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Thu, 21 June, 2012Europe: Driver preview quotes

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault:
“In Valencia, we drive an average of more than 200kph, which means it's one of the fastest street circuits in Formula One. Overtaking is possible, but only with some risk. The reason is that the air turbulence created by cars driving closely behind each other doesn't disappear as it normally would due to the high walls around the track; you lose grip and, in some extreme cases, you have to lift the throttle. The start-finish straight in Valencia is special because it's not very long, it turns into a fast right corner which we take at 290kph.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault:
“Obviously it's very difficult to predict how we might go in Valencia, as we've clearly seen with seven winners and plenty of different podiums. Our main goal is to improve our positions in both championships, so personally for me in the Drivers' Championship and of course the team is looking to keep a good margin in the Constructors'. I know everyone in Milton Keynes has been working incredibly hard in between the two races.”

Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes:
“Canada was just one of those weekends where things didn't come together after some difficult races, I really needed the track time on Friday to find a clearer direction with the set-up, and, unfortunately, that didn't happen due to a number of technical issues. And I think that set the tone for the rest of the weekend: we lacked the data we needed to tackle the race and we struggled. Still, there were important lessons to be learned from those issues, and we addressed everything back at MTC once we'd returned from Canada in a bid to get a clearer direction for Valencia next weekend. A day like that is enormously productive and I think we covered a lot of ground. The last few races haven't delivered the results I'd like, but there are still 13 races to go. We've had seven different winners and no clear championship leader has emerged, so I'll be looking to get a decent result under my belt next weekend in order to get my title bid back on track. I know just how strong Vodafone McLaren Mercedes can be. Valencia is a track I really enjoy; I've already won on a street circuit this year so I'm definitely optimistic about having a great weekend and picking up the momentum again in the title fight.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes:
“My win in Montreal was obviously an extremely satisfying moment for me but, actually, it does very little to alter things in the world championship. Firstly, while it's always pleasing to be leading the championship, I'm only two points ahead of Fernando [Alonso] which is nothing, particularly when there are a handful of really strong drivers all separated by a couple of points, so there's still everything to play for. Secondly, the intensity of this year's championship means there's so little breathing space we may have won in Canada, but there's an enormous amount of pressure to keep racking up good results at every grand prix. I think that consistency, rather than individual strong results, will be the key to winning this world championship, so we need to back it up in Valencia with another strong result. The circuit is quite tough it's a very technical track, with lots of slow- to medium-speed corners that require good traction and set-up as well as lots of precision. Towards the end of the lap, the track gathers speed and opens up, the sweepers leading to the pits are actually incredibly fast, and they're all about correct placement of the car to ensure you're well placed for the following corner. That's probably the most satisfying part of the lap. People are always asking me to predict what will happen at the next race and I always tell them it's really difficult to make an accurate prediction but I'll be heading to Valencia feeling super-motivated to get another strong result and maintain my momentum before we head into Silverstone and the Santander British Grand Prix.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes:
“Our entire focus is now on the race in Valencia, and I am sure that everybody's motivation is even stronger because the weekend in Canada didn't go as well as we had hoped. Our motto in the last few days has been to roll our sleeves up and focus on the job in hand; everybody in the team has taken that approach to heart, so we can travel to Valencia in an optimistic mood. The harbour area is particularly nice and, given its location, the circuit is also really interesting, so let's see how we can perform there. You can still feel some of the atmosphere from the America's Cup in Valencia, which makes this race a special event that we always enjoy taking part in.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes:
“Valencia is a pretty cool city and it's always nice to visit there. The track is another street circuit but it's quite a unique one as it is quicker and has a more open feel than somewhere like Monaco or Singapore. The layout is also kind of like Montreal so it should be a circuit which suits our car. I was at the factory this week and I know how hard everyone is working to improve the car, so we will hope for a strong weekend in Valencia to repay all of their efforts.”

Paul di Resta, Force India-Mercedes:
“It's a mix between a street circuit and a normal track and it's got a lot of corners to go with it maybe the most corners of any circuit on the calendar. The track is very smooth but it's tricky to get on top of the set-up and if you don't find the sweet spot it can make quite a big difference to your laptime across such a long lap. The main challenge is to be strong in the low-speed chicanes and also through the high-speed end of the lap. There are some big braking zones too followed by big traction zones, so the degradation rate is quite high, which is why it's hard to manage the rear tyres through the race.”

Nico Hülkenberg, Force India-Mercedes:
“My race there in 2010 was not a particularly happy one. There was some bodywork burning away and I eventually had to retire. I'm looking forward to going back to Valencia because I like the track, even though we've seen how difficult it is to overtake there. The track has are a few special corners in the final sector of the lap and it's enjoyable to drive. It's also quite a long lap with 25 corners so it can be quite difficult to get a perfect lap together.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari:
“In Valencia it is usually very hot. I personally like that, but it is difficult to say what it means for the car and the tyres. It will be tough, that much is certain. Tyre management will be the key, together with a good race strategy. The street circuit also requires a decent amount of downforce for the car. You are always quite close to the walls, but after our last two races in Monaco and Montreal this is nothing new. Overtaking is not easy but not impossible either. In 2010 it was actually good fun. Valencia as a city is a nice destination by many measure, I would happily choose it for my holidays. By the way, you can also get the best fresh squeezed orange juice there. However, my target is a strong qualifying as well as a strong race.”

Sergio Pérez, Sauber-Ferrari:
“I enjoyed the Montreal result very much and I want more of that. I like the track in Valencia a lot and also the atmosphere during the race weekend, as we are quite close to the fans. I don't have the best memories of my Formula One debut race in Valencia, as it was last year and a very difficult one for me. I was returning to racing after my heavy shunt in Monaco and, in hindsight, I have to admit I don't think I was fit enough. I didn't feel well at all. The Valencia street circuit has quite long straights with hard braking into the corners, and what we have learnt from Montreal will be important for that.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault:
“Valencia is a challenge for the drivers because it combines a street circuit that's used by regular road cars throughout the year with sections of regular race track so it can be tricky to achieve the ideal set up. The layout is quite quick with some long straights but there are also some slow corners so finding the right balance will be crucial to doing well. We're constantly developing the car and it is showing good long run consistency at the moment and hopefully we can improve on the last couple races and pick up some good points.”

Bruno Senna, Williams-Renault:
“Street circuits are always challenging for a driver and Valencia is certainly no different, requiring decent straight line speed combined with an efficient braking system to cope with the heavy braking areas. Our pace in Canada was not really reflective of the cars potential, but we've been working hard to understand the reasons why and hopefully we can put that behind us and gain a stronger result here.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham-Renault:
“Next up it's the European Grand Prix in Valencia. The track isn't my favourite one of the season but it's another great city to go to and another venue that makes the most of having F1 in town for the whole week so the atmosphere is around the whole event is great. The track itself is another temporary circuit, a sort of semi-street circuit. The track surface is very smooth and the kerbs aren't really an issue but it is pretty stop / start, so you need to quickly find a good rhythm to manage the series of long straights that end in tight turns, and pay attention to brake wear rates and cooling. The brake cooling options we have for Valencia are similar to Canada but the track in Spain evolves much more over the race weekend than in Montreal so we'll be looking closely at setup options that mean we can manage tyre degradation levels right through the whole weekend.”

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham-Renault:
“It's always good to get back to Valencia. It's a city I know well as I lived there for a couple of years while I was racing in GP2 and I have good memories of racing there as I took my first GP2 win in Valencia in 2007. My F1 results so far have not been quite that good, but it's always a good challenge and one I'm looking forward to getting back to with Caterham F1 Team. I think the Valencia race and the next one at Silverstone could be pretty positive for our team. We have a few updates coming onto the cars at the next two races, and we keep seeing how the gap to the teams ahead is closing, little by little. That is the aim this year - work as hard as we can to get to the point where we're racing a couple of cars ahead and then see where we go from there. We were closer than ever to Q2 on merit in qualifying in Canada, so let's see what the upgrades we're bringing to Valencia and Silverstone help us do.”

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT-Cosworth:
“Just like in Barcelona, I'm really looking forward to racing in front of our home fans in Valencia. At the Valencia Street Circuit we will encounter high air and track temperatures so the brakes will be put through their paces once again, but we're confident we can make the necessary modifications to overcome the problems we experienced in Canada. Valencia has long straights but overtaking isn't easy and it is a high-downforce track. I think we can do quite well here, although it's not as favourable to our car as Canada, because there are a lot of braking areas and slow corners which are good for us. We're looking forward to putting in a good performance in front of our fans and we want to continue with our progress from the last few races, where we've been at a good standard, but here we want to confirm this improvement in the race.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT-Cosworth:
“Valencia will be our third street circuit in a row, and our team's second home race. It is our second visit to Spain in just about five weeks but the circuit is as different as it could be compared to Barcelona. It shares some characteristics with Montreal and Monte Carlo, like emphasis on low-speed traction so I expect our car to do well here. Apart from that, it is a beautiful place and weather is pretty hot, just like India, but the track itself isn't a huge challenge. Yes the walls are close but the adrenaline factor isn't close to Monaco or even Montreal. But on the back of the promise we showed in Canada, I'm looking forward to the race and hopefully we'll have a chance to build on it this time.”

Timo Glock, Marussia-Cosworth:
“Valencia is another street circuit, one that is different to Monaco but which is still very special in its own way in my view. It's been a great track for me; I think I'm still the lap record holder and it would be nice if it could stay that way a bit longer. Canada was not the best weekend for us and we have to start to get on top of things and have a better weekend. This is normally a very hot race so it's a tough one for the drivers, but we should all have the fitness level to cope with that aspect of the challenge. I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead and hopeful of a better outcome.”

Charles Pic, Marussia-Cosworth:
“The Valencia Street Circuit is a track I have performed well at in GP2 and last year I achieved pole position there. I am optimistic that this will give me a good headstart this weekend, despite this being my first time round in an F1 car, so I should be able to spend less time learning the track and more time focusing on fine-tuning the car balance. I like the track; it's very interesting and challenging, and although it's another street circuit, they have all been very different in terms of the characteristics, which has been quite fun. I feel that we've had a bit of bad luck in recent races, but I am hoping that Canada marked a turning point and we can look forward to some improved results from here.”

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