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FIA post-qualifying press conference - Hungarian Grand Prix

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Drivers: 1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 1m 18.773s; 2. Mark Webber (Red Bull), 1m 19.184s; 3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 1m 19.987s
Q: Sebastian, 100th Grand Prix for Red Bull Racing. A front row lock-out and a commanding performance from yourself in qualifying. 
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, it was a very good day for us. All weekend here we felt very comfortable, from the first practice session onwards with the car...

I think we were able to improve it again another bit overnight. I said on the radio to the boys ‘this is your moment.’ Mark and myself were pushing hard to finish first and second but I said ‘it is your moment, enjoy, you built this wonderful car.’ It was a pleasure to drive yesterday and even more so today, so looking forward to tomorrow. Quite a difficult session. I didn’t have a very smooth run in Q2 with the options. I didn’t feel 100 percent, but there is not much you can do with the car. Little trims, but it worked quite well. I had a lot of confidence in Q3 and I was able to go quite a bit quicker, so overall a very good step and I am happy again to be on pole. I think every Saturday and Sunday is special, so being on pole also means a lot for us, for the team, for myself and hopefully we will have a good start tomorrow and then we should have a great race.

Q: What is the performance advantage this Red Bull car is giving you? Where is the secret? Where are you finding the time on this track?
SV: Well, I think it is probably as well hidden as we were all asking ourselves where Ferrari found the time last week in Hockenheim. I think this circuit suits us. Traditionally it is a very difficult circuit for the car as the car is very nervous, the track is very bumpy and it is not easy to get it right. You need to know the track but also you need to have the car and I think this weekend so far has been very good for us. The track suits us, suits our car, therefore we are a little bit quicker than the rest. It is a difficult day tomorrow, the main challenge. No points on Saturday as usual but for now it is the best we could do on Saturday, so we can be proud of ourselves and can go to sleep well tonight.

Q: Mark, so close between yourself and Sebastian until we came to Q3. What happened?
Mark Webber: I did my best. Probably not the cleanest lap in the first one, but that’s the way it goes. Seb deserves pole today. It was a good lap, 18.7. For sure there was a bit more change there for both of us but in the end it came down to who got the lap and it wasn’t my day today. I am on the front row tomorrow. Still a great place to start the race. The guys have done a phenomenal job all weekend, so look forward to the race tomorrow.

Q: How difficult is it from a driver’s perspective knowing that the team has a performance advantage but you have got a guy on the other side of the garage that could be the one that nicks pole from you?
MW: Well, it was pretty similar to Barcelona here. We knew that it was probably going to be between both of us. There wasn’t maybe a chance for the other guys to have a crack at us today, so we knew that it was going to be pretty tight between us like it was in Barcelona. Whoever did the quickest lap out of us two was probably going to get pole.

Q: Looking forward to the start of the race?
MW: Yeah, can only go forwards.

Q: Fernando, Ferrari chasing the Red Bull and really the best of the rest this weekend.
Fernando Alonso: I think we found a big gap between Red Bull and us this weekend already from yesterday’s practice. I think we maximised our potential today. We did our job which is as you said to be the best of the rest. Congratulate Red Bull. I think they dominate so far the weekend and they deserve this first row, so hopefully tomorrow we can make it a difficult race for them, as so far this weekend it has been too easy.

Q: How do you maximise your potential for tomorrow’s race? Is it all about your start?
FA: The start we know is important. We know Hungary. The track is very difficult to overtake. We know strategy will be important as well. The start, first corner, first lap will be 60 per cent or 70 per cent of the final result, so hopefully we can do a good start as we did in Hockenheim last week and try to overtake positions and try to fight a little bit.

Q: Sebastian, you have got Fernando just behind you. You have Mark alongside you on the front row. How do you play the start? Which way are you going to go?
SV: Ideally, I just go straight. You can make up all scenarios but in the end it comes differently but I think we found the problem from last weekend where we had a bad start and therefore I had to decide which side to go to. I am confident I will have a normal start and a normal start for us so far meant that we had a good start and we were at least able to defend the position. Usually in Hungary it is quite important to be on the clean side. I was second last year, Fernando was on pole and I think if I had been on the clean side it would have been a different race. But that’s Hungary. It is very difficult to pass here, so for sure the start is important as well as turn one. But there are a couple of laps following, 70 laps is quite a difficult track for the car, for the drivers, so it will be an exciting race tomorrow.


Q: Sebastian, an extraordinary margin over your team-mate and the rest of the field. What’s the secret?
SV: I don’t think there is any secret. If you look at yesterday I think we were in good shape. We didn’t know how good but we knew that we definitely can put the cars in the first row. If you look one week back all the cars haven’t changed a lot. If you look one week back I think we were probably racing on a track that suited the Ferrari car quite well, so over a period of two weeks they did a massive step. Everyone was wondering how and why. Somehow this week it seems that the track suits us very, very well this year. Maybe now you have the same people wondering what has happened to us. I can assure you there is no secret. We have been working hard since Hockenheim, trying to clean up the table and approach the weekend trying to be on top of our game. I think we were and in the end it converted to a very, very smooth Friday and a good Saturday. Happy to be on pole. I think it has been close all weekend between us, Mark and myself, so it is good to be on pole on Saturday. I think we have been there a couple of times this year. But I am confident for tomorrow that we have a very good chance to win, so I am happy.

Q: It hasn’t been a particularly good circuit for you in the past though.
SV: Yeah, the circuit is quite a tricky one. It’s probably like a woman alongside you who doesn’t behave well. It’s not always easy to get around here. The bumps are quite harsh and the car is very nervous. It tends to move a lot. I think the main thing if I look back, the races I had here, is to have the confidence. Of course you need the car but you need to have the confidence as well, because then you just brake five metres later and you’re five to ten kph quicker at the apex and it just works. I think last year we had a good race here, a good car, unfortunately not – sorry, not a very good race, but we had a good car. Mark did the fastest lap and this year again we seem to like this track. Traditionally you need a lot of downforce and I think we have got some, so it’s good for us.

Q: What did you learn from this morning’s session to this afternoon because Mark was substantially quicker this morning and yet you seem to have turned it around this afternoon?
SV: I didn’t have a clean lap this morning, I had lots of traffic, so it was difficult to get a lap together and Mark was a bit quicker. That’s it. I was happy with the car but I think the fine adjustment was not yet there. Also, at the beginning of qualifying the car was moving a bit too much and as I said, around here you need the confidence over the bumps, over the kerbs. And then I think we made the right step from this morning to this afternoon. There are no secrets, but it’s playing around a little bit with the front wing, with the diff and with tyre pressures. As I’ve said before, sometimes the effect is very, very big. Sometimes you find two or three tenths by tuning the tyre pressures. To find something that improves the car by three tenths is very difficult. The tyres are black gold, or one of the most important factors and I think we did a good job this afternoon, as simple as that.

Q: Mark, do you feel you could have done a 1m 18.7s?
SV: It was a good lap from Seb but, as he touched on, it’s all about getting the tyres ready and getting everything in shape for that one lap. I wasn’t quick enough today, I didn’t get it together for those two laps. I don’t know how Seb’s second lap went but obviously his first lap was very good. Yeah, we could have done better of course but we didn’t, so we deserve to be second and not first.

Q: In fact neither of you improved on your second, so it fizzled out as a session. Was there a track condition reason for that, do you think?
MW: I didn’t have the best sort of preparation to start my lap. I obviously had Lewis and I think Kubica was starting/finishing his lap, so you’ve got to get everything right, the tyres, everything needs to be ready to put together three perfect sectors here. The second lap was not easy to get right, so that’s why.

Q: This is actually not a bad circuit for you; it’s actually a better circuit for you than it is for your team mate. You’ve finished seven out of eight races here. What are your feelings about it?
MW: Yeah, it’s going to be an interesting start, then after that, we know with these regulations the race can be interesting in terms of trying to stay awake. But let’s see how the start goes and then after that we will try and stay awake.

Q: Fernando, you really had quite a lot of work to do from yesterday to today, as far as we could see from your comments from yesterday. Was there a lot of analysing, the blown diffuser, a lot of set-up work to be done?
FA: Yeah, I think yesterday, as usual, we tried to use free practice one and free practice two to get some data, to try new components on the car, some for this race, some for future races, and try to see if they work. Then on Saturday morning we normally put everything in place. We put the car in the best condition we can and we see where we are. I think the difference we had yesterday to Red Bull was too big to improve overnight. This morning we checked this as well and we saw that they were dominant this weekend and untouchable. Again, the race is tomorrow. As Sebastian said now, I think many times on Saturday there are some results that on Sunday are difficult to repeat, so we will see tomorrow if we can do a good race, finish on the podium and I think our job today was to maximise the car, to be third which is maybe the best position we could do and I’m still happy, with the lap, with the car and I really felt good grip and good performance in the car, obviously not at the level of Red Bull but enough to be the best of the rest.

Q: Somebody said last weekend that the dirty side here is probably the dirtiest of the season, so do you feel that you have a good chance of slotting into second tomorrow?
FA: We will see. I think it basically depends on how the start is. I think we know that the dirty side here is quite bad, maybe the worst of the calendar but at the same we’ve had some good starts this year starting on the dirty side, and some bad starts starting on the clean side. I think it will be down to the start and how things go when the red light goes off but no doubt that we will have a good chance tomorrow to overtake cars at the start.


Q: (Paulo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando, 1.2 seconds. Is it as big as you could have expected or does it comes as a surprise?
FA: Surprise, no doubt. I think four or five days ago we were winning the race in Hockenheim and Ferrari was the quickest car there on Sunday. Six days later we are 1.2 seconds behind, so it’s a surprise, no doubt, but as I said, I’m still happy with the car performance, there was nothing wrong with it. We will maximise our potential and it’s 1.2 seconds to me but two seconds for fifth or sixth position, so I think there are people who are more worried than us.

Q: (Peter Farkas - Auto Motor) Lap times have been amazingly quick here this year, much quicker than last year. Do you have an explanation for that?
SV: I think first of all, if you compare the cars and the lap times we did last year, if you compare this year’s cars to last year’s cars, they are built around the double diffuser. Last year, some cars had the double diffuser and other cars then adapted it, so it was different. For this year, I think everyone knew what the regulations would be. Yeah, then like Fernando said, especially if you look at Q3 times, we don’t do it with fuel anymore, so of course they will be quite a bit faster. In the end, you need the conditions, you need the right weather. I think the circuit was exceptionally clean from Friday onwards. Usually, in Hungary, you see the track improvement is massive, so I think these are the main reasons.

Q: (Alvaro Faes - La Nueva Espana) Fernando, what racing strategy will you use tomorrow? Will you be defensive to keep the McLarens away from you, or will you attack to try to overtake at least one of the Red Bulls or both?
FA: I think we will see. As we said now, the start will be an important part of the race, first corner, but there is nothing you can plan. It will depend on how the car starts tomorrow afternoon. Sometimes we did some very good starts, sometimes not so good, so fingers crossed tomorrow it is one of the good ones. But I will be happy to be on the podium. There is no doubt. I think that knowing how the weekend has gone so far, winning the race would be a dream, but we need to be realistic, we need to know that there are two cars much quicker than us, so at the moment we deserve third position in qualifying, and theoretically we deserve third position in the race, so we will see what we can do. At the moment, the McLaren drivers are leading the (Drivers’) championship and the McLaren team is leading the Constructors’, so we need to take points and reduce the gap to them. Once the Red Bulls are leading the championship, if they do so, we will see what we can do, but at the moment hopefully we need to keep taking points from McLaren.

Q: (Paulo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Yesterday you said that you were worried about qualifying pace, and not so much for the race pace. Are you still confident that should you be able to be second after the first turn, this could be the only chance to try to win the race?
FA: I think it’s something we need to check tomorrow as well. Sometimes on Saturday we’ve been not close enough to Red Bull to fight for pole positions and then on Sunday we are much closer on race pace. This was the case when we were three or four tenths away from pole position. Today we are 1.2 seconds, so even if tomorrow we have a better race pace, it may still not be enough to fight for victory but we will see. Anything can happen. There is a 70 lap race, a very demanding circuit for drivers, for gearboxes, engines, brakes. It is not an easy circuit. We’ve seen very interesting races here in Hungary, so we will fight until the chequered flag.

Q: (Carlos Miquel - Diario AS) Mark, is your car exactly the same as Vettel’s?
MW: Yup.


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2012 Race Drivers

Sebastian Vettel
Mark Webber
Lewis Hamilton
Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso
Felipe Massa
Michael Schumacher
Nico Rosberg
Kimi Räikkönen
Romain Grosjean
Paul di Resta
Nico Hulkenberg
Kamui Kobayashi
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Daniel Ricciardo
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Narain Karthikeyan
Timo Glock
Charles Pic

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