Australian GP · F1 2017

Australian Grand Prix Post Qualifying Conference (Vettel Extracts Only)

 

TV UNILATERAL

Q: Thank you for that. Sebastian, coming to you. Less than three tenths of a second behind Lewis. Last year it was over eight tenths of second Ferrari were behind Mercedes. Encouragement for you in that and also an opportunity for you at the start.

Sebastian Vettel: Definitely. We have a good car, we are working well as a team, things are improving, so obviously it’s nice to see things are working, the car is working. We had a mixed day yesterday but the confidence in the car was there from testing and we showed it again today. In the end I was not entirely happy with my lap. I was pretty happy with the end, maybe not the opening of the lap, where we lost a bit too much, but I think Lewis did a very good lap so… I would have loved to but I don’t think pole was out for grasp. But tomorrow I think we can do something in the race, as I said, the car feels good, we’ve improved it, so the pace should be much better than it was yesterday, when we had some practice. So looking forward to it. It’s been a big winter for us. A lot of change we have been through as a team the last 12 months, to the better I think. The team is getting stronger. Of course everybody has been pushing very hard. It’s not so easy coming here with the long journey to get to Australia but I think people are fired up and people are motivated for tomorrow as you said at the start, I think it’s the first good opportunity.

Q: Sebastian, you touched on it very briefly but maybe you’d like to drill down into it a little bit more: this year another one of the changes is the start. Very much more under the control of the driver. You’re starting alongside Lewis. Ferrari traditionally has pretty good starts anyway, do you feel reasonably optimistic that’s going to give you a chance? I think the stat is also that pole has only won here once in the last five years. You’ve done it five years ago, he’s done it within the last five years, how do you feel?

SV: I think you’re right saying it’s harder for us. It’s in our hands, basically, whereas previous years… it was as well, to be fair, but I think we were relying a bit more to the settings. So, yeah, I hope we can keep the tradition up and good memories definitely. I think last year’s start was very good. Let’s hope we can have a similar start compared to the rest around… from P2 this year. I don’t think there’s any guarantee to have a good start so we have to work for it. I think we’ve prepared well so hopefully we can have a good launch, both of us. I think Kimi’s sitting in fourth, so it would be great to challenge Mercedes already into the first corner but then, as I said, the race is quite a bit longer than that. It’s the first race of the season: new tyres; new cars; nearly new everything so it will be a long race so hopefully we can kick off well.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Seb, watching qualifying today, we had the same impression that we had some weekends in 2015 – not last year. It gives much more motivation –  extra motivation –  to you? Ferrari is really chasing Mercedes again.

SV: Hopefully. I think it’s very early to tell but I think clearly Mercedes is in a very very strong form, despite the rule change. They’ve done a very very good job. I think they’ve come up with a great car. I think both drivers are doing well. Yeah, for us, obviously it’s good news. We’ve felt quite good with the car straight away but we know there’s still a lot, a lot, a lot of work. As a team, I think if you look back in the last twelve months we’ve grown a lot, so a lot of positives. Obviously there was quite a lot of change but I think the motivation is super-high in the factory. People really want to build a strong car and make sure we get back to where we belong, so Mercedes is doing well but we try to do better than them. The season is very long so time will tell but I think for a start we’re very happy. I think qualifying on the first row is a very good opening to – as I said – a long, long season.

And then, just a point. Where is the gentlemen, asking the question before to Valtteri? What was your name again? I’d recommend you to travel to Finland and then you will find out that people… the culture is different, so I think he looks full of joy today! I’ve been there many times. It’s definitely worth a trip. It’s a beautiful country, very nice people.

Q: (Chris Medland – Racer) To all three of you, based on what we saw in qualifying…  Seb and Valtteri both said you weren’t happy with your laps. We saw Daniel put it in the wall in Q3. Are these cars very much right on the edge when you’re pushing for that final lap, that you’re right on the verge of a big mistake rather than a small error?

SV: Not really. I don’t think so. I think they’re much faster, they’re much more fun to drive so I think it’s much more what we’re here to do, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, what has been achieved before. I think Lewis obviously started in the generation where cars were, I think, similar to now in terms of grip. I just started before it started to change so I got a hint of an experience. I think those are the fastest cars we’ve ever driven and arguably the fastest cars we’ve ever had. In terms of mistakes – yeah, probably if you do a high speed spin, it’s more difficult to catch whereas before, as Lewis said as well, if you’re sliding a bit more on the tyres then it’s more of a powerslide or a slide in general rather than a snap and then losing the car, so in that regard maybe it’s a bit trickier. You have to be quicker to react but as I said, I would still go for it because it’s much more fun.

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