Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari),2 – Charles LECLERC (Ferrari) and Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing) (Photo by FIA)Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari), Charles LECLERC (Ferrari) and Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing)

Q: Charles, congratulations, second place. A good result for you but it was decided on strategy. Tell us how surprised were you when you saw that Seb had pitted?

CL: I was surprised because obviously I was not aware in the car, but I guess if this decision has been made it was for the good of the team and it had to be the only way for us to do a one-two. So if it’s the case I completely understand it, but obviously from the car it’s very frustrating. So not completely happy but yeah, anyway the overall result of the weekend is very positive. We hoped for at least one car on the podium for this weekend and we go back home with a one-two, which we definitely did not expect on a track like this. So this is very positive.

Q: You’ve said already that you’re going to come back stronger. What have you learned today?

CL: Well, to be honest, today I don’t think I could have done much things better or differently. Yeah, the only thing probably is I will ask a bit more about the strategy around me and who is not, because I was not aware, so I don’t know if I should have pushed a bit earlier during my first stint. I don’t know, we have plenty of data anyway and I will analyse it.

Q: Max, great result for you to come home ahead of both Mercedes. Is there anything you could have done differently to have beaten one of the red cars?

MV: No. (Laughs). It’s very simple. I could make it a huge story, but no.

Q: So you’re satisfied that was as a good as it was going to be. After qualifying you said the performance wasn’t good enough. Was the car better today?

MV: It was a bit better. I think in the race I could follow, a bit. I was not in a position to attack but at least I could follow the cars ahead of me around, they never really pulled away. Of course initially it was all about tyre management anyway, so I was driving really slowly. I think we pitted at the right time, undercut Lewis, that was very positive and from there onwards it was just about staying alert with the safety car re-starts as well, but I think we managed everything quite well and I think for us after the difficulties we had in qualifying it was still good to be on the podium.


Q: (Frédéric Ferret – l’Equipe) A question to Charles. In the morning briefing for the strategy, was there a plan where the second would go undercut or the first?

CL: No, we didn’t speak about that plan so I think that will be one of the discussions too to try and understand why we didn’t speak about that situation before. But it’s impossible to go through all the possibilities in a race, all of them are unique but no, we didn’t speak about this particular situation.

Q: (Laurence Edmondson – ESPN) Charles, you said that you didn’t know that Seb had pitted. Do you think had you known that, you had the pace in the car at that time to push that little bit harder on your in-lap and make the difference and come back out on track ahead of Seb?

CL: At that time obviously the tyres were quite dead but probably before I had quite a lot of margin. In the first few laps, obviously we wanted to go as slow as we possibly could for the guys behind to not have the window to pit. So yeah, in that period I could have done a much better job but I stick to the plan and I think that’s what helped us to do one-two today – so yeah, you can always do something better but at the end I stick to the plan.

Q: Sebastian Vettel, your fifth win here in Singapore. Welcome back to the middle seat. It’s been a while. What is your overriding emotion right now?

SV: Happy! Obviously it’s been a good night. I knew that it would be tricky from where we started. I was trying to push as hard as I can at the start. It was very close with Lewis, very fair but very close, so I couldn’t really get ahead of him. And then I knew that, usually the races around here start very slow, and I knew that Charles would probably take it easy to control the race, which he did. Back in the train obviously it’s not so easy to stay close to the car in front, looking after your tyres, so that’s what I tried to do, to be able to stay with them as much as I could once they were picking up the pace. And I knew before the race that, as soon as I get my call to box, that’s when I can try to make something with this race. So that’s what I tried to do. It was very late, just last corner before the pit entry. I pushed as hard as I could on the out-lap. I think I was surprised Lewis didn’t react the lap after – but also surprised that they had such strong pace for a couple of laps. So we obviously had to clear them, and once that was done I really tried to slice through traffic as good as I could to have a bit of a cushion and maybe control the race from there. Didn’t work when the Safety Cars came but yeah, So I think the overriding emotion right now is just happy with how the night went.

Q: (Lennart Wermke – Bild) First of all congratulations Seb, it’s been a while. You were referring to some messages that you get by fans that cheered you up, directly after the race. Can you tell us what kind of messages those were and, as you’re not on social media, how did they even receive you? Did they write letters to your house or how exactly did you get the messages?

SV: There’s still a way, y’know? Obviously people were able to send messages before social media, even if that’s very difficult to imagine for some people today. A lot of little notes, handwritten letters, which… obviously if people make the effort to write something, when you find a bit of time in the evenings to go through, it’s really encouraging I have to say. Years ago, y’know, when you start its very difficult to imagine that people follow you and these kind of things but recent years, especially here, especially in Asia, I have a lot of support, a lot of fans that come over and over again. As I said, I just got a lot of energy in the last couple of weeks, just from messages that I received from the racing world, from people that I know, from a long time ago but especially fans. After Monza, and then coming here, so, as I said, people sharing their own story of when things are up and when things go down which obviously… for us everything is centred around racing but really it’s not the most important thing and, when you read through some of the notes and people’s struggles in life, some very intimate and private, you know it gets to you. It gave me a lot of belief and confidence to just keep trying. Obviously nothing was wrong in the last couple of weeks. I knew that we weren’t really far away from a breakthrough moment, sort of, but surely, you know Charles has been very strong and was right to win the last two races – but I knew on our side that we just need to keep doing our job and sooner or later things will fall in to place. So obviously I’m happy that it was rather sooner than later.

Q: (Cezary Gutowski – Przegląd Sportowy) Question to Charles. How difficult was it to keep your nerve in the car – because we heard lots of radio communications, lots of emotions. How tough was it to continue?

CL: Obviously I think during the Safety Car I was quite often on the radio. But then as soon as the Safety Car went away I focussed on the job and tried to do the best of my race. Of course, in the car it’s frustrating and then as soon as I thought a little bit more of the situation after it, then you see the things maybe a bit differently. Even though I still need some explanations just to understand fully why this decision was taken. But yeah, of course it’s always frustrating in the car because you only see your situation and you don’t see everything else.

Q: (Luke Smith – Sebastian, congratulations. To get the result after so many questions about your form and the slump that you’ve had, how satisfying does it feel to hit back and, I guess, answer your critics?

SV: Maybe less satisfying than you think. As I said about form and stuff, I don’t think there was anything wrong. So it wasn’t like we were lacking speed or anything. I think it’s much… I think I could have done a better job yesterday. Obviously recently, I think there was nothing wrong in general. Things weren’t maybe falling in place, plus obviously I messed up in the race in Monza, that’s my mistake, otherwise I think I… you know, it’s a long race and a lot of things could happen. But yeah, overall, it’s part of the game. I’ve been around now for a long, long time and yeah, it’s just how the tide turns sometimes. I have the highest expectation on myself and I’m not happy when I’m not delivering what I know I can. Certainly I had moments this year when I was struggling to just get it out. So, I know that I can improve from there, so I can’t be happy with that – but yeah, equally I know that it wasn’t as bad or disastrous as maybe then people put it together. So, I think if you’ve been around for such a long time and you’ve had so many good moments then obviously you get hammered when there are bad moments. I think that’s just part of the game.

Q: Sebastian, is there a sense of relief this evening?

SV: I’ve had that question now a couple of times. Not… yes in a way maybe it kicks in a bit later but yeah, maybe just a confirmation that if you keep doing what you do… moments where you know that things are wrong and you need to make changes but lately I didn't feel that any big changes are necessary. In that regarding it’s a confirmation but it’s not like ‘finally I can breathe again’. It’s not like I felt in a wrong and bad place. I knew that I have to pull through and go through it myself. So, yeah…

Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawke’s Bay Today) Sebastian, this time you don’t need to change around the number one and two signs although Charles might differ on that. But just building on from that, was this a team victory or more like a personal victory for you?

SV: I think you are very misled if you ever think that you are bigger than this team. I don’t think any individual can be bigger than this team. I said on the radio, the first thing is obviously this is a victory for the team because if you look at the hard facts then we came here after we got completely destroyed in Hungary. We had a minute gap between the leaders, the winners and us and coming here, similar track at least in terms of car specification, to be in a position where we were able to fight for pole yesterday and take control of the race, that’s a team success, as I said on the radio and that’s what I honestly feel. So of course you’re looking after your own race and for yourself but I think nothing can beat this team. I was very down after Monza for myself but up for the team and obviously today I’m a bit more up for myself but still very up for the team, as I said, because it was also a very positive surprise with how we were able to be more competitive here. Having said that, I think we still can do better; we must do better. Mercedes was very strong on the used set of softs once we all came in. I don’t think we had that pace in hand so there are still things we can look at.

Q: (Erik van Haren – De Telegraaf) Max, what is your overall conclusion after this weekend, your overall feeling? Quite happy about today or more of the disappointment of yesterday?

MV: Not good enough. We came here to win and clearly didn’t. Yesterday I think was worse than today but I would say it’s a little wake-up call. From Austrian onwards, it’s maybe our worst race in terms of performance, where we expected to be really good. I have a few ideas why it went wrong so we will analyse all of them and see if we can already be better in Sochi. The layout is not that amazing for us but you can clearly see if the car is working through corners or not. I think here, clearly, in too many corners the car was not working like I wanted it to. We’ll go home and see what we can do better.

Q: (Tony Dodgins – Channel 4) Charles, obviously the strategy with Seb made sense with Lewis there but once you were running one-two at the front, did you anticipate that the team might swap you back round again, as we’ve seen at other races and was that discussed on the radio?

CL: No, that wasn’t discussed on the radio. I just waited for the decision of the team, whether they thought it was the thing to do or not, but it didn’t happen. I didn’t expect anything, I just focused on the job I had to do and then waiting for them to say anything, if they had to say anything.

Q: (David Coath – Max, after the third safety car, obviously Lewis was in the DRS zone. What do you feel was the key to keeping him behind as he finished 0.7s behind you?

MV: Yeah, he was pushing hard. My tyres were going off a little bit but I think it’s quite normal. His tyres were seven or eight laps better than mine and with seven laps to go I didn’t have any problems so it really started to be with four laps to go and then you could see he was closing in so I just had to make sure I had good exits out of some crucial corners where I knew he was going to be quick. We managed to do that. I guess the people in the garage were a bit more nervous. I was just focusing on getting good exits.

Q: (Oliver Davies – sportskeeda) Sebastian, it’s just been over 391 days since your last victory in F1, roughly, but specific. How do you rank this win out of your victories in F1, because you’ve had a bit of a long wait to get back at the top?

SV: I don’t know, to be honest. Obviously I’m in a very, very lucky position to look back on so many but you always look forward to the next one. Obviously it took a while but as I said, I’m not happy if there are chances that I don’t take and obviously there were some chances, well deserved by Charles, the last weeks. Things that I should have done, could have done better but you always look forward to the next one so I’m happy for today but fairly quickly you turn the page and you want to do better the next race. It’s been like this since I started and still like this. One day maybe it’s not like this any more and then maybe it’s time to do something different, I don’t know.

Q: (Wojciech Paprota – Seb, Charles, over the last couple of minutes you said that so many things have not been discussed within the team. How would you describe the level of internal communication within the team? Is it fine, is it not perfect; how would you describe it?

CL: I think the level of how much we speak in the team is very good. Then there will always be situations that you don’t speak about, otherwise the meetings will be eight hours longer and I don’t want that. They’re already very long. I think it’s very good, the way we work but again, there will always be situations you don’t speak of.

SV: Obviously we try to speak about things in the race etc, what can happen and so on. As you might imagine, you try to get on with your job in the car but as I said previously as well, I think it’s an exception team and the team stands first. I think we aware of that.

Q: (Alex Garcia – Question to both Ferrari guys: it’s the first time since 2008 that Ferrari has won three races in a row on different tracks and we know that Singapore has a tendency to throw up the odd result but what are the implications for Ferrari coming back to the pace that you didn’t have maybe at the start of the season?

SV: Well, I’ve been around for a while now with Ferrari and I think there’s only one way for Ferrari to be back which is when we win the championship. That’s a very harsh judgement but that’s what it is, that’s the reality. We’re working very hard on that. I think this year will be very, very difficult to turn things around with the current form that Mercedes has for the last 15 races or 14 races that we did now, but we keep fighting because anything we learn this year will help us next year, so the bits we brought here obviously are positive in terms of also looking to next year’s direction, development etc. But we need more, obviously we want to be the best team, which currently we are not. The last races have been good for us so that’s great for our self confidence inside the team for everyone, but there’s still a lot of work ahead of us.

CL: I really hope so. It will be difficult because I’m pretty sure that the other teams will bring some upgrades too in the next few races but it’s looking good. We’ve had two opposite characteristics of tracks in the last three weeks and we’ve been quick in both of them and I think it was quite a big surprise for us but for every one to be quick on a high downforce track like here. It’s a good thing and I hope it’s a good sign for the future.

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