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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Race pace could give Ferrari upper hand

14 Mar 2015

Ferrari have hit the ground running in 2015, and backed up an impressive pre-season by qualifying fourth and fifth for the season-opener in Australia. But there might be even more good news on Sunday, with Sebastian Vettel convinced their long-run pace can lift them above Williams and onto the Melbourne podium...

Q: Sebastian, is everything looking rosy at the red team?
Sebastian Vettel:
Ha, I think we have to keep our feet on the ground. So far it's been a very good weekend for us. No issues with the car so far and it looks it will stay that way so we can be pretty happy. I think P3 on the grid was within reach - the gap to Felipe (Massa) is small so it should have been possible - but then the race is tomorrow and things can change again. 

Q: Where do you think you missed P3?
SV: Well, the first lap that I did was fast enough - at least it looked that way - but realistically I am not fully satisfied with my own effort, as I abandoned my second try knowing I would not be faster. Looking back I now believe that I should have found more time on the track to finish in P3. To finish on the front row - there we have to be realistic.  Right now this is out of reach. 

Q: Looking back at the 2014 season, Ferrari's best starting position over the whole year was P4 - and you managed that in the first race...
SV: Yes, it is working very smoothly for the team so far. Starting from P4 and P5 is a good result for us, so that is promising - but as I just said the race is tomorrow and tomorrow is when we have to confirm that form.

Q: Is a podium within reach?
SV: The gap to my grid neighbour is pretty small so a podium seems realistic - and of course should be our goal.

Q: How nice would it be to finish your first race on the podium - and achieve something the team didn't manage at all during the 2014 season?
SV: Of course it would be nice. There has been so much work put into the team already and it will continue over the course of the year - the gap to the two cars in front is huge so hard work is on the agenda. Right now we can be satisfied as it all indicates that we are moving into the right direction compared to last year. 

Q: It was your first qualifying with Ferrari - how did that go?
SV: Every team has their own philosophy. Yes, there is still work to do, but the basis looks good. 

Q: Qualifying has been a bit of an issue for Ferrari in recent seasons. Is what we've seen today a bit of a breakthrough?
SV: Well, I think that first impression after the winter tests was positive - that was the breakthrough - and qualifying is the confirmation for that. In winter we've looked pretty close to Williams - and now this is the confirmation that it is really close. Hopefully we will have a bit of an upper hand tomorrow in the race. The spirit in the team is great, and that can make a significant difference. 

Q: How satisfied are you with the long run pace of your car?
SV: It looked good on Friday. We've worked a lot on the car and hopefully that will pay off on Sunday. The conditions have been pretty uncertain - the wind and the weather - so that could play a role for the result, but I am confident as we've proved in all sessions that we can be right there, being strong enough to fight for the podium.