Exclusive Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Suzuka here we come 27 Sep 2009
Many pundits predicted Singapore would be a tough race for Red Bull, but qualifying suggested otherwise. Sebastian Vettel thought he would have taken pole, were it not for the red flag. But Sunday did not go well for the German. A drive-through penalty for pit-lane speeding killed his chances of serious points - and possibly the title. Now he heads to Japan knowing he needs to win at Suzuka to keep his dwindling championship hopes alive
Q: Sebastian, drive-through penalty ends title hopes - could that be the headline from your race today race?
Sebastian Vettel: Yep, maybe. It was somehow frustrating as I was sure that P2 would have been possible today. True, in the second stint I was caught in traffic first behind Nico (Rosberg) and then behind Lewis (Hamilton), but overall I have to say that the speed was good until my car started to disintegrate a bit - first the mirror and then something with the diffuser and then the car became very difficult to handle. Honestly I dont know why I was given that drive-through penalty. In my opinion I was neither too fast when approaching the pit nor after being released, so we will have to wait and see the data.
Q: How realistic are your chances of winning the championship, now that you are 25 points behind with only 30 points available?
SV: History has shown many examples in both directions. For us it was the very same process as always, trying to get the best. First to get the pole, and then trying to win the race.
Q: Coming back to the pit lane speeding, isnt that something thats controlled electronically? You push the button and the electronics take over? Could there have been a failure on the speed limiter?
SV: Yes, you push the button and then you accelerate again and you go cruising again. That is the plan. If it was an electronic or human failure we will see. I am not aware of having made any mistake, as I was in no hurry because I knew that Lewis would pit behind me so there was no chance of overtaking him in the pits.
Q: Do you feel the drive-through penalty was justified?
SV: The race is over now, so I cant really say if it was fair, or unfair. Of course it is very easy to see if you have been speeding in the pit lane. For some reason we did, and that was the reason we were handed the drive-through penalty. I was very surprised when I got informed over the radio.
Q: How difficult was it to maintain your pace knowing that Marks RB5 had suffered a brake failure?
SV: I was not free of problems either, but I was warned, so I handled the brakes with extra care - braking a bit earlier - and that worked quite well until the finish line, although it was not a bed of roses to get caught in traffic when the pedal is getting longer and longer.
Q: At Suzuka you will be going for broke then?
SV: It will be exactly the same as here. Of course, it was a pity to lose my second spot straight away. But for Suzuka it will also be maximum attack, and I am very confident that our car will be very competitive there too.