Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Mercedes our main competition 20 Sep 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Dr Helmut Marko (AUT) Red Bull Motorsport Consultant.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013

Based on Friday practice in Singapore, Sebastian Vettel looks a sure-fire bet for victory on Sunday, after finishing a second clear of his nearest non-Red Bull rival. But the champion knows you should never place too much faith in Friday times and he expects Mercedes to come on strong in time for qualifying…

Q: Sebastian, it’s now the sixth Grand Prix in Singapore, but as it is the only night race on the calendar, how is it racing with floodlights? How long does it take to get used to it?
Sebastian Vettel:
The track is lit fantastically, but of course it is not daylight so it takes some laps for your eyes to feel comfortable - and it is more the shadows that require extra concentration. That makes the race so demanding - and afterwards you’re a bit more exhausted than usual.

Q: It is the second real street track after Monaco. How would you compare the two?
SV:
Well, first of all it’s a difference as great as day and night! (laughs) But let’s be serious: the artificial light and the length of the track make it more demanding than Monaco. It is the longest race of the season at almost two hours and due to the high humidity it gets very physical.

Q: How are you going about racing so late? Stay on European time or switch to Singaporean time?
SV:
Well, I think we drivers stay on European time as far as possible. I know that this is a bit like cheating your body - and the body at one point recognizes that cheat - so the trick is to protract that as much as possible. You do this best by coming into town as late as possible. On the other hand it would be helpful to acclimatize some days as the climate is distinctively different from what we had in Europe at the last race. This mode has worked well for me over the years, as the wins in 2011 and 2012 demonstrated.

Q: So how was it going today? In the second session you were half a second faster than team mate Mark Webber and a second faster than Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg in third...
SV:
It went pretty well. A bit warm, maybe… (laughs) In the first session I was not so happy as I had quite some oversteer, but then in the second things went pretty smoothly. We really made a step forward. The car felt really good - and if you have confidence in your machine you can take it closer to the walls. Both tyre compounds worked, so I am looking forward to qualifying.

Q: Who would you say will be your biggest challenger on Sunday?
SV:
I think Mercedes is very strong, so we have to watch out for them.

Q: But you’re one second ahead of Rosberg. Did you expect that huge gap?
SV:
No. It is a bit of a surprise - but maybe they didn’t have the cleanest lap. As I just said, I expect them to be very strong in qualifying, but we will be there as well. (laughs)

Q: Kimi Raikkonen could have been your 2014 team mate, but now he is joining Ferrari next season. Have you spoke with him since the announcement?
SV:
Yes, we’ve been speaking. I think it is a good move for him and in the end he is returning to a team that he has already been with. Alonso and Kimi will be a hell of a driver pairing and it will be a hard nut to crack. (laughs) How will it be for Ferrari having these two in the cockpit? It will be interesting to see. I know Kimi better than Alonso. He has an uncomplicated character and is not political at all. But how it will be on the track, nobody knows, as I think 2014 will be a tough year for all of us and any prediction is just hot air.

Q: How is your situation with your new team mate?
SV:
I think Daniel (Ricciardo) will very quickly understand the Red Bull procedures of a race weekend - especially qualifying and the race - and will be very competitive. If he wins the championship next season, of course that would make me look pretty stupid. (laughs) I think taking Daniel was the right choice for us and I think we will be a strong team. I had a tough competition with Mark (Webber) the last couple of years and to be honest it was very often much closer than it looked from the outside. So it was never easy going for me with Mark and I don’t expect it to be so with Daniel in the garage next to me.

Q: As you just mentioned, you’ve won this race the last two years - how will it pan out on Sunday? Will you be adding a third win to your Singapore tally?
SV:
I know that we have a strong package and that the track suits our car, as we have demonstrated today. We also know that overtaking is not the easiest of things here, so much will depend on qualifying and your race strategy. When you look at the season so far, we’ve done well at very different tracks so nothing speaks against a good result for us. Tomorrow afternoon we will be a bit wiser - and on Sunday evening we’ll know. (laughs)

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