Q: Seb, unbelievable job, three poles in a row, looked phenomenal out there. I know on your second run you were going for faster but a bit of a lock-up stopped you from doing that but you were phenomenal today.
Sebastian VETTEL: Thank you. I felt the car was good in Q2 and Q2 and then in the last segment of qualifying I knew I have it, I have the car that does what I want. Not have it as in pole position, but that I could get a good lap together. The first lap I was really happy, there were maybe two tiny bits where it wasn’t exactly perfect, but I knew on the second run that the track would ramp up and that I would have to go out and get it again. I was a little bit down on the time, a little bit faster and then I locked up. It caught me by surprise for Turn 3 and then I wasn’t sure, do I go straight or do I try to hang on to it. I tried to hang on to it but, yeah, fortunately it was enough. I really had a good lap on the first attempt, so really happy.
Q: Seb, we come back to you. It’s been a great day, but this is only the start. Mercedes are in the mix, Red Bull are in the mix. How hard is it going to be tomorrow? Even just that run down to Turn 1, how tough is it going to be tomorrow?
SV: It’s not that long. That way is a lot longer! I think it will be an intense race. Here, anything can happen, safety cars are very likely. The good point is that our car was really good this afternoon, so we should be in a good place tomorrow. Yesterday I struggled a bit with confidence, with trust in the car, and just rhythm, which is important around here, but today, when it clicks it just keeps coming and it was really enjoyable. I’m a bit upset with my final run because I thought I had a little bit more but we got pole so we can’t be much happier with how the day went.
Sebastian, how happy are you after this one, particularly after yesterday when you said you were lacking confidence in the car?
SV: Well, lack of confidence in the car, leading into lack of confidence around the track. I think around this place you need to have the trust, otherwise you don’t dare go as quick as you might be able to. At the end of the session I was quite confident and today I was able to carry that into the day and the car was amazing. It just kept getting better. The track picked up quite a bit through qualifying. Q3 run one I was really happy. There was maybe a tiny bit in the middle sector – in Turn 6, Turn 11 – where I was a bit greedy and went a bit wider than I should, but the rest of the lap was really good. Also, I ha da good exit from the last corner, which was incredibly difficult today, with the wind playing tricks on all of is I guess, and even a little bit of a two with the car five, six, seven seconds ahead, so I was really happy how that lap came together. And then for the second run I knew there was a little bit more in those places that I mentioned and the car was on fire straight away but then I think I got a bit too excited for Turn 3 and tried to brake later, quite a bit later, than the laps before. I must have hit the bump as well and locked the front. From then onwards the front left was flat-spotted. I was quite upset at the time in the car, because I burnt my shot at an improvement and I didn’t know what was going around me. So when I then aborted the lap and I was told pole position then obviously I was really happy. I think the team has done well. We’ve changed the car again overnight and found even more performance.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Question for Sebastian. Sebastian, were you being made aware by your team how close Kimi had come to nicking pole from you. He was two-tenths up on you after the first couple of sectors. A second point to that, how much are you feeling from Kimi’s side of the garage this year. Are you noticing a renewed level of performance from him?
SV: I think one thing is always to look at the result and the other one, if you look a little bit deeper… I think it’s been incredibly close this year so far. He’s obviously… to be honest, most of the Fridays I think he had the upper hand so far. Yeah, here and there was struggling to understand the car and feel the car so I think knowing him, knowing his strength, he’s incredibly talented and able to drive around problems. So, as I said, it’s been quite close this year. The last lap, I wasn’t aware, obviously I was out because I took myself out but if you look also the previous years the image is a bit distorting. It wasn’t as one-sided as you might think if you look at the results. I think we’re… I don’t know where you’re going or why you’re asking but I think we’re a good pair, a good match. We just said recently there’s so little problem… there’s no problem at all between us ever and there were races where I messed up, crashed into him, took him out and yeah, life goes on. I think that’s a really big bonus for the team and for us to just enjoy our job.
Q: (Jon McEvoy – Daily Mail) To Seb: you’ve been involved in Formula One now for a great number of years. How hard is it to sustain it at that level? I say that slightly… bearing in mind Bernie’s remarks about Lewis. How demanding and draining is it for a high level driver?
SV: It’s certainly different… going into the season certainly feels different than it did ten years ago. I think that’s what ten years do to you. Don’t get me wrong, not in a bad way but I think as you grow up you change your views on some things, you hopefully get a bit wiser so you change… your horizon changes and also your motivation is different. Maybe you are looking at things a bit differently. It always depends on how you are as a person, which targets you have and what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. For me, I’m enjoying what I do, I love what I do, I love racing. Obviously there’s a lot of people that have an opinion on every single day that I’m in the car and sometimes they are right, sometimes they are not. I think the most important thing is that you know who you are and you’re true to yourself. Then, I think you can afford to listen less to what’s going on around, not be distracted and simply enjoy your racing. Whether you are at your prime or not, I think then – once you retire – you have enough time to analyse and look back and say… Of course, the level is high, if you want to fight at the front, you cannot afford to do many mistakes and for whoever is at the top and was at the top in the past for many years, usually has a high level and there’s a lot of effort going into it, not just putting everything together at the track but also away from the track. Yeah, without making it longer than it already is, it is a lot of work and sometimes it gets appreciated, other times less but ultimately it’s about yourself.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) The first two editions of this Grand Prix were very different. One was very tame, almost dull, and last year we had a crashfest, so what can we expect from tomorrow’s race, especially with the weather conditions getting even worse with more wind?
SV: I don’t have a crystal ball so I don’t know. The thing nowadays, that I don’t like, is that people tend to judge our sport straightaway based on one race. After Australia we had ‘catastrophe, these cars blah blah blah.’ I mean yes, it might have been a boring race but also it’s down to many things: the track, the race, whatever. Then we had, I think, an entertaining race in Bahrain and in China. Maybe tomorrow’s boring, maybe it’s exciting. I don’t know. Maybe it rains. Who knows? In the end, that’s why we go racing so that we will find out, I guess.
Q: (Ralf Bach – Autobild Motosport) Seb, it’s obvious that the guys next to you want to make the next undercut tomorrow. Will you be prepared for it?
SV: Well, I think certainly what happened in China, we didn’t like it but I think we have a good team looking after this sort of stuff. I think we will see how the start goes, how the first stint goes but certainly we are aware that this is a long lap here and the undercut power is probably there. Equally it’s tough, I guess, to make the tyres work straight away for everyone. I think what there was to learn from China we learned and we should be fine tomorrow.