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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: I am still in the race for the title 23 Aug 2009

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia Spain, Friday, 21 August 2009 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB5 suffers an engine failure.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 23 August 2009 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB5.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 23 August 2009 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 22 August 2009

The word ‘surrender’ does not figure in the vocabulary of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel. So this weekend’s race, and his early retirement from it, must be considered a setback, not the end of his title challenge. After two engine failures this weekend, the only thing looming heavily over his championship ambitions is having enough engines left to compete for the crown, and unfortunately that is out of his hands…

Q: Sebastian, have you overcome the disappointment of the race?
Sebastian Vettel:
The disappointment still lingers, that’s for sure. When I recap the race I have to say that the start was quite good. Kimi (Raikkonen) got me but I was able to find my place in the field and by the end of my first stint I was able to regain ground on him and had a comfortable edge on Nico (Rosberg). When I pitted to refuel there was no indication that something was going wrong, but when I left the pit I was surprised how well the tyres worked, and I found it a bit strange that the car was not laying lower. When I was braking I discovered perfect grip and the last thing that would have come to my mind was that I had effectively no fuel on board. After half a lap I was told about that fact and that I had to pit again to refuel. At that point that was the end of the race I had in mind. But then to discover some laps later that this was not the end of the story - my engine blew, for the umpteenth time this year.

Q: This weekend saw you suffer two engine failures. Do you have any explanation?
SV:
No, not at all - and also not for the question of why my car had two failures and not another car.

Q: Could it be your driving style?
SV:
I already said jokingly that probably I don’t accelerate enough. But honestly there’s no explanation, though we know that it was a different defect to the one on Saturday morning. That’s it.

Q: Aside from the engine it didn’t seem that the RB5 ran well on this track with its slow corners. We are heading for Spa next week, a high-speed circuit. Can you attack again there?
SV:
I like Spa very much, it’s a fantastic track. The driver who doesn’t like Spa must be doing something wrong. I am really excited to go there. Here the whole weekend was difficult. We’ve not been fast enough, there was a big gap to the front, but on the Saturday morning session we pulled all our strengths together and were able to trim the car in the right direction so that qualifying for me was not too bad. So my idea was to have a good race. What then happened in the race was definitely not on in my plans, and unfortunately we’ve had a number of races so far that didn’t work out as anticipated. Things were going wrong, and somebody who wants to fight for the championship cannot afford such mistakes.

Q: It seems to be the same old story again here - the RB5 prefers cooler temperatures. With Spa things could look better - are you hoping for rain?
SV:
I don’t mind if it rains, but generally I think that this track should suit our car better.

Q: Have you given up all hope of the championship after today?
SV:
I still think that I am in the race for the title. And be sure, I will not give up fighting for it. True, it isn’t ideal - not finishing five out of 11 races cannot be considered ideal - but I still believe in my chances.