FIA After Race Press Conference – Brazil
Here are the Top 3 drivers after the Brazil Grand Prix (live race as it happened) – speaking to the media in the post-race press conference.
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel – Valtteri Bottas – Kimi Raikkonen (FIA After Race Press Conference)
Question – Congratulations to Sebastian on your victory, your third victory here in Brazil, fifth with Ferrari this season of 2017. Can we drill down a little bit more into the start, the initial launch, the whole approach into Turn One – because clearly the race was won there – but also just the whole way you had to manage that race with, at the end five seconds separating four cars showing that it was quite some job.
Sebastian Vettel – “Yeah, it was tight and I think we all had more or less the same pace. It was difficult to leave the pack. I tried very hard.”
“The start, initially I had a very good launch and thought ‘I’ve got this’ then I was maybe a little bit too greedy with the throttle, spinning up the wheel a little bit and losing a bit of momentum on Valtteri but then I looked over and saw that he was still struggling and then I sort of gained a little bit again on the second phase – this was just enough to give me momentum to hang in there into the first corner.”
“Yeah, I knew I had to go for it – there was a little bit of a gap and I went for that and obviously it turned out to be very important. The Safety Car restart was tricky – I think the Safety Car switched off the lights late and it was very difficult to then open a sufficient gap because it’s a long straight and the Safety Car is not very quick either.”
“Overall, we had less straight-line speed than the Mercedes this weekend and that was tough – always seeing him in the mirrors in the race and seeing that he was closing, especially in the first and last sector. I really had to nail the middle sector every single time and at the end it was, I think, at the limit in terms of the tyres.”
“Obviously I tried to manage the gap but to be honest, it was very much flat out all the time and I had to try and keep control with one or two or three seconds in the end.”
Question – Valtteri, can we have your side of the story, obviously of the start, your feelings as you saw the red car moving alongside you – the timing of the pitstop. Clearly, you were a little too far away to make the undercut work but just thinking about going into that, what were you hoping for?
Valtteri Bottas – “In the race start obviously we lost the race, which is unfortunate for me – the issue was just the initial wheel-spin. As soon as I started to release the clutch just broke the traction and it was wheel-spin which is why I had a poor getaway.”
“I was trying to cover the inside but honestly, looking at the mirror, I could only see Kimi behind so I didn’t see Sebastian anywhere – I was half-guessing that he could be shooting from the inside and so he did. There was nothing to do – he got a better start and he was on the inside so it was unfortunate.”
“After that, I think pace-wise things were very close – I think we were trying to put a lot of pressure on Sebastian and trying to get close, especially around the pitstop.”
“Once I was getting a little bit closer, we decided to stop and try the undercut but it was not quite enough – I got pretty close after he came out from the pits but again, not enough to overtake.”
“He’s got a good lead now for the second place of the championship so we need some miracles in Abu Dhabi.”
Question – Kimi, for you obviously, the real talking point was at the end – Hamilton was going past cars with sometimes 248km/h on the straight in the DRS. Talk about that and also how he had a couple of lock-ups. Do you think that’s where he lost the momentum that stopped him coming through to you?
Kimi Raikkonen – “He did or I did? Obviously, I don’t really look at what he is doing. All the time, I try to do my own stuff and I had very few lock-ups in the first corner. I was checking a bit but obviously, it’s very hard to see from the mirrors where the other guys is – especially in the circuit where it goes a bit up and a bit down – you lose sight of them.”
“I know that they’re fast when they put full power and full energy and DRS – they catch up a lot by the end of the straight – but I was quite comfortable with a, lets say a gap, in the last three corners and I was surprised that they didn’t get closer to me.”
“That’s why I wasn’t too worried and then I locked a few times into Turn One because I think I was looking too much in the mirrors and not really braking and being heavy and then just locked a little bit.”
“To be honest, my car was pretty good – maybe the first part was tricky and more close to the first pitstop, it started to get better. The second, with the soft tyres with the pitstop the car was good.”
“I took things easy and was still catching up with he guys in the front but always felt that I took care of my tyres but once I pushed, nothing – you can get close but you cannot really do anything.”
“The circuit, the cars this year – in this kind of place, it seems to be very difficult to pass anybody and it all gets a bit boring – unfortunately. I felt that I had a lot of speed but I felt that there was nothing that I could have done.”
“We all stayed the same distance – yeah, it was a good result but I wanted more.”