Belgian GP · F1 2017

Belgian Grand Prix Post Qualifying Press Conference Transcript

G.P. BELGIO F1/2017


Q: Congratulations. Seb, that was some lap at the end to get on the front row, you needed that didn’t you?

Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, it was the right time. I had a very good feeling in Q1, the get go was really go but then I lost that feeling a little bit, I had a bit light front end, especially then through sector two with the medium-, high-speed corners. I was lacking a little bit of response. But the last lap the car was a little bit more alive, immediately I could feel it turning into Turn 1. And then I have to also admit that I was a bit lucky with Kimi, he had to abort his lap but he gave me a very, very nice tow, which I think made it a bit more comfortable with Valtteri. Obviously it’s very important. Good position today, great job from the team, very happy, so looking forward to the race.

Q: We know these guys are worries about your long-run pace. Are you confident in it?

SV: They should be! So far it has been looking pretty good, so I hope we can keep it up. The car, on one lap, I thought all weekend it was a bit trickier to get it together. Consecutive laps with high fuel I felt really good, so let’s see what we can do with the strategy tomorrow as well, but for sure Mercedes will be quick. But, we don’t have to hide. We are on the front row for a reason. We have the speed and we should have it in the race.


Q: Congratulations, very special day. Sebastian, it was important for Mercedes today that they get two cars on the front row and it was very important for you that they didn’t. It took you a while to get there, so under the circumstances would you class that a very special lap on your behalf?

SV: Not just on my behalf. I think I had a little bit of help from a friend. Kimi had to abort his lap and he was very generous in giving me a tow in the last sector and that got me about two tenths so that helped and it made it a bit more comfortable with Valtteri looking at the result. Q1 I was really happy, the car was amazing. Q2 the main job was to get through, and then Q3 first lap I was missing a little bit the feel for the front. The second run in Q3 was better in that regard. So I was very happy with the last lap and as I said obviously with a little bit of a help it was quite nice. It was then tricky getting into the last corner, because knowing that you arrive so much faster with the tow and braking is never easy, it’s easy to miss it for the last corner. But I managed to get it right and to get it across the line so that was useful. The pace has been good this weekend. I think less for one lap, more so for long runs, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow.

Q: Your long-run pace yesterday looked very promising compared to the Mercedes so does that give you some hope for tomorrow. There is a strange start to this race as well, because you don’t necessarily always want to be the first car down the straight in the opening stages as there is an opportunity for P2 to get ahead?

SV: Yeah that’s right. Well, we’ll see when we get to that. I think the start is still very important and you try to do your best there and try to take it from there. I think the long run pace looked good yesterday, also this morning. Obviously we didn’t do a lot of laps overall this weekend, it’s a long lap, so the amount of laps you get is not that much compared to other tracks. But, as I said, the car was really good, especially for the race, so now we hope to confirm that. Tomorrow will be a tough day though, I mean start, first laps, as you said big straights, tows and in general strategy around here so we will see what happens.

Q: (Angelique Belokopytov – Autodigest) First of all, congratulations Lewis for this special day, special record too, so question to all three of you, could you please share with us a special memorable moment shared with Michael please?

SV: It’s not fair to pick one moment. I think the fact we’re both from the same country makes it easier to in a way get closer to him. I know him for a very, very long time, the age of six or seven I met him for the very first time, he was handing over the trophies to the kids at the go-kart track in Kerpen, his home track, not far away from here. Yeah, it was massive. We were more than a hundred kids and he took the time to shake all our hands, hand over the trophies, so as a child I think that was indescribable. Obviously he was my hero. I had his posters everywhere in my room and he was pretty much the only guy I followed when I was young. So, yeah, big inspiration and we then I think we had a lot of good moments, a lot of fun moments. As a child it’s different, you’re star-struck in a way. It’s my hero, what do I say? I don’t know. And then later on I got to know him and yeah, we really got a long. He’s a great guy, good fun and I think the admiration for his skills is the same as day one. We shared a lot of good moments at the Race of Champions together and even if you can argue about the format and so on, still you have to drive different cars, adapt and the way he drives a go-kart is… I don’t know… it’s just so different to everybody else I’ve ever seen. So, I don’t know how I look from the outside but I guess I don’t look that, so yeah, many moments. Sober and not sober. It’s hard to pick one.

Q: (Mike Doodson – Honorary) Sebastian, you mentioned Kimi’s generous gesture to you. We didn’t see it on TV and I was wondering if it happened spontaneously or if you had to position yourself on the track or did that just happen by good chance?

SV: As far as I understand, he had a mistake on his last flying lap, his last attempt, so it wasn’t planned; he wanted obviously to finish that lap but when he, I guess when he did the mistake and just because of where we were positions, he obviously cruised back to the pits. I guess the team didn’t even tell him anything. I think he just saw a red car in the mirror and thought ‘I’ll hand him a tow,” which was quite nice. It was obviously quite useful for me – but it wasn’t planned. I saw some other teams playing around with tows previously in qualifying – but usually it’s one of those things you can’t really plan so we tend to stay away from it. To answer your question, I think it was very spontaneous.

Q:(Flavio Vanetti – Corriera della Sera) Sebastian, we know that you signed a long term contract and I would like to know if in some way it’s the same trust that Michael had towards the team? And secondly, if you had any moment in which you had doubts about Ferrari and maybe you thought to quit the team?

SV: I don’t know what trust Michael had. I never actually spoke with him about that. Yeah, unfortunately, as you all know I didn’t have the opportunity. I think he would have been one of the first people to ask back in 2014 and probably have to consult also you know, now in terms of… I don’t know, through the course of this year for the future, whatever. I love this team, I love the people who are working for this brand. Obviously Lewis touched on the effort that is going into building a Formula One car. I think for most of the teams it’s probably the same but still I believe Ferrari has something unique, something that other teams don’t have. People talk about a legend, to me it appears that this legend is still alive because of the people who work for it, day in, day out. I’m sure you have been to Maranello, probably most of you haven’t but if you walk down the streets in Maranello, the presence of Ferrari is huge but if you see the people working at Ferrari and meet them, then it’s even bigger, what they carry inside them, the passion for the brand and that’s I think and I’m convinced, allowing every single one of them to go an extra step compared to other people, other teams. That’s my conviction and extremely grateful to be part of that family. In a way, it was a no-brainer to continue. We haven’t yet achieved what we what we wanted to achieve but things are looking pretty good and obviously we have a long road ahead of us.

Q: (Graham Harris – Motorsport Monday, Motorsport Sebastian, speculation before you signed was that you were going to possibly sign a one year deal with Ferrari. Now they’ve come out and announced that you’ve signed at least three years. Do you see yourself ending your career at Maranello?

SV: Well, I don’t know, since we learned last year that these things can happen fairly quickly and spontaneously you never know. But yeah, obviously now I don’t need to think and spend time about thinking about the future so that’s clear and then I think we cross that bridge when we get to it. It’s a long time, a lot of things can happen so we will see. Also then you can never say never. You retire and then, I don’t I know, might get bored, come back. We may see Nico back in a couple of years, who knows? Michael obviously decided to come back at some point because he loved racing but that’s all far far away so not really a topic.

Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) Sebastian, yesterday you said that there would be no news on your contract for two weeks. I just wanted to know what changed in 24 hours for you?

SV: Nothing personal, I don’t like the Sun. I saw a clip yesterday of a funny interview with Jurgen Klopp and he doesn’t like the Sun either so maybe I will jump on the bandwagon. Maybe I give you a last answer. Yeah, I didn’t think that it’s probably the right time so I didn’t rush or push but things were coming along together fairly quickly in the end and we decided to go for it and make the call. So yeah, I know it wasn’t the best in terms of one day and then the other but that’s how it was.

Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Perhaps you will like the BBC, Sebastian. Did you actually sign it this weekend? How did you decide to sign for three years? And did you have any talks with or thoughts about joining Mercedes?

SV: Well, I mean I have been around in the paddock for a while so I know people and it’s natural that you talk but it’s never been more than chatting, mostly about other stuff, to be honest but yeah, I’ve been talking for a while with Ferrari. As I said, my intention was to stay. We haven’t succeeded so the mission is still ongoing. I want to win in red. We talked about inspiration earlier about Michael, he was mostly dressed in red. He won most of his races in red and his championships. I don’t want to step in his footsteps. I think the whole generation of the Ferrari team today wants to leave their own footsteps but certainly there’s a huge inspiration so something for me is now the biggest challenge, the biggest dream that I have and what I want to achieve. I think, to answer your question at the beginning, since I like the BBC, is yes, I actually signed it this weekend.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Do you think tomorrow will be a Ferrari-Mercedes battle again or do you fear Red Bull might interfere?

LH: Yeah, he just said where are they? I don’t… where did they qualify?

SV: Five and six.

LH: I’ve not seen their pace, so as far as I’m aware they’ve been a bit down on power, they’ve tried different… lower and higher range of wings. I think they’ve been a little bit off the pace as far as I’m aware but you never know. Whatever conditions we’re faced with tomorrow, I think the pace of us at the moment, both Ferrari and Mercedes, is pretty strong so…

SV: Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that we see significant increase in race pace for Red Bull so obviously in qualifying, also round here, it might not be their strongest track but tomorrow, come race, lot of laps, looking after the tyres, I think they’ve proven in the past that they’re very strong so you should never under-estimate and forget about them.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – To both Mercedes drivers: no problems with tyre temperatures considering the ultrasoft tyres on the flying laps and also long runs, and Sebastian, Lauda said today that he stopped talking to you two months ago. What went wrong that the conversations didn’t go ahead?

LH: Can he answer first? I’m interested to hear his…

SV: Nothing. Nothing went wrong. I think I’m very happy. I think Niki is generally a happy guy so… nothing went wrong.

LH: For us, we didn’t have any problems with the tyres. I haven’t struggled with tyre temps so far this weekend and I think it wasn’t a problem throughout qualifying as well. It was very easy to get temperatures. The tyres have been giving quite a lot of grip. I think it feels like, particularly for qualifying, that the one step softer was a good direction but it will be interesting to see how it works out tomorrow.

VB: Yeah, definitely, I think right choices from Pirelli for this weekend, to go with the softest compounds. Even with the ultrasofts no big problems, little bit of overheating during the lap but it’s not massive, it’s pretty normal so it was good.

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