Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Were not there yet 12 Sep 2011
You should never take anything for granted in Formula One racing. Sebastian Vettel was a championship outsider going into last seasons Abu Dhabi finale, yet emerged triumphant. But after he broke Red Bulls Monza curse with victory on Sunday, even the most foolhardy gambler would baulk at betting against Vettel to retain his drivers crown. The German could even wrap it up at the next round in Singapore. But the man himself remains cautious, despite his spectacular drive in Italy
Q: Sebastian, it was Red Bulls first victory in Monza, but your second, as you took your first Grand Prix win here with Toro Rosso in 2008. Which tastes sweeter?
Sebastian Vettel: I think the first victory is always something special and will always hold a special place in your memory. I think everybody can guess from their own experience how it feels the first time (laughs), but I think today was also a very special win - for Red Bull and Renault, whod both had a long drought on this track. The last two years we simply didnt have enough weight for this track so today compensated for those two lean Monza years.
Q: It is very hard to pick any holes in your Monza race - perhaps the start was not perfect
SV: True, if you start from P1 you should stay in this position. If somebody then comes from P4 and manages to take P1 before the first corner then I would definitely say that there is room for improvement. I certainly was not happy with it, so we will sit down and analyze the data to eliminate such shortcomings in the future. But the overtaking manoeuvre that followed was a lot of fun - and very tight. Two of my wheels were on the grass!
Q: Can you explain what was going on when you overtook Alonso? Your pit crew looked close to collapsing on the spot and no doubt all the fans were holding their breath
SV: Sure, it was tight. But when you sit in the car you have a different perspective. The most important thing for my attack to regain P1 was that I was coming out of the first chicane with very good speed. The previous lap I had already realised that I was able to use the slipstream to come very close and I was willing to use that to my full advantage. One moment I was not so sure whether to try it on the left or right side. My reasoning was that if I try it on the right side he still has the inside line and will somehow be able to throw the car around the corner to stay ahead, so I decided to try it on the left side. I think he hadnt seen me in the first stage of my attack, which caused two of my wheels to drift onto the grass, but I still kept full throttle. When we came to brake we were already side by side - and that was my ticket to P1.
Q: Isnt such a risky manoeuvre only possible if you know that the guy next to you is also one hundred percent capable of controlling his car? Funnily enough, the top five in the race were all world champions
SV: True, the level of racing is very high at the front. You see that the fights are very tough - but most of the time nothing (bad) happens. You can be sure in that category of drivers that they see you and have the level of skill to react in the right way. Sure, there are some guys on the grid you would avoid getting into such close wheel-to-wheel fights with, but the top guys respect each other.
Q: Why was this Monza win so much more emotional for you than other race victories?
SV: For sure because it is the place where I won my first ever race, but also because it looks like we finally overcame that Monza curse. Probably Monza is a bit like New York: if you can make it there you can make it anywhere It was very obvious that once I was in front I could run my own race and secure a quite significant lead.
Q: Looking at the standings, Singapore could be the place for you to pop open the championship champagne
SV: I dont think that way. If you expect too much you easily get disappointed and I prefer to be surprised. We will again do our best in Singapore. Last year Fernando had the upper hand, so I hope that this will be different in two weeks time. I would like to win the Singapore Grand Prix, of course.
Q: You seem to be unbeatable. Is there any part of you that still doubts you will win the title?
SV: For yourself, you believe in what you can achieve and what you want to achieve. It is clear that we want to win both titles again and I think we are in a good position to do so. I also know many here in the paddock would love to be in our shoes, but we are not there yet. And remembering last season where the drivers title was decided in the last race by probably not the most likely winner, then everything is still possible and we have to keep our feet on the ground and fight until the last mathematical chance is eliminated. (laughs)
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