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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Title is the only target for '10 27 Feb 2010

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, Friday 26 February 2010. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, Friday 26 February 2010. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6 Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, Friday 26 February 2010. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, Thursday 18 February 2010. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6 Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, Friday 26 February 2010.

After coming so close to clinching the title in 2009, it is clear nothing less than the world championship will do for Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel this season. After climbing out of the RB6’s cockpit following testing at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Friday, Vettel evaluates his progress and the pace of his rivals…

Q: Sebastian, are you satisfied after your first day in action at Barcelona?
Sebastian Vettel:
We completed many laps and we didn’t have any issues that forced us to stop, so I would call it a good day.

Q: You did stop out on the track at one point…
SV:
Ah, it has been a long winter break, so I was a little tired. And after all the rain we’ve had lately, the sun was shining, so I thought I might pull over…

Q: Were you trying to avoid an engine failure?
SV:
No, not really. But sometimes it is safer to turn the engine off than risk damage.

Q: It’s been a pretty demanding day…
SV:
Yes, it was a full day’s work. But it felt good after that long winter break, and the little running we managed last week, to be out on a dry track.

Q: Do you still think Ferrari are the favourites?
SV:
I think so. In the morning or in the afternoon, with more or less fuel, they’ve looked pretty competitive.

Q: You were four-tenths faster than Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes GP…
SV:
It’s difficult to judge. The times you see after a long day’s running are secondary. The really interesting thing is to see how a car develops over many laps. You shouldn’t put too much emphasis on a single lap.

Q: Were you surprised by Nico Hulkenberg’s time?
SV:
Yes, I was. To get a lap time down to 1m 20s you have to be running with very little fuel. The good conditions in the afternoon played to his advantage too.

Q: You say lap times don’t tell the whole story, so what are your thoughts on the pecking order?
SV:
As I said before, the Ferrari looks very fast. When you get into the 1m 20s region you have to have a good car. It’s hard to say anything definite about the pecking order, but I would say that Ferrari has an advantage and that behind them it is pretty tight.

Q: What do you expect will happen in Bahrain?
SV:
It’s difficult to say. In Bahrain the temperature will be 32 degrees Celsius - that’s double what we have here - so the tarmac will be much warmer. It is hard to say how the cars will behave. Last year the pecking order was clear with Brawn GP on top, but behind them it was difficult to say. We’ve been pretty good from the start, although we were in the midfield at the last test. You should never overestimate tests. There will still be some upgrades. Making a prediction is like playing the lottery.

Q: How are you feeling?
SV:
Good. I’ve done more than a race distance today.

Q: On a scale of one to ten, how keen are you for the season to start?
SV:
Ten.

Q: What is your goal?
SV:
After last season, there can only be one goal - to become world champion. It will be a long, hard season and I will take it race by race. At the moment it looks pretty tight so it will be a sizzling season.

Q: Where would you place Michael Schumacher in the pecking order?
SV:
Well, I don’t think it is right to speak only of Michael. You have to consider Mercedes as a team. Nico (Rosberg) is also someone you have to take into account. As I said, I see Ferrari in the lead and then us, McLaren and Mercedes. In this group it is pretty tight. Sometimes one has an advantage over the others.

Q: Does the big fuel tank make driving feel massively different?
SV:
No, not really. The cars are longer - we are limo-drivers now. Plus, with a full tank the car will behave different. It’ll be more inert, but at the end of the day it is still a Formula One car.