Sebastian Vettel talks to the Italian newspaper “Corriere Della Sera” about how the season went, Kimi Raikkonen, Charles Leclerc, Mick & Michael Schumacher and more.
From where should we start? Next year?
Vettel: No, there’s still a race and I want to win it. The next season is still far away for me.
Then let’s relive this season. Does it help to understand it better?
Vettel: Highs and lows: the best points were the victories in Bahrain and Spa. The worst was Hockenheim where I lost by mistake. In the end too many races did not go as they should have gone. But we must accept that we have been beaten.
Was it a missed opportunity or Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes just won it?
Vettel: It is wrong and unfair to say, as I have heard:”This championship was lost by Ferrari…”. No, Mercedes won and we lost. There were races where we were very close, others where we were ahead, but unfortunately in others we were still far away and they dominated. We have never been able to win that way.
Are you sure?
Vettel: Yes, think of their wins in Spain, France and Russia. When we won, it was always after a very hot battle. In Australia we were lucky, in Bahrain they were close with the strategy, at Spa we had a gap of 1.5… Even in Canada, our best performance, Bottas was not far away.
But at one point Ferrari seemed to have the best car.
Vettel: I’ve heard so many comments about this and I do not agree. We had a good car, not a dominant one. In the final part of the championship there has even often been lack of speed.
You have been criticized for doing too many mistakes. How do you respond?
Vettel: It’s true, I made many mistakes. It is right to say it. I did not have to crash in Germany, but sometimes shit happens. We lost a lot of points, but in the end I think that even without the mistakes we would not have won the championship.
How do you fight stress and relieve pressure?
Vettel: When I’m at home with my family, with my friends. I ride a bike and I do not think about anything else.
What will be the first thing you will tell Charles Leclerc when he arrives in the team?
Vettel: Nothing. He proved he deserved a place in F1 and now he made a big jump. He’s a good boy, I’ll be very straightforward with him. I do not think there will be problems.
What will you miss about Kimi Raikkonen?
Vettel: Silence! Seriously, working with him was a pleasure, in these years we have built a sincere relationship. And then luckily I’ll see him again, he will leave the Ferrari but he will not disappear.
What impact did the sudden death of Sergio Marchionne have on you and the team?
Vettel: Big impact for the whole Ferrari team, but I do not think it has had any impact on what was happening on track. Everything we do here happens automatically, everyone knows what they have to do. Developments, for example, have been planned for some time. It was a tragedy, but it is not correct to say that after the president’s death, the championship went bad. I do not want to be misunderstood, but it never happens that when one person leaves or arrives the problems appear or disappear. Only time will tell how deep this change has been for Ferrari. Having said that, Marchionne will be remembered for a long time for what he has achieved.
Maurizio Arrivabene said: «Seb needs to feel the affection to give the best». Did you hear it?
Vettel: Yes, the fans have never made me miss that. The support we have had this year has risen in level compared to the past. And in the most difficult periods, the support from the outside was one of the best help to not to throw me down and recover my confidence.
Give us some ideas to be optimistic for 2019.
Vettel: There are always reasons to think positive, we have a strong team and the right people at the right place. I am very optimistic.
If you had a time machine in what era would you go?
Vettel: I would like to be young, like now, but live in 1965.
Vettel: Because I would prepare for the 70s, which was an extraordinary period. I could drive the cars of that time, fabulous. And listen to the most beautiful music.
Do you still listen to the Beatles?
Let’s go back to the present. You will be with Mick Schumacher at the Race of Champions. Will he make it to F1?
Vettel: Yes, he’s still young and in no hurry. He’s back from a fantastic season, if he goes on like this, there’s a good chance he’ll make it.
His father Michael will be 50 years old soon. Do you feel like giving him a special thought?
Vettel: I can not find words strong enough. As I always say, I miss Michael: as a friend, as a person to whom I could always ask for advice, I miss his point of view as a driver and on other things. Drivers are people different from the normal ones, inside and outside the car.
Are you happy with the return of Robert Kubica?
Vettel: Mixed. On the one hand I’m happy for him: I’ve known him since we were driving karts, and I think nobody can imagine how hard it was for Robert to wait for the chance to get back to driving. I think if only he gets closer to his level before the accident, he will not have any problems.
And the other half?
Vettel: Other people come to mind without a seat, like Ocon. I’m happy for Robert, but I’m sorry there’s no place for a great talent like Esteban.
Will F1 be a poorer without Fernando Alonso?
Vettel: No, the world is spinning so fast that the differences will not be noticed. I do not say that because it’s Fernando. But the day that Lewis or I will leave, the show will go on all the same way. As the song says, “The show must go on”.
Source: Corriere Della Sera