Sebastian Vettel Q&A: The key word is attack! 27 Aug 2010
For many F1 experts Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel is still the hottest candidate for the 2010 drivers title, despite his occasional mistakes - notably his safety-car lapse at the last race in Hungary. Spa-Francorchamps, venue for this weekends Belgian Grand Prix, puts intense pressure on car and driver and if Vettel can succeed here then his championship odds will shorten dramatically. But can he put those previous errors out of his mind and go on the offensive? The German believes so
Q: Sebastian, after 12 races all the F1 folk had the much-needed summer break. What have you been up to during those four weeks?
Sebastian Vettel: My break started with a bit of chilling out, doing nothing - relaxing in a word, some days pure vacationing. And in the second part, again full-throttle training to get back into the rhythm to be fit for the two remaining European races. I also did special training to prepare me for the last five races, which will be very demanding as we will be jetting between continents in a short time.
Q: After the Hungarian Grand Prix the media were busy for quite some time reflecting on your race there. How long did it keep you occupied?
SV: On Sunday evening it was already almost a thing of the past. On Monday morning I was heading for my vacations and then the topic was non-existent.
Q: How big is the urge to race again - and to focus on the championship? There are five drivers, seven races and a gap of only 20 points
SV: Okay, now weve heard the facts! But by saying those facts they imply that everything is still possible for each of these five drivers and the only reality is that from now on mistakes are forbidden. The one that makes a mistake is almost surely out of the race. Now is the time to forget everything that happened in the past, forget that it should have been possible to collect more points here and there and lamenting missed chances. Now we have to look forward - only forward - and thats what we are planning to do. The key word is attack!
Q: But coming back to the last race and what happened with you there, there has been some wild speculation, some even going as far as asking if you need a psychologist
SV: Ah, yes, Ive heard that one too. I tell you what, you have to get used to loads of good advice and criticism. And of course such a situation gives some of the media an outstanding chance to get carried away by their own creativity. But that goes down on me like water on oilskin. I have no time for letting myself get involved in all these things. I have to concentrate on what lies ahead of me - and not look back with self pity. Sure, now you start to see the races also in the context of the championship and we will not allow anything to irritate that.
Q: But does a mistake like the one in Hungary - you admitted that it was your mistake - affect the self-confidence?
SV: No, not really. If you look back at the races so far I didnt make huge, unforgivable mistakes. In Hungary, yes that was a mistake, but in the end I brought home a result that didnt slam my chances. It just makes it a bit harder. I would say what happened there was attributable to human nature. Not that I am very proud about it, but life goes on.
Q: But what will you do to avoid another such lapse - especially as it looks likely the safety car will be an issue again this weekend? Did you take the rule book for reading at the beach?
SV: It was a small negligence that led to a bigger issue. But as I just said, I brought back P3 so it wasnt all that bad. I know the rules - be sure about that. I probably just didnt have them in my focus that very moment. The time frame was three to four seconds where it all happened - after that everything was too late. No going back.
Q: Are you still aiming for pole position given that many times this season P1 on the grid didnt serve you well? Is it a sort of pole position curse?
SV: That is a bit far fetched, as there have been numerous reasons why things happened when they happened. Pole position is still the best place to start from and I will always try to conquer that place.
Q: What does Spa mean for you?
SV: A wonderful track that is huge fun to drive. We have a good car that works pretty well in the corners - and that will be key here. To drive straight forward, everybody can do - you dont necessarily have to be whizz! If I should judge our chances here I would say that we can be cautiously optimistic, as the track should suit us. The weather is always a bit question mark here and sometimes just oscillates between rain and heavy rain, so much will depend on what any occurs during the race.
Q: How was it going today?
SV: It was great fun, even though it was a bit tricky as we didnt have enough (wet) tyres due to the regulations. You could have tried so many things - different set-ups and all that - but its impossible because of the lack of tyres, especially under such conditions, because nobody really wants to kill too many sets of tyres on Friday when you have qualifying and the race ahead. Overall I would say that it wasnt a bad day for us.
Q: How was driving through the famous Eau Rouge under such conditions - with so much water on the track?
SV: This part of the track changes significantly when wet. Normally when it is dry you go full throttle, but when it is wet it turns into a proper corner and so you drive it completely differently, and then its not that spectacular any more. But under such conditions you simply try to get a good lap and dont hit anything. For tomorrow and the race I hope we will find a bit more speed but then we should be fine.