Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Driving at Monaco out of this world 13 May 2010
Although hes shown his prowess in the rain on several occasions, even Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel is praying for dry weather in Monaco. The track is demanding enough, with or without rain, and the thought of 24 cars trying to make it through the first corner on a damp track is a little too much for Vettel to bear. But while his 2009 Monte Carlo race ended in disappointment, Vettel is hopeful he can improve his record at the circuit and is targeting a podium finish
Q: Sebastian, are you a fan of Monaco?
Sebastian Vettel: When you're not racing on a wet track! Ah, that was only a joke. Monaco is very special. Everybody, including the drivers, is a bit more excited than at any other race. And the driving here is almost from another planet. It really is fun. The fans in front of the TV probably dont see that the track goes up and down too. Its like a rollercoaster.
Q: Would a win here be special for you?
SV: Yes. Definitely!
Q: Can you explain why?
SV: It is that extra challenge on the track and the huge tradition and history that makes a win here so special. Its been 60 years now and the race has lost nothing of its distinctiveness.
Q: Ste Devote seems to be a crucial point of the track for you. What do you have to do differently this weekend?
SV: You mean because my race ended prematurely at that point last year? First of all the strategy has to be better than last year as we were been railroaded almost after a few laps. I think the secret to this race lies in qualifying. The best case scenario is to be on pole position or at least on the front row because overtaking is a rather impractical thing here. Dont forget too that it is a long race - 78 laps in total. For the car and the engine it is probably a piece of cake, but for the drivers to keep a high concentration level it is quite difficult, because of the layout rather than the speed.
Q: Is the Red Bull unbeatable here?
SV: No car is unbeatable, at any time. The car is strong for sure, but we really have to focus on the right set-up for qualifying and deliver a good race on Sunday.
Q: Is the right strategy here more important than at any other track?
SV: Well, at least this year it is rather simple. Everybody starts with the same weight and then you look to find the right slot for your pit stop. It is more about reacting to things rather than trying to find the ultimate and perfect time for the stop. So strategy is a rather negligible thing here. If your reaction is right! What is a bit tricky is to find the right timing. The track is rather short, but the number of cars is the same, so you have to find your own perfect slot.
Q: Does the driver play a bigger role here in Monaco than at other race tracks?
SV: Could be. Even though I think it is wrong to believe that here in Monaco the driver is the only thing that makes a difference. Without a good car you are nowhere - even here. Its the whole package that makes or breaks it.
Q: So far the Red Bull has been the car to beat this year, but technical issues have prevented you from exploiting it to great effect on several occasions. Are you worried?
SV: We are not the type to panic at the first little breeze. We know where we are, and just because three out of five races have been rather unsatisfying for me, doesnt change our confidence.
Q: Where do you think youll end up on the grid on Saturday? And what will be the biggest stumbling block?
SV: Q1 will be crucial. Youll have so many cars on very different speeds on a relatively short track. That will make it quite difficult to find the right time for your fastest lap.
Q: Is there anything these backmarkers can do to make it easier for you fast guys?
SV: There is nothing really that they can do as they are pushing as fast as they can, and its not their fault if their cars are not faster. It is something that we have to deal with. For sure nobody is willingly holding somebody up. But you can get held up - especially here.
Q: What part of the track do you like best?
SV: The Tabac corner and the Swimming Pool area because they are very fast and the walls are very close. It feels great!
Q: At every race this year so far we have seen a Red Bull on pole position. Will that also be the case on Saturday?
SV: Well as I just said before, it will be crucial to get through Q1 - and then well see. Its no secret that the grid position here in Monaco is key! From what Ive experienced today we are very competitive, so things should work out for us. We have tomorrow to contemplate qualifying - to really let this track sink in - and then close in on pole on Saturday.
Q: Your record here could be better. Is that fair to say?
SV: My record here is rubbish, when you take 2009 into account. In 2008 I think I finished fifth when it was raining, so that was not too bad. So you have one nil and one okay race. For sure my record for Monaco should be better on Sunday! I intend to finish on the podium
Q: So far you and Mark Webber have claimed one win each. Whats your impression of the battle between you and him?
SV: It is good to have a team mate like Mark, who is pushing. We always do our best and always try to beat the other guy. There is not much else to say.