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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Ricciardo showed true Red Bull potential

15 Mar 2014

It was a case of ‘unlucky 13’ for world champion Sebastian Vettel in Saturday’s Australia qualifying, as a software problem on his Red Bull left him down on power. However, with team mate Daniel Ricciardo having shown what the RB10 can really do by taking P2 on the grid, Vettel is confident of a stronger race on Sunday…

Q: Sebastian, going into the race after qualifying 13th - is that a bad omen?

Sebastian Vettel: I don’t believe in that. Of course it was a bit unfortunate that there was the yellow flag at my last shot at a better grid position, but fact is that we’ve not been good enough today. Due to some strange reasons today was worse than yesterday in terms of driveability. Under the conditions we had in qualifying I struggled quite a bit - so let’s see what we can do overnight and then how it works in the race. We are talking here about one fast lap, but the race is a completely different matter. My guess is that this season qualifying results - even more than ever before - will have a distinct difference from race results. Everything can happen in the race.

Q: Was there ever a season where you had to work so hard in the car as you’ve had to so far in 2014?

SV: Ah, it’s not that the car is not performing - just that during qualifying the driveability was so bad that I was really fighting in the cockpit. Friday afternoon was much better - and now we have to understand before tomorrow why this was the case. We know that this season the smallest thing can make a huge difference and ruin your race, so we have to go into the smallest detail to come up with a solution for the race.

Q: Is it comforting that team mate Daniel Ricciardo starts from the front row?

SV: Absolutely. It shows what the car can do when there are no glitches, as I think he didn’t have the issues that I had. Overall it wasn’t the easiest of winters for us so it is a promising sign that he was able to place the car where it belongs.

Q: You just mentioned that Friday was a much better day for you. When did you realize that Saturday’s performance level would not run northwards but south?

SV: Already in Practice Three there was a development for the worse - and then the rain didn’t make things better. Now we put that qualifying behind us, knowing that there is massive work to do on the driveability side and that it doesn’t help to cry over P13 on the grid. We have to make the best out of it and it’s good to know that the Melbourne race is always good for surprises. Today it was a bit negative for me - tomorrow the odds might change!

Q: What happened on your last fast lap?

SV: There was a yellow flag - but you can’t blame it on that as those behind me also got caught in that situation. I think Jenson (Button) was right behind me and he also missed Q3. Other than that I tried to drive as fast as I could - but that was obviously not fast enough. Sure, I’m not happy about missing out on Q3 - but the good news is that the car seems quick.

Q: What potential does the RB10 have tomorrow in the race? What’s your guess?

SV: Daniel has shown that there is big potential in the car. Right now it seems good enough to go over a race distance and as we have all agreed that this season it will be all about reliability, it looks promising. Since Bahrain we’ve made a huge step forward overall - even if that didn’t show in my case today - and the race is a whole different game. And isn’t there the saying, ‘new game, new luck’?