Sebastian Vettel Q&A: It's good to be out of the spotlight 25 Jul 2010
Hockenheim is practically in Sebastian Vettels back yard - he grew up barely 40 km away - so few were surprised to see him take pole for his home race. More surprising was the way he then got dumped down to P3 at Turn One by the Ferraris. Vettel, however, is looking on the bright side - he outscored his main title rivals and is happy that for once it's a team other than Red Bull courting controversy
Q: Sebastian, what was it like to race in front of such a massive home audience? Your hometown Heppenheim is just around the corner
Sebastian Vettel: It was fantastic. Its the first time that Ive raced here with Red Bull Racing because last year the race was on the Nurburgring. But by now the people have understood that Red Bull is not only a drink but also a successful Formula One team, so it is great to be here. It was a fantastic atmosphere, but I obviously had to share that with the other German drivers. We all wanted to put on a good show and deliver the best possible results.
Q: Would you call this track a Vettel track after all?
SV: I always liked it here and of course I know this track pretty well. It is no secret that I grew up not far from here and this was probably the first real track that I ever raced on.
Q: It seemed that the race was decided in the first corner. Did you concentrate too much on Alonso?
SV: No, not at all. I would say it was not the best of starts. When I let the coupler in the engine speed went south and I lost a lot of speed. I then concentrated on Fernando, trying to close the door, but he was already at my side so this was fruitless. And then came the big surprise that Felipe (Massa) came from the other side and passed the both of us. After that we probably were a little too slow with our race pace - probably a crucial two-tenths a lap - and that was the end of it. Overall I would say that it was a good race from our side and unfortunately nothing more then P3 was possible. In hindsight I would say that it would have been almost impossible to control the race even with a perfect start. At the end it was satisfying to be on the podium at my home Grand Prix and it was some sort of consolation to see all my fans from up there.
Q: There was a very surprising result in the end with Alonso overtaking Massa. How did you see this situation?
SV: I didnt see it at all because I was always something like five or six seconds behind the Ferraris. I just realized that the position change must have happened in the hairpin, but of course I have heard what and how it happened.
Q: But if the race engineer apologises - and Felipes face spoke volumes - and we all know that such manoeuvres are forbidden, how would you expect the FIA to react?
SV: I cannot - and dont want to - make any comment. We have concentrated on ourselves and in the end P3 was a quite satisfying result. And those who were in front of us today are still behind us in the championship. It would have been great to leave Hockenheim with a couple more points but today it simply didnt work as well as it did on Friday and Saturday, so P3 is okay and obviously was our maximum today. We are heading for the next race next week in Budapest with a good feeling and a high spirit.
Q: Jenson Button complained that you pushed him aside at the start. Is there a new friendship in the making?
SV: Jenson Button? Where was he? I didnt see him at all. But if you take the size of our mirrors then you can understand that things can happen. But he was not in my immediate vicinity, so I have no idea what he means. Should it be a fact then it was sure not intentional.
Q: Are the Ferraris so much faster?
SV: Overall I dont see this. But of course Ferrari has shown good pace all weekend long - probably theyve made a step forward this weekend - and maybe this track suits them very well. I still think that we have the best car by far until now but we have to execute it in racing. If the best thing that you can achieve is P3, then you better end up in P3 because in the end every point counts.
Q: But obviously there is a potential danger coming from behind - given the fact that there obviously are team orders in place
SV: What matters is that the guys who are in front of us in the standings finished behind us today. What is important is not the wins that you can achieve but the results that make up the points for the standings in the end.
Q: From a drivers point of view how do you see it if a team openly favours one driver over the other?
SV: Normally as a team you would always try to get both cars as far up as possible. Fact is that there are two titles that make up the F1 championship: the one for the driver and the one for the constructor - and the constructors is at least as important as the drivers title. So, as I just said, it must be in the interest of the team to look after both their drivers in the same way.
Q: As one of the contenders for the title, how do you feel that today Fernando was given the opportunity to collect an awful lot more points?
SV: At the end of the championship we will see how much these points were worth. The most important thing for me was to finish ahead of the McLarens, even though I think that as a team they took more points than us. In the end I dont really care about other teams - this will be taken care of by others. We have to focus on us as we already had our share of troubles for various reasons this year. Its good not to be in the spotlight this time.
Q: But what is your reaction to those saying that you have an advantage over Mark Webber?
SV: You have to look at the results. So any talk about advantage here and there is complete bull. We are even in the standings right here right now.
Q: With the number of unhappy situations youve experienced so far this season, are you not worried that these will add up and ultimately cost you the championship?
SV: Well, in the end thats racing - sometimes its up, sometimes its down. In general there are always two different perceptions: how the public sees the situation and how you see it. In the end what matters right now is to grab as many points as possible - today and next weekend in Budapest.