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Thu, 5 July, 2012Britain: Driver preview quotes

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault:
“Even after the track was amended for the 2011 race, it didn't lose its magic. For me as a driver it is one of the best and interesting tracks of all. The atmosphere is great, British fans enthusiastically support their countrymen, but at the same time they're very objective and fair in judging the performance of the non-British drivers. On top of that they are experts about F1. The track is demanding for a driver and provides everything a driver likes, including the unpredictable weather which is possible in July in Silverstone.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault:
“I'm really looking forward to the British Grand Prix and racing in front of a sell-out crowd that's passionate about F1. Many of them will be there to cheer on the Brits, so there's some irony in the fact that Silverstone is actually the local track for both the Aussie F1 drivers on the grid; Daniel Ricciardo and I are based in Buckinghamshire! It's a great time of the year for British sport, with Wimbledon on at present and the Olympic Games just around the corner. I'm sure the British Grand Prix won't disappoint; we're going to Silverstone with one goal in mind and that's to win!”

Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes:
“I'm really looking forward to the Santander British Grand Prix. We've been making progress in a lot of areas and while I wasn't able to show that in terms of the result at Valencia mainly because I got boxed in at the start, then wasn't very lucky with the Safety Car our strategy was fine and the car improved throughout the race. This has been an incredibly unpredictable season, but at least it's a little easier to predict that Silverstone will once again be packed and that all the British drivers are going to get a lift from the energy the fans bring. I always enjoy racing at home because the atmosphere is unbeatable, and while the race itself hasn't always been too kind to me, I come here every year knowing I can count on the support of the many thousands of fans. We all had to adjust last year to starting in a different place on the circuit, which is a very odd thing when you've spent your entire racing career treating Copse as Turn One! Formula 1 is all about evolution, about looking to the future, and Silverstone has demonstrated its adaptability all through the years. It's part of the fabric of F1, and still one of the world's greatest motor racing circuits.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes:
“Sometimes you have to accept when things don't go your way in racing. Obviously it was frustrating to lose out so close to the finish, but that's motor racing: you put it behind you and move on to the next race which, happily for me, is at my home circuit of Silverstone. It doesn't really alter the way I go racing because I race to win, and that's what I'll be doing, especially at my home grand prix. The Santander British Grand Prix is special because I get a massive boost from all the fans. To me, winning at Silverstone is right up there with winning at Monaco. Standing on the top step of the podium in 2008 was among the sweetest moments of my career. I know we can count on the fans to bring a totally unique atmosphere. We're going to give it everything we've got, put on a great show. This is an incredible summer of sport for Britain and I want to play my small part in bringing some joy to fans. I will be doing everything possible to get a win for my country on home soil.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes:
“Racing in Silverstone is a special moment every year. It's quite simply the home of motorsport and I'm always amazed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the British fans - as a racing driver, it's great to experience this passion for our sport. On a personal level, I have many contrasting memories of this circuit; good, not so good and some that are even a little strange... as for how things will go this year, I'd prefer to wait and see. We have already seen plenty of races this year that turned out differently to the expectations before the weekend. Of course, we want to take the momentum from our result in Valencia and put on a good show in Silverstone, especially because this is one of our home races. It goes without saying that we want to give everybody in Brackley and Brixworth a result to be proud of this weekend.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes:
“Silverstone is a great race for us as most of our team members will be there to watch with their families. I always love the atmosphere there over the weekend and the great British motorsport fans. My best result on this exciting track was third place so, of course, I will be hoping to top that but it's so hard to make any predictions of performance this season. It's a demanding track with a lot of high-speed corners dominating the layout, especially from Copse through Becketts to Stowe. It's difficult to know how good we will be but I'm hopeful that we can achieve a good result.”

Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus-Renault:
“It's always such a good feeling going to Silverstone. It's a great place to race. I have a long history there. It was the real base for the start of my international racing career in Formula Renault in 1999 and 2000. Since then I've always enjoyed racing at Silverstone. I don't know why; there must be this nostalgic feeling that I have every time we go there. I'll enjoy the weekend whatever the weather will be. We've seen quite a lot of different conditions there in the past, and not always good! It's always windy at Silverstone and often it rains, too. The track conditions change very quickly, which makes the car more tricky to set up. It's part of the fun racing in England; at least it's the same for everybody.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Renault:
“I won on it in the GP2 Series last year, so I'm not too bad on the track! It's the same for everybody. It's challenging, but it has a good feel. It's one of the quickest tracks of the year. There are corners which are legendary like the Magotts, Becketts, Chapel complex. What a feeling... It's a special Grand Prix for our team as the factory is very close to the track. It will be nice to see them. They are all doing an amazing job, always working so hard. I will be visiting them after the race and hopefully we can go there with some good silverware to show them.”

Paul di Resta, Force India-Mercedes:
“For me, it's the biggest event we go to, especially in terms of support from the British fans, which is always amazing. You feel it as soon as you arrive on the Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon because the fans are already there camping. The atmosphere is electric and I remember last year the drivers' parade was one of the highlights of the year it really sent a shiver through me because of the reaction we received and the fact that there wasn't a seat left in the place.”

Nico Hülkenberg, Force India-Mercedes:
“I have good memories from Silverstone, both in GP2 and Formula One. It is one of those classic races that bring a smile to your face when you think of some of the corners. I actually describe it as an "old-school" circuit because it's narrow and you have to be really committed and brave through the quick parts of the lap. It's super-fast and great fun when you hook up the perfect lap.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari:
“I'm really looking forward to this race, and my expectations are quite high. Silverstone is one of my favourite circuits. Our cars were always good in medium and high speed corners, but with the Sauber C31 we have also improved the performance in slow corners, which means we should have no problems with the new part of the track, which was introduced in 2010. Despite the fact I have to cope with a penalty, which will send me five places down the grid, I'm optimistic for this race. I believe we have the potential to achieve something special in England and I hope for a little more luck as well.”

Sergio Pérez, Sauber-Ferrari:
“I really like the Silverstone circuit. I have won there in Formula 3 and in GP2 and also last year my first Formula One race was good. I came seventh and this was actually my best race result in 2011. Back then it was a crazy race in difficult weather conditions with the track drying. I think our car will be good in Silverstone and I want to fight for another podium there. In my view in Silverstone it is even more difficult to overtake than it was in Valencia, therefore qualifying is high priority on the job list. I need a better grid position than recently. I like the fast and fluid corners a lot, so this is a very enjoyable part of the track. The race in Silverstone is a special Grand Prix because of the fans and the atmosphere and also for me personally. I lived in Oxford for three years and I have quite a few friends in England.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault:
“The British Grand Prix is always very special for the whole team and the support we get here is amazing with some of the most knowledgeable fans in the world. I think the track will suit our car because it's similar to Barcelona and it's also very fun to drive with sections like Maggots and Becketts which really test you as a driver. The pace of the car in Valencia was very promising and we have a number of updates expected for this race as well so hopefully we can give the home fans a good result.”

Bruno Senna, Williams-Renault:
“Silverstone is one of my favourite tracks because it's high speed and flows really well. Our car has good pace at the high down force tracks and is good on high speed corners as well so it should suit Silverstone. Whilst we didn't get the result we were hoping for in Valencia we showed that our car can be very competitive and with more updates planned for this race I'm optimistic about what we can achieve.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham-Renault:
“Silverstone is a great track to race at, both because it's one of our two home races and because it's a proper driver's track. Even with the changes that have been made over the years it is still what F1 is all about high speed corners that really push the performance of the car. The new section is probably the least exciting bit of the track from inside the cockpit but the classic corners from Copse and Maggots to Beckets is right up there with some of the best corners on the calendar. Honestly, I can't wait to get back in the car and see what we can do at this year's British Grand Prix. At the last race in Valencia we clearly made improvements, enough to help me put the car into Q2 on merit and we have more upgrades coming for Silverstone. For this race it's important that we carry our qualifying speed and good reliability through into Sunday as issues like the KERS problem I had in Valencia impact all the hard work the team is doing at the factory and in the wind tunnel to get us where we want to be. If we can do that I think we can have another very good weekend and I'm really looking forward to giving our home fans something to cheer for.”

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham-Renault:
“The British Grand Prix is one of the best races of the calendar for several reasons. It's a fantastic place to race at because of the exciting atmosphere and the special love the British fans have for motorsport. As the UK is home to a lot of the teams, including Caterham F1 Team, the whole place is always full of fans, whether it's raining or the sun is burning everybody! They are some of the most knowledgeable, passionate fans in the world and they give the whole place a special atmosphere all weekend. As we'll be bringing more new parts to the British Grand Prix I think it's another race where we'll be able to take a step forwards. I'm sure everyone else will be bringing upgrades so we need to make sure that we don't just make gains, but we improve more than our nearest rivals. That's a big challenge but after seeing the gap to Toro Rosso shrink in Valencia we have a clear target just ahead and that gave the whole team a real boost. Hopefully we'll be able to make similar levels of progress at Silverstone if we do I think the British Grand Prix could be very interesting. The team made great progress in Valencia and I really hope that we will continue in the same manner at the next race.”

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT-Cosworth:
“Silverstone is a beautiful and classic circuit; it's a place I really like. I've raced in many categories there: Formula Ford, Formula Renault, Formula 3 and Formula 1. It's a quick, high downforce track with a lot of quick corners linked together. It's very demanding on the tyres, so the logical thing is to go for three stops. Strategies will play a big part. It's not the most favourable circuit for us so we're going to have to grind our teeth because, apart from that, it's also one of the toughest tracks for a driver. We're going to try and continue the good work from the last grands prix, finish this race and improve on our result in Valencia. That is our objective.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT-Cosworth:
“I've got very good memories of Silverstone as I've raced a lot there in the past in junior categories, it's one of my favourite tracks on the calendar and a place I expect to do well. Copse and the Becketts complex are special corners and are up there with the most exciting ones in the championship but I don't know the new part of the circuit as I didn't race at Silverstone last year so it will take me a few laps to adapt. After a positive weekend in Valencia, with a good performance in qualifying, I'm hoping to continue from there and build on it in Great Britain.”

Dani Clos, HRT-Cosworth:
“I'm very happy to step into the F112 once again in Silverstone, a place where I've got good memories since I've made the podium every time I've been in GP2. After Barcelona I've really been looking forward to this new opportunity. The work we're carrying out with the team is positive and I think that I can make a good contribution. I will be able to run in better conditions than in Barcelona because the car was new back then and I had to carry out various aero tests. Now I've got a new opportunity, not to prove anything but to work with the team and evolve as much as we can.”

Timo Glock, Marussia-Cosworth:
“Silverstone is a very important weekend for the whole team, so I'm looking forward to it and happy that the problems of Valencia are behind me. We have some substantial upgrade developments which I hope will give us a little step forward and ensure we can have a good showing. Silverstone is a track I really enjoy; one of my favourites. It still has a lot of high speed corners and it is a completely different challenge to the last two tracks we have raced at. Normally it can be very interesting with the weather; not just the sunshine or rain, but it can often be quite windy, which can upset the car quite a lot from day to day and from session to session. Overall, I can't wait to get back in the car and work with the team towards a smooth home race for the fantastic British fans, the partners and all our guests on what will be a very busy weekend.”

Charles Pic, Marussia-Cosworth::
“I have always found Silverstone to be an amazing race track, and I won there in Formula Renault 3.5 back in 2009, so I'm really happy that it is the venue for my team's home race next weekend. I love the fantastic fast corners, particularly from Copse through Becketts and on to Stowe. I am now eager to see the new aero package results on the track. It is quite a comprehensive step for the team and the result of a really collaborative effort. Having turned the corner a little bit in the race in Valencia, I hope we can continue this way and that the package will have a positive contribution. I am optimistic for a good weekend because this is the only time the guys who always work back at our team base in Banbury will get to the see the cars in action; it will be nice to give them a happy reward for their relentless hard work as this is 'their race'! It is also good news that Timo will be back with us next weekend. Off-track it is going to be very busy with plenty of PR activity with the partners and our fans, but I know we can expect a massive reception from them, which will give the team an extra boost.”

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