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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: I’ll be racing for victory in India 13 Oct 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 13 October 2013 Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 13 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 13 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 13 October 2013

For a while in Japan on Sunday Sebastian Vettel looked beatable, but Red Bull’s world champion was playing the long game all along and came through in the closing stages for another convincing victory. It means that fifth place in India in a fortnight’s time will be enough to secure him a fourth successive drivers’ crown. Vettel, of course, will be aiming much higher than fifth…

Q: Sebastian, you’ve done it again: your fifth win in a row and ninth of the season. How does that feel?
Sebastian Vettel:
It feels fantastic. It was an incredible race that started with an incredibly bad start. (laughs) But we pulled ourselves together - we had a tight view and the tyres to open the chance to stay out longer, even if that meant that we would lose time in that very moment. We definitely understood that the race has 53 laps and only the one who can mobilize resources towards the end will succeed. For us this concept worked perfectly today. We bounced back dramatically in the last phase of the race and the foundation for that was laid in the first two stints where we stayed out longer than the others. Good things come to those who can wait - and pamper their tyres!

Q: Indeed you started the race slowly…
SV:
Yes, I did. Normally this track has a lot of grip, but suddenly those metres at the start were almost without grip - and that caught me by surprise. My wheels locked and I reacted a bit too aggressively, which didn’t help. For a moment it crossed my mind that probably everybody had a bad start, but this turned out to be wishful thinking as then they came from left and right and I was suddenly sandwiched and suffered a bit of damage on my front wing from touching with Lewis (Hamilton), who suffered a puncture. Thank God I got off lightly from that contact and could do my race.

Q: Was today’s race primarily about tactics? Winning was the icing on the cake, but the prime goal was to earn as many points as possible?
SV:
Probably. But you still have to react in the car, as it is the feedback that you give - especially regarding the tyres - that makes the difference in the end. You don’t start saying, ‘I’m staying out longer.’ This is something that you find out with every lap going by. Of course, had we tried to attack every single lap we wouldn’t have got that far. Insofar as that you can say it was a tactical race - but then every race is tactical. Today the communication between war and pit wall worked just perfectly.

Q: To be fair it didn’t look all that rosy for a win for much of the race distance. When did you realise that P1 definitely was within reach for you today?
SV:
We’ve learned in the last couple of races here that it is not necessarily a downside if you play it slow and try to stay out some laps longer than the rest - to be able to push at the end when all the others have exhausted their potential.

Q: The next race will be India. Will you try to extend your winning run there or will you be racing strategically for points?
SV:
I will race there with winning on my mind.

Q: The fact is that you only need to finish in P5 there to win the title. That should be an easy task…
SV:
Why is it that people always underestimate races? Nothing is easy - not even P5 - and nothing comes for free. There is always a huge amount of work involved. And it is never our style to say, ‘Well, let’s focus on finishing fifth.’ We always attack as much as we can - it is in the DNA of the team.

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