Q: Sebastian, we are heading into the second part of the season. Can you sum up the state of affairs right now?
Sebastian Vettel: Well, there are a lot of things that we could have done better - or avoided - but if you don’t make mistakes you don’t learn. Regarding my own performance - well, it doesn’t help if you don’t drive a lot in the winter. In fact, I haven’t done as little mileage in all the winters I can remember. The cars have massively changed, and of course you have to get used to those changes. There have been some things that I have found a bit difficult to cope with - like the way you have to brake these days, but I think we have made huge steps forward. Of course at every point of the season I have always tried to make the best out of the situation, and it is no surprise that by midseason you are smarter than at the start - that’s not rocket science. I don’t have any problems with admitting mistakes - as long as we learn from it. I know that at some point the wind will change - and with a tailwind we will bounce back again.
Q: You are known for coming back with a vengeance after the summer break - last year your incredible winning streak started at this point of the season. So what will happen this year?
SV: I had hoped that we would have fewer issues than in the first 11 races - that the second half would be easier - but today was not a great start into ‘easier’. In the morning part of the exhaust broke which set a huge amount of heat free and damaged a number of other parts. That caused us to take the decision to change the engine and other parts. That takes time to do so it was not possible to run in the afternoon.
Q: Was that the fifth engine already?
SV: Yes this was my fifth engine.
Q: Does that mean that you already will get penalised this weekend?
SV: Not necessarily. The plan is go back to an older engine. Right now it is not clear that the new engine is damaged - we simply didn’t want to risk anything. Tests will show if there is damage or not.
Q: Were you thinking today: ‘Oh no, please don’t let the second half of the year be like the first...”
SV: Well, if I could choose I definitely would not pick such a day. The issues that we had in the first half of the season forced us to change many parts on the car and at one stage over the last remaining races we will have to bring a new engine. I just hope that this will not mean too much bad news. I think we cannot avoid that route from what we’ve seen today - and that will definitely have an effect on our positions. But that will not keep us from trying to make significant steps forward - also in view of the next season.
Q: So when will engine number six definitely come into effect?
SV: Soon, very soon. Within the next three races! Number five will be checked to see how and when it can be used again - so with still eight more races to go you don’t have to be a genius to know that an extra engine is very, very close.
Q: What if this fifth engine is beyond repair?
SV: Then we probably will need seven engines for the whole season. Of course our hope is that we can revive number five and only need one more engine for the rest of the races.
Q: How do you keep your patience?
SV: What other choice do I have?
Q: Is there any hope for qualifying tomorrow?
SV: I was running too little to say what can be [achieved] tomorrow. But when looking at Daniel’s performance I would say that this weekend will rather be a tougher one for us. But of course you always hope to make a significant step tomorrow - tomorrow is the future, and the future can hold any surprise thinkable!