Q&A with Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel 25 Mar 2011
Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel was keeping his cards close to his chest after Fridays opening two practice sessions in Melbourne, making it hard to tell if he was satisfied with his pace in the RB7 or not. But while he may have been cagey about his own performance, Vettel was much more forthcoming about McLarens improved showing and his expectation of a tough fight during qualifying...
Q: Do you think you now have a better understanding of the pit lanes pecking order?
Sebastian Vettel: Ask me something easier! It is Friday and everybody is trying to set up their cars. They are not necessarily looking at the times so much. I would assume that all the teams youve had on your radar screens already during testing are the one we have to watch out for. The usual suspects. I am pleased that we are among them, but yes, it is a bit of a surprise that McLaren have obviously found their way back to the top in a very short period of time.
Q: The engineers at McLaren have reportedly said that they dont think you used the moveable rear wing on your fastest lap during the afternoon session. Was that a little tactical game?
SV: That is not entirely correct. It was used, because if you get new tyres it is tempting to use it. I think that the McLarens were pretty fast, even in the morning session. I think theyve made quite a leap forward from where they were at the final test in Barcelona.
Q: Following 15 test days, this was the first day that really counted. What are your thoughts?
SV: We were surprised that the tyres lasted longer than anticipated. That was pretty positive. In terms of pace we are quite happy - not that we definitely know where we are - but at least it gives us a hint. I see a tough qualifying ahead with Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and ourselves in the mix. Eight drivers fighting for one slot should be really interesting.
Q: What are your thoughts on all the buttons on your steering wheel? Too much to do?
SV: Be assured - it works. Its a lot to do with your fingers but for someone from the text-message generation that should not really be a problem.
Q: You have apparently christened your 2011 car Kinky Kylie. How did that happen?
SV: Youre at dinner with your mechanics and you all do some brainstorming and that was the result. It was genius!
Q: It looked like a big chunk came off your tyre. Do you know what happened?
SV: I dont think that it happened early on because I didnt feel any change on the car, or at least not a big one. Its true it was a big chunk and believe me I was surprised myself when I saw it. We dont know why it happened and Pirelli is still investigating, because we need to understand as I definitely didnt lock up the tyres or go off the track. We definitely need to find an answer.
Q: Is that a concern for the race?
SV: If we dont find any answers then that wouldnt be good, would it? I am sure that we will find the reason why it happened. My guess is that the tyres will keep us busy all year long. Last years tyres were a lot more bulletproof. But everyone on the grid is facing the same situation.
Q: Aside from the tyre situation, would you say you enjoyed a good day today?
SV: Yes, I think it was. Aside from missing an answer about the tyre chunk, weve got a lot of answers today. It will be a tight qualifying session, but I guess that is what racing is all about.
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