Sebastian Vettel Q&A: No reason to be disappointed with third 17 Mar 2013
Sunday at Albert Park started fantastically for reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel as he recorded yet another pole position. But despite making a great start, the Red Bull driver slipped backwards in the race. However, as he explains, a podium finish in the opening race of the season is far from a disaster
Q: Lets start with a highlight of the day: your 37th pole position. Have you been surprised by the strength of your car over a single lap?
Sebastian Vettel: Ha, I think generally everything was a bit of a surprise this weekend for everyone, as all of us did not know where we stood because the winter tests were not too enlightening. So this qualifying did put a smile on our face. For the race it was always clear that the tyres would play a big part - and they did. Not really to our advantage, but we can keep our heads high as we have shown that the pace is there. Now we have to work on the tyre issue.
Q: Staying with surprises: were you surprised to start from P1 - with quite a significant gap to the guys behind you - and finish only in P3?
SV: In life there is always the possibility to do better or worse. Sure if you start from P1 you want to finish first - we werent able to achieve that today but there is absolutely no reason to be disappointed. Right from the first few laps we saw that it would be very hard to look after the tyres and that Ferrari was closing in. In the second stint we were a bit stuck behind Adrian (Sutil) who did a great job and we really couldnt get past him because the moment I tried I started sliding. But as I knew that it was the same for all of those behind me, I wasnt in too much of a hurry. Everything changes if one decides to pit early on to get past you with a pit stop manoeuvre, like Fernando (Alonso) did. He got the position. Equally we wanted to stay out as long as possible to make our strategy work. You could see that he was a bit faster towards the end of the stints and there was no chance for us to stick with him or get past him. And then there was Kimi (Raikkonen)! I didnt see him all race long and suddenly he wins.
Q: Your friend Kimi outsmarted everybody today. Do you think this is the first sign that he will be a strong challenger for the championship?
SV: It was only the first race and there are still 18 to go so it is a bit premature to call anybody a favorite for the title.
Q: Did you expect Lotus to be so competitive?
SV: As I said before, everybody has been a bit of surprise to everyone, as nobody knew what to expect. The qualifying was fantastic but in the race we had a bit of a problem with the wear of the tyres - and obviously Kimi did the best job looking after the tyres out of everyone managing to stop only twice. A two-stop strategy was never on the table for us after Friday.
Q: You had an excellent start - why didnt it work out better?
SV: Yes, it was a real good start and our goal was to go for as many laps as possible. Obviously the degradation was a bit more intense for us than for others. But to start from pole position and end on the podium - all in all, that was a successful weekend.
Q: How will things unfold next weekend in Malaysia?
SV: What we have seen today was a first glimpse, but we are far from getting an idea of the pecking order. Malaysia is a completely different track and from what we have seen today, everything depends on how well people handle the tyres. But (in Malaysia) we will see completely different conditions and will use different tyres so there are too many differences to here. We have seen over the past few years that what we have seen in Melbourne has hardly ever become a trend for the next couple of races.
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