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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Rain could be Red Bull's ace card

18 Jul 2014

Sebastian Vettel has never triumphed in Formula One at his home track of Hockenheim, and while he and Red Bull made a promising start to this weekend's proceedings, Mercedes remain the team to beat.

Vettel however thinks that rain - which remains forecast to interrupt Sunday's race - could play into Red Bull's hands and provide the platform to edging out the Silver Arrows.

Q: Coming here to Hockenheim, your home race, where do you see your team compared to the Mercedes?

Sebastian Vettel: It is not easy to predict. So far [in 2014] when we have done well we haven't been too far off Mercedes - still a bit too far to really put them under pressure, but right behind them. If we do well we should be in a similar situation here in Germany. The last two races we have been a little bit further away, and teams like Williams were stronger, so it is difficult to say anything else - other than that Mercedes will be strong here too!

Q: So how would you rate your running today? You don't appear too happy…

SV: It was a tough day! I think to a certain extent everyone had issues with the tyres. It was hot today and it will be even hotter tomorrow, so the task for tomorrow afternoon will be to get the car right for that one lap.

Q. You commented on the radio during practice that you were having to brake very early to save fuel - how much of an issue will that be on Sunday?

SB: I am open for any positive surprises - but we probably had a glitch in the software. You have a display that shows you when to brake to save fuel - and to brake on the straight was not really the kick! When we really have to save that much fuel that we are braking on the straight, then we'd rather stay in the pits.

Q: Has the Silverstone test brought you any updates - and if so, are they promising?

SV: We have a few updates here, and hopefully they give us some extra steps forward - if we solve that wrong fuel signal! But how effective our updates prove will also depend on what the others have brought to this race. On my testing day I was focusing on the tyres, but for sure this also helps to get a better feeling of the car itself.

Q: So even if the satisfaction level is not that high, might you have the second fastest car on the grid this weekend?

SV: It looks like it! Daniel had a better run on the new tyres - the new super soft - so my understanding is that overall we are a little closer than at previous weekends. My guess is that it will be very close between us, Ferrari and Williams.

Q: Speaking of Ferrari: what is your opinion on the criticism that of your battle with Fernando Alonso at Silverstone, both on the track and on the radio?

SV: Hah! This is a part of what makes racing. In the heat of the moment both Fernando and I were very excited. He wanted to make sure that I stayed behind, and I wanted to make sure that I passed him. This is what makes fighting on the track so special, and I think we both enjoyed it. Luckily in the end I enjoyed a little bit more, because I managed to pass him. I think it is not necessary to go into details of what people have said in their criticism, as everyone is free to say whatever they want.

Q: After Germany's triumph in the world cup, will the German drivers be able to take part of the national euphoria into the race?

SV: Of course we are more than happy that we have won the world cup, and we had a great time - especially at the beginning of this week! It is always amazing to see your team succeed in one of the biggest events in sport. I hope that this euphoria, and all the German flags that had been waved for our national team, will be seen at the track this weekend.

Q: Your hometown of Heppenheim is just a short distance from here. How much of a pleasure is it to drive in front of your home crowd?

SV: It is always special. Unfortunately today there wasn't that many people, but I expect the number to increase tomorrow and for the race on Sunday. And of course I would love to win here. I have won my home race before [at the Nurburgring in 2013], but not here - so I would love to tick that off the list. Maybe if it rains on Sunday that could help us. In dry conditions it is difficult to match the Mercedes, so let it rain! (laughs)