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Sebastian Vettel Q&A - an afternoon full of lessons 17 Apr 2011

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing on the podium. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7 takes the chequered flag. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing in parc ferme. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011

Everybody expected the hat trick of 2011 wins for Sebastian Vettel after his third pole in a row in China. In the end it was ‘only’ P2 for the world champion, proof for him and Red Bull that there is always somebody ready to take advantage if your performance is not one hundred percent. Only the next round will tell if the team can keep up their usual speed of development and strike back in Turkey…

Q: Sebastian, top spot on the podium at the first two races - are you a bit disappointed with your second place here?
Sebastian Vettel:
Not at all. In fact the complete opposite. I am not disappointed at all, even though I admit it rankles me a bit because the car was fast enough today and the strategy probably not the perfect one. In the end it was a team decision, as we thought that it would be the better alternative. In the end it was not the case. Overall the word disappointment would be completely out of context, even though second place was our maximum today with that strategy. And don’t forget others where hit harden than we were.

Q: What would have happened had you kept P1 at the start. Would the strategy have worked then?
SV:
I am not a crystal ball reader. All I know is that the chance would have been higher as we probably would have been able to create a gap to the second place man in the first stint. That would have given us the luxury to stay out one or two laps longer, which then would have made it easier for the second stint to stay out even longer - and that would then have shortened the third stint significantly. But all those ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ are obsolete and in hindsight I must say that it was not a perfect race for us - and that includes the communication with my race engineer as well. Given a handful of hiccups in the race the result was very much appreciated - and on top of that it was an afternoon full of lessons.

Q: For how long was the radio only working one-way?
SV:
It was a constantly changing situation. Sometimes it worked then again it was only fragmentary. Thank God I received the info to pit and the board informed me about all changes - when you are so used to communicating verbally it makes a difference. Actually after the first stint communication was restricted, so I had to make all the changes myself, which was a bit distracting. This race was a teaching lesson - and I hope we will learn from it and implement the lessons at the next race.

Q: What did you think when you saw that Jenson Button wanted to use the excellent services of the Red Bull pit crew?
SV:
Well, I stayed surprisingly calm as I saw early on what he was doing. I only hoped that our man on the jack would react fast enough and would let him pass - and that Jenson would react fast and not stop - because then I would have lost precious time. He immediately got it and moved on to his own pit. Had he really tried to get a new set of tyres from my guys, who knows if McLaren would have helped me out? At least I would have hoped so… (Laughs)

Q: The obligatory question about KERS. How did it work?
SV:
At the start and during the first stint without any issues, but after that it let me down a bit.

Q: Finally you had to let Lewis Hamilton pass - was it entirely a tyres issue?
SV:
I think everybody saw that I had nothing to give against him any more. The last two laps fighting him off were quite joyful racing, but in the end there was nothing I could do as with the tyres the braking situation changes and traction is missing, so it was only a question of time as to when he would make his attack for the lead.

Q: So was it too early to speak about your complete dominance of F1?
SV:
Well, obviously today we haven’t done the perfect job, but when you finish the race in P2 it shows that we are still in the upper end. But today has also demonstrated very clearly that if you are not there one hundred percent there will always be somebody to push you aside and grab victory and points.

Q: So is it again a question of putting your heads down and working flat out?
SV:
Absolutely. In some ways we have to become stronger, but the good news is we know how. It’s not as if we are standing on one side of the shore not knowing how to get to the other side. The bridge is already there! If you take all three races so far and the limited time in between them, we have been able to make steps forward at each weekend and now with the three-week break to the first round of the European season we will introduce some major updates and that should keep us where we are now in both standings.

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