British GP: Sunday Press Conference
1st Mark Webber (Red Bull), 1h24m38.200s;
2nd Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 1h24m39.560s;
3rd Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 1h24m59.507s.
Q: Mark, you were very angry yesterday after the team switched the front wings. After the race today you said on the radio race ‘not bad for a number two driver.’ Was today all about poetic justice?
Mark Webber: Maybe there is a bloke upstairs every now and again. I just did the best job I could do today and it worked out okay. Enjoyed the grand prix to be honest. It was a good fight with Lewis. People don’t really see how we are still having a bit of a fight even if it is against the pit board and just having a bit of a look how the gap is going to pan out. But it was enjoyable, particularly the first part of the grand prix. The pit stops as always are crucial to get right and the team did a great job there. Came back out and really just got my head down on the primes, the hard tire. I knew I had a bit of a stint ahead, so just made sure they were comfortable for the whole stint. The safety car gave them a chance to recover a fraction but the car was faultless all day and a sensational result for the team.
Q: You didn’t take any prisoners at the start in the battle with Sebastian (Vettel). Tell us about those first few corners as he went off course.
MW: It was pretty straightforward. I made a good start. I was very keen to make it my corner and it worked out well for me, so it was good.
Q: Lewis, you are still leading the championship. Do you feel after all the problems you have had this weekend with the car that this is a kind of a miracle result for you?
Lewis Hamilton: I don’t think it is a miracle result. I think it is a reflection off all the hard work the team had put in. The car was nice to drive. It wasn’t as fast as these guys ahead of us, but we did the best job we could with the package that we had. That has been the case all weekend. Even Jenson (Button) did a fantastic job today, so that’s great points for the team. I guess we are still leading the Constructors’ Championship as well, so a great result for the guys.
Q: You tried very hard to stay with Mark. You stayed with him to six seconds towards the end. How hard was it to live with the Red Bulls today?
LH: Mark did a phenomenal job, so congratulations to him. Those guys are just so fast. I knew that on pure pace I wouldn’t be able to outpace them. The first couple of laps it looked like he was struggling and it was a great chance for me to maybe get past but still it was so hard, as we were both struggling. But after that I was flat, flat-chat. I was trying to do my qualifying lap every lap as always but he kept on creeping away.
Q: Nico, first podium since China for you. It looked like you had a little bit of bodywork damage early on. Tell us about your race.
Nico Rosberg: I had a good start, so I came out fourth. Then I had (Robert) Kubica in front who was quite a lot slower than me and I had (Fernando) Alonso pushing from behind, so that was not so easy as the Ferrari was very quick at the beginning and able to follow closely. In the end the result goes down to first of all a great effort from the team to turn things around after Valencia where we had a disastrous weekend and really they made great progress on the car that allowed me to be on the podium today and that’s fantastic and the other thanks goes to strategy today. They did a really good job to keep me out there on the option, put in a great lap and get out ahead of Robert and Fernando then.
Q: We have seen a lot of overtaking today. How much do you think the track changes contributed to that?
NR: Well, I am sure it must have contributed to that. It is great. The atmosphere is fantastic out there and it is so nice to see the enthusiasm that the British fans bring to the race, so it is nice that we were able to give a great race back to them.
Q: Mark, this weekend clearly demonstrated the superiority of the Red Bull package. But you are still behind in the championship, so what happens now in the second half of the championship?
MW: Well, we need to try and keep consolidating on weekends like this. The other car had a problem, so we lost some points with that situation. But we were very strong this weekend. That’s evident to the development that has gone on with the car. Everyone at Milton Keynes has done an incredible job. Thanks to the guys with the F-duct, they have pushed hard with that which is not an easy thing to get on top of but they are chipping away with that and lots of other small things. Like I said yesterday we climbed this tree and it is important to know how you get up there. You cannot just pick and choose what you might want to get in terms of development, so we know the car well and we have got to keep pushing on and I have got to keep getting results I can.
Q: Mark, I get the impression that was one race you really wanted to win. Tell us about the satisfaction of doing so.
MW: Ann (Neal) said to me at the start of the year ‘if you don’t do anything else this year bloody win Monaco and the British Grand Prix,’ so I hope I can do some more victories as the season goes on. Very special victory for me. I have won here in Formula Ford, Formula 3000, sportscars and now Formula One, so it has been a very special track to me and to get the victory for me in Formula One in the company of these guys is something which will be a highlight. I think I heard over the loudspeaker something about Jack Brabham. I don’t know if he won here but it is a special venue to win. A lot of amazing grands prix have taken place here. It has the new lay-out and it was very, very special to win here in the UK. The team is down the road. A lot of English employees and it is a very special day for them to win here.
Q: Tell us about the grip off the track. Did you expect to get that much grip as you made a superb start?
MW: Yeah, I spoke to Flavio (Briatore) last night and he said ‘Mark, just make a good start,’ so that’s what I did and after that I was hoping it would be my day and it was.
Q: Were you surprised how much grip you got off there as that was the dirty side?
MW: It wasn’t that dirty in the end. A lot of support races this weekend which have helped. We have seen a lot of other grid spots this year, particularly here and maybe Valencia and Budapest coming up, probably Hockenheim. To be fair there is sometimes quite a big discrepancy from left to right on the grid but thank God we have had quite a few support races which helped. I think it was the procedure which helped me quite a lot.
Q: The car seemed to be absolutely flying. The amount of purple we saw on the screen. Occasionally eclipsed by Lewis but a lot of times fastest laps one after the other. I should think 50 per cent of the laps.
MW: Yes, when you are in front you need to control the race. It was at that point around about Lewis and I. I am not interested in anyone else in the field. I am just interested in watching the pit boards to Lewis. It is interesting that sometimes his pit board said a different thing to mine but only by a tenth. I am just watching both boards to make sure everything is right. Lewis drove a sensational race. We pushed each other as hard as we could. I think it is fair to say I had a better car here today, I used it to the maximum managed to pull away. We controlled it very well and took care of business.
Q: Lewis, for you it was a chase all the way. Were you surprised how good the car was today?
LH: No, not really. The car felt very similar to how it did in qualifying. Our race pace has always been generally quite good. We thought it was inevitable that we would be a little bit closer to the Red Bulls as qualifying is where they really pull out a huge chunk. I did say it would be around four-five tenths a lap and it generally was a good four-tenths a lap difference between us. It wasn’t easy, as when you are behind someone you get in the dirty air and even if you are split between two seconds you still notice a little bit. The team did a great job. The car felt nice to drive. We are still lacking downforce but nevertheless we still managed to do a solid job and a better job than the rest to put ourselves that high up. Mark did a great job today, it was great for him. It is a great place. The fans have been phenomenal all weekend, so I am glad for myself and Jenson (Button), as Jenson did a great job today, a really great job, to get way back up there and score points for the team, so hopefully it is not a real disappointment for the Brits. I think we still put on a good show and like I said the championship is not decided this weekend.
Q: So really pleased with second place?
LH: I am, I am. As I said yesterday on pure pace I cannot challenge the Ferraris and Red Bulls but it was down to the start. I managed to creep my way forwards which was a real blessing.
Q: Was there any contact between you and Vettel on the first lap?
LH: Not that I know of but when I got out of my car just now I think it looks like there is a little bit of damage at the front left corner of the end plate but I didn’t notice it and it must have been very, very fine if it was.
Q: Nico, similar question to you. James Allen asked you just now, but you didn’t actually answer it. Was there some damage to your new car?
NR: Oh yeah, I guess there was some damage. I just saw it on the TV that a part flew off the side. It was with (Jaime) Alguersuari. He drove into the side of me, or we had contact.
Q: Did it affect the performance?
NR: I am sure it did, but still good enough to hold Jenson behind which is great.
Q: How close was he then?
NR: Jenson was close, but it was a bit easier to keep him behind than Alonso as they struggle a bit more in high speed corners I think, so he is not able to follow as close. That was good. I think having Alonso behind would have been a bit more difficult.
Q: So the Ferrari when it was there was the greater threat?
NR: Yes, it felt like it.
Q: An important result going to the German Grand Prix. Your compatriots were battling away with one another behind you but to be third was important. Having said that, just as you told me on the drivers‘ parade, a fairly large margin to the front runners. NR: Yeah, again today in the race unfortunately Mark and Lewis were very fast in front and there was no way for me to keep up. But still we have made such a great step forward from Valencia as Valencia was a disastrous weekend for us and turned the car around. Really analyzed where we went wrong and made big improvements and here we are now on the podium. I mean nearly out of merit except for Sebastian I guess, so that’s a great turnaround and I am looking forward to Hockenheim too as we will be making even more progress as still the big things like the F-duct are not working properly on our car, so once we get them working soon it will be another big step forward.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Ian Parkes – The Press Association) Mark, we obviously caught the comments over the radio at the end of the race. There’s clearly no love lost inside Red Bull at the moment. Do you honestly feel that you are the number two driver after what happened yesterday?
MW: Ah, yesterday I wasn’t happy, clearly. I’m sure we’ll have some pretty decent chats tomorrow. Today went well for me and, yeah, that’s it, mate.
Q: (Bob McKenzie – The Daily Express) Mark, what about that with the wing? The wing that you ran today, was that the wing that was in dispute yesterday and should that sort of thing happen?
MW: No, I don’t think it should. Obviously I wasn’t massively in favor of the decision but that’s the way it goes sometimes. But once the car’s in parc ferme, obviously that’s the car you race with from qualifying, so I obviously raced today with the same car that I qualified which, it must be said, still it wasn’t too bad. But some of the drivers offered me some front wings from their cars on the (drivers’) parade lap but I said I would stick with what I’ve got. Seb didn’t but some of the other guys tried to offer me a front wing.
Q: (Ian Gordon - News of the World) Mark, fantastic win, thoroughly deserved. Given Red Bull have said that whoever leads the championship will have priority, will you get the better bits on the car in Hockenheim?
MW: Should do. I should do. Yesterday was a really unique situation. It was the first time that the team had really had one component. Honestly I would never have signed a contract again for next year if I believed that that was the way it was going to be going forward. That’s why I was disappointed yesterday and was honest with you guys. Let’s see how it goes in the future but I just keep doing what I do and hopefully it’s enough.
Q: (Edd Straw – Autosport) Mark, you said there would be some discussions with the team; does that mean you will be demanding that should this situation arise again, you don’t get cast in the position where you’re the number two?
Q: (Bob Bull – BBC Three Counties Radio) Lewis, once again McLaren seem to have benefitted from the brotherly love within the Red Bull team. Was there a big smile on your face as you went round the first corner in second position, or shortly afterwards? Red Bull gives you wings, it also takes them away again.
LH: Like I said, I just focused on my job. I think I was very quick at the beginning of the race. Regardless, I think I would have a shot at fighting both of them down into Stowe, if Sebastian hadn’t gone off. Funnily enough, we seemed to be quite quick at the beginning of the run, we seemed to be as fast as them, but then obviously (Mark) decided to knuckle down and pull away, but I don’t feel I’ve been fortunate in this situation, I think we’ve just worked hard all weekend and we’ve just worked down to the bone and got absolutely everything we could from ourselves as a team.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Mark, how close was it with Sebastian from the start to the first corner, and secondly, how much of a concern was the restart when Lewis was right behind you?
MW: At the start? Plenty of room, you could drive a bus down the middle. With Lewis, yeah, safety cars are always a concern because it’s an opportunity for something else to happen. There was no real concern, but obviously I had a gap for a reason; that means because I was quick enough to get that gap. I had to start again. There was a little bit of a bonus, as I saw at Monaco, obviously you don’t then come across a lot of the backmarkers if you get a safety car in the middle of the race. You don’t come across as many backmarkers which as the leader is the benefit. Given today and Monaco, it actually sometimes works in your favor a bit. You don’t have to come across all that stuff at the back.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Mark, Eddie Jordan just described this as poetic justice. Is that how it feels to you?
MW: An appointment with karma, is it? Yeah.
Q: (Adam Scriven – Racing Post) Lewis, 18 points on a weekend when the team seemed to struggle is surely a great result for the championship. How confident are you heading into the second half of the season?
LH: Definitely we cannot complain with two second places in the last two races where we really have been on the back foot. The other teams have made a step forward in development and we’re trying to but the component didn’t work this weekend, which should have put us back into a real fighting position with the Red Bulls but no, we couldn’t have asked for more, really, to come into these weekends, knowing that we don’t have the true pure pace of maybe the Ferraris and Red Bulls and sometimes even a Mercedes, to be this far up is… I mean we’re really fortunate.
Q: (Bob McKenzie –The Daily Express) Mark, when something happens like yesterday, are you the sort of guy who wakes up in the morning and thinks ‘I’ll show them’? Does that give you an extra edge when you go into that first corner?
MW: You know I’ve had a few hurdles in my career, even sometimes privately as well. Yeah, how you judge a person’s character is obviously how they come back in a bit of adversity. All drivers have some of that in certain parts of their career if they’ve been around for a while. I’ve obviously maybe had a bit more than others. It can work, but how long is a piece of string? You want to make sure it isn’t constantly happening… I mean the challenges, because otherwise it can sometimes test you a bit too much but if the balance is right, it certainly puts a bit of fuel on the fire.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Nico, your fifth ever podium, was this the most demanding of them all?
NR: Yes, it was demanding, yes. At the beginning I had Alonso behind me. He was very quick and pushing hard with Kubica blocking me in the front, then Jenson with fresher tires behind me for 25 laps or something. It is quite challenging, yes, but in the end they worked alright and Jenson wasn’t able to follow that closely in the high speed (sections), so that helped me out a little bit. I’m happy, it’s a great result.
Q: (Ian Parkes – The Press Association) Lewis, did you honestly believe that you would be sitting here today in this position after everything that had gone on on Friday and then overnight with all the troubles that the team had had in trying to get the car set up for the weekend?
LH: I think this weekend I’ve had an incredible amount of optimism, regardless of when they took the floor away – which I actually thought was… I didn’t actually want to change the floor, I wanted to stay with it but there were a few… the results on the data and all these kind of things. They had to make a team decision to take it off just in case. We didn’t know if it was delivering a little bit less or just about the same. It should have been giving a lot more downforce. It felt good in certain areas for me. I was a bit cautious and a bit nervous about taking it off and then going into Saturday, not knowing just how quick we would be and then on Saturday morning we really were nowhere, we didn’t have the pace of these guys. Like I said, we looked like we would be seventh or eighth but pulled out a stonking qualifying lap and that really changed the whole race situation. And then into the race, my race pace this year has always been strong, so that’s never been a real struggle for me.
Q: (Sean McGreevy – CSMA Magazine) Lewis, you’ve been on pole this year, you’ve won here, you’ve had a great second place here today, almost as good as a win. Personally, what does Silverstone mean to you, all the history and everything that this weekend we’re celebrating as well?
LH: Silverstone is a unique and classic race for me. I think growing up, I never got to come here when I was younger, so it wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I started coming here, and seeing all the great races here, British history. In terms of motor sport, when we say it’s the home of motor sport, it really is. We’ve got so many teams here, so many enthusiasts, so many engineers, people developing the cars in the teams, so many of these pioneers come from the UK and so for me to come from here, being born only an hour and a half away, to come here and see my fellow Brits, have my family here – we have support like nowhere else. What a weekend. I don’t believe any other grand prix puts on as great a show. What were they thinking about when they thought about taking this grand prix away? It’s been amazing, this weekend, probably the best weekend I think I’ve seen them put together in terms of the crowd and how they’ve set up everything, grandstands, and the events around for all the fans. I think the organizers have done a pretty remarkable job, so for me, it’s a real pleasure and honor to represent my country here and again, when you have a race like this you step forward. OK, we didn’t win but I did everything I could and I feel proud of the result we got.
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