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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Red Bull wins just a matter of time 12 Apr 2012

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 12 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing walks the track.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 12 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing signs autographs for the fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 12 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing "Finger Boy" fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 12 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing walks the track.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 12 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing signs autographs for the fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 12 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing walks the track.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 12 April 2012

After Sebastian Vettel’s domination of Formula One racing over the past two seasons, it’s been quite a surprise - to outsiders at least - to find him missing from pole position and the top step of the podium in 2012. Vettel himself is pretty calm about the situation, safe in the knowledge that Red Bull and technical guru Adrian Newey are more than capable of turning things around when needed. The reigning champion now hopes the three-week break between Malaysia and China has been enough to eliminate the RB8’s teething problems and return the team to winning ways…

Q: Sebastian, the first two races have been rather mixed. Would you call it a ‘launch failure’?
SV:
No, of course not. There have only been two races and I would say that one of them produced a quite good result. As for the other one, well let’s forget it. Of course we are not where we would like to be. For the moment we have a car that is only able to fight at the top rather than for wins, but that is only a question of time. (laughs)

Q: So you’re not getting impatient?
SV:
We are only speaking about two races. If we were five seconds behind it would probably give me some sleepless nights, but as it is now, no.

Q: How would you explain your situation to your fans? You had a paramount car only months ago, so they must wonder what happened over the winter…
SV:
Paramount car? I would say that in the last weeks of the 2011 championship we were blessed with luck and in reality it was already very close. In 2010 there was much more predominance than last season and only the results we achieved hid that fact. 2011 was probably a bit thornier, we probably made more mistakes and maybe the winter did not work out as we had anticipated. Such issues will, of course, haunt you at the first races, but the important thing is the car is fast. We just have to bring all the components together as we did in 2011, and then we should look much better than we do now. How do you explain such hiccups? The car is new and the rules have changed. I think all teams struggle a bit - probably us a bit more because expectations were higher.

Q: So would you say the team is on full throttle to eliminate the shortcomings?
SV:
We are always on full throttle - even if we are at the very top! We want to be at the front. That is deeply entrenched in all of us, so it is just a matter of time. Two races into the season you can’t tell anything about the pecking order. Melbourne is an unusual track and Malaysia was an unusual race, so I would say that we will only see the true colours in the next few races to come.

Q: How are you able to improve the situation - other than by driving your heart out?
SV:
Well, when in the car that is indeed the only thing that you can do as a driver. Of course you can pit and have little things altered, but there is no way to fundamentally change a car over a race weekend. The first two races were back-to-back so there was no chance to have a closer look, but before coming here to China we had some time in the factory to have a closer look - and I hope that it was the right look! (laughs) In such a case a driver’s influence is indeed much bigger because you tell your engineers what’s wrong and what you’re missing.

Q: What’s it like in the team when things don’t go well? Do you close ranks even more?
SV:
No, because we are always a very tight gang! (laughs) Every single member knows what to do and also knows that every little thing can decide between victory and defeat. So there is no need to even mention ‘closing ranks’ because it goes without saying.

Q: The track here in Shanghai has two long straights. Is having no Mercedes-style ‘F-duct’ a drawback?
SV:
Well, we know that we are not the fastest on long straights, but that is nothing new to us. Maybe we follow a slightly different philosophy than others, but when looking back I think we always ended with the upper hand so I don’t expect that to be much different this year.

Q: There was some disapproval of your gesture in the Malaysian race after you collided with Narain Karthikayan. Rumour has it that you have been talking…
SV:
Yes, we have been talking, that is correct. It is good that respect is back in place - that is the most important outcome for me.

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