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British GP: Post-qualifying press conference

DRIVERS

1 - Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

2 Ė Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 Ė Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull Racing)

TV UNILATERAL

Q: Lewis, a great lap there at the end to take pole position at your home grand prix. How does that feel?

Lewis HAMILTON: It's incredible! It feels just like it did in 2007. Just to see the crowd here today is fantastic Ė such a great turnout from everyone. So that was a lap for them. I hope that tomorrow we can do something special for them but this is really down to the team. Theyíve been doing a phenomenal job, improving the car constantly. I havenít been feeling 100 per cent comfortable all weekend Ė so I was really happy to finally get a lap.

Q: Nico, your thoughts on qualifying. Thatís the fifth time in six races that Mercedes has been on pole position Ė and disputing it between you two as well. So, your thoughts on today.

Nico ROSBERG: Itís definitely a really, really great feeling, to go into qualifying and having such a car. To definitely have the fastest car... itís really, really cool. Itís a great job that the team has done to get us to where we are now. And weíre also improving on Sundays Ė hopefully. Iím confident we have improved so tomorrow should be a bit better. Iím sure that still there are going to be other teams that are a little bit stronger than us but maybe starting on front for sure is going to help and maybe itís going to still be possible to get a great result.

Q: Sebastian, there seemed to be some different tactics at play with regard to tomorrowís race in terms of your saving one tyre of tyre, Mercedes saving another type of tyre. You see this as a very tactical type of weekend clearly.

Sebastian VETTEL: Weíll obvious see what happens tomorrow. Itís a long race but honestly very happy today. I donít know, either Lewis found a short cut or he has something special around here. A phenomenal lap. I think it wasnít in reach today. I was very happy with the lap I had at the end. And I think it was very close with Mark as well. I think we did what we could for the team and, yeah, itís always nice to position well in qualifying. Especially around here qualifying is good fun, enjoying the high-speed corners and looking forward to tomorrow, for the race. Weíll see how well we are with tyres, looking after them. But as I said, for now very happy for the team. Hard to put the car in third place, Mark right behind, so I think itís a good position to start from. Obviously our factory is very close to this track. Milton Keynes is not far away and yeah, Iím looking forward to tomorrow.

Q: Lewis, weíve seen obviously this year quite a few times that qualifying is one thing but the race is another. What about tomorrow? How do you feel Mercedes will fare against the Red Bulls in the British Grand Prix?

LH: I think undoubtedly itís going to be tough for us to keep Sebastian behind but our long run pace wasnít as bad as weíve seen in the past, so Iím hoping with the temperatures and a bit of care, we can nurture the tyres to get a good result. Iím going to be pushing, giving it my all tomorrow, as Iím sure Nico will as well, to finish up ahead.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Lewis, difficult day for you yesterday, as you were saying in your comments after the free practice. You werenít happy with the balance of the car. Itís quite a turn around from you and the team. Can you talk a little bit about that Ė and also the crowd power aspect of things: did you feel that today?

LH: The car isÖ obviously as Nico was saying, weíve got a great car and to fine-tune it seems to be a little bit harder than what Iíve been experiencing in the past. So really trying to get the car underneath me and feeling comfortable and having an equal balance. With a Formula One car youíre always trying to balance it on a knife-edge. Just for some reason with this car Iím struggling to do that. In the past I would aim do that all the time. But got closer. We made the right steps, made a change going into qualifying which helped Ė still not perfect but it helped. And then the crowd to make a huge difference. After seeing them turn up in their thousands and seeing all the flags waving. Of course this weekend I come here with an extra boost of energy and just want to pay them back. Every year I comeÖ this is the first time since 2008 that Iíve had a car that Iíve really been able to compete with so Iím really, really proud of what the team have done and I hope the fans can have a good evening and bring us some good luck tomorrow.

Q: Nico, we mentioned earlier on that the last six races have really been all about this, particularly in qualifying, between the two of you. Youíve had the upper hand a few times, Lewis has had the upper hand a few times. Can you talk a little bit about how youíre enjoying this in-house battle with someone youíve known and raced against for such a long time?

NR: Yeah, itís a big battle we have, and usually itís very close Ė not today Ė Lewis did a great lap in the end. Itís also a really, really big push, also for the whole team, that weíre pushing each other all the time, and thatís really good. Weíre really lucky because we have a great atmosphere at the moment in the team, everybodyís going in the same direction and sticking together, so itís fantastic momentum that we have at the moment.

Q: Sebastian, do you feel that youíve got the most complete package for this weekend? Obviously youíve given a bit away in qualifying but youíre here, some of your rivals for the championship are behind you tomorrow, howís your approach?

SV: Well, certainly weíre not giving away anything consciously or on purpose. They are bloody quick in qualifying, I think thatís what it is. I think we are not too bad but obviously they seem to be in a different world on Saturday afternoons. I think something, yeah, they manage pretty well around the tyres which allows them to get a very, very strong lap in. Plus Nico and Lewis are doing a great job. Doesnít help if you want to qualify on pole. But points are scored on Sunday and the last couple of races have been pretty good for us. I think, to sum it up in both Ė in qualifying and in race Ė so for sure today I think P3 was our maximum but for tomorrow yíknow, who knows? They are also getting better. It helps the more time we spend on the tyres Ė letís leave it there Ė and yeah, I think we all try to understand more and more and as the season goes on we do get better and thereís less and less room for improvement. For the moment it seems that we have a strong car in the race, maybe a little bit better than the Mercedes. Whether it will be like that tomorrow? Well, weíll find out. But thatís the fun part. Iím looking forward to finding out.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Kate Walker Ė GP Week) Lewis, obviously none of us experience putting together a pole lap like the one we just watched and it really was a phenomenal performance. Could you explain what itís like actually sitting in the cockpit; do you sit there completing your sectors going ' wow, Iím really on ití or is it only afterwards that you realise how well youíve done?

LH: No. You have a delta time on your dashboard so you can tell as soon as you cross the line into turn one and when you start the lap whether youíre up or not and so you kind of keep checking it, halfway through, after each corner, after each sector so already by turn nine I could see that I was two and a half tenths up and you just donít want to lose that, so you have to take extra care after that, but also you want to improve. But yeah, you also feel that itís a feeling having the tyres up to temperature, the brakes up to temperature and the car just beneath you and not trying to get away from you. Sometimes it is like a wild bull, youíre trying to tame it which is very very difficult to do. But when you do, and you pull out a lap like that, it really felt like 2007. I couldnít hear anyone still, because the carís too loud, hopefully I got a good roar today.

Q: It looked like the track improved a lot, two or three tenths improvement from session to session this afternoon.

LH: Yeah, each time we go out we seemed to... which is kind of normal but itís quite a good surface here at Silverstone so the grip does continue to go down (on the circuit) and hopefully that will be good for us tomorrow.

Q: (Julian Harris Ė City AM) My question is for Lewis as well: are you still learning this car, are you still finding out more each week and do you think youíre getting better in each race, or do you think youíve pretty much got it sussed now?

LH: I definitely havenít got it sussed. This weekendís been a tough weekend. Every weekend is tough, even if you are used to a car itís tough but I really have been struggling with the car, trying to tune it, trying to get it to behave the way I want it to, and then drive it and extract what I want from it. Out of all the cars Iíve driven, itís one of the hardest cars to drive. So when you pull it together, itís a great car and obviously very quick. Each weekend Iím working as hard as I can, each weekend it does feel like itís improving a little bit. We made another improvement on the brakes this weekend which is another step in the right direction so I hope we can continue going forwards.

Q: (Peter Farkas Ė Auto-Motor, Hungary) Lewis, obviously Paddy Lowe is now at Mercedes and he is here, working with you. Is it a boost for you personally to have him in the team since you have known him for a long time, and did you influence the decision that he would join the team in any way?

LH: I donít believe I had any influence on him coming here. I think that was a decision of his and Ross and Toto. Is it a boost? Itís a boost to the team. We already have some incredibly talented people in the team, doing fantastic things and coming up with great designs but the stronger the package, the better it is for everyone. Heís a good addition to the team and hopefully he will only help us moving forwards.

Q: (Livio Oricchio Ė O Estado de Sao Paulo) Sebastian, you started Q2 with hard tyres. It looks like you are very comfortable with tyre wear... No?

SV: You said I started Q2 on the hard tyres?

Q: (Livio Oricchio Ė O Estado de Sao Paulo) Yes.

SV: No. I did only one run in Q2 with the soft tyres, well, medium.

Q: (Livio Oricchio Ė O Estado de Sao Paulo) Well, it looks like you are very comfortable with tyre wear for the race. Is that correct?

SV: Well, it depends. I think comfortable or not depends on where the others are. I think we were happy with the runs that we had yesterday. I had another one this morning, so I think we are pretty happy with that but itís difficult to judge, because you donít know what fuel loads other people are running, the usual stuff, so we will find out tomorrow plus in the race itís always a little bit different. Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter which is nice for the crowd after the last couple of years, I think it was always quite miserable on Friday, so now weíve had a good Saturday and tomorrow, as I said, again a little bit warmer so it could change the balance of the car and how the tyres work. I think weíve saved as many tyres as we could and the ones that we liked so letís see what we can do tomorrow.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi Ė La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sebastian, Alonso is only tenth today. Itís good news, thinking about the championship?

SV: Well, I didnít really think about that. I think itís not good news for him. For sure he wanted to be a little bit higher up as well as Ferrari. Itís a bit of a surprise. I think theyíve been very competitive here the last couple of years but this is also a circuit - letís not forget - where the balance is very important so even if you have a good car, if itís not coming together it can make a big difference, especially over one lap. And the other thing, thatís why Iím not too interested to look at the results today. In the race weíve seen that a lot of things can happen and people starting from further back can still score a lot of points and come through the field, so I think in terms of race pace and tyre wear they will be strong tomorrow and surely, should everything go as per plan for them, they will finish higher up than tenth. Everything else, I think, would be a surprise.

Q: (Sarah Holt Ė CNN.com) Lewis, before you got in the car before qualifying, we saw you wave to the crowd. Did you feel, having lost pole to Nico over the last few races, that you needed to psyche yourself up and find something extra today?

LH: Not really. Itís not about psyching myself up because Iím always mad for it, Iím always on the limit, Iím always on the edge. I always have the determination and the will but itís just trying to get my car to where I want it to be so when I went out there, I was hoping that my car was where I wanted it to be and itís also... The fans sit there for a long long time during the day and donít really get to see our faces so itís the one opportunity that I do get to see them and try to extract what I can from them, because the support means a lot.

Q: (Derek Bish Ė Anglia Newspapers) Lewis, youíve obviously been here in junior formulas as well; what sets apart the Lewis Hamilton that puts together a lap like that today from the one who was here in GP2 and before that?

LH: Yeah, my age, getting older, older and wiser, I think. Iím still very much like the GP2 driver I was. I just have more knowledge now. Of course, we all change over time but yeah, I think Iím a little bit more sensible and a little bit better at making decisions than I was back then. And hopefully that approach helps me win in the car.

Q: (Phil Agius Ė Racing Post) Sebastian, Toro Rosso have been going well this weekend and I think Daniel Ricciardo is sixth on the grid. Would you be comfortable with another Australian teammate next season?

SV: I think first you should see the individual rather than the country where he comes from but surely I havenít got a problem with Australia. I like going there, itís a nice track, we go every year too, so Iím looking forward to going back next year. Congratulations to Daniel. It seems that both of them, the whole weekend... I donít know what happened to Jean-Eric in qualifying but both of them had a car that was good enough to show their potential so happy for them and hopefully they can keep it up throughout the race and score some good points for the team. In a way, obviously, weíre all fighting for ourselves; secondly we are fighting for our team but obviously we have more connection to Toro Rosso than Mercedes for example so not a surprise is it? So yeah, all the best to Daniel and Jean-Eric tomorrow.

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