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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: We simply weren’t fast enough 14 Apr 2012

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 14 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 14 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing qualified in eleventh place.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 14 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Practice, Shanghai, China, Friday, 13 April 2012

After such a dominant 2011, it’s become pretty hard to imagine a front row without Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. But so far this season Vettel’s struggled in qualifying and Saturday in Shanghai saw him post his worst performance since 2009. Failing to make it through to Q3, he will start from 11th. Far from happy, the defending world champion is now focused on making amends on Sunday…

Q: Sebastian, what happened?
Sebastian Vettel:
It was not good enough, it’s that simple. There was nothing fundamentally wrong and I felt pretty comfortable in the car, but the last couple of tenths didn’t drop and this is the result. Regrettably, it wasn’t enough.

Q: Your team mate Mark Webber was fastest in Q2 and was running the new exhaust system whilst you opted to run the old one. Do you regret your decision now?
SV:
I opted for this solution on Friday afternoon simply because I felt more comfortable with this version. This morning it didn’t feel that good anymore, so of course you start to think. But in the afternoon it had improved again but unfortunately not enough. With hindsight it is always easy to blame it on a wrong decision, but that decision felt right for me at that moment. Of course we will have to sit down and look into the matter to avoid such a situation in the future.

Q: You look a bit perplexed…
SV:
I’m actually not. As I just said, I was quite happy with the car, but in the last instance it was not fast enough.

Q: It was the first time since the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix that you didn’t make it into Q3. How do you cope with this?
SV:
Well, in the end the gap wasn’t insurmountable - it just simply didn’t happen. We haven’t been fast enough. And I don’t want to blame it on the car. In fact, I was quite pleased with it. I was doing almost identical times in all my three laps, which obviously means that there was no room for improvement. It’s sad because, as I just said before, I felt quite good in the car.

Q: From the first two races of the season, we’ve seen it’s not necessarily the pole sitter who wins the race. So are you hopeful for Sunday?
SV:
Yes, it will be a long and demanding race so there should be some chances to better the position. But of course it is always easier to start at the front and stay there. I have a new set of tyres still left so I can start on whatever tyres I like and that is probably the only positive in this situation. It may make life a bit easier tomorrow.

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