Q: What makes you happy? How would you define happiness?
Sebastian Vettel: It’s the little things in life. When I traveled here (for a race), it’s not a big secret that I was sitting in the first class seats. When the stewardess came and kindly offered me those ‘great’ pralines, I asked if she could have given me the chocolate which the guy from far behind had as well. She was looking at me a bit confused, but in my opinion, the chocolate from the economy class seats is better. The pralines might be tasty, but I prefer a normal milk chocolate over that. This might be a stupid example, but it’s these little things that make me happy. In that moment, the milk chocolate made me happier than a well packed praline. And I think there are always these little moments. Of course, when we look back, at the wins and what they mean, of course it matters. But when I look down (from the podium), and see the boys being happy and laughing and what this means for them, in that aspect I feel like I pay them back for their efforts and this makes me extremely happy. It’s rather that moment and seeing their reactions that make me happy. I think that when you work in a big team, making other people happy makes you happy. I prefer making others happy instead of making myself happy. For myself I am bit more stingy like “nah you don’t need this”, but for someone else I’m like “yeah why not”, so it makes me feel like I give something back.
Q: How is your private life? You have once said that mowing the lawn is something that calms you down, that relaxes you. Why do you do that? Is being a house person also that little happiness which makes you relax from your workaday life?
SV: Yeah, I think so. Mainly because of the fact that you “achieve” something. It might sound stupid if i say I mowed the lawn for two hours and “yes it’s finally done!”, but it is like that. When you look back at the lawn and can say “look you did that yourself, awesome!” is something which gives me satisfaction. This is similar to when I run at the mountains, which is something I really like doing, or going for a walk, cycling at the mountains and then looking back and seeing what you’ve achieved. I’m not going to tell anyone on my way back down “hey look! I was up there, I did it myself!”. For me it’s the fact that I am allowed to do those things and that I can do those things because I am healthy – which is something for which you become more concerned as you grow up older. That you are able to do something you like, that you have freedom in doing what you like and that you can enjoy that. Not everyone is lucky to have that.
Q: You are a privileged person. You are someone who can afford anything, but are you still an economical person? How do you live?
SV: I think it’s important, at least for me, to be a down-to-earth person. It’s important to be able to access situations rationally, to not lose the overview even though you have many, many opportunities and you can do anything you want. It’s actually pretty funny, because people always expect you to do certain things because you can (financially) afford doing them, and that also your life is so special and exclusive, which indeed feels like that. But I think that everyone needs to know for themselves what makes them happy and that this is what should lead the way. However, for sure, there are some things I can afford now which I couldn’t afford before.
Q: For example?
SV: I don’t know. Maybe the car that you always wanted. The one which made you happy as a kid.
Q: A Ferrari, of course.
SV: Of course a Ferrari. For me it was the F40, but I have to say those are the milestones for which in the first moment you are very happy, but I am aware that I’m doing very well and as you said that I can consider myself lucky. But most importantly, I am lucky that I can compare and understand better – that yes, you have these possibilities, but you also know that all these possibilities are all in all not what makes you really happy, but it’s the little things in life instead. Looking at your left and at your right is very important (for me) and it’s also important to not lose the overview you have about life and to also not lose your ‘down-to-earthness’. We have the privilege of travelling around the world, and I think you do notice things if you look around. When someone doesn’t realize in what a good situation they are, they might have other issues or they’re just not satisfied by themselves.
*We apologize for any mistakes that might be spotted in the translation of the interview above.
** Big thank you for the word to word translation to twitter.com/ARCHlEVERONlCA
*** Translation edit by sebvettelnews