McLaren men vow to attack in Brazil
Lewis Hamilton admits winning the World title will be "tough" but the McLaren driver insists he's up to the challenge...
Q: How bad were the conditions during the early part of the race when the race was at its wettest?
LH: "During the first start behind the Safety Car, it was pretty tricky - mainly because visibility was so limited. There didn't seem to be too much rain, but there was a lot of water in the air, and that meant that the spray was pretty intense. You couldn't see much in front of you, so it was a good move to red-flag the event.
"But when we restarted again behind the Safety Car, I didn't think conditions were too bad. We've had some pretty full-on wet races over the last couple of years - Fuji 2007, Silverstone '08 - and I think the conditions in Korea were definitely comparable to those. That's why I wanted to go racing.
"Actually, the strangest conditions were at the very end of the race, when it started to get darker, which was another challenge - and something that you're not used to as a Formula 1 driver. I actually think the race organizers got it just right: yes, the light was fading towards the very end of the race, but I think it would have been a controversial decision to stop the race before full-distance, as it could have potentially favored one team or driver over another. And, as we saw, the light levels dropped really sharply once we'd got out of the cars, so I think we got it just right."
Q: You ran wide at the first corner after the restart, losing a place to Fernando Alonso - if you'd kept the position, do you think you'd have been able to win the race?
LH: "I think it would have been extremely difficult. For the whole race, I was struggling with grip, and having trouble getting the car slowed down without locking the fronts. And that's why I ran wide at the exit of Turn One - just because it was so difficult to get the car slowed for the corner. That's where Fernando passed me, but I really think it would only have been a matter of time before he'd been able to get through anyway.
"We had pretty decent pace through sectors one and two, but the car wasn't fast enough through the final sector, where I was losing a couple of tenths, so I think I'd have been a sitting duck along the pits straight going into the first corner. So I don't think it would have changed the overall result.
"Also, in the closing laps, my tires started falling away really sharply and my lap times just plummeted, it was so hard to keep the car on the track. So I'm pleased with those 18 points for P2 - I could have done with seven more points for the win, but I'm happy with what I got."
Q: As you say, taking home those 18 points means that you're now up to third in the drivers' championship, 21 points behind the leader. Are you still in the title fight?
LH: "Absolutely. It's going to be tough - we saw again in Korea that we've probably only got the third-fastest car, so we're probably not the favorites - but that's okay.
"We're bringing new parts to the car all the time, and I know we'll have some more upgrades in Brazil - whether that will be enough, we need to wait and see. But I'm going to enjoy pushing - I've had some good races in Brazil, it's a place where you can really make a charge work, so I go there feeling very optimistic and hopeful of another good showing.
"At this stage, the aim has to be to go to Abu Dhabi with a mathematical possibility of winning the title. As we've seen so many times before, anything can happen at the final race, so Brazil will be all about prolonging the challenge and then maximizing everything for Abu Dhabi.
"Of course, it would be nice to take a win at Interlagos, but we're taking it all one step at a time at the moment."
Reigning World Champ Jenson Button reviews his Korean GP and admits the World title is now a 'long shot'...
Q: Was there one particular reason why your Korean GP didn't pan out as you'd expected?
JB: "Not really. There were a number of issues - it started to go wrong on Saturday afternoon in qualifying when the temperatures dropped and I just didn't feel as comfortable working the tires as I'd felt during practice. Suddenly, the car just didn't feel as confidence-inspiring as it had on Friday - it was much harder to find the limit, and I was struggling with nervousness and wheel-locking. In fact, I was quite surprised to qualify seventh, because I certainly didn't feel comfortable with the car's pace during Q3."
"The race was an extension of that, really. I just had no grip: the brakes were locking at every corner. I wore through the Extreme Wets pretty quickly - it might've looked like a strategic call to make an early switch to Inters, but it was borne out of necessity really."
"And that set the pattern for the rest of the race. I lost out badly when everybody else pitted during the Safety Car period, and I just didn't have the pace from then until the end of the race to be able to challenge the cars in front of me."
"On paper, 12th looks like a pretty shocking result - but it was actually a pretty good reflection of the pace we had on Sunday afternoon..."
Q: You're 42 points off the championship lead. There's 50 points on the table - is it the longest of long-shots, or do you think it's effectively over for your title hopes?
JB: "I've always said that I will fight until it's mathematically impossible. Sure, looking at it written down on paper, you've got to admit it's a long-shot - but I'd regret it for the rest of my life if I chose not to go for it, and then circumstances transpired to give me a full run at the title."
"So, for me, the situation's the same: I'll be fighting until it's no longer possible for me. In Formula 1, you just never know - it's totally possible that I could win at Interlagos, take home maximum points and have none of the other title contenders finish. If it's another wet race, that could easily happen."
"Basically, you learn early on in this sport that it's not over until it's over."
Q: Do you think Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has enough performance in the car to challenge Red Bull Racing and Ferrari
JB: "Our performance has been a little bit up and down recently. We nearly had the pace to win in Monza, we looked faster than the Red Bulls in Singapore, and our race pace was very good at Suzuka. So it's difficult to say precisely where we are. In Korea, we looked extremely quick during all the practice sessions, only to see that pace narrow in qualifying and the race. So I think we have every reason to still feel optimistic.
"For Brazil, we're bringing more updates to the car. That's something that's always impressed me about this team - the pace of development is just incessant, and everybody is so determined to make the car faster. We're always trying out new parts, and making changes. We haven't backed off the development stream just yet, so, once again, we're hopeful of another step forward in performance for Brazil."
"It's a track that should suit us, so I'm already looking forward to it."