1 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)
2 – Daniel RICCIARDO (Red Bull Racing)
3 – Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari)
Sebastian, pole and by quite a margin as well. Your first for Ferrari and Ferrari’s first for 61 races, going back quite a few years. Your feelings?
Sebastian VETTEL: And a proper one I would say. Unbelievable. I know it’s only Saturday and the main job is coming tomorrow but I had to enjoy the moment when I heard that I made it. It was looking good right from the offset of quali and actually from this morning to be fair. The car was fantastic to drive; it just got better through qualifying. I think we got the maximum today. Surprised by the margin but I think it just came together. I really had a near-perfect lap at the end. I was very, very happy with the laps I had today, especially the last one. Around here it’s such a long, tricky lap; it’s so easy to go just a little in too deep or push a little bit too much but it just seemed to come in the end. I was very happy that I made it to the finish line because it felt like a good lap and it was a good lap in the end. Very happy, it puts us in a great place for tomorrow but, as I said, it’s only Saturday and the main job is coming tomorrow. I’m sure the Mercedes will be quick tomorrow – everything else would be a bit of surprise and it’s already a bit of a surprise. And the Red Bulls of course, so tough job ahead tomorrow.
Coming to you Daniel: obviously it’s been close this weekend throughout between Red Bull Racing and Ferrari and you have the prospect of a battle with your old team-mate tomorrow,
Daniel RICCIARDO: Yeah, firstly, it’s nice to be back up here. The front row as well… it’s been a while. It’s good. It’s a bit of a coincidence that it’s Seb and I but it should be a good race tomorrow. I think already qualifying was exciting. To have no Mercedes up here is a surprise to everyone, still a bit of a surprise. I thought they were playing a few card games here yesterday but it seems they are obviously not particularly comfortable here this weekend. It’s good to capitalise on that. Tomorrow it would be nice to be back here. I’m really happy. Really happy for the team as well. I think we’ve definitely made a lot of progress, since Silverstone but particularly for me since Budapest the car has really come alive. It’s nice we can show that here. We expected it to work well and it is, so pretty happy and we’ll just try to hang in there in the long runs tomorrow and make a race of it.
Thank you for that. Coming to you Kimi: your second consecutive top three qualifying this season and how do you like Ferrari’s race pace tomorrow?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Well, we’ll set it tomorrow. Obviously we had some difficulties yesterday on my side. I think Seb has a good run yesterday. Obviously quite a good result for the team today. I was not very happy since this morning for whatever reason, so I’m a bit surprised to be in this position after how difficult it felt all day. But it was good and we have to try to do a good job tomorrow and hopefully get the two cars on the podium.
Sebastian, Ferrari’s first pole, in fact, since Germany 2012, I’m told. As Daniel was saying just a moment ago, it is against the run of form of the past 18 months really for no Mercedes driver to be up here. Can you put into words, explain why you think this is happening this weekend?
SV: To be perfectly honest I think we don’t mind for a start; sorry! I don’t know, it’s a surprise. I thought yesterday they were sandbagging and also this morning, because there’s no doubt they have the strongest package this year. They have a very good car, sorry, a very good power unit, which we know. It usually puts them very high up and difficult to beat. I don’t know, they must have some issues not feeling comfortable at all; it’s the only explanation I think. But I wouldn’t rule them out for tomorrow. It’s not the easiest circuit to overtake but if you have the pace eventually you come through, so I expect them to be strong tomorrow.
The other half of it of course is that you’ve obviously improved?
SV: Well, obviously we always try to improve. Obviously we hope that we can show the exact same result… maybe a little bit better to have both of us in 1-2, without being too greedy, next Saturday. Then you can say we have improved. We generally feel OK on this track; obviously it’s about feeling confident. I think it was fairly close the whole weekend between Kimi and myself. I the quali the gap seemed to increase. He explained that he wasn’t that comfortable and I think that’s where a lot of lap time is – if you feel confident with the car then you can attack. There is no room for error here and it can easily make a big difference. But nevertheless it’s a great day and it puts us in a very good place for tomorrow so I don’t mid at all.
Coming to you Daniel, obviously Ferrari have had some wins in 2015, Red Bull have not. You got three last year, you’ve been hanging out for a win in 2015, is tomorrow your best chance?
DR: It’s definitely our best chance. Coming into the weekend we thought it would be our best chance to back on the podium and obviously today’s result has shown that we’ve backed up the confidence I had in the car and I think the team had coming here. Tomorrow is where… that’s where the points are the champagne is, so you know we put ourselves in the best position today. Obviously Seb was out of reach. I think he did two really good laps from what it looked like. Yeah, second best today but we’ll try to get one more up there tomorrow. It’s always a challenge here: it’s hot, it’s physical, it’s long. Not only is it can the car hold up, it’s a test for the driver and I think that’s fun. Pretty happy with how the weekend has gone. As Seb said as well, you need a lot of confidence in the car here and it’s felt good out of the box from yesterday, so really pleased.
Well all three of your managed to save a set of supersoft tyres in Q1 but Kimi it was a little bit marginal for you, very brave. Were you sweating a little bit towards that end of that Q1 session with the decision to not go out on a supersoft set.
KR: Not really, because obviously the lap, you know if it’s a good lap or not. I think even with that lap we probably could have gone through, just wanted to with the first set. So it was quite OK. There’s always a chance that people start guessing and it can get more hectic but it was fine and just for whatever reason it’s been a difficult day, just lacking in grip and struggling a bit on braking and turn-in, so not in an ideal position but in the end the result is OK for how difficult it’s been today, so I’m sure we found something for tomorrow so it should be OK. It’s good for the team. Obviously we’ll try to have a strong race to finish 1-2 tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, how much pressure there is after what happened in Monza in the start and is it better to start from the cleaner side of the street? How much that helps?
KR: If it makes a difference we don’t know. There is no pressure from what happened. It doesn’t change for tomorrow.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) Daniel, your team-mate was quicker than you in FP2 and FP3. What happened in qualifying? Did things maybe just click a little bit better for you?
DR: Ask him [Vettel] why I was slower than Dany in FP2! Yeah, we encountered some traffic, otherwise I think, yeah, we would have been pretty quick in FP2. This morning, we made a few changes overnight and I wasn’t as comfortable with them. I think my lap wasn’t great, as well, from my side. We went back to what we know from yesterday and yeah, obviously qualifying is where you need to really make it happen so was… yeah, felt more comfortable in quali.
Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Sebastian, forgive this hypothetical question, bear with me. Beautiful pole lap. If you could go back 12 months and drive last year’s RB11 as you are now, do you think you’re a better, slightly faster, more experienced driver. Do you think you’d be quicker in the RB11 now, if you could get back into the car as it was.
SV: It’s a very difficult question to answer because there’s no way I can do that. Look, it’s very simple: last year for sure I didn’t have a great year and all in all Daniel had a very good year and beat me fair and square, many times. Other times I was in front but overall it was not the best year for myself. A lot of stuff that I learned… yeah, obviously didn’t have a good start to the season. Didn’t drive the car very often. I think I did about one day of testing, one proper day of testing, before the season, and then we had lots of issues – but still, I think I’m experienced enough to know what to do to go quick but yeah, simply wasn’t good enough. Daniel showed that he could go quicker with the car on occasions. So, to try and answer your question… I don’t know – but I think I’ve learned a couple of bits about this generation of cars, let’s say and yeah, probably the way the season went last year has helped me for this year.
Q: (Lim Say Heng – The New Paper) This question is for Sebastian. You must be quite familiar, comfortable and confident here since you’ve won here three times. How much of that comfort and confidence helped you in getting pole today?
SV: I think it’s crucial if you’re confident around the track. You need to be confident in your car. It is a street circuit and the better you feel, the closer you can get to the walls. It is a circuit where the driver can make a difference. If he feels comfortable… I don’t know, I’ve always loved this track since I came here. I had a very good result in 2008, I think 2009 was OK as well. It’s a tough one, a tough lap. It’s an extreme challenge but it’s the sort of race where you’re kind of excited. Not scared but nervous as well, before you start. There’s a lot of things happening, it’s intense, you need to keep your focus up. So, looking forwards to tomorrow.
Q: (Daniel Johnson – The Telegraph) Seb, two things if I may. First of all, it’s been a while for you and the team since you started on pole, is there anything you have to refresh tonight? Any studying you need to do to remember all what you have to do. The second bit is, are you expecting this to be a blip with Mercedes so far behind or do you think this could be the pattern for the rest of the year?
SV: Expect it to be a pattern. They’ve been way too comfortable and too strong for a long time so, I don’t know what happened today, probably we’ll here after quali what they have to say. As I’ve said, I think they will be quick tomorrow and then, the first part of your question, I don’t think so. I think it’s actually easier if you have nobody in front on the formation lap to look out for. You can do your own thing. It’s nice. Obviously hard work on Saturday but we succeeded and looking forward to have a clean run to Turn One.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Sebastian, last time Ferrari was having a front row was France 2008 when Kimi was in pole. Can you see that realistic this season to happen also? To get a front row for Ferrari?
SV: I think yes. We are trying, both as hard as possible. I think obviously today could have been possible but in the end obviously I was a bit lucky that I felt really comfortable, Kimi wasn’t. It’s easy to lose some time there but for the rest of the season we go maximum attack. Anything can happen, it can rain on Saturday. There’s always the chance to do well – so we have to attack latest next Saturday if you talk about qualifying.
Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Question for Daniel. I think you were quickest in Sector Three. I wondered whether your tyre warm-up process was affected in any way by Bottas coming out just in front of you?
DR: It’s not ideal. You always want to have a clean out-lap and obviously it’s not his fault at all. It’s just the pattern and the way we came out was close but yeah, it’s always nicer to have your own out-lap to do your own thing. Everyone’s got their own way of warming up the tyres. You never know how much the car in front is going to back up to try and do whatever they want to do, so yeah, it probably explains why my tyres were better at the end of the lap rather than the beginning. I haven’t seen the sectors but the third one felt pretty good. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Who knows? But yeah, it’s always nice having a clean out-lap and doing your thing. It was close. Wanted to push him in the pitlane! Yeah, it’s just part of it.
eom/FIA transcript of the Press Conference on Saturday