Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Qualifying strategy taken with race in mind 13 Apr 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 13 April 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 13 April 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 13 April 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice, Shanghai, China, Friday, 12 April 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 13 April 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 13 April 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 13 April 2013

It may be unusual to see perennial polesitter Sebastian Vettel back in ninth on the grid but Vettel for one isn’t worried. The Red Bull driver believes the team’s decision to stay on the mediums in Q3 will pay off on race day. The young German discusses the team’s qualifying gamble…

Q: Sebastian, you didn’t even try to take part in the fight for pole position. Was that an intentional decision or a forced one after you locked up?
Sebastian Vettel:
I have no idea why I locked up. Suddenly there was no pressure and the pedal became very long. (laughs) In fact it was a bit nasty to see the turn flying towards me and not being able to react. But yes, it was our plan.

Q: You and Jenson Button were the only ones to go out on the medium tyres. What do you expect from this move?
SV:
Not having to pit after five laps.

Q: Do you predict the others will have to pit within the first five laps?
SV:
Well, that was something of a joke. But indeed I believe that the soft tyres will not be able to complete a bigger distance. We saw that clearly on Friday. Over a single lap we know that the softs are much faster but we are talking about a race distance. We went out with the harder ones and maybe more should have followed our strategy. We, of course, would have been looking to qualify in front of them but we could take it a bit easier as we knew that there was no chance to challenge those on the softs. Why did we take that tyre decision? Because we believe that we will have a better race tomorrow. If our plan is successful we will see tomorrow.

Q: So there has been some gambling going on this afternoon! Who do you think has a good chance on Sunday?
SV:
How would I know. All I know is that the tyres, more than in any other year, will make a difference. It will be an interesting race, especially for me, as we took a completely different approach than we normally do. Indeed it is rather unusual to start a race from row five; it hasn’t happened in quite a while. Maybe we could have outperformed Jenson (Button) if I hadn’t had the lock-up but in the end it doesn’t make such a huge difference whether you start from P8 or P9. What is an advantage is that we have the freedom of choosing the tyres.

Q: How did you find the change in strategy? You are used to pole position…
SV:
There’s a very simple to answer to that - you don’t get points on Saturday, only on Sunday. When you feel you’re not fast enough you have to be clever. Our target today was to get us in a good position for the race.

Q: When did it dawn on you that you couldn’t pull a pole position out of the hat?
SV:
Regarding our pace I was quite satisfied. We were getting into the rhythm in Q1 and were a bit behind, then Q2 looked pretty good on both a used set of tyres and also on the new ones as we were able to split the two Ferraris, who have been fast all weekend long on the soft tyres. So that made us confident but we knew that it would not be enough to end up at the very front so we took the decision that we did as we believe that in the race everything will be different again.

Q: Is the whole idea behind the strategy to avoid what happened in Australia?
SV:
No, not really. It is more the insight that the soft tyres would not last long enough especially when the car is heavy at the start of the race. That’s why we’ve chosen to take a different approach. The harder compound seems to be much more reliable and definitely lasts longer.

Q: If you would have to grade the tyres out of ten this season what would you give them?
SV:
In all honesty? A six.

For tickets and travel to 2013 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 and F1 team merchandise, click here.