Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Yas Marina is very dear to me 12 Nov 2011
If anyone would have told Sebastian Vettel at the start of 2011 that he would equal Nigel Mansells record of 14 pole positions in a season, he wouldnt have believed them. But on Saturday in Abu Dhabi Vettel managed that very feat in style. The reigning world champion discusses his qualifying session and details his hopes of having a photo taken with former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney who has been a guest in the Yas Marina paddock
Q: So youve equalled Nigel Mansells record for the most pole positions in a season. How does it feel?
Sebastian Vettel: Even I know that today was a special afternoon. And thats even though looking at records isnt my thing. I admit it was a good session.
Q: In practice you were almost half a second off the pace of McLarens Lewis Hamilton but when it counted you managed take pole. How did you do it?
SV: To be honest, I have no idea. There isnt a box in my car that I open and the result falls out. It was true that FP3 didnt go as expected, in sector two we havent been as strong as the McLarens have been. On the long straight and into the switchback you can gain a lot of time but you can also lose it. In practice weve lost but in qualifying weve been able to recoup. I started to feel much better in the car as the sun set and the track changed. The tyres felt much better. I think this was the story of the whole weekend until qualifying. I felt that much more was possible but I hadnt been able to let it loose until the last minute of qualifying. And that was when it really counted.
Q: Sir Paul McCartney was in the paddock during the afternoon. You are a huge Beatles fan
SV: I have heard about it. I havent seen him personally but I think he is also here tomorrow so I hope to ask him if he minds having a photo with me.
Q: Will you still ask him when you hear that he said that you should let the British drivers win?
SV: That clearly makes him go down some notches on my popularity list! (laughs) Of course you always cross your fingers for your compatriots, so I definitely do understand this. I still hope to get a photo with him!
Q: How special is this pole position? Last year you clinched your title here and you won the inaugural race in 2009?
SV: This track definitely holds fantastic memories for me. To be the first to win at a new track is always very special and then to win the race and the championship here last year will always stay in my memory. This track is very dear to me. If you look around the whole facility it looks like a fairy and coming here is definitely a privilege for all of us. On top of this the track is very difficult because the conditions can change quite rapidly, so it has all the ingredients for a sizzling race.
Q: Who can challenge you for the win here?
SV: Well, weve seen that McLaren have been very strong so far and I guess that is what we will also see in the race. But should the car feel as good in the race as it did in qualifying then I am pretty convinced that I have a pretty good shot at a podium finish.
Q: How do you deal with the changing light as the sunsets? You cant put on your sunglasses
SV: Obviously thats not possible. So I will simply squint my eyes! (laughs) But joking aside there is only a small part of the track where you have the backlight and the sun sets pretty quickly so it is not really a bother.
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