Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Practice crash a wake-up call 07 Oct 2011
Theres a paddock saying that the only man who can beat Sebastian Vettel is Sebastian Vettel. The saying almost came true in Japan on Friday when a momentary lapse from the world champion saw him bin his Red Bull, albeit pretty lightly. But somehow, when Vettel makes a mistake on a Friday, you just know hell be even better than usual for the rest of the weekend
Q: Sebastian, today was a bit of a rough ride into the weekend that could give you the title
Sebastian Vettel: Well, yes. FP1 was far from ideal. I went off the track and slightly hit the wall, which caused some damage and hampered us a bit in the afternoon. Overall it was a quite reasonable day for us: weve been able to do a lot of laps with no significant problems. Of course we will have a lot of homework to do this evening. And tomorrow we definitely have to raise our game, as weve seen today that it is pretty tight between McLaren, Ferrari and us - as far as you can tell from Friday times. Overall I am quite happy with how it went for us today.
Q: When you climbed out of the car after hitting the wall, you had a gesture-filled exchange with one of the marshals
SV: Well, he of course didnt speak German or English - and my Japanese is only a few words - so finally in the heat of the moment I made a gesture I simply didnt want the car towed to the tractor and getting more damaged.
Q: Your body language suggested that you werent too happy with yourself? Other than Turkey, you havent made any other mistakes of that sort
SV: Probably, yes. But also think about Canada Well, in the end it was an unnecessary mistake and probably it was a good shake-up` for the weekend, as this track demands concentration on every inch. Maybe it is not so bad that it happened this morning. I have to say I wasnt really too fast, but was probably not totally concentrating. And there you have it: a little mistake can be very costly here. The message was received! (laughs)
Q: You just said that this will be a long evening with a lot of homework. What exactly does that mean?
SV: Well, weve to go over the data. When you watch the cars here you see that all of them show much more instability here than at other tracks, so we have to take a close look at that. Of course it has something to do with the tyres, so we will have to analyse what can be done to best minimize that instability. This track is pretty hard on the tyres - especially sector one. It is fun for us drivers, but torture for the tyres so we have to look to find a bit of relief for them.
Q: You just said that when you flew off the track you hadnt been too fast. Is it more difficult here to find the limit?
SV: I wouldnt say more difficult, just different. And the atmosphere here is completely different: you have fans all over the place. Completely different than the experience we have for example in Turkey where there are more dogs than fans. (laughs) Suzuka is one of the best tracks. Even if it rained, with the temperature below zero and we only had one set of tyres, it would still be one of the best tracks to race.
Q: After today how do you feel about bagging the title on Sunday?
SV: Well, I was just reminded today not to think about anything else but racing. It was a wake-up call, obviously at the right time!
Q: Youve a new helmet design this weekend. Is there a message to it?
SV: Yes there is. It is a message for the Japanese people that we are with them in our minds and hearts.
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