Sebastian Vettel Interview with Corriere Della Serra, ahead of his 200th race start at the Bahrain GP.
What is left of that boy who ten years ago under the rain of Monza with Toro Rosso amazed the world?
SV: That victory, together with the first title (in 2010 with Red Bull) and with the first win with Ferrari (in Malaysia in 2015) are perhaps the three most beautiful chapters of my career. I’m still the same, just a little ‘older’ and wiser. My spirit has not changed: I love racing, I love the moment when you get in the car: around you it becomes quiet, you hear only the engine noise and then you exit the garage and it’s all in your hands.
How do you find the motivation to start all over again?
SV: Simple. I love what I do. In the life of a driver there are ups and downs, but I have never crossed the border of disappointment. Losing is a horrible feeling but it also gives you a special charge for the next time. Here, on Sundays I have only one desire: to push to be the best.
Had you not been a F1 driver, what would you have done?
SV: I think I only understood it now at the age of 30, traveling the world opened my mind. I would have liked to do creative things.
SV: Maybe a designer. Or an architect. I like numbers, things that make sense, I’m a practical and straightforward type. But I also admire people who can find alternative solutions. In all trades there is a creative component. For example engineering, who said it’s boring? Look at how much fantasy there is in Formula 1. When I can no longer race, I will dedicate myself to something that makes me feel fulfilled.
Is there a right age to stop racing?
SV: No, you just give up when you’re too slow. Or when you lose the passion, if you no longer feel the excitement and nervousness before the race start. If it happened to me, I would change job, leaving space for young people.
Like Nico Rosberg when he became a world champion.
SV: He has his reasons for leaving, and they’re only in his head. It can be discussed, but to make such a decision you need balls.
Let’s go back to the present, it’s your fourth season with Ferrari. How important is the experience?
SV: Much. Knowing everyone in the team, assimilate the working methods. And trying to improve as much as possible by working on yourself, then the season begins and only the results count. But if I look back and see where we were in 2015, when I arrived, it’s a completely different picture. We have been strong in these years, but missed the big step. But I am confident, we will grow again. We were close to Mercedes but not enough to win the Championship. Now we will try again.
So are you optimistic? In Melbourne it could not have started better.
SV: Yes, but it’s a long season. And it would be wrong to sit here and say, “Now we won the title.”. We want to win the championship, it’s clear. But it makes no sense to talk about it now, too many things have yet to happen. Let’s think about this race, then next week we’ll turn the page and think of China. And then another chapter, it’s like a book.
How did you celebrate your win in Australia?
SV: On the flight back home. We were many members of the team, it was a very pleasant flight.
Nine victories with Ferrari. The most important?
SV: The first one, in Malaysia in 2015. It came right away and it was a powerful emotion not just for me but for the whole team that was coming from a hard year.
Had you been the head of Formula 1, what would you have changed?
SV: Fortunately, I’m not. I’m pleased to be a “simple” driver! (laughs)
But there are many ideas for the future, there are talks about a sprint race to assign the pole position. What do you think?
SV: I am a traditionalist, for me the Grand Prix has been so since I remember it. Even in the past the races were long, even more so than now, and people enjoyed themselves anyway. I understand that everything changes, but what’s wrong with the current system?
People love duels, rivalries like that between you and Lewis Hamilton, eight World Championships between you two. Lewis claims that nothing has changed between you and him since last year’s fight. Confirmation?
SV: Yep. He wants to beat me, I want to beat him.
Do you know that your rival sleeps 4-5 hours a night? You how much?
SV: So little? But I sleep at night, not during the day (laughs). I need to rest for eight hours on race weekends, then I get to 9-10.
Do you fear Red Bull? Do you see a fight for three?
SV: One race is very little ‘to judge, it takes at least 3-4 races. I see Mercedes in the lead and a close confrontation between us and Red Bull. I think it will be a close fight, it usually happens when the rules do not change for a while. And I hope so: fighting with more drivers is exciting, even for those who stay at home in front of the TV .
If you could challenge a champion from the past who would you choose?
SV: Michael. He is “The best”. And then I guess it would also be the most difficult task to deal with because he has always been my hero.
SV: Stirling Moss, I read his story and I became passionate. They did crazy things with those cars. Every era has its heroes, but if I have to choose one it would be the mid-nineties. Michael’s era.
And one day they will tell the era of Sebastian and Lewis. Is Hamilton the strongest opponent you have ever faced?
SV: Sure. Him and Fernando Alonso.
You follow football and often play too. If you were a coach and had to choose between Messi and Ronaldo who would you take?
SV: Good question. Ronaldo is a super-athlete, someone who works hard to improve himself. Messi is a different player, nobody is able to reach his numbers. I’d take both them.
This is not valid…
SV: Why? I would be the happiest coach on earth. It’s a game.
A game, like that of giving a name to the car. After Melbourne you added a G, from «Loria» to «Gloria»?
SV: No not yet. Better to wait. The most important thing is that at the end of the season you call her “Gloria”.
Source: Corriere Della Serra
*Word to word translation by Admin.