Q: Sebastian, I think that’s probably as good as you could have expected. Looking at the last sector that seems to be a massive deficit for you guys here.
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, it seems to be more than an Achilles’ heel at the moment. I just spoke to Valtteri and they were both very happy with the car, especially last sector. For us it was a bit more tricky. I think we got everything out of the car in the first run. In the second run I had to try something different and it didn’t work, but yeah, happy but not happy, if you know what I mean.
Q: I totally know what you mean. But it’s weird in the last sector, because it looks like the car is planted. It looks like the rear end is planted and you just have understeer. But maybe that’s an aerodynamic deficit, so you balance the car like that. Is that the case?
SV: The car doesn’t feel bad, but obviously we are not quick enough. In terms of balance we got it more or less right. I had a bit more understeer; what you saw is right. Probably more than they have but I think overall in those sort of corners, you know yourself, you just need the grip and I think we might be down on that.
Q: Sebastian, coming on to you, looks like it was quite a tough afternoon for you – but it’s been a hard weekend for Ferrari, as well, relative to the performance of the Mercedes. Just talk us through the handling of your car.
SV: Well, it’s been a busy weekend, obviously. Happy to be in P3. I think it gives us a good chance for tomorrow and we look forward to the race. I think we brought some new bits, a new engine, everything seems to work but clearly we are not yet where we want to be but I think in terms of team effort, everybody was doing their utmost. We tried a lot of stuff yesterday, and again today. Different directions. I think we ended up getting the best out of the car for today, which, as I say, wasn’t enough and we’re certainly not satisfied – but I’m very happy with the approach, with the chance that we took, in terms of trying something daring, something I think ultimately will pay off. Not yet – not today at least! But hopefully it helps us in terms of pace tomorrow. Hopefully sets of the right direction for the next couple of weeks.
Q: Happy with the approach of the team – but were you surprised by the gap to Mercedes?
SV: I think yes. Of course. Coming here we did not expect… but also we seemed to lose a quite big amount of time in the last sector. I think it’s quite clear we seem to be faster down the straights, so probably carrying a little bit less wing than them, but then obviously in the last sector there are no straights and yeah, struggling a little bit to bring it together, so it’s not a very long sector but they’re quite some corners, and mostly lower speed, and that’s where we seem to be losing the most time. So, definitely some homework. We know this track very well, everybody does, but the conditions today, etcetera, we were not able to match them.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) To Sebastian. You said the last sector was very slow. 1500m – eight-tenths. Can you describe for us if you lose when you brake, the speed in the middle of the corner, the traction? Because it’s really a lot in a very short space.
SV: Yes, it’s a lot of time – but as I said, obviously we gain down the straights and we lose in the corners. Obviously the first in the first two sectors we have straights to compensate, so maybe you don’t see the loses in the corners but, I think it’s pretty transparent: I think you have access as much as we have to the GPS data. We lose time in the last sector in the corners in pretty much every corner. So, from 10 to 15 there’s not one corner that stands out. Obviously eight-tenths sounds a lot but if you then divide it by the amount of corners, it’s a bit less – but it’s still a lot. In the end of the day, it doesn’t change anything. For us, it’s a lot of homework. The car, I think, certainly didn’t feel perfect, so there’s something we can improve but overall, obviously, yeah, overall we seem to be a bit down in terms of grip and not being able to carry as much speed through the corner, not go on throttle as easy as them, so it’s a loss not necessarily in braking, I think it’s more the speed carried around the corner. It’s not the first time. Obviously here it bites you in the last sector because there are many corners and no straights – but that’s what it is. For tomorrow, we’ll see what we can do. Certainly the straight-line speed will help us to put pressure on the first straight and then go from there.
Q: (Christian Menath – Motorsportmagazin.com) Two questions for Seb: did you feel that problem during the winter tests as well, the problem in the slow corners and secondly, you always said the potential is there; did you have this feeling this weekend as well?
SV: Well, I think, starting with the second question, I think we didn’t start off well in Australia, we certainly weren’t extracting the maximum from the car. I think we probably, with hindsight, didn’t carry the best set-up but from then onwards we gradually improved, we certainly were not where we wanted to be. To return to your first question, I think winter testing is now quite a while ago and I think the cars have progressed quite a lot – our car as much as other cars. Obviously conditions were different and so on. We had a very good feeling the first week. The second week things were a lot closer but obviously there was a lot of – how can I say? – positivity after the first week which we carried over and we sort of wanted to carry into the season but so far we haven’t managed to extract that. I think overall the car is good, we have the performance, we need to put it together, we know we can do better so we need to dig deep. Obviously now is not the first time we’re losing out and not the second time and not the third time, so there’s a consistent trend that we seem to lose in some places, independent of conditions: sunshine, clouds, tyres, compounds and so on. Yeah, a bit more fast to understand but if we had the solution surely it would be on the car already.