Q&A with Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel 10 Jul 2011
Losing a race after a bungled pit stop is never easy to accept, no matter how strong the team that beats you. Well never know whether Fernando Alonso would have taken victory at Silverstone had it not been for Sebastian Vettels misfortune, but when you have a championship lead as big as Vettels, second place is not exactly a disaster, especially when you now have your home race to look forward to
Q: Sebastian, how significant for the final result was your second pit stop?
Sebastian Vettel: Immensely. It was the end of the race win. I was coming back on P3 and had huge problems passing Lewis (Hamilton), but its pointless now to think of what could have happened - its over. Sure, I have to admit that Ferrari was strong all weekend long, so its no surprise Fernando (Alonso) was in the position to win. Without that second pit stop it would have been a question of how close he would have got - and how easy or difficult it would have been to fend him off. When I got back in P3 I knew that it would be very difficult to win the lead again because, as I said, I was stuck behind Lewis and Fernando was using this for his advantage and getting so far ahead to clinch his first win of the season. It was indeed a tough race and I wouldnt have minded a rain shower, as I obviously was feeling more comfortable on the first laps on a wet track. I had been really fast at the start of the race.
Q: How well is that second place going down?
SV: Well, its not P1 and Bernie (Ecclestone) just recently called me a lousy loser, so I cannot be satisfied. But on the other hand I can live very well with P2, and the team with Mark (Webber) and me on the podium. Yes, weve made a mistake and have been punished for it. What also became clear is that others are also working very hard on their car development - not only us - and that it will get more and more difficult every race to keep the gap.
Q: What exactly went wrong at your second pit stop?
SV: My guess is that everybody saw it better on TV than I did sitting in the cockpit. But from what I saw in the back mirror the left-rear tyre was on but obviously not fixed - but the car was already grounded so they had to lift it up again to fix the nut. That had cost us dearly and triggered some turbulence within the pit crew because in such a moment all routine is gone. But when you are always working on the absolute limit things like that can happen - as it happens sometimes with drivers that when we push a bit too far we sometimes end up in the barrier.
Q: Were the tyres in the final part of the race not that bad, or was Mark not attacking you hard enough?
SV: He was pushing very hard and he said that he was ignoring everything the pit wall told him. He stayed on full throttle - and that is exactly what I felt he was doing. Two laps before the chequered flag he was right behind me and by that time my tyres were almost gone, but I tried everything to stay in front. That this situation will again trigger discussions about the atmosphere in the team climate? Well, I cannot change that - thats part of such actions.
Q: Renault losing the 50 percent concession on off-throttle exhaust blowing didnt really seem to harm Red Bull. Is that something that gives you some satisfaction for the next race at the Nurburgring?
SV: Satisfaction is probably not the perfect word, but it is a good feeling that the changes did not slow us down. I think all these discussions about exhausts and how much percent you may blow or not seems all so fruitless. The important thing is to concentrate on racing and that is what we did today. From a drivers point of view you dont feel any change. Youre probably losing a bit, but not significantly.
Q: Why did you stay out so long on the intermediates?
SV: Because I had a comfortable gap and we wanted to see how the others were doing on slicks. True, I lost a bit of time due to that - sometimes you win races with such a strategy, and sometimes it doesnt help. In hindsight I still believe we did the right thing.
Q: You will be heading to the German Grand Prix with a significant points lead - probably with a little dent from today, but nevertheless miles ahead of your rivals
SV: That so-called points lead is not what is really interesting me right now - its a fast car! But of course I am looking forward to racing at Nurburgring. It is one of my favourite tracks and I love the atmosphere there. I hope we can put on a good performance for all the fans there.
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