Q&A with Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel 05 Oct 2012
Most drivers have a love affair with Suzuka, but for Sebastian Vettel the Japanese Grand Prix holds particularly sweet memories - memories of victory and championship glory. Vettel may not be title favourite in 2013, but the German is hoping that the classic circuit may just smile on him again this weekend and help him on his way to a third drivers crown
Q: Sebastian, how do you feel coming back to Japan where you have had quite a lot of good experiences, winning the championship last year and winning the race two years ago?
Sebastian Vettel: We have some good memories, especially last year celebrating the championship win. It is a great circuit and a big challenge for every driver, and you really appreciate it when you win here. Also the fans are very enthusiastic and passionate about Formula One. We are very happy to be here again, although we wont be able to win any championship here this year. Again here it is very difficult to predict who will be able to win, and where we are as well. Historically we have been quite strong at this circuit, and we have brought a few updates here and there and hope that these will help us to be strong again.
Q: So how was it going today? Did the updates work to plan?
SV: Well, it was quite a successful day for us, even though I have to admit that in the morning it was far from ideal. Maybe I started the day on the wrong foot. (laughs) Or maybe the car did. We had a lot of oversteer in the first session, but that was all history in the afternoon. In the afternoon it went pretty well. The car is performing well, but of course there are still things that we can improve for tomorrows qualifying. In fact, I think that we need to take another step overnight because my prediction is that qualifying will be very close and so everything that you can get out of the car - and yourself - will matter a lot.
Q: Looking at your two championships, would a third title this year mean more to you, considering that you and Red Bull Racing have not been that dominant?
SV: Winning a championship in Formula One is a special privilege anyway, so I am not a big fan of comparing one to another. Also, I have not won a third one yet. Both years that I have won the title have been very different. Of course the first one is always very special, as it is the first time that you have achieved this. So we hope that we still have some good races left and are able to haul in some big points as well, and then also a happy ending.
Q: Have you had any mental training for this year, to be able to stay strong during this season?
SV: Of course this season has been tough in many ways, as we had a lot of ups and downs, and we know that consistency was lacking in many ways. This year it shows how important it also is to take fifths or sixths to be able to score the points, and this will be the same for the last couple of races, making sure that one gets out the maximum possible. Of course, it would be ideal to win all of the six remaining races, which will be tough, but that doesnt mean it is impossible.
Q: Whats your take on Lewis Hamiltons move to Mercedes, where he probably wont be so competitive next season?
SV: You never know how the possible regulation changes will affect the teams until we find ourselves sitting in the car in Australia in 2013. But this is still quite a way ahead, so at the moment this piece of information that he will change team is not really affecting us, as we need to work on getting the title for this year - and for this he is sitting in a competitive car.
Q: What are your thoughts on Michael Schumacher announcing his retirement from Formula One racing?
SV: It is a big loss for Formula One and there are a lot of people including me who would have loved him to continue. I hope that he stays around in some other function so that we get to see him from time to time.
For tickets and travel to 2012 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 and F1 team merchandise, click here.