Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Win unexpected after tyre concerns 29 Aug 2011
Sometimes a little rest does miracles. Sebastian Vettel came to Belgium after the summer break vibrant with energy and spirited as if it were the start of the season. This state of mind plus Red Bull finding a much better balance around Spa with the RB7 than they managed with last years car were positives. Negatives were a botched start and difficult strategy stemming from fears over tyre durability because of the extreme camber the team ran in their qualifying set-up. None of this, however, could destroy Vettels race. After all, they say success is a mind game
Q: Sebastian, how does the champagne taste in Spa?
Sebastian Vettel: It is definitely well chilled. They dont have to refrigerate it here! (laughs)
Q: After a three-race drought youre back on top again. How does that feel?
SV: Of course I am pretty happy. It was a really good race for us - even though the result looked much easier than it actually was - especially regarding the tyre situation. That was pretty difficult to manage and at the beginning of the race it was more R&D than racing. We sacrificed a lot by stopping very early, but I had a good feeling. When I came in again when the safety car went out it was just to have a look at the tyres, because you can never really judge how they are doing down to the last detail. The speed is simply too high to see every little bit of degradation and we knew from there on we only had one set of soft tyres left and the soft tyres were quicker. How it all developed was a big relief after all the discussions we had after qualifying.
Q: Christian Horner and Adrian Newey looked quite relieved seeing both their guys on the podium. Was that because of their fears of what might have happened?
SV: As I just said, it wasnt an easy race. It was kind of a disturbance to our usual rhythm where you know what to do when you arrive at the track on Sunday morning. This Sunday morning it was different because the discussions that we usually have after qualifying were still going on all Sunday morning. So under these circumstances it is not easy to keep your focus. The last thing that we discussed before getting into race mode was that our priority must be to finish the race - and not thinking too much about where. So the one-two result was far from what we thought would be possible. I guess thats why Christian and Adrian have shown some extra emotions and we all go home with a very satisfying feeling.
Q: So how did your race develop?
SV: As I just said, the beginning was more like research into what was possible with the tyres, but the car felt fantastic. So once we knew how to handle the tyres we knew that we could push whenever necessary.
Q: How surprised were you by Nico Rosberg coming out of the blue to lead the race?
SV: I have to say that I had a bit of a botched start - and my guess is that the same goes for Lewis (Hamilton) and everybody ahead of Nico. He was seizing his chance - and of course the slipstream helped, so I wasnt able to hold him off. He definitely had a fabulous first lap. A few laps into the race we were able to get the pecking order right again
Q: Spa is one of the fastest tracks. Looking back to last year you struggled on high-speed circuits, but no more it seems. You were fastest here in sectors one and three. How confident are you looking at the rest of the season, with a number of high-speed tracks still to come?
SV: True, this is a quite different situation this year. Sectors one and three - where you have a lot of straights and you need the speed - weve been really competitive this weekend, and that feels good. We probably sacrificed a bit in the middle sector, but overall the balance was there. Last year we were doing very well in sector two but missed out on the straights, so with a more balanced performance we did it. Looking forward to Monza, we cannot promise to be competitive there but we will definitely do our best to please. (laughs) But as the car felt so fantastic here and the balance was fabulous, it should be manageable.
Q: Looking at your lead in the championship, theoretically you could clinch the title in Singapore
SV: There is a saying in English that you have to bake the cake before you cut it! (laughs) There are still 175 points waiting to be allocated, so its better to stay cool. Cockiness seldom does any good. What was good about this weekend was that we left Spa with the maximum points possible - and that is promising.
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