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Japan 2011 - Qualifying press conference - Key quotes from the top three drivers on Saturday

Published by Christine

Questions to the top three drivers following qualifying on Saturday in Japan.

Pole position: Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull

Q: Sebastian, your 15th consecutive front-row start of 2011 and continuing your 100 per cent pole record here. What a lap!

"What a qualifying. To be honest, yesterday, obviously I went off in free practice and damaged the wing. It wasn't ideal in the afternoon to prepare the car for today. I think we suffered a little bit from that this morning. In particular, we were kind of coming back regarding the car balance but were too slow. We sat down after the practice session this morning and fortunately got everything together.

"We were able to get everything, every single bit out of the car in qualifying which you know, was crucial. There isn't much between Jenson and myself. It was a tough qualifying but I enjoyed it a lot. It's a long lap, you start off with this mega first sector. We come here, not for the first time, but every time is a challenge, especially in qualifying to really get it as good as you can.

"I had a bit of a wobble in sector 1 but I made up for it in the second sector, and we've been strong in the third sector so. All in all fantastic, especially thanks to the team, who just in time brought the front wing. Many regards also to the factory, I think without them I would not sit on pole position today. Very happy, very proud."

Q: Sebastian, only Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost have more poles than you in a season now. Just one point left in it for you this season, how much are you looking forward to the race tomorrow?

"Well, regarding the point or no point, I am not really focusing on that. I had a lesson yesterday where I didn’t do a big mistake but for maybe just a little moment I wasn’t a 100 per cent focused and lost the car. It is a long race. It is a very challenging track around here, so I am looking forward to the race. We really love to come here. It is a special atmosphere. The Japanese fans are so passionate and so crazy and when we leave the hotel in the morning it is full of people and they are all screaming. It is generally a nice feeling to be part of that.

"As Jenson said, it is a long race. There are a lot of things that can happen. DRS this year can open chances to the whole grid so we will see where we are. But I am definitely looking forward to it. I think we had a good race car yesterday in the preparation so far, so it should be alright, but I am looking forward to the race and not for the point."

2nd place: Jenson Button - McLaren

Q: Jenson, second today and your first front-row start since Monaco. Championship contenders in P1 and P2. Well done.

"It's been a pretty good weekend. As always, I think we all do, love driving round here. Suzuka is a great circuit. When you've got a car that's working, it's a great feeling.

"Basically, I was just building up until Q3, I thought the last lap would have been enough. It was just nine thousandths not good enough. I got everything out of the car, had a little bit of oversteer on that last run but it's just because I was pushing that little bit more. Fair play to the whole team. To fight the Red Bulls round here, on a circuit they've dominated on the last couple of years, is a great job. Second is still pretty good and I think we can race well from there."

3rd place: Lewis Hamilton - McLaren

Q: Lewis, P3 today and it looked so good for pole all the way through that session but you just missed the cut on the chequered flag. How disappointed are you to have missed that cut? Do you think pole was in there for you?

"I have to second what Jenson said, the team have done a fantastic job. To be able to compete with the Red Bulls on this kind of circuit is pretty impressive. The car was feeling great, I felt I had a couple of tenths left. I had time, there was a couple of corners where I lost time on my first run, so I felt like I was in the position to at least fight with these two guys.

"It was a bit dangerous on the last corner, where I had Mark attack me and had Michael down the inside. It was very, very strange, so that's really why we lost a lap."

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