Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Keeping the dream alive 04 Oct 2009
It was just the result he needed to keep the world championship open. Two races to go and still three drivers in the hunt for the title - it couldnt get better. Sebastian Vettel, by winning Sundays Japanese Grand Prix, was able to reduce the gap to leader Jenson Button by nine points so that he is now 16 behind the Briton, and only two behind Rubens Barichello. And anybody who knows the extremely focused young German knows that he will fight until the very last to make the championship his
Q: Congratulations Sebastian, it was an important win for you. When listening to the team radio it evoked scenes of a Beatles song. Can you explain what was going on inside your mind when crossing the finish line?
Sebastian Vettel: Okay, everybody by now knows that Im a passionate Beatles fan and that has developed into some sort of running joke within the team. And believe me, when I saw the chequered flag, that was a breathe of relief. Life in that very moment felt much easier, especially after the last races where things looked good but then did not translate into results.
Q: How much did you have to fight at the start? At some races this year youve been made to sweat at the start...
SV: Ha, our starts have improved over the course of the season so no more sweating, especially when we are on the right side of the track. Today I stayed in the middle, watching Jarno (Trulli) on the right and Lewis (Hamilton) on the left to immediately react to the one who did a better start. At one point I knew that Jarno wouldnt attack, so I went more on the inside - and suddenly there was Lewis coming from the left. But as I was in the middle of the track, that meant I was safe for the first two corners. When it became clear that the two would not be able to attack I shifted my focus from looking behind to the free track ahead of me.
Q: Your first pit stop gave the impression that the team wanted desperately to avoid any pit-stop penalty, because everything looked pretty unhurried...
SV: Not really, but obviously weve been a bit slow. But as Lewis was still out there, there was no real need to hurry.
Q: How annoying was the Kovalainen/Sutil incident for you?
SV: To be honest I didnt get anything of what happened.
Q: But they probably would have pocketed that single point that Jenson scored
SV: As I said, I missed that. Sure it would have served me if he would not have scored at all. Fact is that you fully concentrate on yourself and on your car, so that things going on that do not immediately interfere with your racing stay outside your cognition. I had quite a lead when the safety car came - that was then eliminated. After the safety car left the track I was again able to get ahead, so whatever caused that safety car went unnoticed by me.
Q: Going home with ten points today, do you regret all those points that you have failed to collect in the past months?
SV: True, sometimes it did not work out ideal, but today is not a day for regretting and looking back. We must only look forward and from the experience today it was amazing, the car behaved fantastic and we were quicker than everybody. Now we have to keep that momentum.
Q: Team mate Mark Webber was the king of the pit stops today - five to be precise - so he was not in the position to support you. But how crucial will his support be in the last two races in the fight for the championship?
SV: Again, I didnt get much of his race either - I just saw him pitting from time to time. To answer your question: we are a team and we fight together. True the next two races will be crucial, so you can be assured that if we have the chance to win we will seize it.
Q: Have you already consulted Kimi Raikkonen to get hints on how to catch up by17 points in the last two races - as he did when winning his title? You are in a better position - you only need 16
SV: Everybody who knows Kimi knows that reflecting is not his thing. He rather is the accelerating guy. And that is exactly what we need in the last remaining races.
Q: The next two races are on medium to low-speed tracks that could mean Brawn bounce back. Is that already in the back of your head?
SV: Weve seen so many ups and downs in the course of the season, and the sure favourites at particular tracks failed to impress, so any prediction would be pure speculation. True, that kind of track as we have here in Suzuka suits our car very well, but we know the track in Sao Paolo so we can prepare well. And we have demonstrated that our car works well on high-speed tracks like here but also in low-speed street circuits with low grip as in Singapore.
Q: How much would you bet on yourself becoming world champion?
SV: I dont bet. But before today I would have thought it possible a lot less than after those 53 laps today, so I am looking quite confidently towards Brazil and Abu Dhabi.