1 – Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull)
2 – Mark WEBBER (Red Bull)
3 – Jenson BUTTON (McLaren)
Q: Sebastian, a record 15th pole of the season. Describe your feelings at this historic moment?
Sebastian VETTEL: Yes, it is difficult. I mean there has been quite some talk before the qualifying, before this weekend, about this particular record and the best thing was just not to think about it at all. Yesterday we did have sort of a rough start to the weekend where I wasn’t happy 100 per cent with the balance yet but then I think we made the right choices overnight and again going into qualifying I was happier. Yeah, enjoying the moment, enjoying the laps I had. I was already happy with the first one in Q3 but I knew that there was a bit more to come and, yeah, put everything into the last lap. Very emotional when I crossed the line as I knew that whatever happens this is all I had and I gave it all so I was very pleased with that but then had to wait for quite a long time to see if my time was good enough or not. The names kept popping. My engineer told me Button P2, Mark P2 and then pole position so really special. Different than the other poles I would say. Obviously it took the master in that discipline, Nigel Mansell, a couple of races less but very special to me and now just happy to be here, happy to start at the front tomorrow, and hopefully enjoy the race so looking forward. The weather is going to be a big question mark. We knew that going into the weekend. To be honest it has improved so today was already supposed to be wet, but it was dry, so I think this place is a bit tricky anyway. Special races, special weather. We have seen that the last couple of years so looking forward to tomorrow.
Q: Mark, you were only a tenth away from Sebastian. The margin is very, very tight so can you finish the season with that elusive win?
Mark WEBBER: Yeah, it would be good mate. Today’s qualy went very well. The whole weekend has been pretty strong and it would be nice to keep the heat on Sebastian. Both of us have got the maximum out of the car today. Unfortunately I could not look after Nigel today and get pole, but Seb did a good lap as usual and my lap was pretty good as well to be honest. We both got the best out of the car so looking forward to the race tomorrow.
Q: Jenson, it is very close and tomorrow might thrown up the changeable conditions that you have often thrived in. What are your thoughts on that?
Jenson BUTTON: You know, I think we are all excited about tomorrow. The last race of the year and we want to end on a high. But at the moment I am just enjoying the moment. This is my best qualifying for the last six years and 10 places better, I think, than last year so it’s a good start to the weekend. I always love racing here. It is such a good circuit for racing and really fighting and out of the last corner down into Turn One is very good for overtaking and obviously we have the DRS out of Turn three, so hopefully we can get these two tomorrow. I think whatever happens it has been a great season for us, just not quite good enough. There are a few areas we need to work on and, as I said, hopefully tomorrow we can end this reasonably good season with a high.
Q: Sebastian, now we have had the final qualifying session of the season you can tell us what is the secret. How did you find those few final tenths-of-a-second on that run last run in Q3? All of these guys would love to know and we all want to know too.
SV: Yeah, I don’t know. There is no secret. We had a nice dinner on Wednesday before the weekend here and a couple of the mechanics kept joking ‘where is the bag, where do you keep these couple of tenths for Q3. Do you just take it out?’. It is not that easy to put everything into one lap. All the circuits are different and sometimes you are not so happy but other times you are very happy with what you can do or what you could do in qualifying. Generally this year I think I was able, most of the time, to put everything into that one lap, or final run in Q3. Sometimes you want a little bit more but all in all I was pretty happy with my days on Saturday and we had good Sundays as well so there is no secret. Once we go into qualifying we all seem to enjoy it. I personally love the moment when you go out for your final run. You feel it is different to any practice run, or Q1 and Q2. You are so excited, nervous, as you know that’s the lap. The build-up to it is great and then the lap itself is like a rush so I really enjoy that.
Q: Sebastian, a lot of drivers don’t worry about statistics, don’t worry about records, but this one seems to be very special for you?
SV: Yeah, I don’t really worry going into the race or into the qualifying or into the season. I think you can’t set yourself a target like that. It is a bit hard to believe it now, but I think those sort of numbers in a way they are made for ever and it would be ridiculous going into a season thinking you might be anywhere close at the end of it. As I said, I think it just happens. Many times if you set yourself a target to say I want to achieve this or that or reach a certain number, go for statistics, I think it goes wrong. There was quite some talk already on Thursday. Not from my side, but from the outside and today as well. I think the only way to really get there was not to worry about it and just do our normal job which is trying to do the best we can. I said to myself going into qualifying that I want to make sure I get everything out of the car there is and if someone else beats me then he totally deserves it. I think that is the name of the game every time. Fortunately this year we had quite good Saturdays, also brilliant Sundays, but surely sitting here now and answering these kind of questions is very special.
Q: Have you ever thought how you are in the car? Are you tense” Are you gritting your teeth or are you relatively relaxed?
SV: Good thing you don’t see our faces! I think sometimes you would be surprised. Not really, you don’t really think about yourself. Qualifying is all about putting everything you have and the car has in one lap. Sometime sacrifice a bit here to get more at the next corner or the next sector. I think you have to be awake for sure. Even if sometimes things go a little bit wrong in one corner, I think you straight away have to move onto the next corner. I just love the build-up to qualifying. Q1 and Q2, you know that the most important thing is to get through. Of course, you would like to be fastest in the session but then Q3 is really when you feel the excitement and you are getting tense and nervous at the same time. When the lap happens you don’t really think, you just got for it and try to get more and more. Fortunately it has worked out pretty often, but you are also very close to doing mistakes, which happens if you push yourself on the limit over the limit. It is natural, it happens to all of us.
Q: You said you needed to take another step from yesterday and the team seemed to have delivered. Was that fairly easy to work out where that speed was coming from?
SV: Not really. The start to the weekend, yesterday morning, was a bit rough. It wasn’t bad, but just I wasn’t happy with the car, myself, balance, and just everything did not come together and we made a reasonable step overnight. The guys on the car worked pretty long last night so really thanks for that and the engineers, especially my engineer Timmy (Maylon) he pushed very hard and I think he didn’t get a lot of sleep and he is responsible for a big part of the car improving so much. I think it was more what I was used to having in previous races straight from this morning and then we fine-tuned a little bit and then in qualifying there is not much you can do. We just tried to get a little bit better every run, tried to go with the track and see what we could do.
Q: Mark, you have won from second on the grid here and here you are, second on the grid again.
MW: Yeah, it was a good qualifying session, all in all, very tight at the end of Q3 there between most of us. Seb just had that extra tenth to grab the pole, so disappointing (for me). I tried to help old Nigel (Mansell) out today but it didn’t work out, so a good lap for Seb. In the end, I’m happy to be at the front for the start of the race tomorrow.
Q: What were the conditions like; you said they were pretty difficult yesterday?
MW: Yes, I think because of the track temperature, also pretty windy. When the track is around 50 degrees, it’s challenging for the car balance, how the tyres behave, all that sort of stuff. It’s the same for everybody and today wasn’t too dissimilar. Obviously by qualifying the temperature had dropped, with a bit of cloud cover and in the end – we’ve always been towards the front this weekend – it was obviously just a question of who was going to get pole. Obviously with the run that Seb’s had, obviously it takes a big arm-wrestle to get it off him. I was close, but not quite close enough.
Q: Well, you got your own trophy yesterday for fastest laps.
MW: Yes, it was nice of DHL, I must say. It was a lot better than a lot of the trophies we get on the podium; a lot of them on the podium are quite boring but there was a bit of imagination to that one, so it was quite a nice trophy and also a beautiful Rolex, so that was nice. So thanks to DHL for that and yeah, it was good.
Q: What are you looking for from tomorrow – obviously a win but second in the championship as well?
MW: I’m not overly bothered by that. It would be nice, of course, and if you had a choice, you would always take second over fourth, fifth, sixth or whatever. JB’s had a great season, so has Fernando, given the car that he’s got, so all in all, yes, leave me tomorrow with a win, obviously. If it’s in the fence, it’s in the fence, but a win would be nice.
Q: Jenson, you said yesterday that you were having problems with the option, the softer tyre. Did you get over that today?
JB: Yeah, quite a bit. I still feel that I was quicker on the prime, didn’t quite have the balance in Q2 on the softer of the two tyres but made a few little adjustments for Q3 and I feel that we did the best with the car. I think the set-up was as good as we were going to get it for Q3. The lap was pretty ragged for me, but I got everything out of it, I think, so an enjoyable lap, I thought I was going to be further up the grid than I was, but it just shows you how good a job these two did and obviously their cars are working alright as well. So yeah, good day and much better than Saturday last year, and I think tomorrow’s going to be a very interesting race. There’s a good chance of rain, I’ve seen that these guys have a very slow end-of-straight speed so I’m guessing it’s a bit of downforce and a bit of something else which is going to help them tomorrow, but we are where we are and we’ve just got to hope that our car works well in the wet. It’s worked pretty well so far this year.
Q: I think the last time you wore that driving suit was pretty lucky, wasn’t it?
JB: Yeah, this is my flower power suit, gives me a little extra push around the circuit, especially when it’s wet, the flowers grow. I have good memories of Hungary