The Inside Line - on Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel 21 Mar 2012
Tyre degradation, race strategy and downforce levels: just three of the things we didnt ask Sebastian Vettel about in the first of a new series of interviews aimed at learning more about the man, rather than the driver. So, you thought you knew Vettel? Well, you may just be surprised. Whod have thought, for instance, that the double world champion would liken himself to a jackalope and want to ban the internet?
Q: What keeps you awake at night?
Sebastian Vettel: Usually I try to sleep at night - and its good that there is nothing that keeps me awake! (laughs) Okay, with the flyaway races the jetlag sometimes keeps me sitting upright in my bed, but other than that, no. Worries, thoughts and concerns I leave for the day - that is the time for any kind of problem solving. Sleeping is good and healthy, so Ive decided that the night is for sleeping.
Q: If you could banish one thing from your life - for the rest of your life - what would it be?
SV: If I could, it would be the internet. Unfortunately I cant because the decision is not mine to make, but I think we all use the internet more than we think. I am aware that the internet can do a lot of positive things, but there are also negative aspects and thats why I believe in a healthy dose of self-limitation, as of course banishing it is not an option.
Q: Whats been your most valuable life lesson?
SV: It is impossible to pick only one occasion. There are so many moments in life which can teach you a lot. I believe there is never just that one and only isolated situation that changes the course of your existence, as that would mean that your life was probably very limited. There are lessons to learn every day - sometimes more, sometimes less - if you surround yourself with people who have something to contribute.
Q: What do you admire most?
Q: When were you happiest?
SV: I think you are happy when you are at peace with yourself. If I look back a couple of years I had a lot of happy moments, fantastic moments, moments to celebrate. Those where pretty special times. But there have also been other times where you have to go through situations you might not like so much. But those situations can be equally important. How do you know if something is good or bad, if something is right or wrong? Only by making a decision. Decisions always mean that the dice can fall either way, and hardly ever can you be one hundred percent sure that what you decide is right. Sometimes a wrong decision can be a helpful lesson, as you then appreciate the good times and the right decisions much more.
Q: If you could give your younger self some advice what would it be?
SV: I am still not very patient - this was really never a quality I had - so I probably would tell my younger self to practise some serious patience! (laughs)
Q: If you had to stay in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
SV: That is a pretty long time, the rest of my life! Based on the here and now I would say in an F1 car.
Q: What animal best reflects your personality?
SV: I am not really good with animals. Probably it would be a mix of several species. Maybe a better-looking version of a jackalope (a mythical animal of North American folklore described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns and sometimes a pheasant's tail)! (laughs)
Q: What is more important in life than winning?
SV: More than anything else, to be honest with yourself. If you are not honest to yourself, but win a lot of races or championships - or are very successful in whatever you do - it will never be as good as knowing you have been always honest to the people around you and to yourself.
Q: What would you spend your last dollar on?
SV: Ah, unfortunately there are not a lot of things these days that you can get for one dollar! The idea of spending money wisely is quite a strong one within me, so I would probably give it to somebody who really needs it.
Q: What is your greatest weakness?
SV: I am very stubborn - and impatient. But I have already admitted that before! (laughs)
Q: How does it feel to be considered a hero?
SV: I dont consider myself a hero. Of course you get used to some kind of admiration, but equally you know that you will never get entirely used to fame. It is still seems slightly odd that people recognize you all over the world and want your photo or autograph, that you go to a place you have never been before and they know you there and shout your name.
Q: What scares you?
SV: That people are getting too stressed. There is this famous question that asks what you would wish for if it were your last wish in your life. I would wish for people stressing less about everything!
Q: What event cant you forget but wish you could?
SV: Nothing really. There are no dark moments in my life. Sure there have been one or two not so happy moments, but I dont regret them so there is nothing I desperately want to forget. And sometimes if you recount embarrassing situations to your family and friends it can be really funny- in hindsight! (laughs)
Q: Whats your ultimate comfort food?
SV: I love food, so there are a lot dishes I really do like. Ultimately I have to confess it is vanilla ice cream.
Q: Whats your favourite smell?
SV: The smell of forest. When you walk through a forest or pass by freshly-cut wood. I love that special odour that is different to anything else.
Q: What tastes like home?
SV: My mums cooking.
Q: Whats the first thing you do when you get home after a race?
SV: I try to exhale, to get a rest. You shut the door behind you and leave the hustle and bustle of the world outside. Just for a short moment - before you start again to prepare for the next race, the next event.
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