Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Massa, Adrian Sutil and Sebastian Vettel answered questions on Thursday in Sochi…
Q: It’s just five days since we were in Suzuka, I would just like to hear your views on the events of last weekend – starting with Fernando.
Fernando ALONSO: I think it was a very tough race. Obviously all of our thoughts are with Jules. All of our minds are there because we have huge respect for our work but when there are big accidents there are no words to describe – but you can feel. As I said, it was a tough weekend and right now we are here, a difficult weekend again. Emotionally very difficult. Ready to race, to race for him, being as professional as we can but definitely our minds, or my mind, is with him in this moment, praying for him.
Adrian SUTIL: So hard to say in words. Of course, very shocking moment for everyone, for myself. Nothing really to say about anything. Probably everyone has seen it. It’s just… we have to pray right now. This is all we can do. We can hope that we get some better news. It’s just that we are now here in Sochi, a grey cloud over us but try to be professional enough, more professional and focus on the race weekend again and also good to get rid a little bit of this mood but still it affects everyone. My thoughts are the same. Pray for the best and race for him.
Felipe MASSA: For me I think it was the worst race of my life. It’s a really bad race, worse than the race of my accident – because I didn’t remember. It was the worst race of my life. Yeah. It’s so difficult to be everyday because I can just be thinking about him, thinking about Jules. It’s a very difficult weekend for all of us. Maybe tomorrow it will get a little bit better because at least you are working, at least you have something to think about, some issue put inside your brain. Try to race and do the best we can for him, for his family. But anyway, it was the worse race of my life.
Daniil KVYAT: Obviously it is a shock for me as well. Wouldn’t expect to hear quite negative news after the race finished. All I can wish now is that we can hear better news, positive news about Jules. I really wish him to recover, it’s the only thing that matters. Nothing like this has happened for a long time and we all hope, here in Formula One that the health to Jules. I’m thinking of him very often, like all of us. We’re all united to support him. I run out of words so I stop here.
Jenson BUTTON: I think, listening to everyone, I think we all echo the opinions of the guys sat here so far. It’s a very horrible feeling knowing what one of your fellow drivers went through and is going through. I think the only thing to say, and the most important thing is that we wish him well and our thoughts are with him. I think we all feel the same in the Formula One world.
Q: You’re a council member on the GPDA and so are you Sebastian. What lessons can be learned, do you think?
Sebastian VETTEL: I think first of all you need to see that it was an extremely difficult race for all of us. I think I join on what the other drivers said, in terms of how difficult, it is probably the most difficult race to digest so far. But I think difficult conditions, leaving a very, very small margin for error. Obviously for Jules at that time it was too small. On top of that, very unlucky circumstances led to a catastrophe really. I think at this stage, for of all, all of our thoughts are will Jules, with his family, and we wish him all the strength that we can send. About the accident, I think it is very difficult. Obviously there is a lot of stuff going on now but surely if something happens there is always the chance to learn something for next time and avoid these things happening. Also, you need to understand that the cars we race, the speeds we travel, yeah, accidents can happen. But obviously, as I said, extremely unlucky circumstances led to much more than the usual type of crash that you see when you lose control of the car.
Q: Daniil, we move on to this weekend. I suspect a very proud moment for you. Tell us your feelings when you come into your first home grand prix and our first Russian Grand Prix.
DK: Quite mixed feelings as you see here the atmosphere and all our thoughts are still about Japan. So, I think it will be like this for a while. Another side of course, it’s my home grand prix. I’m pleased to see what I see here. Big structures, big track and I think around ten years ago, when I was starting my career, we couldn’t have even dreamed about this. And not this thing becoming reality. So, obviously it’s a special moment for me and the first time racing in Russia. In the end it’s our work and we carry on doing what we’ve been doing for such a long time.
Q: For the rest of you, can I just have your general impressions of the country, if you wish to, and the circuit as well.
AS: It was a positive surprise, or a positive experience when I got here. Flew over Moscow but already went in there without problem. They really welcomed us into the country. I haven’t seen so much – straight into the hotel, the hotel is very big but incredible what they’ve built around there. The infrastructure is really good, the track looks very modern and interesting to drive. I haven’t even walked the circuit yet, I will do it after. Of course there is not so much information about the circuit for me and for our team because we have no simulator – so it will be the first time for us, driving on Friday morning. Exciting to have a new circuit, a new country on the calendar. Hopefully it will be a nice weekend with a lot of fans coming and making a good atmosphere. So yeah, pretty good so far. Looking forward to it.
FM: I agree totally with Adrian. It was nice to be here, I think it is a nice circuit, the infrastructure is pretty good so yeah, I think what I’ve seen until now is pretty positive. I hope we can have a nice race for these guys, these fans. So yeah, tomorrow we’ll have a better idea how is the track but it looks pretty OK, pretty interesting. Hope we can have a good weekend, good first weekend and first impression for all these Russian people and fans. Hope they enjoy the first race of Formula One here.
Q: Sebastian, what are your thoughts on the major factors needed around the circuit. I assume you’ve been around the circuit.
SV: Yeah, I have. Also I’ve been here a couple of weeks ago for promotional activity with Infiniti. I had the opportunity to take a car around and have a look at the track. I think it’s a difficult one to find the right compromise. Obviously you have a lot of corners but also you do have a lot of long straights. Especially the start-finish straight is very long. You definitely need some speed down the straights but overall it looks like an interesting track. A lot of 90