Q&A with Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel 18 Oct 2011
Ten wins in a season is a pretty impressive feat. And with three rounds still to go, Sebastian Vettel could yet match Michael Schumachers best of 13, set in 2004. The world champion insists record hunting is not on his agenda - but that doesnt mean he wont gratefully accept them. Sunday in Korea saw Vettel celebrate his second title in style, his victory wrapping up Red Bulls second constructors crown. Now hes taking it race by race - and looking forward to a Sunday drive in his home town of Heppenheim
Q: Anyone who had thought that you would ease up after winning the drivers championship was much mistaken - another victory in Korea. What were your feelings about this race win?
Sebastian Vettel: Yes, it was a fantastic day and a fantastic win, indeed. To also win the constructors championship with the team means a lot. It was a phenomenal race - we had such good pace and it was so much fun on the track. The first lap was very important. The start was okay - definitely not the best start I ever had - but it was important to stay ahead of Jenson (Button). I was not able to get past Lewis (Hamilton) in Turn Three, even though it was close. On the run into Turn Four I had a little bit of an overshoot and I was not sure whether to go left or right. Quite late I decided to go left and try it from there. I knew that if I tried it from the outside he would brake as late as possible and it would be difficult, but then I said, Why not? Try it. I nearly went off track under braking, but he was very fair in that moment. It was very important to us to get track position. I was not really comfortable with the long straights, and a lot of head wind meant it was difficult to get away. I could always see in the mirrors that the car behind me was getting bigger and bigger. It was really a tough race in terms of breaking the slipstream, breaking the tow. At the back end of the stint it was very important to be quicker than the rest and to be able to gain, as this was exactly the vulnerable point from the last race. It was good to come back one week later, maybe not with the best of preparation, after a few drinks on the Sunday after the Japanese race, and to be able to improve exactly that. We were really happy to see that we were the strongest at the end of the stints.
Q: Your race engineer Rocky tried to spoil your fun, telling you to be careful with your tyres. Still you managed to set the fastest lap at the end of the race...
SV: It is a silly thing, and probably more for ones own ego. He said he would kill me, so I might not be in India. For me it would feel wrong to win the championship without setting the fastest lap as well. There are no points for this, no glory really, but I have done it now and I am pleased, although according to Rocky it might be the end of my life. Also I had requested he give me as much information as possible on the race development, and what it was necessary to do during the race to be safe and stay ahead. Of course, in some ways you can feel what the tyres are doing. It was definitely the key, to take some speed off at the most critical points.
Q: How is the mood now, having won both the drivers and the constructors championships?
SV: It seems to be very difficult for people to imagine what this really means, for the whole team and the whole factory. It is not only a boost for the people that are working at the track, where everyone sees that they are making a difference. There is also much more taking place behind the scenes: the team in Milton Keynes is working day in and day out, every day and every month of the year. It is down to them to build those two competitive cars which we have on the track and are able to push to their limits. It was a lot of fun on the track on Sunday, but also a lot of pressure has fallen off my shoulders after I crossed the line. Sure, people expect us now to lean back and take it easy, but this is not our approach, as we are here to win races and to do our best. And we managed to do exactly that. We had the chance to win and we took it.
Q: Is your motivation for the rest of the season to break records?
SV: Not really breaking records, but having good race weekends - and Korea was one of them, as I thought I had a very strong weekend there. On Saturday I got second in qualifying, as Lewis was just too strong and he did a very good job. Still we were much closer than expected. Sunday it was a different story, as we were very strong in the race and Sunday is the day that counts. Most important is that we leave this place knowing that we have done the best possible job. Our approach has been the same throughout the season. It is a long championship and even though it is decided, it is not over yet. We put pressure on ourselves, as we want to perform. We feel when we did not get everything out of the car or ourselves, then we are not happy. Dont get me wrong, I dont mean we would be unhappy with a fifth. It is more about how things come together. If a fifth is what you deserve, then you can be happy to have reached that. On Sunday we were able to win, and this is what we are all after and we took our chance.
Q: What was your experience of the F1 fans this year in Korea?
SV: I think it was much better than last year, as last year it was terrible weather. This year there were many more people in the grandstands, even if one has to admit that this race track is a little bit in the middle of nowhere. Last weekend it was very full and the fans were euphoric. If we come back here I am sure there will be an even bigger amount of fans. And when you are standing on the starting grid and the fans cheer you, this is exactly what you as a race driver wants to experience.
Q: We have had two races back to back, but we will see you again in a Formula One car next weekend in your hometown. What is going to happen there?
SV: I didnt know that this was already public knowledge, but it obviously is now. If the weather is good, then I will take the car for a little spin round Heppenheim on Saturday afternoon. Hopefully there will be a lot of people coming and having a good time with me.
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