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Sebastian Vettel on tyres, turns and team mates 23 Aug 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 23 August 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 23 August 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 23 August 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 23 August 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 23 August 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 with aero paint on the rear diffuser.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 23 August 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 23 August 2013

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel set the pace at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday, but for once his lap times seemed of secondary concern to the assembled media, who appeared more interested in quizzing the world champion on his puncture late in FP2, his potential team mates for 2014, and his favourite turns at the legendary Belgian circuit…

Q: Sebastian that was an unexpected tyre issue you experienced this afternoon. Is it better this happens on Friday instead of Saturday and Sunday?
Sebastian Vettel:
The only thing that really matters is that we understand why it happened…

Q: And do you understand?
SV:
So far not, so we will have a long evening evaluating the data…

Q: But when looking at the time sheet, it otherwise must have been a pretty good afternoon, doing only 22 laps yet still keeping the fastest time…
SV:
Yep, it looked pretty good - with both cars. Sure there are small things here and there that we want to change, but the overall impression is thumbs up.

Q: Spa is a track where the set-up plays a significant role. Have you been able to identify the direction you want to go in?
SV:
Well, today we’ve had pleasant conditions, but we know that Spa has very different sides - and very likely we will see these sides tomorrow and on Sunday. So there is not really much that you can do in defining your set-up today when you know that it will not have any value when it is ten degrees colder and raining. The thing that you can do is to try to understand how the tyres react - the softer as well as the harder compounds.

Q: How much have you been looking forward towards the end of the summer break, to be able to step back into a race car again?
SV:
The summer break was quite necessary for all of us to recharge our batteries, as also looking at the calendar we will have quite a few races coming up in a very short period of time now, spread all over the globe. But for sure I am happy to especially start the second part of the season at such a driver’s circuit, and to just race again. My holidays were probably very average, as I mostly relaxed, sunbathed and swam in the ocean in France.

Q: How would you rate your team’s performance after ten races?
SV:
I would say that we are doing very well, but not perfect. Especially lately we have had made zero points in Silverstone, so there is still some improvement to do. For us it is very important that we still are hungry for wins and enjoy racing itself very much. We generally do not look at the scorecard, as this would rather distract us and for now it is just far too early to do that. I am sure that we will have more need for this maybe later in the season.

Q: Looking at this scorecard one would say that Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso are your strongest competitors at the moment. But would you also consider Mercedes as a major candidate for the championship?
SV:
For sure since the Monaco GP they are at their best form, and Nico (Rosberg) has already won two races and Lewis (Hamilton) has underlined their level with his win in Budapest. Nevertheless we are not letting Ferrari and Lotus out of sight and hope that we are able to keep our own pace high like we were able to mostly in the first half of the season.

Q: Which part of the track is your favourite here in Spa?
SV:
For sure it is Pouhon - since Eau Rouge and Blanchimont have been ‘defanged’ so that in dry conditions we can go full throttle without risking too much. Pouhon is still a turn where you have to have lots of guts to do better each time. You arrive in seventh gear, shift down only to sixth and stay almost flat out. But generally I really enjoy racing here a lot, as there are a lot of flowing turns. Also the level changes, together with the unpredictable weather conditions, make this track quite a challenge for all of us. All of this can either be to your advantage, but then again also to your disadvantage, which all in all brings a lot of excitement into the entire weekend.

Q: Some of your colleagues check the track beforehand on a scooter or bicycle, but you prefer to walk it - is there a special reason for this?
SV:
For one you just have more time to talk to each other and plan the weekend that is coming ahead. Then also we can talk about other things that have happened in the factory and are still months away. But foremost you can really look at details that might remain unnoticed if you are on your scooter, e.g. some road irregularities or the surface of the kerbs and changes that have been made to the track itself. For example, during today’s track walk we had tested with a bottle of water the grip of some kerbs, as there are different types of paint which then differ in their slip resistance. One thing is for sure; that it will rain during this weekend. It is just the question of when and where exactly, as the track is fairly long, and how much.

Q: There is the question of who is going to be your team mate for next season. Is this something that you are involved in, too? If you were ‘staff manager’, who would you place in the second Red Bull cockpit?
SV:
I leave that question to the real ‘staff manager’ in the team and focus on the driving, because this is the main reason for my employment here at Red Bull. (laughs) Sure, any decision will affect me in some way, so I hope that it will be somebody who blends in with our team culture. Otherwise I try not to involve myself in this question.

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