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GP Week : Issue 118
Monaco provided a range of strategies and was headed for a cliff-hanger with six laps to go. The three combatants had some interesting things to say post-race ... 5 Minutes with ... Seb, Fernando and Jenson Seb, can you just tell us what happened during that first pit-stop? Vettel: I don’t know. I came in. Everything seemed to be okay and I was ready to go out again. Looked at the front right and the wheel wasn’t there! Then all the mechanics were rushing to bring the front-right wheel. Yeah, so I lost probably two or three seconds. At that moment you don’t count but surely that cost us the lead at that stage. Jenson had a very good out-lap on a new set of super softs and after that he was pulling away like craz y. Do you feel you were a bit lucky yesterday with what happened as the session was also stopped yesterday and also given that you had a bad pit-stop today? Vettel: Yeah, I think in the end of the day if there would have been no Safety Car it would have been difficult to beat Jenson, as he was so far ahead, but there was a Safety Car. Same yesterday. We had our plan. We wanted to go out twice in final qualifying. I think we set a very competitive lap time which brought us pole position. Then we started the race today. Either way it can help you a little bit or penalise you around here. Today, fortunately, it did not penalise us but I think the race we had was not an easy one, doing around 60 laps on one set of primes. I think it is something not many people did. Fernando, your feelings about second place? Alonso: Fantastic. We started fourth and it is the best result of the year for us. We were third in Turkey and now second here, so definitely a good weekend for us. We were quick on Thursday and quick in qualifying and now in the race. It was okay for us. I think as Seb said, Safety Car always plays a big part. In the first Safety Car we were very lucky as, if not, Jenson maybe was on his way to victory so for us only third place was possible. We gained one position with the first Safety Car and maybe we lost the victory in the second and the red flag. I really think in the last nine laps the tyres from the Red Bull was struggling a lot, especially in the last part of the circuit and the middle part, so I had two places already in mind for the last lap. So you were really going to have a go at him, were you? Alonso: Of course, yes. There is nothing to lose for me. I am not leading the championship so I will try to win the race and if we crash we crash! Jenson, are you feeling just a little bit unlucky then? Button: I don’t know if you can call it unlucky. We went for the strategy wedidandonlap16oftheracewe thought it was the right strategy and for many laps after. We were pulling such a lead, even through traffic. To be able to pull away from these guys was great and the car felt good and I thought it was going to continue that way. But with the Safety Car it mixed things up a little bit and in hindsight you would say maybe we should have put the hard tyre on, the prime tyre, when the Safety Car came out. But at that moment in time the Safety Car hadn’t come out when I made my stop and it happened the next lap. It just did not go our way today. It is disappointing as we did not put a foot wrong, it was just the way it went as it does in Monaco. It was fun. I still enjoyed the race, especially trying to pull the gap on these guys and then chasing Fernando and Sebastian down at the end. It was good fun watching as when you are the third car it is very difficult to overtake as the car in second has DRS as well. Watching these guys tussle was great fun. I was waiting for the move. It was either going to come off or they were both going into the barriers and I was waiting for it. But it didn’t come. How did you each rate your chances to finish first in the race before the red flag? Button: Me, personally, pretty high, not through overtaking but through watching these two fight it out. It looked like they were going to end up in the barriers. This is a big race to win, and as Fernando said, we’ve got less to lose than this guy who’s leading the championship by quite a few points. But it was an interesting battle to watch, just waiting for the moment to try and have ago. Fernando, I ’m sure, was filling Sebastian’s mirrors and he got very close a couple of times into turn one, and into the last corner, so you don’t know. Anything could have happened over those 10 laps that we would have had if we hadn’t had the Safety Car. Vettel: Well, to be honest, I was pretty confident. Yes, I didn’t have the freshest set of tyres left I know, but I thought I would have another six laps in them at least. It would have been close because yes, they were coming closer and my rear tyres were not getting better, but ideally I think their tyres were not getting better so I think I had quite a good chance to stay where I was – depending on how much risk Fernando was ready to take. Alonso: 33.3 per cent chance of winning the lottery. Fernando, you said that you had a plan to overtake Sebastian at two spots. Where were they, and Sebastian, did you use the KERS only at the beginning of the pit straight to defend yourself, or elsewhere as well, to keep Fernando behind? Alonso: Well, for me I think the two long straights were a possibility or the only possibility in fact: after the tunnel and Turn One. Vettel: It was my job to make use of the KERS, and I knew that those two places would be the ones where Fernando has the biggest chance to get close or try something under braking so I was trying to spend most of the KERS in those areas. 18