1 – Fernando ALONSO (Ferrari)
2 – Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull Racing)
3 – Jenson BUTTON (McLaren)
PODIUM INTERVIEWS (by Niki Lauda)
Congratulations Fernando, your third win, what go you think of a Spaniard in an Italian car, to win the German Grand Prix in front of all these German people here?
Fernando ALONSO: OK, so I’m not a fan of politics so much but it is true that the situation is not great in Spain but it fun to drive an Italian car – designed by a Greek man – it’s good to win here. But, we enjoyed the race. We were competitive yesterday in wet conditions and today, starting on pole was, I think, the key factor, because it was difficult to overtake. We were maybe not the fastest but we keep the position.
Sebastian, I have a difficult question. First of all you are second, congratulations, but I know that the stewards are looking because Jenson wasn’t very happy with the way you passed him. So, what do you think about it?
Sebastian VETTEL: Well, he didn’t say anything to me, so… he didn’t complain to me so… it was a difficult one, I wasn’t sure whether he was still on the inside or not and obviously the last thing you want to do is make contact, so, yeah, because at the angle he’s side by side but not really and I can’t see him from the inside of the car, so I tried to give enough room and then went wide and obviously we’re all struggling with our tyres, Jenson in particular, and that’s how I was able to get close and pass him.
Congratulations Jenson, congratulations being third. Quick comment on the pass from Sebastian. Happy about it?
Jenson BUTTON: Well, first of all I want to say thank you to the crowd. It’s amazing to see so many people here in the paddock. I had a great race out there. It’s nice to be fighting at the front again. It’s been a little while. But I had a great race and I don’t wish to comment at the moment on the manoeuvre at Turn Six.
Fernando, well done, you were under pressure the whole time, I think the biggest lead you had was two seconds. How tough a race was it?
FA: It was tough, definitely, I don’t think it was an easy race because maybe we were not the quickest on dry conditions. But we were quite competitive, enough to maintain the lead. Also it was some good calls by the team in terms of strategy in the first stop and then obviously in the second stop when Jenson pits, we have to react, Sebastian and me, and up to that point I knew it was a long race, 27 laps to the end with Jenson putting a lot of pressure, but I don’t know, the car was feeling good, feeling good on traction and top speed, so it was enough to keep the lead into Turn Six. And then after that it is not possible to overtake in the last sector, so you try to control the tyres and, a little bit the race.
How much of a mystery where the tyres?
FA: It was a question mark, I think, for everybody because we didn’t test on Friday enough laps to understand the tyres, also last year it was at the Nürburgring so the first time for Pirelli in this asphalt. The predictions, more or less, were right; we were thinking to do two stops and at the end it was two stops. The lap, I think, it very flexible. It depends on when the others stop, especially if you are in the lead, because you just need to cover them. But yeah, it was not big surprises, degradation was quite low, as suspected and it was fine.
Looking back at the last couple of races, and this one now as well, what are you feeling about next weekend?
FA: Well, it’s going to be tight again. It’s a very short circuit in Hungary again, and as we saw this year, in two- or three-tenths there are eight, nine cars. In Hungary we need to make a perfect preparation again, a perfect qualifying, because you can be starting in 12th or 13th if you make a little mistake, so we need to approach the race in the same way we did the last couple of races, try to maximise what we have in Hungary and hopefully bring in some new parts that can help us in that circuit.
It’s a circuit where you have a little history, I think your first win there?
Is it a circuit that will also suit Ferrari?
FA: I think so. I think at the moment the car seems OK in all areas, there is not weak points, as maybe we had at the beginning of the season, that we were suffering a little bit on traction and top speed. Now I think that we are OK on that. In Hungary I think with these slow speed corners, traction etc., I don’t see any problem with the car and we should be competitive there.
Sebastian, you got very close to Fernando and then there was Lewis Hamilton in there as well. How much did that upset the rhythm of things?
SV: That was not nice of him. I don’t see the point why he’s trying to race us. If he wants to go fast he can drop back, find a gap and go fast there. But it’s a bit stupid to disturb the leaders. He was a lap down so I don’t see the point anyways. I think that potentially lost us the position to Jenson. Because soon after that we pitted, I think only two or three laps after that. So yeah, I think all in all the pace was there but it was extremely difficult once we were close to Fernando, and also in the end closer to Jenson. We seemed to lose quite a lot and not stay close enough to really try something for the following corner or to get close at the straights to try something under braking, so that seemed to be the problem. Yeah, so… ah, not entirely happy. I think we could have been a little bit better in clean air if we would have, yeah, been in clean air for most of the race. But that wasn’t the case, so all in all I think we did a good race, especially a good recovery at the end, looking after the tyres and getting past Jenson. It was more a less a question of when to pass him as his tyres were is quite poor shape and he was struggling a lot. So happy to take second in the end.
You needed a little bit of extra circuit as well to do it…
SV: Yeah, obviously I tried to out-brake him, then he released the brake a little bit so he was at the inside and I wasn’t sure if he had given up the corner or not. I was thinking ‘he’s fighting for the position’, so I didn’t… I was thinking ‘he’s still there’, which I think he was, and I didn’t want to close and turn in too early, I wanted to leave him some space and obviously it’s difficult to know at that time where exactly he is, so the last thing you want with two laps to go, or one lap to go is to have a crash in both of our positions. So then I decided to go off the circuit to make it safe for both of us. As it turned out his rear tyres had no traction so even on the paint, which is quite a lot more slippery than the asphalt, I was able to stay ahead. Then it was very close braking for Turn Eight, but I was able to stay ahead.
Jenson, what was your version of those events?
JB: There’s nothing to say really, I think the TV cameras say it all. I’d rather talk about the race. For me it was a real fun race and I really enjoyed the race. I couldn’t quite challenge Fernando in the last stint. When you’re in the middle of three people, you really have to push, because you have to watch out for the guy behind and you’re obviously trying to get past the guy in front. So I was probably pushing more than these two in the early part of the first stint but I had to, to try and get past Fernando and then when you’re in the lead you can cruise it on the places where you can’t get overtaking and obviously you have good tyres for the exit before DRS. So, it was a tricky situation but we thought it was best to go aggressive, which we did, but it was just one or two laps really.
And you were getting so close to Fernando as well?
JB: Yeah it was really close. But Fernando knows exactly, as we all do, how to use KERS to keep someone behind you, not just in the DRS zone but in other areas around the lap. I just ran out of steam at the end of the straight. It was a little big too big, the gap, to get past. I’m a little but disappointed with that but all in all a fun race and I really enjoyed racing out there today. It’s nice to be back on the podium and to get some good points. In the last couple of races, as I’ve said, I’ve been very happy with the car – the balance of the car anyway – and my feeling with it, he confidence. The results haven’t been there because the pace hasn’t been there with the car. This race gives me a lot of confidence and I’m very happy with being up here. I have to say thanks to the guys for bringing good updates here. We’re there or thereabouts at the front. Still a little bit more to go maybe. Also big thanks for the pits stops. The second pit stop was phenomenally quick and that’s what put us in the fight for the win.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Adrian Huber – Agencia EFE) Fernando, it looks like a perfect weekend; yesterday you set your 22nd pole and today it’s your 30th victory in Formula One. Did you really expect this much? And secondly, although there is still half of the championship to go, do you think the team and yourself have established the basis for your third world title?
FA: I think before coming here we were not sure about the performance of the car. It’s true that we were OK in Valencia, but Red Bull was quicker than anybody there but we took advantage of the mechanical problem that Sebastian had in Valencia and we won the race there. In Silverstone we were OK in wet conditions but a little bit slower than Red Bull in dry conditions and Mark won the race and he deserved it, because he was the quickest. Yesterday, OK, we set pole in wet conditions again which seems to suit our car but in the dry, we again saw that we are still not the quickest. Sebastian and Jenson put a lot of pressure on us, also Hamilton was extremely quick but he had some problems in the race. It’s halfway through the season; we made a very good recovery when you think of where we started in the Jerez test where we were maybe two seconds off the pace. In Australia we were 1.6s in Q2 and now we are very happy with the points that we have achieved in the first half but it means nothing, because there are still another ten races in which we need to improve the car. We need to be consistent and we need to keep finishing all the races. One or two drivers always don’t finish the race because of mechanical problems or incidents or something, so we need to avoid these problems.
Q: (Vincent Marre – Sport Zeitung ) Fernando, don’t you think it was risky to fight Hamilton as he was already lapped? You could have lost the race, because you lost some seconds.
FA: For me, yes, I didn’t feel any risk to be honest. I knew that if Lewis was close enough and using the DRS and trying to overtake, going for it, I had a problem to leave the space and I knew that he was not in the race, so we didn’t want to risk anything. For me, it was a good position to have Hamilton between me and Sebastian because we were approaching the pit stop time and having Hamilton there meant that Hamilton was around a second behind you and Sebastian was another second or 1.5s behind Lewis, so this 2.5s to Sebastian was very good, approaching the pit stop time so I tried to keep Lewis behind.
Q: (Vincent Marre – Sport Zeitung ) Sebastian, you were waving your hands at Hamilton; as you just said, you were upset about this. Do you think the rules should be changed, that someone who has been lapped should not be allowed to fight in the race?
SV: I think I’ve said it before, I don’t think we need a different rule. As I said, if you want to go quick and you’re a lap down and there’s no chance to win the race any more, I think you should respect that and use common sense so I don’t think we need a rule. I think everyone is aware. As I said, to be honest I didn’t expect him to attack because I didn’t see the point, and then I was surprised when he was side-by-side and lost quite a bit. For Fernando it was quite welcome, I think. He didn’t mind. Then later on I saw that he was defending against Lewis so obviously he knew that as soon as he gets passed by Lewis he will lose some time, so he tried to avoid that, especially as we were approaching the pit stops.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Jenson, at the beginning of the last stint you flat-spotted the right front; was that a problem for the rest of the race?
JB: No, it gave me a little bit of a headache, but that was about it. It was unusual. I guess they just weren’t up to temperature when I hit the brakes that time. We’ve been very good with front-locking in this race. Normally it’s a big issue with the McLaren. In testing we had big issues with front locking. We did some set-up work and we’ve solved a lot of that, which is great for us. It makes a big big difference having confidence when you hit the brakes, but that was just a one-off time. It did give me vibration but it didn’t continuously lock up because of the vibration which was positive.
Q: (Marc Ellerich – Sport 1.de) Sebastian, how frightening was the news in the morning that Red Bull was under inspection by the FIA?
SV: I had the answers on the grid. Our car was on the grid and not in the pit lane so I guess it was fine. There wasn’t much I could do, could I, so as I said, as soon as we got the message that it was fine, which I think we were convinced of, then there was no more need to spend any energy thinking about that.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Fernando, at the end of the race were you confident that you could keep the pace and not suffer a repeat of Silverstone when you lost the race in the last six laps?
FA: Yeah, I was more confident. At Silverstone, the problem was that we were with different tyres so we knew that in the last stint we would have a tough time coming because we were forced to put on the option tyre which we thought was the less performing tyre and for sure Webber was a little bit quicker on that. The stint here… stopping on the same lap as the others and putting on the same type of tyre, I was much more confident.
Q: (Marc Ellerich – Sport 1.de) Sebastian, which feeling is stronger: not breaking your July spell in Germany or the happiness about your second place?
SV: Well, as I said, unfortunately there was never really a chance to start a manoeuvre to try to overtake. I think if I was close enough I would have tried for sure, because the target was to win, just as at all the other races, but we didn’t have the chance, so, as I mentioned, in some phases of the race, we were quite competitive and very quick, I think quicker than Fernando. I was able to close the gap but then, yeah, not enough to get close enough. I think second place was the maximum we could get today, so I’m very happy with that. It was nice to be on the podium. It’s my home Grand Prix and yeah, nice to see the fans and give something back.