Pole man Sebastian Vettel was joined by team-mate Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso in the post-qualifying press conference.
1. Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull), 1m29.615s
2. Mark WEBBER (Red Bull), 1m29.758s
3. Fernando ALONSO (Ferrari), 1m30.426s
Q: Sebastian, congratulations. What is it with you and this track?
Sebastian VETTEL: I don’t know what it is here. On Friday morning we do the first couple of laps and it’s unbelievable, the corner combinations. I can only say it again and again, it is so much fun, especially in qualifying. Our car obviously works very well in those sorts of corners and then it is just unbelievable. The speed we reach. I think we are all a bit crazy but it is so much fun and the combinations are unbelievable. The new section is also great, especially 11, 12, so coming onto the new section with a big bump. I really like this track and fortunately our car always works very well here. As you said it was a tight session today. In Q2 I wasn’t perfectly happy. I think I was pushing a bit too hard and tried a bit too much, so for Q3 I went a bit more conservative. Of course I had to push. I had two very, very strong laps and in the end got the pole which obviously is the key for tomorrow.
Q: Tell us about the front wing problem you had this morning in free practice and how it affected your preparations for qualifying?
SV: Well, obviously it wasn’t ideal. It happened very sudden. I was going down the straight from turn 10, so out of Club approaching Abbey. From the inside you don’t see your own front wing, so I didn’t know what happened first of all. I only felt that something is wrong, so I had to cut the corner. The wing was broken but fortunately we could continue with the same kind of wing. It was the key for this afternoon and as I said, very pleased. Also for the team again. I hope we can repeat last year’s story with a very good result here. It is not my home grand prix but I feel home here as the team’s home is here, only 20 minutes away in Milton Keynes. It is great for them again to have both cars that high up and show we are able to build very quick race cars.
Q: Mark, you lost out to Sebastian mainly in the middle sector this afternoon but overall do you feel positive about the way you have bounced back from Valencia?
Mark WEBBER: Absolutely. Coming back here after what happened last time was not ideal, but a good weekend for me. The team have done a good job. They are happy with the result today I am sure, so looking forward for tomorrow.
Q: Fernando, the best qualifying for you and Ferrari since China. Do you feel you are coming back now and have you got the pace to challenge tomorrow?
Fernando ALONSO: I think we did improve the car, no doubts in Valencia. Canada was good as well. We continue to develop the car to perform better and better. We had some downs around Barcelona and Turkey Grand Prix but now I think we are improving the car. We feel more comfortable now and we are performing better now. I think we had very strong races in Canada and Valencia. We didn’t score the points we wanted because different conditions happened to us through the race but I think here we are again strong. We are competitive and hopefully tomorrow we will finish the job and we will score some good points for the team. We need the points tomorrow.
Q: Sebastian, some thoughts on the race tomorrow and this rocket ship of a car you seem to have around this track.
SV: I hope I will enjoy the day. You don’t get to drive these sorts of cars on these types of tracks too often, so hopefully I enjoy the day. Starting from pole on the clean side is the key for the race. I think we do have a quick car in qualifying but also in race conditions, so we should be able to have a good race but you never know. The weather forecast is sunny which I think is quite unusual for Silverstone. But I think England becomes more and more tropical now. It is probably the country to go to and invest. We will see. I think we will have a great day tomorrow and fingers crossed everything will work.
Q: Sebastian, two very, very quick laps. Were you surprised to be able to get two quick laps like that?
SV: No, not surprised, that was the target. It wasn’t easy. Q1 was alright. In Q2 I was a bit too slow, no particular corner, I was just a bit all around. I think I was probably trying a bit too much, so for the third qualifying we didn’t really touch the car. I think I had a bit too much oversteer in the second part, so I tried to help it a little bit with the things you can change on-board and it seemed to work very well. I tried to be a bit more conservative. Of course you have to push but I tried to be a bit smoother and it seemed to work very well. I had two very good laps. Around here it is incredible. The corners we have here if you compare them to other tracks, it is just amazing. The combinations, the first sector, Copse, Maggotts, Becketts, Stowe Corner. There are so many corners here that you really enjoy so much. In particular our cars works quite well I would say, so you enjoy even more. All in all a fantastic day. A very good qualifying session with a good end, so happy to be on pole and I think it is the key for tomorrow’s race.
Q: The car seems to be ideally suited here. What are the qualities of the car that make it so ideally suited?
SV: It is just quick everywhere. I think we have proven this year apart from that we have a quick car that we have a very quick car no matter the circuit characteristics. If you compare this track to Valencia two weeks ago it is completely different, so still we see that we were very competitive in Valencia and also here. Our car likes corners where you need the downforce as we have some of it, so it will also help us. But also compared to last year we have made a step forward all around, so also in low speed and medium speed corners usually it is very tough and it takes a lot of effort to really gain lap time in fast corners whereas in low speed corners it is so easy to lose it. I think that is where we have made a step forward and that is why we have made a step forward everywhere and in particular as we expected as fortunately we can confirm on places like here.
Q: The weekend so far has not been entirely trouble free. Is that a worry for tomorrow?
SV: No, it shouldn’t be. I agree it hasn’t been, but all the cars are built on the limit and you always try to improve. You always know what is happening on your own car, so yesterday afternoon I wasn’t happy. We had some issues with the brakes but we were able to fix it. This morning I think we were back in the rhythm. We had the front wing coming loose but I think we are alright and as I said the cars are built on the limit. You always try to improve. It is difficult from my point of view to judge but we have seen the McLarens yesterday bringing new parts. For some reason they don’t use them today or they reverted back. It is tough to improve. Everyone tries but it is not easy. There is a bit of room here and there for every car but it is not easy to do it at the right time and to do the right step.
Q: Mark, I think there were some new parts on the car?
MW: Yep, there were. Always pushing hard, yes.
Q: Things you notice or just little things? Do they make a big difference?
MW: I think when you have got the level of our car the performance is when you are just nicking away, finding small bits here and there. We are in a good position that we don’t have to panic and put too many crazy things on. We have done a good job with the F-duct. The guys have worked incredibly hard on that, so when we climb to the tree we know how we got up there.
Q: You just missed being able to have another lap. Would that have made any difference?
MW: No. Always planned one timed.
Q: Briefly off in Q2. But fastest lap.
MW: On the prime. Was it at the start?
Q: No, at the end. You had a brief off according to the screens.
MW: Maybe on the prime at the start.
Q: That wasn’t a major problem?
MW: Q3 is what it is all about.
Q: You have been second in the race before. You have been second in qualifying before. Would you be happy with second tomorrow? Are you happy with second on the grid today?
MW: No, of course not.
Q: And you wouldn’t be happy with second tomorrow?
Q: So can we expect to see the two of you fighting it out?
MW: We will see. I would rather be third on the grid, probably. Fernando is on the clean side. As usual we know that second on the grid at most tracks this year is shit, so that’s why pole is a big… If Fernando wants to change, I don’t know if we can. But it is a long race, so let’s see what happens.
Q: Fernando, do you want to change?
FA: I prefer second than third.
Q: You prefer second to third.
FA: Eight metres, I think.
MW: It is a pretty big gap, so we will see. I am sure I can sort it out and follow Sebastian through the first corner.
Q: Fernando, you had a little bit of traffic during your lap. Did that make a big difference?
FA: No difference. I think the Red Bulls are seven-tenths in front, so if I lose half-a-tenth it makes no difference.
Q: Is that a margin you expected, those seven-tenths?
Q: You said you were going to be second with McLaren, Renault and Mercedes. But you are obviously well ahead of the other two teams.
FA: Yes, it was a good weekend for us so far. We are as competitive as we were in Canada and Valencia. I think those two tracks were not a perfect suit for Red Bull cars, so we had a little opportunity there to fight with them. Here going back to these high-speed corners we knew Red Bull were strongest, the favourites, and we thought to have a tight battle with McLaren, Mercedes. If you see the qualifying times it is quite tight at the end. McLarens are there close to us and I think Renault and (Nico) Rosberg as well between me and Felipe (Massa), so I think it is mixed as always.
Q: But you must have been encouraged by the step you seem to have taken forward here?
FA: Definitely. I think we need to improve the car. In the last two or three grands prix we have made some modifications to the car. We went through a tough time around the Spanish Grand Prix, Turkey. After that we did improve the car and we’re getting back to the level we wanted, to the level we were at in the first four grands prix, always fighting for podiums. Canada, I was fourth on the grid, third in the race; in Valencia I was third on lap 12 when the safety car came out. I think we are similar. We are starting third tomorrow, so the performance is more or less the same as the last two or three grands prix. We just need to capitalise on the potential and tomorrow to score the points we didn’t score in the last two races.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Andrew Benson BBC Sport) To Mark and Sebastian: after Turkey, the team said there was no favouritism one way or the other. This afternoon, although Sebastian’s wing fell off, it was you, Sebastian, who got the one version of the new front wing. Can you both comment on what you feel about that?
MW: I think the team is happy with the result today.
SV: From the outside, it’s sometimes quite difficult to judge what’s going on. We know what we’re doing, I think.
Q: (Alvaro Faes La Nueva Espana) Fernando, you have performed quite well today but the Red Bulls are still a step ahead of your car. Is winning possible tomorrow?
FA: As you said, we are happy with the position, it’s more or less where we expected to be, fighting with McLaren, Mercedes and Renault. Luckily we are in front of them, so it means that we did a good job today and the car improvements that we brought here to Silverstone seem to work fine, so we’re definitely happy with the team but on the other hand, as you said, we need to keep improving. We want to win races, maybe at the moment we are not in a position to do that, especially at this type of circuit, but I remain very calm. There are ten races to go in the championship and we want to win in November. There will be some circuits better for them, some circuits where we may have a chance, so let’s always try to do the maximum. If there is the possibility of a podium tomorrow, a better possibility to win, possibility to do anything, let’s try to take any possibility.
Q: (Alvaro Faes La Nueva Espana) Sebastian, who represents the biggest threat to your victory tomorrow: Mark or Fernando?
SV: Lewis (Hamilton)! No, I think that if we have learned anything so far in this championship, it’s that we are racing to find out who is the best on a particular day, so we will see tomorrow. Obviously, it’s not only about the three of us, as I said. Lewis is behind, there are others, and you never know how the race is going to unfold. For sure, I think, one thing is clear: we are the favourites. We have a very strong car here, so we should be able to win but there are 52 laps between us (and the chequered flag). Today, it was all about getting in the best position and we have done that. Now we focus on tomorrow. It will be a long race, but as usual, no points on Saturday.
Q: (Manel Serras El Pais) A football question for Fernando: what’s your opinion on the Spanish team and the final tomorrow?
FA: I think it’s a great opportunity for us, for our country. For the first time in history our football team has got to the semi-final, for the first time in history we have got to the final, so let’s try to capitalise on this opportunity, just in case we have to wait another forty or fifty years to get here again. I think they have played very well, they deserve to get to the final, so this is the last step. So good luck to them and try to make people happy.
Q: (Josep Viaplana Diario Sport) Fernando, what was the real difference without traffic problems, between you and Red Bull? And the other question is what is more possible, you winning or Spain?
FA: I think the difference is more or less what we see, it’s a combination of the average from Q1, Q2, Q3. They’ve been one and two in Q1, one and two in Q2 and then in Q3 as well, so they are dominating the Grand Prix with no problems but, as I said before, there are some differences from circuit to circuit. We saw in Valencia it was not so clear. We also saw in Canada that it was not so clear. We saw McLaren were very strong in Turkey. So I think it will change from weekend to weekend from now until the final race.
As for the second question, I think it’s easier that the football team wins tomorrow.
Q: (Luis Fernando Ramos Racing Magazine) Fernando, I have just spoken with Felipe, he said that he couldn’t get his tyres up to the optimum temperature on his car during qualifying. Did you have any issues on this matter?
FA: No, not really. It was OK for me.
Q: (Byron Young The Daily Mirror) Seb, did you have some favouritism today?
SV: I think that as I tried to explain earlier, if you look at us (drivers), we are different. One probably likes tea, the other likes coffee. In the end, if you look back at the qualifying session, it was extremely tight and I think there wasn’t much (between us). In Q1 we were pretty much the same. In Q2 Mark was a bit ahead, I was struggling a bit and in Q3 I was ahead. I don’t think there’s a black and white answer on the wing. As I said earlier, I was very happy that I could continue with the same kind of wing, because obviously after this morning, we didn’t expect that to happen after the failure. We were able to continue.
Q: (Byron Young The Daily Mirror) And you get both of them. They’re faster and better front wings and you get both of them. Mark doesn’t get one and you get the other.
SV: You are pretty smart if you know that they are faster and better. We try to keep this kind of thing to ourselves as much as we can, with the new parts, if they work or if they don’t but it looks like we have a leakage!
Q: (Flavio Vanetti Corriere della Sera) Fernando, we saw you complaining to (Rubens) Barrichello in the last run. What happened?
FA: No, it was Michael (Schumacher). It was Michael. Nothing really. I lost time, definitely. I was improving my time and he slowed down to get a last opportunity, last chance, so I had Michael (ahead of me) in the last two corners, ten meters in front of me, so I lost half-a-tenth for whatever. As I said before, I didn’t have any complaints or any problems because it changed nothing for me in terms of position, so it’s all OK.