Q: Sebastian, after the race in Belgium there were some notions that gave the impression that you don’t think that the team is fully behind you anymore. What is the fact?
Sebastian Vettel: There is nothing of that impression. Of course when you look at the first half of the season things went wrong that could have been addressed differently - but that’s all gone and forgiven. Coming back to Spa: my impression was that the gap was too big - and we sat down before coming here and I think we have discovered one or two things that should help us here. In the end it is always important to put on the table how you feel and what you think and to move in the direction that you think is right. We’ve followed that for the last couple of years and it has stood us in good stead.
Q: We often hear the phrase ‘we have again learned a lot’ from Red Bull. Wouldn’t it be better to know? Isn’t time running out?
SV: Have I aged that much that there is the impression that time is running out? So no, time is not running out! True, the gap [to Ricciardo] in Spa was too big - there was a glitch on my car and not on his. From the lessons that we’ve learned over the course of the season, some were good and some were wrong, and if you are sometimes not running so much it is pretty tricky to find the right way again.
Q: Isn’t it a bit frustrating that two-thirds of the season is gone and you are still trying to feel comfortable in the car?
SV: Sure, it is not the nicest situation you can be in, but I had a fantastic car for four years - and that is something you cannot wipe-off so easily.
Q: So what is your prevailing feeling right now: the good feeling of being ahead of your team mate, or anger at having to start from P8 on a high-speed track?
Q: What is possible for the race tomorrow?
SV: Firstly, we always knew that this would again be a difficult weekend for us, so the situation doesn’t come as a huge surprise: this is a track with only a few corners that could potentially give us the chance to make up time - it’s not so that I messed up any of my laps. It was tight, and when you then realise that you are pretty much at the end of that situation, that sure doesn’t make you happy. My first lap was good but on my second I tried to take a few more risks - and it didn’t work out.
Q: Given the fact that this is an 'engine' track - and that seven of the top ten are using Mercedes power - what is realistic tomorrow?
SV: We have to take it as it comes. Daniel showed in Spa that a lot is possible in the race. Of course I would have liked to have finished some spots closer to the front on the grid, so my expectations rest on the fact that our race speed is always a bit better than our qualifying speed - especially in comparison to McLaren. Ferrari is hard to judge and Mercedes and Williams are clearly too strong.
Q: When you say that in the race a lot is possible, do you also mean a collision of the two cars at the front at the start?
SV: It would only help if it eliminated the first three rows. I wouldn’t be too sad about it. But the likelihood that this will happen is rather slim so I will focus on myself and hope that I can gain some places at the start - and the rest will take care of itself. The good news is that this is a track where you can overtake! But there is no point in getting over excited: I think that P5 would be a good result.