Bahrain GP · F1 2017

Bahrain Grand Prix Post Qualifying Press Conference (Vettel Extracts Only)


Q: Very well done. Speaking of close, Sebastian, it was very close in Q2, I think it was six one hundredths of a second, the top three. Was it a little bit dispiriting for you when you saw they suddenly found another four tenths of a second when we went into Q3?

Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, it was. I think overall I was very happy with how qualifying went, with how the car felt, because we had some issues yesterday. Nothing wrong but we just tweaked the balance for today I think in the right direction, so I was happy how it turned out to be. Felt good; Q2 I thought ‘OK, this will be tight’. I was very happy to go into Q3. Then I was very happy with my first lap. I crossed the line, looked up and saw both of them were ahead and then when I got the time, yeah, I was a bit down to be honest because four tenths was a lot more than I expected, also given how good the lap felt. Then, on the next run I just tried a little bit too hard everywhere but equally I had nothing to lose. I was quite safe also to cars behind. So I was quite confident, also the lap felt good as I said, so I tried a bit harder. It didn’t work; I went slightly slower. Obviously if I go a tenth quicker it’s not enough, so I tried to do a bit more but yeah, hopefully we can do a bit more tomorrow.


Q: Sebastian, maybe you could articulate for us, it seems to have been quite tough for everybody – and Valtteri referenced it earlier on – to put a perfect lap together, to join all of the dots, and particularly this weekend going into qualifying. Can you just articulate why you think that is today?

SV: Well I think generally we struggle less, everyone struggles less in the evening because the temperatures are dropping. Something we’ve seen now for two days is that generally we struggle a bit more, everyone with the hot conditions. The tyres don’t hold up as well as they used to in the first two races, so in a way, it’s probably a bit more similar to how it probably was last year, that you can’t attack all the way through the first flying lap. So I think that’s a difference. At Valtteri touched on, this track historically has been fairly technical. Corners like 9-10, they are probably built to lead drivers into mistakes so it is very easy to get it a little bit wrong and overshoot a bit, so those two things combined I think make it quite tricky. Yeah, at the end of the day it’s probably risk-assessment. When you are steering towards the corner and then you have to make a judgement how much you trust the car, how much risk you take, and in the end if you take a lot and you get the reward, it feels great. If you take you a lot and it goes wrong, you lose time.


Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Valtteri, congratulations, I counted that is has been 168 races without a Finn in the pole. How important is it for you to put Finland back in the polesitters group?

VB: Thank you Heikki, and congratulations to you as well! Sure, it feels good. I didn’t even realise it’s that long – nearly ten years.

SV: Who? Where? [Heikki Kovalainen, Silverstone] Oh.

VB: It’s good to break that, it’s a lot of races without a Finn on pole so that is good and obviously very proud always to drive for Finland, for my country and very glad for all the support I’ve got from there. So yeah, happy.

SV: Where were you in 2008. F3?

VB: Formula Renault!

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Sebastian, any explanation why the gap was bigger here than in the two races before?

SV: No, not really. I haven’t seen obviously where we lost most of the time but I think a little bit spread everywhere. I think Sector One, Sector Three stood out so Sector Two wasn’t too bad. Yeah, there’s more straights in Sector One and Three, so I don’t know if they had an update for here that allowed them to push harder but it seems that we lost a little bit of time everywhere and maybe a little bit more than usual down the straights. Yeah. I think for tomorrow the most important thing is that the car felt good today and I think we should be closer. Hopefully it’s going to be a tight race and then we’ll see.

Q: (Khodr Rawi – Question to all three drivers. Are you surprised by the lap times set today in qualifying? Because the pole position is faster by around seven-tenths compared to last year pole position. Where you expecting faster lap times? Thank you.

SV: I think it was expected that we go quicker this year, depending on the layout: sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. Probably this layout is one of the least favourite ones this year in terms of how much faster we can go, compared to the year before.

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) To all three of you: does Valtteri’s pole now mean that this is a three-way fight? We’ve all been saying it’s just going to be between Lewis and Seb; is it going to be a three-way battle now for the championship?

SV: Well, today is the day for Finland and Formula One. Keeping it Finnish, I would say yes.

Q: (Heikki Kulta –Turun Sanomat) Lewis, like I said that the last time you lost the pole to a Finnish driver was 2008; do you still remember how that felt? Does it feel the same as now?

LH: Cold! Yeah, I remember 2008, Silverstone, I remember it very very clearly. Heikki did a fantastic job. He was quicker throughout the weekend and we had a different set-up from testing which he chose and he was just quicker and it ended up being one of those… Back then you divided the cars by two laps of fuel and often I would have… sometimes I would have the lighter fuel load; on that weekend, he was just quicker and we needed as a team to be at the front so he ended up having the lighter fuel load and did a great job but obviously I got a great start in the race. You know, when you asked the first question I had a really crazy thought: I’m sure at home he (Heikki Kulta) has like a wall and every day he goes home and he ticks off – ‘damn, it’s another race that…’ He’s got a whole wall, 130 or 180 or whatever it is, 168 crosses so I’m sure on Monday you’re going to be repainting the wall, a nice clean one!

SV: Does the word excited exist in Finnish?

VB: Kind of.

LH: It’s probably something really simple. What is “exciting” in Finnish?

VB: (Inaudible)

SV: See! It doesn’t exist!

LH: It’s not one that’s really used much in the vocabulary.

VB: I don’t know really.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Sebastian, according to the power unit report, a turbocharger and one of the E-motors have been changed in your car. Is that a concern this early in the season?

SV: Not really. Obviously it was not planned but yeah, it doesn’t set us back. I think we’re doing fine. I think we pushed very hard over the winter. I think we did a very very good job, especially on the engine side, power unit side. I think there’s been a very big step so it feels great, feels like a lot more power than last year and yeah, obviously the year isn’t over yet but as I said, it shouldn’t be a problem.

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