After qualifying, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello faced the media in the Press Conference.
Q. Sebastian, a great day for you. The first driver this year to be quickest in all three sessions, timing your last run in Q3 to the very last second..
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, so I mean after yesterday especially in Friday practice we had an engine failure and we were not able to do a lot of laps but still I had a good feeling for the car and I was quite confident for today. It is quite a surprise now to be quickest in all sessions and obviously a great day today and I am very pleased. Finally we made it. The last couple of races we tried very hard and finally we are ahead of these white guys. Thanks for the team and again a great job also in the factory as some of the parts arrived at the last minute, so it was quite an effort to fix them to the car. But we did it and they are working, so everything is positive. Let’s see tomorrow.
Q. Jenson, it looked like another well paced weekend so far. A lot of the drivers were complaining about the grip level and you were a little bit in the background but again in qualifying you are on the front row of the grid.
Jenson BUTTON: Yeah, yesterday was a tough day for everyone I think. It was so windy and I just could not get a balance to the car in those conditions. But immediately today with some changes to the set up and also the wind calmed down the car just seemed to be much better. And I got more to grips with the car and we worked all through the day. It is nice to be on front row and it’s a great place to be for tomorrow. Obviously well done to Sebastian for pipping us and it is great that we have got a lot of competition out there. It is not just the Red Bulls and the Brawns but also the Ferraris are quick as well and the Toyotas, so it is good.
Q. Rubens, consistent as we say. Talk us through qualifying from your point of view.
Rubens BARRICHELLO: Qualifying went great. I had a bit of a worry in Q2 because I had a used set and when I put a new set on I had a bit of traffic, so I wasn’t sure if I would have made it. I was seventh, but on the tenth that everyone had, but luckily I was in front. Q3 went quite well. I chose to use the prime tyres and I think it was a good choice but you never know which one is the better one in those conditions. I had three laps. I wish I could have pushed a little bit more on the second lap but I had traffic again as timing on this final qualifying is everything and there were lots of cars coming out of the pits while I was on my lap already. But very well, very well. Everything is so close and I have a good car and I am quite happy.
Q. Sebastian, your thoughts going into the race tomorrow. A lot of work as you say going on back at the base. A new aerodynamic configuration on the back of the car. Where do you think the car is and I say this in the context that you’ve always won when you’ve been on pole.
SV: We will try our best to keep this statistic alive but it won’t be easy. I think we have a very good chance here with a very god car. I expected more difficulties in qualifying, so I mean it wasn’t easy but we made it. I think we have a very good race car for tomorrow, so I’m looking forward. Obviously it is the best position to start from. Also in terms of the grip level I think there is quite an advantage to be on the clean side, so let’s see tomorrow. This is just half-way and the main task for us comes tomorrow. It is a very long race here, very tough. It will be very hot, so for both drivers and cars it won’t be an easy one but it will be very exciting, so let’s see.
Q. Sebastian, your second pole this year and, of course, you are probably aware that every pole winner has always won here in the four grands prix we have had so far.
SV: I wasn’t here four years ago. Yeah, I mean I am in obviously the best position to start from and I’m very happy, very pleased especially after a difficult day yesterday with not a lot of laps. But I had a good feeling. We had quite some new bits and they arrived at the last minute, so it was quite a job to put them on the car. The boys were working hard again. It is a tough season but obviously with these kinds of results it is the best to show them that we are going in the right direction, so I am very pleased. Today’s qualifying was quite difficult. I think we do have a very competitive car in the race. I was not that confident in qualifying but then going through Q1 and Q2 I had a better and better feeling, so in Q3 I was quite confident to be up there at the front. Again it was very tight but finally we made it and put the car on pole again.
Q. How much were you playing catch up after yesterday because you started practice quite late as well and didn’t do many laps in the first session and then, of course, very few in the second.
SV: Yes, it’s true. Both sessions. Free practice one and free practice two. Just because the parts arrived so late and we were basically putting them to the car and it isn’t always easy and we started a bit with a delay but there was no problem. The biggest problem then was to do only four laps. But nevertheless I think we have found a very good car. We have worked overnight and made some changes and they all seemed to work. Also this morning we were more focussing on Sunday, on the race, whereas usually you try to prepare qualifying and that is why we were not that confident for qualifying. But it worked, so very good.
Q. How difficult was the tyre choice as it seemed after free practice three this morning that no-one was certain which was the quicker of the tyres.
SV: I think still you can argue. The hard tyres seem to work surprisingly well. If you look at the times from Q1 to Q2 they were not massively quicker and that is unusual, so the circuit did improve but it didn’t do the usual step, so that was quite a bit of a surprise. Therefore I think it is not certain which tyre in the end to choose. We relied mostly on the option which I think was the right choice but I don’t think there was much in between them.
Q. Jenson, your record of starting seventh and finishing fourth is the best of all three of you but you have finished all four races, so what are your feelings about this circuit?
JB: I enjoy this circuit and that’s why I found it tough when we arrived here and we did not have a good balance. When one person in the team has got a god car and is doing good lap times it is okay as you sort of know the time is in the car and you have just got to find it. I think Rubens and myself we did not have the best day yesterday and we were not really sure where the pace was but we found it today and it is good to be up there at the front. It is a pity we could not get pole but you are always going to say that when you are starting P2 but I am very happy to be where I am and looking forward to the race. We all love statistics and as you say every pole position man here has won. We are going to try and change that tomorrow and I am looking forward to it. I think this is a circuit where you can have a lot of fun and you can overtake and it should be a good race to watch hopefully.
Q. With first and fourth on the grid Red Bull really do look like a threat, don’t they?
JB: Yeah, it has been like that most races except for Monaco. The races before that it was the same. I think these guys are doing a very good job and we are also. It is down to getting the best out of the equipment and getting the best team effort tomorrow. That is what will win the race and we have got to wait and see who that is.
Q. A mystery for the tyres also with you.
JB: After practice this morning it was quite difficult to choose which tyres to run in qualifying. I think we made the right choice for myself. On the prime I didn’t really have a very good feeling. It was very twitchy and not what I like. The option tyre would get oversteer but it was sort of more gradual, a bit more of a rolling feeling and I preferred that, so that is the tyre we went with and we did the right thing staying with it in Q3 and not chopping and changing and I could just get on with my work and do the best I could.
Q. Rubens, yesterday you were saying you were suffering in the first sector. Presumably you have mastered that now.
RB: Yeah, I think it has been a good job since last night with everything. The car this morning felt a lot better. I think the track may have come towards us a little bit but all in all the car feels a lot better. This morning we could feel that already and it was a question of trying which tyre to see what was next. As you could see I qualified on prime and Jenson qualified on the option. It is difficult to see which one was the better one. I had a better feeling through high speed (corners) with the prime. It was a little bit more slippery than I predicted but all in all it was still a good qualifying. We were just playing with each other that we don’t know which one is better – starting second here or third. I hope it is third.
Q. The position of the grid is a factor, isn’t it?
RB: Yeah, because here you don’t have a lot of… in fact I’ve been told that there are no races at all. This is the only event of the year. We’ve been passing on the main straight on the right, that’s the only clean line. Although I like Jenson very much, I hope my side is a lot cleaner than his.
JB: If any of you want to get your road cars out, do some starts, you’re more than welcome.
Q. There’s a couple of journalists running round, would that help?
JB: I’m not sure that helps too much.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q. (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Sebastian, each time you did a lap this afternoon, you set the fastest time. Can you explain how you do that? Is it easy from the inside?
SV: I disagree, I think in Q2 on the first run I was second, if I remember rightly. Again, it was difficult after yesterday, we didn’t have a lot of laps and basically I was relying on the feeling I had. I was quite happy, we made some changes and I think that that shows that even without a lot of running we are able to do the right thing, so that speaks for us. I think we are in the right direction, it’s good now to be ahead of those two but qualifying is nice, pole position is very nice and the main thing comes tomorrow. There are no points for today.
Q. (Livio Oricchio O Estado de Sao Paulo) For all three drivers: this morning Ferrari seemed to be faster than we saw in qualifying. Are you expecting them to be a little heavier than you?
SV: I don’t know. I was also surprised because we expected them to be more competitive. Maybe they are much heavier, I don’t know, but in the end it’s good because I start from first and I think Kimi is sixth, so no KERS car in my back this time. That’s a good feeling already. As for everything else, we have to sit down. Obviously we just got out of the car and I saw the final results. I don’t know which tyres they have used, maybe they struggled. I don’t know. I don’t think it was an easy session, this qualifying, not an easy, usual, straightforward session because the circuit picked up grip but not as much as it usually does, so it’s difficult to say, also with the tyres being so close to each other.
JB: Also, they weren’t as quick in Q1 and Q2 as we expected, so I don’t think it’s just fuel load, personally. But this morning they were massively quick. I was surprised at Massa’s times but it seems strange that they are not there now. Maybe their car is not working so much in qualifying form.
RB: Nothing to add. Before the weekend, I was expecting that they would be very fast and they proved this morning that they were but in qualifying, as Jenson said, it didn’t seem to have that last bit of pace, so lucky us.
Q. (Rodrigo Franca VIP Magazine) Question to Jenson and Rubens: tomorrow will be the seventh race of the season and Brawn GP is still the team to be beaten in Formula One. Did you expect to be in this position since in December you had no team, no future with everything going on, Honda leaving Formula One?
JB: This could be a very long answer. You’ve probably heard it a few times. At the end of last year we didn’t know what to expect. And when we realised in March that we were racing, we were very happy. We knew that we had a competitive car but you never know how competitive. The bit that amazes me is not the speed of the car the speed of the car is very impressive but it’s how the team has done aâ€¦ they haven’t put a foot wrong under pressure whereas maybe other teams have and that’s the reason why we’ve been so competitive and so consistent I think. So we’ve got to stay in that mindset, stay positive and focused. As soon as you start relaxing, it all goes to pot, so you’ve got to stay focused and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.
RB: Well, every time I talked to the team during November, December, they seemed to be so happy with how much they got back in terms of downforce and how much happier they were with a different engine, just for the sake of having something different. We knew it was going to be competitive but if you’d asked me, honestly, what I thought, going to the first race, I thought competitive would mean fifth or sixth. From someone who was starting 13th or 14th, it was that much better and then we could conquer more. But it was impressive from the first lap. Jenson was able to drive it first and after four laps I went to ask him and he said ‘yeah, we’re going to have a good season’ and I believed him. So when I drove the car, it was a fairly good feeling.
Q. (Michael Schmidt Auto Motor und Sport) Rubens, you only had one outing. Was it clear from the beginning that you needed three laps to bring the tyres to grip? If you had started a little bit earlier, might a fourth lap have been even faster?
RB: That could be an argument, because I questionâ€¦ this morning the fourth lap was better than the third lap but in qualifying, four laps is a bit difficult. You have cars going around and basically I lost the first two laps today, due to the fact that I had traffic, so I pushed on the third lap and that was fine but the balance wasn’t as good as I expected, so maybe the fourth lap could have been better. I wish we knew how much it was from oneâ€¦
SV: You would also have had less fuel.
RB: Exactly, I would have had less fuel as well. All in all, I wish to know how much was in the tyres but I think it’s very, very close. I just don’t know if my ones are better or not. I had a good qualifying with a little bit of understeer and I heard that those guys had a good qualifying with a bit of oversteer, so it’s a bit of a non-situation.
Q. (Heinz PrÃ¼ller) Sebastian, did you know how many seconds you had in hand to cross the line in time to have an extra lap?
SV: No, I didn’t, I didn’t know. Was it tight? Was it? It worked.
Q. (Balazs Vajta Autosport es Formula) Two questions for Rubens: the first one is you started out not as quick in Q3, you really did your quickest lap on the last lap. Was this due to the hard tyre or pure traffic? And secondly, you and Jenson seem like perfect brothers. After every race you are hand-in-hand but you are second most of the time, so how big is the pressure on you now to beat him finally?
RB: First question; it was a bit of both, it was the tyre, I knew the first lap wasn’t going to be the faster one but I had traffic as well. I pushed a little harder on the second lap but I had traffic again, so the third lap was the only one when I could achieve something. You know, as much as I love Jenson as a friend, I hate him as a driver, so it’s very, very simple. We get on very well. I think it’s a fantastic pairing for the team. We are working well together and as you said, if you take Q2 for example I’m in front of him and then Q3 he was able to do the job. Today I couldn’t say I had a problem with this or that. You never know what the tyres might have done for me but with me it’s my determination. People might have this feeling that because I was second to Schumacher, that I will finish second to him, but I will fight him very, very hard. This time we work well for the team, there are no choices, no sad options like I used to have at Ferrari and this time I just have to conquer and I hope it starts tomorrow.
Q. (Paulo Ianieri La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sebastian, from your words, you seem to be as confident as you were in China. Could we see something like we saw there with you dominating this race or do you think it’s going to be a little bit tougher?
SV: Yes, I think I was confident in China but it didn’t help at all because the day after it was raining, so it was a re-set. OK, it was a very good race for us, obviously we got along well with the conditions but we couldn’t show how good we would probably have been in the dry, so we had no answer to that one. Now we are in a similar position, I think. Tomorrow it should be dry, most likely, you never know but as far as I understand, quite hot and dry, so it should be a dry race and let’s see how we get on tomorrow. I don’t think you can do more than pole position on Saturday; we did so, so that’s positive, but again, there’s no reason to be too excited. I think we have done our homework so far but the main demands come tomorrow when we have to race 58 laps around here.
Q. (Frederic Ferret L’Equipe) Sebastian, how important is this pole compared to the other two and were you expecting it when you came here on Thursday?
SV: It’s always difficult to know what to expect. I think this circuit is quite different compared to the last couple of circuits, especially Monaco. It’s probably more similar to Barcelona and in Barcelona we were in good shape as well, so here we are again. I think a pole is always important. You can speak to the man on the right (Jenson). I think he had the pleasure to have the most pole positions this year and yeah, he always won the races, so it’s essential, it’s the best position to start from and let’s see. It’s a long day tomorrow. For sure it won’t be easy, it will be a tough fight against those two and also the guys behind because we do not know about the fuel loads yet, so we will see tomorrow.