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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: We’ve had worse Fridays 25 Oct 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 25 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Friday, 25 October 2013 Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 25 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 in the garage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 25 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 25 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Friday, 25 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Dr Helmut Marko (AUT) Red Bull Motorsport Consultant.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 25 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Friday, 25 October 2013

Fifth place in Sunday’s 2013 Formula 1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix will be enough to make Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel world champion for the fourth time. But as his fastest times in both of Friday’s practice sessions in New Delhi showed, Vettel has no intention of playing it safe and racing strategically this weekend…

Q: Sebastian, what has to happen on Sunday for you not to walk away with the drivers’ title?
Sebastian Vettel:
Well, it’s not only my game - it also depends where Fernando (Alonso) finishes the race. But to be honest, I try not to think too much of the consequences of the result on Sunday. And that is hard enough when every second question revolves around it. I was told that the mathematics reads as following: he has to win or at least finish second and I have to finish at least in P5. But I am not making too much of such mathematical brainteasers - I simply want to focus on my race. If I were to finish fifth on Sunday and had had the opportunity to finish first, then I definitely would be dissatisfied with the day. But of course the big target is a completely different matter.

Q: Speaking about the big target, are you heading into Sunday’s race with a different mindset?
SV:
It is never good to start anything with a different mindset that only might distract you. There is the saying that you shouldn’t count your chickens before they are hatched and that also goes for points. So I will definitely not race strategically on Sunday, but try to do my thing just as in any other race of the season. And if I manage that, it does look good indeed. More than that, I’m not thinking about now.

Q: You’ve been maturing - bagging a title with every year. How is that?
SV:
Getting older is a process happening to everybody - that means that I definitely was younger when I won my first title. You mature, yes, but you don’t change your character - at least not much. You pick up things left and right, of course, and your opinions might differ slightly, but that goes hand in hand with the ageing process and has nothing to do with your character.

Q: There is a very small list of drivers who have won multiple titles. Michael Schumacher is at the top with seven wins, then Juan Manual Fangio with five, Alain Prost with four - and Sebastian Vettel with four. How does that feel?
SV:
To tell the truth, I am happy that I am on that list of champions at all. It was almost unbelievable when I won the first title, as it was almost my dream, becoming Formula One world champion. But when you dream these things as a kid the chances that it really happens are rather slim - and when you really do it, it is hard to put it into words or emotions. You are just deeply moved that your childhood dream came true and that you have what it takes to make your dreams become reality. And that I was able to fulfil my dream three times. But I don’t look back - I am not living in the past. But of course sometimes you stop and reflect on the past - and then it is just crazy what happened to me in the last few years. It’s awesome.

Q: Have you mentally ranked yourself among this group - if it is not too abstract emotionally?
SV:
Of course I know the history of the sport and I respect the heroes of the past and know their names - and of course it is fantastic to find your name among these outstanding athletes. But it is still a bit strange because in some ways it makes you a piece of the past, but I am here and now. And I definitely don’t wake up in the morning thinking, ‘Wow, now I am a piece of F1’s past.’ That is still too surreal.

Q: What has changed in your professional life?
SV:
I remember when I started there were one or two interview requests on the weekend and now it is an avalanche that has the potential to bury me. And if you think about the short time in which that change happened, that is sometimes frightening. (laughs) And amazing at the same time, because it shows that you’ve done something right.

Q: Before the title win there is still a race to do this weekend. How was it going today?
SV:
It was good, it felt good. We’ve been able to run through our whole programme, even though in the afternoon we had a minor issue with the soft tyres. I lost much of the grip on the rear and we took the time to go through all possible causes and when we got out again everything seemed fine as the long run was fine. True, there was quite some degradation on the tyres, but that was also caused by the fact that the track is pretty green today. That will be better over the weekend, but in general the trend will be that we will not do that many laps on the softs.

Q: Four-tenths faster than Romain Grosjean and the rest behind him - does that give you a certain confidence for qualifying and the race?
SV:
Well I think the gap will be much closer tomorrow as the track builds up and we all understand how to deal with the tyres, But yes, it looked good right from the first lap in the morning so we should have a good race on Sunday.

Q That sounds cautiously optimistic for the big task…
SV: Well, yes. We’ve had far worse Friday’s this season. (laughs)

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