Sebastian Vettel Q&A: European victory a surprise 27 Jun 2010
Sebastian Vettel got his title challenge back on track on Sunday after ending his recent victory drought with an excellent win in Valencia. A minor brush with Lewis Hamilton aside, it was a flawless performance from the German, who then went on to see his nation defeat England in their World Cup clash. A good day all round then
Q: Sebastian, tell us about your win today
Sebastian Vettel: I was a bit surprised myself, but extremely happy that all went so well on our side right from the beginning. When the safety car was deployed, I was a bit afraid that it might get a bit tight, as everyone gets a pit stop for free, but everything went smoothly, and then Lewis (Hamilton) getting the drive-through penalty made our life much easier. So I was able to organize my race up until the chequered flag.
Q: How was your start, and the early fight against Lewis?
SV: It was a little unexpected, as I had a good start and was then surprised how the rest of the field caught up again. I was not braking too early, but then I realized that Lewis was pushing from the inside. His car was halfway beside me and I was trying to give him as much space as possible. So then his car must have possibly touched the kerbs and it must have touched my car. At the beginning I was afraid of getting a punctured tyre, as I did not know which part of his car had touched mine. But then after a couple of corners I realized that everything was alright, and then I concentrated on pushing forward. So my first stint was very good. After the safety-car phase was over I had a little moment, as I braked too late with the tyres not being on temperature yet and this caused a lock-up resulting in a small flat spot on the tyres. But overall the car was nearly perfect and I had a lot of fun.
Q: Your team mate Mark had a terrible accident. Have you already spoken to him?
SV: I saw the accident on the screens, and during the race I was in contact with the team over the radio. They informed me that everyone involved was okay. During the race I saw the damage on the car, and it did look scary. If you consider the speed, and then the height of his lift-off you suddenly realize how risky the job can be. But then you just concentrate on racing and being competitive, and to get the best out of every lap. You either try to defend your position, or try to overtake the one in front of you, and sometimes you see that it can go wrong and the result is this.
Q: Fernando Alonso has been pointing out his belief that Lewis Hamilton's penalty was not strong enough. What is your opinion on this?
SV: During the race I did not realize what exactly happened. I did not exactly know whether he had overtaken the safety car or not. I just got informed that he had received a drive-through penalty. For us this was quite good, as he was only two seconds behind me and that gave us some room to move. So I was not really sure when all this happened and how late race control has reacted to this. I think that there were a couple of things coming together, and that also race control had to double-check what was going on, as this seems to be a quite complicated situation. I have to watch it again myself to have a proper opinion on this.
Q: So now you are seeing your title chances growing bigger?
SV: We are still not at the very front, and there is still quite a bit ahead of us. It is definitely a step in the right direction, and if we are able to continue like this it will be looking even better. But the lesson that we have learned is that you have to finish the races constantly, even if you are only second, third or fourth.
Q: So for the team it was quite an eventful day with your win, Marks accident and Germany defeating England in the World Cup. How is the vibe internally on the football?
SV: On the track we are acting as one team, but when it comes to soccer the opinions definitely go far apart.