Published on March 29th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


F1 Sepang, Ferrari Is Back To Challenge Mercedes

Fears that the Mercedes F1 team would continue to dominate the Formula One 2015 season were swept aside today as a tearful Sebastian Vettel won the Malaysian Grand Prix and announced himself as a genuine title contender.

Sebastian, you look amazingly emotional, what’s the matter with you? The last time we saw you crying you went on to win world championships.

Sebastian VETTEL: It’s been a while that I haven’t been on the top step. It’s my first time obviously with Scuderia Ferrari. I’m speechless. Obviously a big change over the winter and the welcome the team gave me is just fantastic. The fans. I’ve only done two races but it’s a great atmosphere. I’m very, very happy. Proud of today, we beat them fair and square. A great achievement, we have a great car. Plenty of positives and I guess that’s why it is a bit emotional.

I don’t need to tell you but now, having won here four times, no other driver has ever achieved that. So that’s another little one in the book.

SV: It is bloody hot though! I think today is a very special day and will always remain a part of me. Thank you very much, as I said, to the whole team. Grazie. Thank you to the fans.

Lewis, first of all, Arnie says ‘well done’ and he’s allowed me to come and talk to you today. He’s coming back to see you later. So, Arnie well done last race. Lewis, that was a surprise and you weren’t very happy with your car, we could hear what you were saying to your engineers. Tell us what was going on there?

Lewis HAMILTON: Well, firstly, huge congratulations to Ferrari and Sebastian, they did an amazing job. Jeez, they had some good pace today. I gave it everything I could; we did as a team. We knew coming into this weekend that they had made a step, we didn’t know how big but they were too fast for us today.

Obviously you’ve converted so many… what, the last eight pole positions into wins. You just missed out today. Does that mean you’ve got to kick-start it again and start thinking about the strategy for the future?

LH: We’ll just get back together as a team and try to figure out where we were losing time today. My balance wasn’t great particularly, so there are definitely areas we can improve on and I’m sure we’ll be fighting for the next race, which I’m really excited about.

You talked with your engineers, we were a bit confused and you were a bit confused. You didn’t know whether you were going to have to stop again. What was that discussion or were you not supposed to hear that?

LH: I don’t think I was supposed to hear it. In general the team did a fantastic job. I’m really grateful for the car we have. The fans have been fantastic this weekend. Thank you so much guys.

Nico, another podium. I know you teased him at the last race, you said come on Sebastian, get a bit more speed and you can come up and join us guys. You didn’t think he was going to be there that quickly did you?

Nico ROSBERG: No, but all I can say now, on behalf of our team is: game on, Ferrari!

Absolutely, we saw that today. And in everyone’s interest, it is the most amazing thing, because we don’t want to see you run away with the championship and to see Ferrari up there fighting you, as obviously as Sebastian has said, fair and square, this was a titanic battle that everybody here absolutely enjoyed. Can I just ask you a question about tyres? You didn’t need to run the softer tyres yesterday morning in the first session and you could have done with that tyre today. Was that a mistake?

NR: I don’t know the exact details about the strategy because it was quite complex out there. I’m sure we did a good job and congrats, Ferrari did an awesome job today and they deserved to win and we’ll be back next race.

Indeed, I don’t have to remind everybody here that the first person to win in the modern era in a Mercedes was a couple of years ago, in China, which you won. Are you going to win there?

NR: Yeah, China is a great track for me, so I look forward to that and of course we’re going for the win.

And you’re going to beat this man here, which is obviously what everybody wants to see, we want a big fight with Lewis. Is that going to continue?

NR: Definitely yes, I’ll be pushing him hard; definitely.

Am I allowed to sit down here, because it’s been a very hot day and we can see… c’mon give him another round of applause. He deserves it after that. He’s exhausted, all of them are, all of the drivers, each and every single one of them. So Brazil 2013, I don’t have to remind you, that was your last win and you just didn’t look comfortable at all last year and now we see you back in the thing, waving your finger, emotional. The transformation! Tell us what it’s like?

SV: I don’t know. I’m speechless. Last year was not a good year for me. I think we had a great car but I was just struggling to extract the performance. This year’s car seems to suit me very well. Obviously it’s a big change but the team has been phenomenal, welcoming me the first day. I remember when the gate opened in Maranello it was like a dream coming true. I remember the last time I was there was as a young kid watching Michael over the fence driving around in the Ferrari and now I’m driving that very red car. It’s incredible. The day today, the race, really spot on, the whole team was there, great strategy, great pace, we beat them fair and square, so thanks to the team, thanks to all the team in Maranello, really, really great day.

Just before we sign off I have to ask you this: it was an inspired decision for Lewis, leaving McLaren to come to Mercedes, it made such a transformation to the great pace they’ve had in the last couple of years and it would appear it’s exactly the same for you. Do you feel it’s possible to win a championship in this car?

SV: I hope so. That’s why I signed up! That’s our goal and that’s the mission – to bring the world championship back to Maranello. I think for today we have to enjoy the day. We know that these guys are incredibly strong and difficult to beat but today we did an excellent job and that’s what we have to keep doing for the whole year: try to get the best and then we’ll see where we’re at. We know there is a long way ahead of us but for now, to be honest, I don’t care. I want to celebrate today, I want to get pissed tonight, I don’t care.

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