The top three finishers from Sunday's German Grand Prix - Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean - faced the media.
PODIUM INTERVIEW (Conducted by Kai Ebel)
Q: Sebastian, tell the world how sweet a taste is this home victory?
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, it's unbelievable. I'm very, very happy, an unbelievable race. Kimi was pushing very, very hard in the end and obviously they tried to do something different with different compound tyres. I think we had a very solid, very controlled race but I was pushing, I think, every single lap, except the laps behind the Safety Car. Very happy with the result and incredible to finally win in Germany.
Q: At the closing stages of the race you felt the warm breath of this guy [Räikkönen] in your neck so what do you think about driving with this guy next year together in one team?
SV: Well, I don't know. I think first of all I enjoy today and, yeah, I could feel him coming and more and more pressure but yeah, I obviously had a couple of laps where it was quite close with Romain as well who tried to push very hard. In the middle of the race we lost KERS for a couple of laps so it was very difficult - but fortunately the system recovered and yeah, it's very useful to defend properly. Very happy that the race ended after 60 laps and not 61 or 62.
Q: Kimi, was it better for you that the radio had some problems and you couldn't understand the guy from the pit wall?
Kimi Raikkonen: No actually - I could hear them but they couldn't hear me. I think it only worked in one part of the circuit and unfortunately today there was quite a lot to discuss and it didn't work. So, not the ideal but we managed to do pretty well and obviously we want to win but today we didn't have the speed. The race should have been a bit longer, maybe then we could have had a good chance - but we scored good points for two cars and we are getting back where we should be. So in the end not ideal but pretty OK for us/
Q: Romain, how good is it being back on the podium, even if it is now the third position and not the second if that could been?
Romain Grosjean: It's good, it's a good result for the team. We had a very strong race, which is good. Very good first stint. I thought I would have had a chance at one stage on Seb but the Red Bull was quick today. And then at the end we choose different strategy with the team. I think that was the right things to do - just put one car on one tyres and the other one on the other one, and it appears the Option for Kimi was quicker. So, yeah, I think it was good to play a little bit, the team, and then I'm very happy to be back on the podium. I think we've deserved it for a little while but now it's reality.
[Question in German]
SV: Obviously I felt the push from the crowd and yeah, obviously, I tried to focus the last couple of laps, knew it would be very close with Kimi once he gets past Romain, so yeah, incredibly tough, I was pushing every single lap as hard as I could and Lotus was incredibly quick today, looking after their tyres probably a little bit better than other people. But yeah, all in all, fantastic. Compliments to the team, three great stops we had. Very, very happy with the day.
Q: Sebastian, many congratulations. That was a tremendously entertaining race to watch for anybody who loves the sport. You were obviously made to work pretty hard for it. Your fourth win of the season [and the] 30th of your career. Clearly, the defining thing is that it's meant so much to you for such a long time and you've achieved so much in 26 years but just put into words what it means to finally win your home grand prix.
SV: Definitely a great relief. Very happy with how the day went. To be honest, for sure, there are a lot of expectations. Especially when you have a good car and for a couple of years you've had a good run, when you come to home soil people expect you to win. I think the whole team, including myself, we never ever let that get to our head but it just feels very, very sweet now to have succeeded after a couple of tries. Sometimes we were close. I think we had good races in the past in Germany as well, finished on the podium, which was a great experience but today, to win here, yeah. Both tracks, Hockenheim and Nürburgring mean a lot to me. To race in Germany I think is a privilege. To have the ability to have a home grand prix. Great relief, very happy, special day for sure. I think it take some little while to sink in but yeah, just incredibly proud today. The team did a fantastic job for strategy and for the pit stops. On the track it was so difficult. I pushed every single lap but it's so tough when you're on the edge and you know that you can't go over the tyres too much because then you will not reach the end of the stint. Equally, passing people, you know that you have to get through traffic as quick as you can, so not an easy race. The Safety Car didn't help us. We had a little bit of a cushion but Lotus was incredibly quick today and gave us definitely a big run for our money. I'm just very happy that it worked out. Last but not least our compliments to Pirelli. They did a very, very good job within a couple of days to react and bring a different rear tyre to this event. I think we didn't have any failures throughout the whole weekend. Compliments to them. They had a lot of criteria after the last race but it looked like they made up for it this race and hopefully for the next races we continue to have racing like that.
Q: Kimi, moving to you. Obviously Lotus were in a strong position. They could make a tactical gamble, put Red Bull on the back foot. From your point of view, you got through, Romain let you through towards the end. But was there a scenario where you could have won this race today?
KR: Obviously not, because we didn't win it. I was stuck behind the Mercedes after the first stop for a little while until I got past them. It cost me some time. After the Safety Car we were pretty OK and the cars, three of us, had similar speed and it's very difficult to overtake anybody. I could run longer and we had a think about it, if we can try to run until the end but we had a massive problem with the radio. I could hear them but they could only hear me between two corners. So I'm wondering if we should have done it, take a gamble and try to go to the end because the tyres were pretty OK, my speed was pretty OK so it was hard to know what happens in the next ten laps. We decided to come in and put the soft tyres. We had good speed. Obviously I got some help from Romain to get past but that was... we would have had a big fight, anyhow. I could have probably passed him in a normal situation but obviously it would have cost me a lot of time. And as a team we try to win and I caught up with Seb but, like I said before, everybody was behind each other but we are too close on speeds and it's so difficult to overtake then. We tried everything that we had and failed to win but I think for the team we did a good race and got both cars on the podium, so as a team we're happy but obviously I lost some more points to Seb in the championship. We keep trying.
Q: Romain, great to see you back here in the top three again. Fantastic first stint that really played you into contention for this grand prix. Tell us about your race, about how you felt and also a little bit of detail maybe about the radio traffic that was going on.
RG: We had a good qualifying and the first stint has been amazing, seeing P1 on the board is always good. The car was working much better than what we thought on Option tyres. After the first pit stop Seb and myself were quite a long way ahead of everyone else and it was looking like we will try to see with strategy to adapt, to stop three stops depending on how we were going and then the Safety Car came. It made it easy for strategy but less good then for the traffic. Clearly then, as a team we had to put different eggs not in the same basket and change different strategy for Kimi and myself. It appears that Kimi's one worked better but it could have been the opposite. So, it's good to be back on the podium, good to score strong points. The summer is back on - which should help us to be more consistent at the front. But the first stint has been really good and finally getting car and tyres that work together, it's nice.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Leonid Novozhilov - F1Life) Sebastian, what to you think about the weather today? Maybe the weather help you make a win, or no?
SV: Well first of all it's German weather. It's always like this in Germany. I think we were just a little unlucky the last couple of years. I think it didn't help us today. I think it made it a little bit more tricky. I think it helped probably Lotus a little bit. They were taking care of their tyres probably a little bit better than the rest of the field. By the looks of it they were very strong at the end of the stints - but I say that now, I don't have a proper look. But in the end we won today so we had good speed - good enough to win the race so I'm very happy but I think we were a little bit stronger on Friday than today.
Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto, Motor und Sport) Sebastian, when you came in for the third time, did you do it in order to cover Romain or did you come in anyway? Was it a plan to come in?
SV: No, I don't think it was the plan yet. Tyres were holding up OK and the gap to Romain was increasing a little bit again at that time. Just before the stop, a couple of laps, I lost KERS and I was able to switch it back on and pull away again. But obviously I think we try to cover him to make sure we stay ahead and we defend the lead because we saw that overtaking is quite tricky here. It's possible: I went through traffic pretty quickly but obviously there was a big delta in speed, in pace at that time. So, yeah, in order to make sure we stay ahead, we try to cover him.
Q: (Mark Ellerich - Sport1.de) How intense is the relief to get this done, with this win now? Did you have a plan to get it here in Germany, right now, this year?
SV: Yeah, I made it in January! No, in the end it's just another race and we try to prepare as much as we can for every race. Surely winning here is very special and tastes very very sweet, especially the way we won today with a lot of pressure from behind, but I think we did our homework - as much as we could - on Friday, the conditions changed a little bit and it was quite close today but we succeeded, that's the most important thing. Very happy to take the win today and also it's good to score some points.
Q: (Kate Walker - GP Week) Sebastian, Kimi is one of the men on the short list to replace Webber as your teammate next season. In the closing stages of the race, we saw him giving you quite a bit of challenge. How do you feel about the prospect of being challenged by a fellow World Champion in equal equipment for an entire season rather than just a few laps?
SV: Well, I wouldn't mind. I think he wasn't nice today to me because of that but in the end of the day, to be completely straight, it's not my decision. I think I have a good relationship with the team and to be honest, we spoke about that but not in detail yet. I think the team has no pressure to decide on anything, at least, that's what they communicated with me. I think I get along fairly well with Kimi; we never had a problem on track, even if one day we might have and crash into each other which can happen, then I think we deal with it as grown-ups and talk about it and sort it out amongst ourselves, at least, I think that's the relationship I have with him. I respect him a lot on and off track. But like I said, it's not my decision.
Q: (Kate Walker - GP Week) Would you be excited by the challenge?
SV: Yeah, definitely. I think it's strange in a way because I was looking up to Kimi when he was with McLaren for many years and trying to give Michael a very hard time but his McLaren broke down many times and now, since he's come back, I've raced him again and I think there's no doubt that when it comes to qualifying, to race, he does his job very well and gets the maximum out of the car, and that's what - at the end of the day - is our job. He's quite good at what he does. That's my opinion.
Q: Kimi, give you an opportunity to respond to that.
KR: He seems to be a bit better. I don't know what will happen in the future. Things will be decided at some point but until that happens there's nothing to talk about. I would definitely tell if I know something just so that all these follow-up rumours and nonsense stops straight away. But right now, there's absolutely nothing for next year and we will see. For sure, at some point, once we know we will tell but I don't have any pressure to make any decision right now. Obviously I try to make the right decision for myself but it depends on many things; next year there are rule changes, everything else, so it can be a right or wrong decision. Whatever it will be, I will live with it and I'm fine with it. We will see when it comes.
Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat) Kimi, your best ever result in Germany. Does it taste any better than the previous ones or is it only victory that makes the difference?
KR: Obviously we are here to try and win races. We couldn't today because we were not fast enough but for the team it was a good result after a couple of quite difficult races, so obviously for my championship it was not ideal, we lost some more points but it's still a long season and if we keep putting ourselves in a position for at least fighting for first place then I think we can do it again but as I said, it's good for the team and not so good for my championship.
Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) Sebastian, your team was one of the teams that suggested to come back to 2012 tyres and it looked like your car behaved very well today. Is there any relationship between these two facts?
SV: I think no. Whenever I opened my mouth, it was purely targeted at safety, because it can't be the case that we go out and we have a race like at Silverstone. I think in the end of the day, we step into the car, we want to race, race at the limit and we cannot drive into the unknown. All sorts of criteria I think was targeted at that and I think people forget that at the end of the day, you have to do your maths, you don't have to be a genius. We are leading the team championship and the Drivers' championship and if anything, we are the ones that have most to lose. Nevertheless, we pushed very hard, at least I did, from the drivers' point of view. I wasn't shy of communicating as well. I think we are happier overall - all the drivers - with the tyres we raced this weekend. Whether it suits your car or not is secondary.
Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) And to Romain and Kimi, is the performance of your car also related to the new tyres?
RG: I think when we tested it in Canada - well, personally, I quite liked them. They were more proper racing tyres with the different rear belt so I was sort of happy that they brought them here. I think the compounds - medium and soft - were better than hard and medium normally, so I am looking forward to using the full new tyres from Budapest onwards that I understood a little bit better last year than this year. The fronts are a bit strange sometimes but as Sebastian said I think the main thing was to have a safety issue. We all remember Felipe Massa in 2009 and we don't want to see the same thing with a piece of tyre so we were glad and happy that Pirelli did something and well done to them because it wasn't easy.
KR: First of all, I don't think it's a 2012 tyre. The front tyre is exactly the same as all year. The rear belt is different but it's not the construction of 2012. We tried these tyres in Montreal and they were fine. It's not a very big difference to what we ran before so for us, I don't think it made any difference. They felt a little bit better tyre in Montreal. I think the biggest difference is on high downforce circuits but the weather is hot so that's probably what made the bigger difference for us.
Q: Heikki Kulta (Turun Sanomat) Sebastian, Kimi has been chasing you for victory quite a few times. What this the tightest of them all or was Bahrain last year even tighter?
SV: It was a different race. I think Bahrain was tighter because he was right behind for more than a couple of laps. Obviously I had Romain pushing very hard before Kimi pushed at the end of the stint, because he came through, past Romain and he was a little bit quicker at the end. Yeah, but both races, in terms of race pace, were very even and if the cars are nearly the same pace then it's very tricky and very difficult to overtake, so obviously if you're ahead, it's your advantage but I'm sure that one day it will be the other way round and I will probably hate it as much as Kimi does right now.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sebastian, how confident are you about the next race because they will change the tyres again and they will be even more similar than 2012 tyres?
SV: First of all, I think we have to wait now. I think there's a test at Silverstone where race drivers are allowed to test and so we have a tyre test you can say, for at least a day and get a little bit more of an idea, and then I think Pirelli will make up their mind and decide to get together with the FIA - whether the teams like it or not, it doesn't matter. So I think at this point we don't know which tyres we are probably running in Hungary. The most important thing is that we learn the lesson from previous races, especially Silverstone, so for here, I think nothing happened which is good but it's good to have another proper look, especially around Silverstone and then decide for the remainder of the season.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi, during the last laps, did you think about the opportunity of being with Red Bull and if that had an effect on your mood during the fight?
KR: Absolutely not. I try to win and it doesn't matter if it's a teammate or some other team. As long as we give ourselves a chance, I try to make it happen and obviously if there is a good chance to try to overtake I will try it but we never got that close so there was nothing to do really.
Q: (Oana Popoiu - F1Zone.Net) Romain, for the second race in a row, you were told you to let Kimi pass. Do you think you have any chance to fight for wins when you're ahead of Kimi?
RG: When the opportunity comes, yes. Today, as I said, we didn't put our eggs in the same basket and Kimi was quicker and might have gained on Sebastian but it didn't work. I think it was the right thing to do. It is important for a team to score points and try to get the win. Without the safety car it would have been a different story, but we all got together and that was it.
Q: (Jan Kotulla - Mannheimer Morgen) Sebastian, what about the support from the tribunes today?
SV: Yeah, it was great to receive so much support. I think it's unique for Germany to have a situation where the Grand Prix is coming and you have two drivers able to win the race. Obviously Michael was in a good position for many years so I think we are in a lucky position anyway, but I think it was exceptional this year with Nico winning in Monaco and at Silverstone last week. Yeah, I think it was great and nice to see, especially round turn seven where, for the second time around Nurburgring, there were a lot of people and guests and friends from Red Bull. They put a big banner up on the formation lap and also on the in lap so it was very special and I enjoyed every second, for sure, especially after the chequered flag.
Q: (Jan Kotulla - Mannheimer Morgen) And to all of you, have you see the movie Rush and what's your opinion about the movie?
SV: I haven't seen it. I went to bed, so sorry Niki, he was very kind and invited me. I thought it was smarter to go to bed. So I have to wait.
RG: I needed to sleep too so I went to bed as well.
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