Q: There were many question marks about this new track, despite all the simulator running the teams have done. How was the reality today?
Sebastian Vettel: Of course we did not know how this track would suit our car in the end, as only actual running can give us the real answer. But in the case of a new track maybe the driver has a more important role, as it is us that have to fill the unknown gaps that are not covered, such as how the weather situation will unfold here in Mexico City. The forecast is not the best for the race, although the sun is also shining quite a lot. From a drivers perspective I always try to make the best out of the time that we are spending in the car before the actual race.
Q: So how was today - going into unknown territory?
SV: It was a very interesting day! Obviously the circuit is very, very, very slippery with very low grip. I think everybody had problems keeping the car on the track. It was surprisingly low speed. I was hoping for the fast corners to be a little bit quicker and with hopefully more rubber on the track the situation will go a bit better.
Q: How were the vibes? The moment you entered the track you saw a typical Mexican mariachi band and people singing and dancing…
SV: It was amazing to see how many fans have already made it to the grandstands on a Friday, and to enter that sort of ‘stadium’ holding so many people. It is a bit like Singapore - but much, much bigger! So that all is a really great feeling.
Q: And what about the performance of your car?
SV: Well, I think we were reasonably happy with how the day went, but I am sure that we can improve. In the end the rain stopped our long-run program - but everyone was affected by that, so we all have to live with it. But as I just said: I am banking on the improvements that I am sure we can make tomorrow - and then we should be in a good position.
Q: How do you percept the altitude of over 2,200m in Mexico City?
SV: The good thing is that the new generation of turbo engines do not lose too much power compared to the engines that were used many years back. Other than that it will be very interesting how the cars behave. For me personally I felt the altitude at a soccer game that I was attending. After a few sprints I realised that I was out of breath much faster than usual. But this is probably exactly one of the reasons why we try to be fit all year long, so that this does not really become a problem. I am sure this race will be a bit of a different experience, and I am sure it will be a good one.
Q: How much of a boost for next year would it be if you were able to maintain second position in the drivers’ championship, ahead of Nico Rosberg?
SV: We definitely want to extract the maximum possible, and since the first position has already been taken we will push hard for second. But this will be no easy task, as we are not really the P2 favourites! Nevertheless we have seen in the last few races that we are getting closer and that there are chances here and there. From both Nico’s and my point of view the target is pretty much the same, as we are trying to get the maximum out of the remaining races. Generally we do not have anything to lose anymore, but for sure this would be an amazing success if we managed to finish second in this year’s season that has been really amazing for us, instead of just being third. It is always better to be one position ahead of what everyone else, including yourself, expects you to be. This will, for sure, give us even more enthusiasm for next year and will make us push even harder.
Q: Have you spotted any particular weaknesses in Nico Rosberg that you could be able to exploit in order to be ahead of him at the end of the season?
SV: That is difficult to say; as I think both Nico (Rosberg) and Lewis (Hamilton) have been at eye level the last two years, with maybe Nico having not had the best season this year. On the other hand you have to admit that Lewis was more than able to extract the maximum out of the car and himself and was very hard to beat for all of us. The fact is that no one is unbeatable, and we have a new race weekend ahead of us in a new country on a new racetrack. So there is the fair chance to beat either of them, and as long as we are able to be ahead of just one of them then we have already done an amazing job. We still have to keep our feet on the ground and know what we are able to do and what we are not able to do.
Q: What are your impressions about Mexico City so far?
SV: As mentioned before we have been playing soccer in the stadium, which can hold a maximum of 100,000 people, although there weren’t 100,000 there to watch me and Kimi playing! (laughs). Nevertheless this was an amazing experience, especially if you play soccer on my level it was a big honour to even touch the grass. I was even luckier and scored a goal. Other than that I have not been able to see much yet, but I am already very excited as I have learned that a lot of people will attend this race which is always very special for us drivers.