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FIA post-qualifying press conference - Spain GP

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FIA post-qualifying press conference - Spain GPDrivers: 1. Mark Webber (Red Bull), 1m 19.995s; 2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 1m 20.101s, 3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 1m 20.829s

Q: Mark, fastest in Q1, fastest in Q2 and this time Sebastian didn't beat you when it counts; pole by a tenth of a second.
Mark Webber: Yeah, that's right. Normally it's a good battle all the way through qualifying but Seb's had a pretty solid run in the last while in Q3 but today I had two solid laps, obviously both of them. It's nice to go into the second lap knowing you're already ahead. It's a nice situation to try and build on your second lap in that way instead of being behind. But this pole is for the team. The guys, both sides of the garage, have had about five hours sleep in the last two nights, so they've really worked incredibly hard. It goes to show that the effort that they've put into the car is now translating into lap times. It's a sensational qualifying for both Seb and myself. Christian said to me before qualifying ‘you probably won't get to drive a car around here like this too often, so go and enjoy it' and I did and it was a sensational qualifying session.

Q: Sebastian, nothing to choose between you, but this race - I don't have to remind you - has been won from pole for the last nine years. Do you feel like changing history tomorrow?
Sebastian Vettel: Yes, of course. First of all, congratulations to Mark. He was not beatable today. It was close. I think I had good laps throughout qualifying, especially at the end but it was just not enough, so a tenth is not much, but today it was a bit too much for me. Still, I think it was a very good qualifying from us. Obviously the race is tomorrow, so no points today. It will be a long race. For sure, at the moment, it looks comfortable but we know how quickly things can change, so we have to stay focused and see tomorrow. It will be a tough one. Maybe there is some rain, so we will see, but it's a long race, as I said. I think starting second, first row, is a good result. As Mark said, the team especially has made an incredible effort to bring all the new bits and they work, so that's a good thing. Back in the factory they have also been flat out for the last two or three weeks, so congratulations to them.

Q: Lewis, you pushed out the Ferrari right at the end, it's the best qualifying of the season so far for McLaren, but you don't need to be reminded there is almost a second between you and Mark and that's quite a bit to make up, isn't it?
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah it is. I don't think anyone expected them to be so fast this weekend. However, we knew that they would be quick but that is quite a decent gap, but we will continue to push and just focus on the areas that we know where we are weakest and try and close the gap. But it's great to be up there. At least we can fight. They're probably not as quick as us down the straight which is a bonus, so we will see how the start goes tomorrow.

Q: Mark, it's always so close in qualifying, the battle between you and Sebastian as you said, but how special is it for you to have done what you've done today?
MW: As you say, it's a good battle between both of us quite often. Obviously Seb has a very, very good record against me in qualifying, but if you looked at the numbers it's always very, very tight, so it's nice to just get one the other way. Nothing's ever given to us, you have to work incredibly hard. It shows you how well the team is working collectively as a group and it's nice when you get it all together that you get the result. Today was my day, but we have a good long race tomorrow. I'm happy with the car in a race situation. It's a good position to be in but there are no points today. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.


Q: Mark, you seem to have really taken the battle to Sebastian this weekend. You seem to have just been ahead so often. How has that happened?
MW: I don't know if I've just been ahead. I think it was a little bit more comfortable in Shanghai for me and then it turned out that Seb did a very good lap in Q3, so it was very tight between both of us throughout the whole weekend. As you know, here in Barcelona conditions can change quite a bit here and there. It's a venue all the teams know extremely well, so you don't want to get too complacent with your knowledge of the venue. In the end, driver and team on car number six of the garage obviously pulled everything together and today worked well for us, but it's a sensational result for the team to again lock out the front row. Personally I'm rapped, myself, obviously ecstatic that I've got the pole. It puts me in a nice position for tomorrow, but it's still a long GP and it's one that I'm looking forward to of course. It's always nice to get a pole. Sebastian, as I said before, has a good record against me in qualifying. It's always very close but it's not like he's six or seven tenths down the road, so it was nice today to get it back my way. But it's great for the team to have both of us up here.

Q: You do seem to be a perfectly matched pair, the two of you, almost two well-matched.
MW: Well, I don't know if you can have it too perfect, but of course, with Sebastian's pace and a bit of my experience then obviously I seem to be driving OK, so together we work well with the team and work on the areas that we think are going to benefit us short, medium and long term. That's the package that we have at the moment. I'm still enjoying my driving, so that's the good thing.

Q: Give us some idea of the bits that have been arriving and how hard the guys have been working.
MW: They've been working incredibly hard. People have to understand that a modern Formula One car is not like working on a road car. It's a pretty sophisticated bit of kit, so the guys are working very, very long hours to make even small changes, which can take a while, so the guys are getting the cars as best prepared as they can, firstly on Thursday night ready for the two practice sessions and then some of the changes obviously we made overnight were pretty time consuming, so it's not just the developments that we have here but it's generally the case that the cars these days are quite time consuming for the mechanics at the venue. But that's what they're paid the big bucks for, so they are working hard. The guys at the factory are giving them great products to put on the car, so collectively everyone is doing their bit. We are not getting complacent, it's a long championship. We know that Ferrari and McLaren are sensational outfits, so we're not getting ahead of ourselves at all. We know that we've got to bury ourselves and that's what we continue to do. We've now got to capitalise, in the next few races, on some nice results. No points have changed yet, after today's session. Some points might change tomorrow, so that's our job.

Q: Sebastian, I guess the battle is good fun providing you are winning it?
SV: As Mark said and as you said we are enjoying ourselves. Mark wants to beat me and I want to beat Mark. That is not a secret. That is normal in every team. Once you are ahead and another time you are behind. He did a very good job today. Congratulations. It was a very smooth run through all the qualifying sessions. He seemed to beat me always too much in the last sector, so I am looking forward to seeing the data and seeing where I have lost the time. Maybe I can find something for tomorrow, but it was close, one tenth, but most important is that we are on the front row both of us and even if it might look comfortable from the lap times I think we have to keep the feet on the ground as tomorrow is the most important day. So far we have been quick and we have done a good job but we see tomorrow.

Q: But you have got a margin of seven-tenths-of-a-second over the rest of the field.
SV: If we are here tomorrow and we can confirm then I will be very pleased. But we are not living in tomorrow. We are living today and it is a long race. Anything can happen, maybe it will rain. I think it is not 100 per cent clear yet, well it is never, but people were talking about some possible showers, so we will have to see.

Q: You started second last year. Do you remember the start and how you might make up the one place?
SV: I had a good start but unfortunately last year we had a system called KERS which didn't help me as I got stuck behind Felipe (Massa) for 50 out of 56 something laps, so it was quite boring. I think I knew everything about the Ferrari rear wing at the end of the race,. But we see tomorrow. It is a long, long way down to turn one. There is a difference as I am on the dirty side but statistically you can now argue and say the pole setter is in a better position or the second guy or the guy in third but it is always open and that is why we are racing.

Q: Lewis, best of the non Red Bulls but that margin of 0.7 of-a-second is massive, isn't it?
LH: What can I say. I think they are extremely quick throughout the high speed circuits and throughout the high speed corners they seem to be ridiculously fast and maybe have more downforce and efficiency than other teams. They have obviously made a slight step on top of that which is putting them a little bit further in the lead. It is great to see us up there, best of the rest. It is kind of a good foundation, a good position, for us to work on. We have got a lot of work to do but I think this car has got a lot of potential. We are just going to continue working on it. There is many different avenues we can go down to gain some good downforce but I think so far we have done a great job and the stuff that has come this weekend has been a step forward. We just have to keep pushing them for more.

Q: And a bit of a threat also from Ferrari here as well?
LH: Yeah, undoubtedly we expected to be threatened by Ferrari and Mercedes, so that is not a surprise for me. They always kind of not do so much through practice and then all of a sudden in qualifying be very quick. I guess they are working on their race pace. We know they have got a good car. They have just got a special switch. They do something with their hand and they are benefitting a bit from that.


Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat) Mark, how crucial is tomorrow's race for your championship campaign?
MW: Every race is definitely important but we have seen that the 25 points is a nice thing to get on Sunday afternoon's as it is a bit of a buffer over the other two podium spots in terms of points' ratio, if you know what I mean. It is certainly no secret that the first four races have not gone amazing for me in terms of the two wet races that we had in Melbourne and Shanghai. Malaysia was pretty solid. It is very important. I left home the other day and said to my dogs ‘hopefully boys I will bring home quite a big chunk of points for you guys,' so hopefully we can start tomorrow. Then we have got Monaco and we are at the track again Thursday. Bang. It is around again quickly and you can gain and lose a lot in the next eight days.

Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo), Lewis, you are almost one second slower and considering the history of this grand prix where the pole position has won since 2001 is it realistic for you to believe you can beat them?
LH: I believe anything is possible. If you look at the last few races they just show that a lot goes on in the race. Our race pace is perhaps quite a bit better than our qualifying pace but they are very, very fast and they obviously have quite a bit gap on us. Generally the guy that starts at the front has maximum downforce, clean air, so is able to just control the race from there. There is a chance at the beginning of the race. There is a chance when and if the weather hits us, so we have to remain optimistic and keep pushing. Ideally we just want to finish as high as possible and score as many points as we can whilst they are having their good days and hopefully we will have better days than them at some stage.

Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto, Motor und Sport) Lewis, it looks that on the harder compound the advantage is only maybe half of what it was on the softer one. Is there an explanation to that?
LH: You probably have to ask them. For us we seem to be competitive and the car seems similar on both sets of tyres. I think for them they seem to be able to pull out a chunk of time from the softer tyre. I don't really have an answer for it.

Q: (Frederic Ferret - L'Equipe) Lewis, do you think the domination of the Red Bulls is explainable by Barcelona or do you think it is Europe time and now they are going to be ahead of you?
LH:I think generally, looking at the next few races, we go through different circuits with different downforce levels. I have no doubt they are going to be extremely competitive through Monaco, but Montreal I am hoping we will be a little bit closer to them. But the circuits where we have the high downforce like we have here, they generally have quite a good edge on the rest of the field. But hopefully when we get to the other circuits with a little bit less downforce we will be able to benefit the same as the other people with good straight line speed and hopefully we will be a little bit closer.


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Sebastian Vettel
Mark Webber
Lewis Hamilton
Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso
Felipe Massa
Michael Schumacher
Nico Rosberg
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Romain Grosjean
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