lot. It is not just about being quick, it is about reading the conditions and obviously coming across the line just one second in front of Lewis I think shows what a team effort this has been and what a great result for the whole team.
Q: Lewis, the first time you and Jenson have been on the podium in F1, standing together. But quite a battle you had to get there though.
Lewis Hamilton: I had quite an eventful race. First of all congratulations to Jenson he did an incredible job today and yes, made the better choice on the tyres. But it was very tough. Obviously at the beginning with the weather it wasn’t easy making the call or when to change the tyres. I chose very, very late, when I was half-way round the last corner and clearly it wasn’t the right choice. I fought my way through, we both did a tremendous job and it is really down to an awesome job the team are doing. We have been working very hard, so it is great for the team.
Q: The stewards are still looking into the pit lane incident with Sebastian Vettel. Any worries on that one?
LH: Not really aware of. Not really sure what they are talking about.
Q: When yourself and Sebastian came out of the pits together. It got very close after the pit stop and the stewards are having a look.
LH: Are they.
Q: Everything okay as far as you are concerned?
LH: As far as I am concerned I think it was okay. I think the team waited for quite some time and they released me when they thought it was the right time but I got quite a lot of wheel spin, so I struggled to get out the actual box. As I came out I noticed Sebastian was there and he was pushing me a little bit to the right. We touched wheels but otherwise I think it was fair.
Q: Nico, for you the second time in a row you have been third on the podium. Like Jenson the right call on tyres at the start of the race.
Nico Rosberg: It was a good call and I took the advice from my team and my engineer and eventually just decided, okay, let’s give it a go and stay out. It turned out to be really good. Out there you are saying ‘please stop raining, please stop raining’ and it is just so on the edge. If it rains a little bit more it is the wrong call. If it rains a little bit less it is fine and that went really well. It was nice to be leading the race for a long time from there. But I think I got a little bit more tyre deg than Jenson and as soon as it started raining a bit more again I struggled a little bit more and made a mistake, so he came by. But, in general, obviously I am really happy with this result. It is a good step again in the right direction.
Q: And comfortably ahead again of your team-mate. Life at Mercedes has been very good for you so far.
NR: At the moment I am feeling really comfortable in the team and I am really thankful also. They have helped me integrate really well, so it is all coming together for me nicely. We have had a good step forward again this weekend. We had some upgrades for this track, very small actually, so we have a lot more to come, so it is quite promising for us.
Q: Jenson, the World Champion leads the World Championship table after the first four races. Take us through some of the highs and maybe some of the lows of your time at McLaren so far.
JB: I think you can pick the highs and the lows out pretty easily. I have had two wins and a seventh and eighth, so you know. The tricky conditions helped me but as I say again it is not luck we came out on top today. We chose correctly in the conditions. The start of the race, as Nico said, was you know... It was the right call definitely but it was very, very slippery out there. But we knew how quickly the soft tyres were going to destroy themselves, the inters. So the right call and later in the race the right call as well. My first few months with the team have been extraordinary you could say and I really feel a part of this team now. It is a nice position to be in after four races, leading the championship. Three weeks break now. I am going to enjoy that very much and I am looking forward to Barcelona.
Q: I hope you call all get home okay.
JB: It is alright. I am going on holiday.
Q: Jenson, it was a pretty amazing race for us. What was it like from where you were Jenson?
JB: Pretty damn good I must say, except for the last four laps. They were a little bit scary. It was raining a lot at the end and I was really struggling with the tyres. I pulled a good gap on Lewis but maybe I pushed the tyres a bit hard and when it rained I was just skating all over the place and as you saw, I went straight on at the hairpin. Made it difficult for myself but great to come away with a victory.
Q: How important was that early call on tyres, do you think?
JB: Really important. That made the race. If we didn’t have that safety car later on for debris we would have been a long... well, I don’t know, I don’t know how quick Lewis was in the race. But the safety car definitely helped the situation for people that stopped for inters. Staying on the drys was the right thing. You wouldn’t think it driving around as it was raining quite a bit but we got a lot of grip from those tyres. We just had to be a little bit careful as every time you arrived at a corner it was a different condition to the previous lap, either better or worse, so it was pretty tricky but it was definitely the right call. When the team called me in for inters that was the right call as well because the tyres had started graining on the front left and the rear left and it was too wet for the slicks.
Q: Where does this victory rate amongst the other ones?
JB: For me it is my best victory. Every time that you win I think it becomes your best victory but this one was very special as it was very tough conditions and the great thing is our pace was good today. It wasn’t just the luck of calling the weather, we had good pace. The team towards the end of the race said ‘you are two seconds odd quicker than most people except for Lewis who was doing the same time as you.’ The pace was very good in those conditions and it is great to see that. We still don’t know where we are in the dry but we are going to forget about it at the moment as we are just going to enjoy this victory in the wet. We have proved that our car is good over the race distance.
Q: People were talking perhaps about going onto wet settings, going onto dry settings. Was there any difference for you?
JB: I didn’t do wet or dry settings, so I don’t know.
Q: But in terms of yesterday, did you set the car up for today?
JB: You want to be quick in qualifying. That is so important these days, so you work on getting a good set up for qualifying but you also need a car that is good in the race. Cars that are good in the dry normally work in the wet as well, reasonably well. I think you have got to go for a general balance of wet and dry. It seemed to work for us. I don’t know the pace of the other quick cars that were quick in qualifying but for us it looked very good. We were able to pull a good gap, cruise a few laps before it started raining, then I had my heart in my mouth while I was trying to keep the thing on the road.
Q: Lewis, what was it like for you at the end because the gap was really fluctuating between you and Jenson?
LH: Yeah, very tough for me at the end. The same as Jenson. My tyres were finished. I came into the pits, I think, a lap or two earlier than him and pushed as hard as I could to close the gap. It wasn’t particularly easy, simply because for my first stop I came in too early which was really the wrong call for us and kind of ruined the race a little bit in terms of obviously putting on the wrong tyres. At the end after the safety car I was seventh, so I had a long way to come from, as before that I was something like fourth or fifth, so I lost some more spaces, so I had to work hard to catch up Jenson. After that I came into the pits and pushed so hard, so I think I ruined the tyres and it was the same for Jenson and he started to pull away. At the end he started to struggle. I was struggling but closing a little bit and he had an off. It was very similar times but I think we did an awesome job between us both. I am very happy that we could get a one-two. The first one-two this year and hopefully the first of many.
Q: But you had a fantastic race. You were racing somebody, Nico, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian in the pit lane. It was absolutely fantastic.
LH: Maybe for you it was. It was for me. It was definitely an exciting race. I just felt that every time I made up the places somehow I would lose them again. If I made up three places I would lose two. Make them up again and I would lose one, so it was very hard, a very tough race but I am very happy with the result. To climb my way back up to second was a good job, so I am happy with that.
Q: And seeing you racing with Michael. I think that is basically what we have all waited for, for the last three races. It was tremendous.
LH: Yeah, I mean Michael… I couldn’t really see him in my mirrors and it wasn’t easy. It was ages to get past him, same as Nico. The two Mercedes obviously have got very good engines and we had a good battle. I think I lost a little bit of time behind him but once I got past I felt I was gone.
Q: Nico, what about you, especially with your old team-mate coming up behind you?
NR: It was quite an eventful race also. Really good choice at the beginning as well. I mean I just used the advice from the team and decided to give it a go and stay out. Then just hoping as it was so much on the limit. If it rained a little bit more it was the wrong decision, if it rained a little bit less it was fine, so it rained a little bit less, so it was great. Then I think I had a little bit more deg than Jenson, so as soon as it started raining I was struggling a little bit more with my tyre temperature and things like that, so he managed to get by me. From then on we didn’t quite have the pace on the intermediates and so Lewis was pretty fast when he came up from behind. But I had quite good fun with Lewis. After he got me I thought ‘okay, he is never coming by me again.’ I think that was the only place he could have overtaken me but still third place was great and it was really tough at the end with (Fernando) Alonso. I was a bit worried as my tyres were shot and as soon as it started drizzling a bit it was really difficult out there but I think he must have been struggling quite a bit too, so it worked out great and I am really pleased for everybody.
Q: He did seem to get really close and then you just managed to maintain the gap.
NR: I was taking it easy. It was a compromise as you have to take care of your tyres but at the same time push enough, so he doesn’t come by and you don’t know how much he has pushed or what pace he has, so it is difficult but really happy to have made it out in front of him.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Gary Rose – The Press Association) Lewis, another podium finish and another great drive. There were some reports out today that you’re not speaking with your father. Do you feel that that is the case and that you’re doing perfectly fine on your own at the moment?
LH: Yeah, I’m doing perfectly fine, enjoying life, taking my time in the decision process of finding a new manager, in no particular rush. I’m speaking to the family, I don’t speak to them every single day but things are fine.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) To Jenson and Lewis: who made your decision at the beginning to come in or not to come in for tyres?
LH: For me, I was speaking to the guys down the back straight and they weren’t clear whether we should come in or not. I came on the radio at the last corner I think it was, when the safety car came out and said ‘shall I box now?’ and there wasn’t a fast enough communication between the team and they didn’t get back to me in time. I got halfway round the last corner and I think they said something, I think they said ‘box this lap’ and so I turned right but I wasn’t really sure, so I just pulled in and at the end of the day it wasn’t the right call, whether it was mine or theirs. At the last moment, I think I turned because I thought that that was what I was meant to do. Unfortunately it lost us a little bit of ground but we made up for it.
JB: The call at the start of the race; we discussed it on the radio, the same as Lewis, on the back straight and they said ‘pit this lap if you feel it’s too wet,’ so I decided to stay out. And then later on in the race, they made the call to go to inters, which was definitely the right call. I was thinking of staying out again and they made the right call there: one all. I think what won us the race today was the right calls for the right conditions and being on the right tyre at the right time. It makes such a difference.
Q: Jenson, how satisfying is this to get one over Red Bull? They sat where you are yesterday, very pleased after qualifying, and you both said on Friday that you suspected that they could go a lot quicker. How satisfying was this?
JB: I don’t think it’s just because Red Bull were sat here. It’s always massively satisfying when you win a Grand Prix, it means so much, and when you get a one-two with the team. It’s been a long time for myself and it’s been a long time for Lewis, I think, since we’ve had one-twos. So yeah, it’s a very special feeling and I can’t wait to get back there and see the team. They do so much work over the weekends and I can’t wait to get back down there and see them. This is a great result for us, and I’m leading the championship now. Red Bull have been very quick all year, like they were last year at the start of the season, but we’re leading the championship at the moment which is a great position to be in. There’s still a lot of work to do to find some pace but that’s what we’re working on, we’re working very hard and it’s great to get these results when maybe we haven’t quite got the legs on the Red Bulls, so these points mean a lot to us, and hopefully when we get to Barcelona, we will be there fighting with the Red Bulls in qualifying and the race.
LH: Like Jenson said, it’s a great feeling for the team, rather than worrying about whether or not we beat the others. Obviously we want to finish ahead of the others but it’s more the effort that the team puts together and the effort that we all put in through all the testing we did, to finally be here, having the pace but not quite getting it in qualifying but finally our first one-two in a race. I know the team have all got their red shirts on, for sure, and we will be celebrating tonight.
Q: (Stéphane Barbé – L’Equipe) Lewis, please could you tell us a little bit about your pit stop alongside Vettel? Even the entry into the pit lane was quite tricky.
LH: I don’t really remember too much about it. I think Vettel got on the outside of me on the exit of the last corner; I was worried that he was going to turn into the last corner and I was going straight, so I just kept going and he came with me. We got round into the pit lane, it was fine. When I did the pit stop the guys waited for some time to let all the cars go past and they released me at what I thought was a good time and there’s a big, long, blue line down the pit lane which is all painted and it’s so slippery. As soon as I hit that I had some major wheel spin and lost a bit of traction. Unfortunately that let Vettel get alongside me, but otherwise it was good racing.
Q: (Beniamino Natale – Ansa) Nico, looks like you are driver number one in your team and number two is Michael Schumacher, so my question is, how does it feel?
NR: It’s definitely not the case. From the beginning on we have been even in the team and I was saying even before, when everybody saw Michael was number one and me number two it’s even, we both get the same possibilities, but of course I’m very, very happy with the way it’s going for me, really getting some consistent results, making the best of it, so I’m really pleased with my season so far. And it’s nice also, I’m bonding well with the whole team, it’s been important for me also to work hard to get some respect also within the team and things like that as soon as possible, and I think I’ve managed to do that quite well, so I have quite a strong position now in the team which is really nice, so that’s why I have quite high hopes for what’s to come.
Q: (Marco Degl’Innocenti – La Gazzetta dello Sport) The same issue: yesterday, when I asked Ross Brawn if the pupil has overcome the teacher he said ‘at the moment.’ Do you think this moment will last long?
NR: I don’t know. Before the season I was hoping to be on one level with Michael, that would have been fantastic for the whole season and at the moment I’m in front which is great but I expect him to be right there again at the next weekend of course and to be fighting with him would be fantastic for the rest of the season and would be good for the team also. I’m very confident that I can do a great job all year.
Q: (Chinese media) To all the drivers: because of the volcano eruption, a lot of airports are closed. So what are your plans after this race?
JB: I was always going to go away for a few days, relaxing after this one, but I’m hopefully going to be heading back to Europe at the end of the week, so we will see about that. We might all be driving back which would be fun.
NR: Trans-Siberian train.
JB: We’ll rent some cars and race it back. No. Sorry. Go on the train.
LH: I’ve got a sponsor appearance in South Africa, so I’ve got to travel there and then go back to Europe.
JB: You do so many sponsor appearances!
NR: For me, I’d always planned to go to Thailand, so I’m going to go to Thailand for a week and then back to Europe after that.
JB: See you there.
Q: (Chinese media) Jenson, it seems that your tactics were quite similar in Australia and in Shanghai and you have had good fortune in both. It seems you are good at start strategy; was it similar in Australia and here?
JB: I don’t know. It’s a difficult one to answer but I felt that it was the right thing to do, to stay out. A few other drivers did it as well. I wasn’t alone in that one. Yeah, I’m sure I will make the wrong calls as well. It doesn’t always happen that you get the right call. Sometimes you’ve got to take those risks and that’s what we did and it paid off again.
Q: (Chinese media) Lewis, what was your feeling when you followed Michael, do you feel any pressure after that kind of exciting fighting, and you’re successful? What’s the secret?
LH: Jenson says ‘tell the truth.’ It’s just as exciting as racing with any other driver.
Q: (Chinese media) To Lewis and Jenson, as we all know, this is the last year of the contract between FOM and Shanghai and maybe this is the last time you are appearing here. What is your deepest impression of Shanghai?
JB: I like this circuit. It’s never going to be our decision whether we’re racing here next year, but I think you guys have done a great job with this circuit and I think that the facilities are pretty special, there aren’t many circuits like this. And I think you’ve had some great racing here. You’ve had a different winner every year since this Grand Prix started so yeah, I think it’s a great Grand Prix, but it’s not my decision and I don’t know the ins and outs of the situation, so it’s unfair for me to say whether it should be on the calendar or not.
LH: I think it’s a very, very impressive city, lots of great restaurants, seems to be surrounded by lots and lots of good people. There’s something like 24m people here, so it’s huge in comparison to all the other cities we go to. But when it comes to the track, for me I love this track, I’ve always generally gone well here. Not the best memory in terms of the end result in 2007 but a great weekend. 2008 was a great weekend. Generally, every trip here has been fantastic for me. And one particular thing I would say is the fans. You travel the world and you go to all these different races and you have lots of fans at each track, but I’ve never known – apart from the British fans who come here and back home – this is probably the second most incredible place in terms of the support you get from the fans. They’re waiting at your hotel in the morning, they’re waiting at the airport and they buy you gifts and they’re just so excited and enthusiastic. I’ve got a flag in my room which was given to me by a fan. I’ve got all these letters back in my room which I have read and I think that for me, that’s what powers the season and through the race weekend, so I’m most appreciative of that.
JB: It’s also great to see so many people here. The grandstand was pretty much full today, which assumes that the sport is getting bigger and bigger here in China which is very good to see.
Minggu, 04 April 2010
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 1h33m48.412s; 2nd Mark Webber (Red Bull), 1h33m53.261s; 3rd Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 1h34m01.916s.
Q: Sebastian, a victory today set up by an excellent start and one that looked fairly comfortable if you ever can be comfortable in the heat of Malaysia.
Sebastian Vettel: Well, it wasn’t comfortable. I realised straight away that I had a good start and passed Nico, who was alongside, and then got the tow from Mark, so I was able to gain, gain, gain. It is a long sprint down to turn one and I clearly had an advantage over him and then I took the chance I had into turn one. It was quite late, so I just made it and then Mark had a bit of a better exit out of turn two, through turn three and it is very slippery and we both tried to push. We are here to fight ourselves but you should keep the respect and I think we both had the respect for each other. If Mark would have been in my position I am quite sure he would have done the same. After that it was just a question about getting away from our competitors. I could see Mark and I were more or less having the same pace, I think he was a little bit quicker in the beginning. I was trying to save my tyres. It did work, so before the stop I could pull away a little bit and the second stint was extremely long. It is extremely hot here and I didn’t stop sweating. Fortunately, I didn’t run out of drinks in the car. I was trying not to be too extreme in the beginning. But it is very hot and very physical and at some stage I was hoping for rain, just to get a bit of a cool down. What a day. Yesterday was extremely difficult with the conditions. Today it stayed dry all the time fortunately and we had a magnificent car. The key was to pace yourself, watch your tyres. Bridgestone did a good job bringing two compounds here that worked fairly well. A very good result for us, especially for myself after two races where we didn’t finish where we wanted to be. To come back, thanks to the team. It is very crucial in that moment not to panic and to stay relaxed. It is a long season but getting here on Sunday afternoon having won the race is the best result we can get. On top of that Mark in second place is a big, big plus for the team. A lot of points and I am very, very happy.
Q: Mark, we heard the call on the radio to look after the tyres on the seventh lap. At the pit stop you lost two-and-a-half seconds. Was that when you lost the chance of catching up with Sebastian today?
Mark Webber: We know these days with the strategy and how the races unfold that the first part of the race is crucial and the first sector. As Seb explained I got a little bit of wheelspin and on the run to the first corner Seb had a big tow. I didn’t really know where Nico was either. I didn’t know to go fully to the inside or stay in the middle, so I just braked late and both of us were on the limit to make the apex at the first corner. I had a bit better exit coming out of two as Seb explained and then the fight continued to turn four. We had a chat to Christian Horner at the start of the race and Christian said ‘boys, behave yourselves’ and we did. The spirit and the chemistry in our team is awesome. We fight very hard, you saw that today. It was a good fight between Seb and I. The result could have gone either way. But in the end he did the job at a crucial stage and deserved the victory. A one-two for us as a team is sensational. The cars ran very well. It was a nice comeback for us after some tough races where we didn’t finish where we should. All in all coming to the weekend you never know, you would probably take this type of result, but as the weekend went on I would like to be one spot further but a great result for the team and we executed a beautiful weekend for everybody. Well done for Red Bull and Renault, of course, the engines were great.
Q: Nico, you watched the Red Bulls sail away into the distance. You sort of had a race all to yourself but the first podium for yourself with Mercedes.
Nico Rosberg: It is a fantastic result for us. Quite pleased. The start did not go too well. I think this time it was quite a lot down to me. I just wanted a bit too much and got a bit too much wheelspin and lost out a little bit there. From then on, once I was third, I knew it was going to be difficult to follow the Red Bulls but I was struggling a bit in the first stint with the options. I don’t know why, we need to analyse that, and (Robert) Kubica stayed pretty close which wasn’t the plan. But once we did the pit stop and got on the prime I was very comfortable. A bit worried about (Lewis) Hamilton initially as I didn’t know how he was going to come up after his pit stop and I was expecting him to be very fast but apparently he didn’t get by the people behind me. It is a fantastic result for us here at one of our home grands prix also as we have backing from Petronas, so a lot of support here at this race and it is a great co-incidence that the first podium comes over here too. I really have to thank the whole team for all the hard work they have put in over the winter. They worked crazy hours, so a little reward now with the podium, so we need to push on as we are not there yet where we want to be but it is a good step in the right direction.
Q: Sebastian, how much of a relief was that after the last couple of races?
SV: A big relief. I am sorry. I feel a bit tipsy from the champagne. I think I took a bit too much. I am very pleased. A great day for us and Red Bull. As you said, the first two races we weren’t finishing where we want to be. But a great result. The start for myself was crucial. I had a good start, good initial momentum. I was a bit worried to start on the dirty side as the right side is the clean side but I was patient really trying to control the wheelspin and didn’t ask for too much throttle too early. That was the key to get past Nico and then run with big tow down to turn one. It is a long sprint. It is one of the longest sprints to turn one behind Mark and I was able to catch him and outbrake him into turn one. It was quite late. Big respect for Mark. I think he would have done the same thing. But he could have behaved differently down into turn one and turn two but that was good. The fight carried on down to turn four. It was extremely slippery for both of us and it was a question who is braking first and if the car stops. Obviously going out of qualifying it was wet, but usually you are having a completely different reference point. Now you start with the car fully filled and it is a bit of an adventure to find your braking point. From then onwards I could see we were one-two which was crucial, so we were able to pull a gap to Nico. But Mark didn’t stop pushing, so I had to push myself. I was trying to look after my tyres in the first stint especially with the soft compound. I was quite pleased that they held together. I was trying to save them a little bit for the end of the stint and then the hard tyres were quite solid and you could push all the way through. Mark again did not stop pushing. He came a bit closer and I could see he was doing faster lap times than I was, so I was just trying to control the gap. It was quite difficult with the lapped cars as they were coming quicker than you thought. Over the team radio I got the call that at some stage we were about 10 seconds quicker a lap compared to them which is funny as two laps before you had nobody there and then all of a sudden you catch them up. But in the end of the day very, very pleased with the result. I think we did a very good job yesterday as a team. Mark was the poker face yesterday and got the pole but today to finish one-two is fantastic especially for myself after the first two races, so I am very happy.
Q: Mark held onto you pretty much in the opening stages but in the second stint he came back at you. Was that all to do with the traffic?
SV: When you are in the lead and you have got a couple of seconds on your side then you don’t try to do anything stupid in traffic. For the guys I think in the slower cars it is a pretty difficult job to do as three corners before they had no-one in their mirror and all of sudden they had someone behind, so sometimes you find yourself in a bit of an adventure trying to get past. But they did a very good job. Sometimes you lose a little bit more depending on where you have to pass them and how quickly they move over but it was all fairly in control. On the primes in the beginning Mark was a bit faster. I was just trying to react to his times and then the gaps are sometimes shrinking, sometimes I am gaining a bit again. I was trying to bring the car home at some stage. I was hoping for rain as it was quite hot. I think we all lost quite a bit of water, so that is why after two sips of champagne you might feel a bit dizzy. I am still young. I am not used to this.
Q: Mark, a little bit of frustration for you with the start and the wheel nut as well.
MW: Seb has wrapped it up. The team has performed incredibly well today and the whole weekend. We were very quick all weekend and very important that we had a clean run yesterday in a very tricky session. It could easily have gone wrong for us but both of us did a good job in tough conditions which laid the foundations for a clear race today. We didn’t expect it to be dry for the whole grand prix but it was and knowing that the third, fourth row there wasn’t the normal people, so the race was going to explode massively and probably wasn’t the normal grand prix in that sense. The run to the first corner I had a little bit too much wheelspin at the start and as Seb said he was in a reasonable position to get the tow and then it was just fighting on the brakes for the first two big stops of the lap and Seb has the inside and we fought pretty close but in the end it was really tough fighting your team-mate as we have an amazing chemistry in our team and all the mechanics, Renault, everybody, we arrive at every track in such a good style. We want to get the best result we can. Every team is like that but this is by far the best team I have ever been with in terms of wanting to get the results. When you have got all those guys in your mind it is not the best thing to see Red Bull Racing wheels flying in the air, so we had a good fight but in the end today Seb got it. After that I was like, ‘my God, I have got the whole race now I am in second’ and that was how it was going to be unless Seb had a failure or he was going to make a mistake. But we know the quality of him. Both of us pushed each other to the end and that was that. I had Hamilton after the second stop but the wheel nut was putting up a fight and it seemed like an eternity when we are used to really quick stops. Then it was waiting, waiting, waiting, ok down it goes then I went. I had to sit behind Hamilton a little bit to start with and it was then a case of bringing the cars to the end of the race. You didn’t know how they were going to go. It is still a bit of a learning phase for all the teams as we go to different venues and we do a bit of work on Friday which I didn’t get to do myself but Seb did a bit of work and we still did a lot on Sunday afternoon. Sensational result for the team and we got what we deserved. Other races we didn’t as we weren’t prepared. Today we were prepared and we blew everyone away which was great.
Q: Nico, on the podium here; you said you liked the place, what does this mean to you, the team and your sponsors?
NR: I’m really happy for the whole team. Also for Petronas who is our biggest sponsor. It’s a great result and it’s really nice to have our first podium here at Malaysia which is a coincidence. We’ve had a lot of support. Even on the podium it was really nice to see all the Petronas guests cheering, so that was really cool. I’m also pleased because the team put so much work into it and they deserved the good result that we got here. Of course, we still need to work hard, because as we saw again Red Bull is just quicker than us at the moment and we really need to push on to close the gap now, to come up with some good ideas and some good upgrades, but I’m confident that we can do it for sure.
Q: How threatening was Robert Kubica, because he got pretty close to you?
NR: Yeah, I was not quite so happy with the first stint. It wasn’t going well because Robert could properly stay with me and I think he was just as fast as me, so I was a bit surprised by that, but it was the option tyres, I didn’t feel very comfortable on them and I was struggling especially with the rears on high fuel. And then after the pit stop, going on the prime, it felt much better and I could really push on and I was quite comfortable after that.
Q: He still got very close to you. On lap 34 he was…
NR: Yeah, that was a bit of a problem with (Karun) Chandhok, I think, who… I’m not sure but I don’t think he did a very good job on that particular occasion. He should have moved out a bit earlier. I think he maybe didn’t see me or something and that really gave Kubica a chance which shouldn’t have been there, because he was miles away. So we need to review that in the drivers’ meeting. It’s obviously difficult with all the slightly slower teams, the new teams that are out there. There’s always going to be an occasion where it’s never going to be perfect but we need to try and get it as good as possible.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sebastian, it only took you one race to wipe out the gap to Massa and Alonso, who were quite far ahead. Were you expecting to do that so quickly?
MW: The championship is over, isn’t it? I thought the championship was over!
SV: Yeah, that’s what people are saying. We are just here to race. Yes, as I said before, obviously there’s always a lot of talking and things happening. Yes, we didn’t have great races, the first and second one, we didn’t do the best job we could, but that’s life. You build racing cars to go as quickly as you can. They’re built on the limit and sometimes something breaks. Obviously it depends when. When it happens on Friday, no one cares but if it happens on Sunday, obviously everyone is highlighting the issue and blaming you for poor reliability. We are a team, we stick together in good and bad times. We win and lose together and it’s not like in football where you probably change the coach after you’ve lost two times. So we carry on and we’ve proven that we can come back. I don’t know the ranking in the championship now but I think today we scored 25 points. I saw that Fernando (Alonso) had an engine failure, I think, on the last lap. As far as I remember, our gap was about 25 points, so it’s not anymore. I think that’s a good thing. If anything, it shows how quickly it can turn around. It’s a long, long season. We still have 16 races to go which is a lot, so we are here to do our best and we want to fight for the championship, both of us, and for the team, so at the end of the day, finishing first and second was good points for the team and good points for ourselves, so I think we’re in a much better position now than probably on Friday or this morning.
Q: (Simon Arron – Motorsport News) Mark, can you talk us through turn one? You said in the unilateral that you weren’t sure where Nico was. Did you have any clue where Seb was and when exactly were you aware of his presence?
MW: I initially had a look off the start where Seb was and he wasn’t mega close initially; in second or third gear, he wasn’t mega close. It looked reasonable. You know the track is so bloody wide you think where the hell is everyone? I’ve obviously only got the mirrors to check the immediate positions just behind me. To be honest, I didn’t know Seb went to the inside. I thought he was more on the outside. Obviously that’s why I probably went back and maybe I’ll opened the door completely for him but it’s very difficult to see where the guys are on the run to turn one on such a wide track, so I just thought, ‘get in there nice and deep,’ for sure he arrived late, he wasn’t beside me, I couldn’t hear him or he wasn’t beside me when we were on full throttle or when we started braking. It was a fair fight and obviously there’s lots of different options into turn one, so it’s hard to know whether to go inside or outside. I saw him when we were on the brakes.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Sebastian, last year you won the third race, and this year you’ve now won the third race. Are you on the same schedule like last year, to carry on fighting for the championship?
SV: I need to remember where we finished the fourth race and the fifth race. Last year is last year, this year is this year. I think we are always looking ahead but you can live in history or you can live in the future, but I think the best thing is to live in the now and live the moment, so we have to focus on what is happening now. From here, first of all we go back and then kind of come back to Asia to go to China. The cars go more or less straight there, but there’s a bit of break between races. And hopefully we will have the same result in China as last year, that’s all I can say. Every race is a new challenge. Into the first race, I think we were pretty quick. Ferrari was very quick and in Melbourne all of a sudden we were kind of back. They weren’t really that far behind in Bahrain but it just shows that a slightly different kind of track, a different layout… you know, we’ve seen here Mercedes was very strong, so we probably do have a little bit of an advantage at the time, but we have to work hard and focus on what is happening now to maintain the good performance and then we go race by race. There may be times when we will struggle as well and we won’t be able to win. We might only get fourth or fifth but we have to make sure we finish fourth or fifth then, and not put the car in the wall or finish eighth or out of the points. I think that’s how it should work.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) To Vettel and Webber, if we’d had a normal qualifying yesterday with Ferrari and McLaren closer to your team, do you think the result of the race would have been the same?
MW: No. It was a luxury today, for Seb and I, not to have to kill the engines, kill the tyres, kill everything because the gap to the other guys was more comfortable, no question about it. But Nico drove a good race, but I think there were some quicker guys, maybe particularly Lewis, who had a different day, starting at the back. Tactically the race could have been a little bit different if he was around, or Fernando or Felipe (Massa). I obviously didn’t see how their race went. Obviously Fernando didn’t finish at the end. As Jack Brabham used to say: ‘win at the slowest possible speed.’ One second or thirty seconds is the same result. We were very much in control of today’s race. It’s not always going to be like that but when it is, you have to make the most of it.
SV: Not much to add. Walter Röhrl once said that he’s not interested in winning a rally by one second having had a close fight. He wants to destroy the others and win by a minute, so two great drivers, one in rallying, one in Formula One, but I think that in the end, especially here, the result is obviously most important for us. We got good points. As Mark said, it probably wasn’t the easiest race for Ferrari and McLaren, but still, it was a long hot race and first you have to go out and do it.
Q: (Joris Fioriti – AFP) Mark, you had a different strategy to Sebastian; do you think that without the problem you had in the pit stop you could have passed him, after the pit stop?
MW: I don’t think the pit stop cost me the victory. The start cost me the victory and then when the first car is leading, he sort of has priority or the luxury when he can stop. It was clear. Obviously if I stopped first there was a big chance I could jump Sebastian but that would not have been fair for the guy who was leading. It was really down to the start and who had track position in the first stint. I knew, when Sebastian peeled off for his stop, I pushed. Obviously I found quite a bit more pace on the in-lap but it’s not enough to take on the fresh tyres of a competitor who in this case was Seb, because we know the cars are the same weight. In seasons gone by obviously the cars were different weights because of the fuel. Now they’re the same weight and fresh tyres, so it’s very difficult to fight and then, as you say, the pit stop was a little bit of salt in the wounds or a fly in the ointment. It doesn’t help things.
Q: (Joris Fioriti – AFP) Nico, you said you were really satisfied after your third place, but it also underlines how far you are from the Red Bulls, so doesn’t that frustrate you?
NR: Frustrating? No, I would not say it was frustrating. It’s really early days. The team has just come together in the way it is now with Petronas and Mercedes and the ex-Brawn team. I think we’ve started the season OK with two fifth places and now a third place. I think it’s a good start with some solid results and I’m happy with that and it’s very important now that we push on because we need to develop faster than the others, which is not going to be easy, but I’m confident that we can do the job and that’s going to be the most important thing, to really push on now. Looking at today, it didn’t seem to be such a huge gap to Red Bull at the beginning. I’m not sure, but anyway, it’s definitely some tenths that we need to catch up.
2010 FORMULA 1 PETRONAS MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX
Minggu, 28 Maret 2010
1st Jenson Button (McLaren), 1h33m36.531s; 2nd Robert Kubica (Renault), 1h33m48.565s; 3rd Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 1h33m51.019s.
Q: Jenson, an incredible race. 50 laps plus on a set of soft tyres. You made the early gamble for the slick tyres and that was the game changer. Was that your call?
Jenson Button: It was. I think it is a lot easier for the drivers to feel the conditions. The team can see it on TV with the clouds coming in, but we can feel out on the circuit what is happening. I didn’t have a balance on the inters, I was really struggling and I lost a couple of places, so I thought ‘let’s get in, stick the slicks on.’ There was a dry line. A few places were a little bit wet. When I went into the pit lane I thought I had made a catastrophic decision as it was soaking wet in the pit lane. But once I got it going and up to speed, I had a little off at turn three, but the pace was pretty good and I was able to put in some good laps and overtake three or four cars when they stopped and put their tyres on, so it was the right call and I am very happy that I made it.
Q: How do you feel to win on the second race with your new team?
JB: I mean, it is very special. It has taken me a little while to get to grips inside the car. The team has been fantastic though. They have really welcomed me in, but it has taken me a little bit of time to adapt to inside the cockpit. I don’t know what to say really, it is very difficult to put it into words. But a very special feeling and we will take a lot from this. I feel I am just building in confidence and hopefully when we get to the next race we can do something similar as this feels too good.
Q: Robert, you went from ninth to fourth at the start, then decided not to take a second pit stop for a new set of tyres. How hard was that call for you?
Robert Kubica: It was difficult because we struggled with the warm-up, so when we saw Jenson being very quick we just pitted in the same lap as Felipe did. Our guys, the mechanics, did a fantastic job and I overtook Felipe in the pit stop but Jenson was much quicker with one or two laps already on the tyres. He built the temperature up, so they are very quick on the straight lines and I was not confident about the conditions as it was my first lap going through the corners with the slick tyres, so it was very difficult to fight with Jenson. It was tough. First of all I thought we would pit again. Then when I had really big degradation I asked my team if we are going to pit again and they said if we can manage we will not do it, so I took a bit more care with the tyres. But on the other hand I had first of all Lewis attacking quite strongly. He came very quickly behind me and I then..., I don’t know, he decided to pit. Then Felipe again, so I was just taking care of the tyres but also keeping good speed and that we would keep second place to the end.
Q: Felipe, it looked like pretty hard work early on and then the race came towards you and two podiums in two races.
Felipe Massa: It is just fantastic, especially coming to Australia. My best result here was sixth. Having a problem in the qualifying and starting last in 2007 and then getting here which I cannot say was the best race for me. In terms of pace I was struggling a lot yesterday, but I did a fantastic start. We lost some positions on the pit stop and also a little bit on the track because of some mistakes with the difficult track. But it is just fantastic to have one second and one third. We know how important this is for the championship, especially my past. At the beginning of the championship I never had a lot of points like I have now, so this is very nice. The team did a fantastic job, so very happy to finish third in a difficult race like this.
Q: Jenson, Lewis pitted for a second set of tyres and complained about it afterwards on the radio. How did that decision process play out with you and the team and him?
JB: I don’t know what their idea of pitting was. I guess he was stuck behind Robert and couldn’t get past. I never thought of putting on a second set. I didn’t think that would be an option really. It was always to run the race on one set of tyres if we could after it stopped raining. My pace was not great once I settled into the car. I felt I was starting to damage the rear tyres, so I settled into a pace that was consistent to not destroy the rears. The good thing was Robert was not closing and about 20 laps to go I started pushing just to pull the gap a little more just in case people had pitted and were two to three seconds a lap faster and it was just enough to get me to the end comfortably. We could not have done a better strategy. I think my decision at the beginning was my call but from a lot of feedback from what the circuit was doing and the other cars. It is always a team effort and I need to thank the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team for all their hard work and it is good to see we are improving every step of the way.
Q: Robert, this is the first time you have finished in Melbourne. What does this result mean for you and the Renault team?
RK: Unfortunately, Australia was never lucky for me. I have been very quick each year and could finish in the last two years easy on the podium but for two crashes I didn’t manage it. To be honest we were not expecting to finish on the podium, so I think for Renault and myself it is a very special result as we were trying to push really hard during the winter. This is the best result we could get from the beginning of the season and it is a big thanks to the guys for all their effort but we have to keep realistic. We are not up to the pace for fighting for the podium in a normal race, so we have to keep pushing, keep working and I am sure we will manage sooner or later to be with the pace of the top teams.
Q: Felipe, a sweet moment for you at the start and a reverse of what happened in Bahrain. You passed your team-mate Fernando Alonso. Tell us about it.
FM: Actually, I had a fantastic start, so I was able to do the start without wheel spin and I saw many cars in front, especially Fernando and Webber doing some wheel spin and I was able to do a very smooth start and pass them in a good way. I was very happy for the start and also the whole race was very difficult. Lots of slippery, low grip everywhere and to finish the race was very difficult today.
Q: Jenson, the track was damp at the start but when it dried out why was it so much easier today to overtake? Why was there so much more overtaking than there was in the first grand prix in Bahrain? Can you explain that?
JB: I think it comes down to degradation. You had a lot of cars out of place which is different to Bahrain. The top eight cars were in the top eight slots pretty much. I think a lot of it is the degradation of the tyres. There was a lot of rear graining, some people did two stops, some people did one stop. Some people were trying to look after tyres, other people were pushing hard. There were lots of different ideas out there and it is great to see as, as you said, Bahrain was not the most exciting grand prix. I love that place and it was disappointing not to have a good grand prix, but here I knew what was going on. I could see quite a bit on the TV screens and it did look like a very exciting race. Hopefully we are going to have more races like this and that is what we all love.
Q: Jenson, second win here in Australia. You must be getting to like the place.
JB: It is. It is. The start of the race wasn’t perfect for me. I touched with Fernando at turn one. I was half-way alongside him on the inside and I don’t know if he just couldn’t see me because of the mirrors. I don’t know what, but we touched. It obviously cost him a lot of time and it cost me a lot of time. It wasn’t the best start to the race and then on the inters I was really struggling. I just did not have a balance. A lot of oversteer in the car. There were very strange grip levels out there on the tyre and I was really, really struggling. I could see a dry line appearing in most places and at the rate my rear tyres were going away I knew there must have been enough grip for slicks. I made the call to pit early as I thought if I don’t pit early I am just going to keep going backwards. I thought it was a terrible call initially as the pit lane was so wet and after my first lap out of the pits I thought it was a pretty catastrophic mistake. But after that I could get into it. I found on the dry parts I could push pretty hard and then really it was about picking people off as they came out onto the circuit. It was a nice feeling as they are searching for the grip and I know where it is and I am able to overtake. It was a good feeling. I got up behind Sebastian and made a little mistake, ran wide, so I couldn’t really have a go at him. He obviously had his own problems. But from then on I just had to conserve the tyres. I had a big issue on about lap 15 where the rears just started going away from me and I had a lot of graining from the rear and I thought that’s it for me, they’re just going to swallow me up. I took a lot of front wing out, closed the diff and just hoped for the best really. Towards the end of the race I could start pushing and got the balance back and the car felt very good. I was in a very happy place the last 20 laps knowing I had a good gap and it would have been very difficult for anyone to catch me.
Q: What about the pace of Sebastian? Do you think you could have got on terms with him?
JB: I was catching him initially and it was strange. He would start pulling away and I would start pulling him in. Then the team said you have got to look after these tyres. You are going to try and do the whole race on these tyres, 45, 50 laps, and I thought we will back off a little bit and see where we are. From previous experience, I don’t know if it is the case now, but the Red Bulls have been quite tough on their rear tyres. I just settled into a pace and we would see what would happen. I don’t know. If he had stayed in the race there are always ifs and buts and we don’t know how he would have ended up. The important thing is we came away with a win for whatever reason and I am very happy. The team should be very proud of themselves. We didn’t put a foot wrong.
Q: Robert, surprised to be second?
RK: After yesterday, yes. Before the season, I think after two tests, I called my friend and I said ‘I think in Australia it will be possible to finish on the podium.’ It was around two months ago. Of course we were planning to finish on the podium with our pace. As we saw yesterday our pace was far off the podium but with this strange race we were able to make a lot of places and finish second.
Q: Do you think the higher temperature today was better for you whereas the low temperature yesterday wasn’t so good?
RK: We know where we are struggling and I think yesterday was unfortunately a good example. We were very strong in P1 where there was a lot of sunshine and hot track conditions. Extremely competitive. Then unfortunately clouds came in for all weekend and the temperature dropped down and we were just struggling. We were not able to stress the tyre and increase the temperature, especially every lap of their usage. This was the case in qualifying. Okay, we are still not up to the pace of the top cars but today was a good example of not giving up and with a hard job, sometimes you get paid back.
Q: How much of a challenge did you have from the Ferrari?
RK: I had more challenge from Hamilton and I was very surprised he pitted. First of all I thought it was a drive through as for me it was strange that he was pitting. He was much quicker than me. He was not far behind Jenson and at that point of the race if he had managed to overtake me, most probably he would go for it. He had quite a difficult time to catch me although there were a couple of places where he was very close to me and I think once he overshoot the braking. We were very close to touch, but then I had to take care of my tyres. Felipe came quite quickly behind me but I knew the cars behind they would struggle even more with the tyres, so I just settled to the consistent lap. As soon as I tried to push I did like three or four-tenths quicker a lap but then the lap again was four-tenths slower, so I just put up my pace which I thought would be reasonable without mistakes and try to bring the car home.
Q: Felipe, tell us a little bit about the first corner. What happened there?
FM: The start?
FM: I just did a great start, so I was able to spin the wheels much less than the cars in front. I was changing gears very quickly just to not get it to go into the wheel spin as the grip was very low. That gave me a lot of possibilities to just go through. I saw Fernando and Mark spinning the wheels and that was just great, especially to arrive at the first corner. It was very slippery to brake at the right place and not try to fight with everybody. It was a good point of the race.
Q: And you had quite big challenges from both Mark and Lewis during the race.
FM: Yes, I made some mistakes. My tyres were suffering, trying to keep the tyres in the right condition, at the right temperature, especially at the beginning of the race. I was suffering from that yesterday as well. But then after 20 laps, let’s say, they started to improve a lot. Maybe I picked up the pace with a bit of degradation and I started to do my race twenty laps after I changed my tyres. For sure, we had some fights and I lost some positions in the race. But the team did a great job with the strategy, not to stop, and I think that was a great job for the top three.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Jenson, would you have ever thought that it would take you only two races to win your first race with McLaren?
JB: No. I thought it would take longer than this, but a lot of it depends on what sort of car you come out of the box with. This race was obviously unusual. I don’t know where we would stand in general pace but it’s not what all racing is about. It’s about strategy, it’s about thinking and it’s about conserving and we did it correctly today and we came away with a good victory. This is very special. Whatever happens over the next few races, this means a lot to me, to be in this position right now. After being with one team for seven years and clinching the title and here, after two races, getting a victory is very special to me. A lot of that goes to the team for their efforts and making me feel welcome within the team, because that’s something I do need, to be competitive, and I have that. So now we’ve just got to look at improving the car because out and outright pace in qualifying is something that we’re lacking a little bit, so it’s an area we desperately need to work on. When you can get good points’ finishes like this it really does mean a lot to you when you don’t have a car that you think is quick enough to win races every weekend, so these are important points for us and we’ve just got to work hard and hope that we can bring some good packages to the next few races.
Q: Jenson, there’s been a lot of talk over the last couple of days over Bahrain; is this the race that might put the suggestions to rest for a while?
JB: I don’t think there’s any getting away from the fact that we probably all thought that the last race was not the most exciting and what were we going to do about it now, but I’m glad that we haven’t really jumped to too many conclusions or ideas, because I think this race was a great race. I had a lot of fun; obviously when you win the race you have more fun than any other position but overtaking cars on the circuit and watching on the screen I could see that there was a lot of action going on. I hope it’s not just because of the weather conditions. I hope that we can have races like this because this is what we love and hopefully these sorts of races are here to stay. You are going to have races that aren’t the most exhilarating experience for us but that’s the way it is. Not every football match is fun to watch. It’s got to be a bit of a balance, I think. One thing that was pretty tricky in this race was the light. I had a clear visor and at the end of the race I was struggling to see on the last few laps. It seemed a lot darker than last year. I suppose it was because there was no sunlight, it was all behind clouds, so that might be something we need to look at a little bit.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) Felipe, did you have a real chance to catch Robert, and what about the duels you had during the race with Fernando, except of course the first one at the first turn?
FM: Well, I caught Robert but we didn’t have very good top speed on the straight and when I got very close, I lost a lot of grip, so it was not possible to get close enough to try to pass. So the only time I was passed was because I made a mistake in the second last corner, and then Lewis passed me and then I also made a mistake in turn one and then Mark passed me, so that was the only way I lost a position. So when you get very close, it was quite difficult and also Fernando, when he was behind me, sometimes he was just locking wheels. Then you see a guy coming closer and then you just do two good laps and then he’s far away with no possibility to pass, but it was a good fight from everybody, not just from me and Fernando but from most of the cars on the track. Most of the cars on the track were fighting the whole race, I think.
Q: (Joris Fioriti – AFP) To all of you; Red Bull has the fastest car but they are off the podium for the second race running. What do you think of that?
RK: Better for us.
JB: I think they have got a very quick car and for whatever reason they aren’t here. I think reliability was the issue for Sebastian at the first race and I don’t know what happened here, so I can’t really say much on that.
Q: (Sudhir Chandran – Chequered Flag) Robert, you mentioned about those laps with Lewis behind you. Was it as difficult to keep him behind you as it appeared to us?
RK: It was quite difficult because we are quite quick on the straight but McLaren, with the device that they are using, they are extremely quick and it was very, very difficult. He was much quicker than me, his tyres were in better shape and he had a more competitive car. I knew that without a mistake it would be difficult for him to overtake me, but I think he once tried before corner eleven and I didn’t see him in the mirrors and I thought he was on the inside. I left a space and it just shows that they were really quick. Jenson was side-by-side with me in the middle of the straight going into turn 13. That’s how it is. I was surprised when he pitted. It was very good for me, because I could just concentrate on saving the tyres, driving my pace and not concentrating on looking in the mirror and just blocking him, so it was a much better, much easier race for me.
Q: (Chris Lines – Associated Press) Jenson, could you tell us about the decision-making within McLaren? You stayed out, Lewis was called in. How much of that was the driver’s call and how much of it was the team’s call? Also, your thoughts on the first corner: Fernando got caught between you and Michael (Schumacher).
JB: It’s always a very tricky corner here. It’s very, very narrow. When one person gets a bad start it can be a bit of a nightmare. Fernando got a poor start, so that meant that I was on the inside, Michael was on the outside and it’s difficult for three cars to get through turn one as we saw. But when you’re in a racing environment it’s very difficult and it can also be very dangerous to back out of that situation, because if you hit the brakes during the straight, you can cause a big accident behind you. I think it was just one of those things and I’m sorry for Fernando that he was turned around. It cost me a lot of places as well. So that was turn one, really. It was very slippery as well, so it was tricky for us on heavy fuel.
As for the stops, I don’t know if it was Lewis’s decision or the team’s. For me, I didn’t think we would be pitting at all, because that was never the idea for us, and that’s why I was looking after the tyres. Maybe he was graining the rears or maybe he flat-spotted a front or something, I don’t know. But it’s very tricky to look after the tyres when you’re behind another car as we’ve seen many times before, so maybe his tyres were getting seriously damaged behind Robert.
Q: An open question: how difficult is it to pass, with the cars’ aerodynamics the way they are, because we saw Hamilton and Webber really struggling towards the end with obviously better tyres. Is it extremely difficult this year or is it just the same as other years?
JB: I found it very difficult in Bahrain. You’ve got a much smaller front tyre, so mechanically you have less grip, so when you lose the downforce by following other cars, which inevitably happens, you have less mechanical grip, so you have less grip. I think it’s more difficult this year. If we have another race like this where we have mixed conditions and the tyres are graining and people do two stops and some people do one, I think we can have a great race and especially in somewhere like Malaysia where it’s wide, it’s open, you can overtake, I think we can have a really exciting race, but here you’re a little bit limited to overtaking, so I’m surprised there was so much.
RK: I don’t think it’s just the tyres. For me actually it’s easier to overtake this year than it was in the past, because I’m driving a car that has better top speed. There’s quite a lot of percentage if you have good top speed or not and you want to overtake. If you are the quickest car in a straight line it’s easier to overtake than if you are the slowest. I don’t think it’s just the tyres, it’s everything. It’s always been very difficult to overtake in F1.
Q: (Tom Cary – The Daily Telegraph) Jenson, you appear very calm at the moment; how does the first win for McLaren compare with you first win with Brawn 12 months ago?
JB: You can’t really compare victories like that. They are both very special but they are very different and the emotions that were going through my head before and after the race were very different also than last year. This one is a special victory because I’ve only been with this team for a short period of time but this is one of the main reasons why I wanted to be here. I think that the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team is pretty much always fighting it out for victories and as a driver you want to be in that situation. But on the other hand, I think the conditions helped us in this race, definitely. We’re not in the position to go to the next two or three races and walk away with victories, so we’ve got to enjoy this moment and think that we’ve got some good points when we’re not the quickest and we’ve got to work on the areas where we think we’re weak. We’re doing that right now and I think that every race we go to from here we will be closer and closer to the front when it comes to qualifying and hopefully race pace is pretty much there now.