Q: Congratulations Sebastian, it is not only Ferrari’s first win since Spain 2013 but also your first win since Brazil 2013. How would you rate the importance of this victory?
Sebastian Vettel: I think it has to be one of my best wins, as I did not swap teams that much in the past, and winning for a new team is definitely a great relief. And in my case it is for sure a dream come true, since there is so much more to it in the background. Since I joined the team they have been phenomenal welcoming me, and since then we have worked incredibly hard together trying to improve a lot of things. On the way there I said many times that the potential is huge, and it is great to see that we were able to do such a great step over the winter. For sure there are a lot of changes happening in the background, which is never easy to accomplish, but everyone saw the positives of those very changes. I am just happy to go to work, and very passionate just to work for Ferrari. So I am sharing that passion now as well, and seeing all the guys from up on the podium gave me goosebumps.
Q: Last year you were not happy with your own performance, how would you explain this?
SV: I was not able to get on top of the car, which was a good car. This year it is a different game, and not only a new team but also a new car. This time I had a good feeling right from the start. I was able to work right away with this new car, and there is a lot that we are trying to build together with the team. So it is very pleasant to have a start like that. For the next races we need to make sure that we are able to keep these good results and that we keep up the pace as well. Today is a very special day, as it was the first time that Mercedes got beaten fair and square since the introduction of the new rules, and they were not suffering from any special problems. So for sure this means a lot to us, as a proper win was quite some time ago for Ferrari, and also for myself.
Q: How high are your hopes that you can be a championship contender alongside Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg this year?
SV: In general it is very simple, as Mercedes have a great package. Maybe here in Malaysia they were struggling a bit more, and also we were doing exceptionally well. For sure we would like to be in that situation for every race to come from now on, which is also our target. On the other side we have to be realistic as well, as they had a very big gap in winter testing and in the first race, which does not just evaporate. Our target has to be that the gap between them and us keeps getting smaller, as the gap will still be there. Also, we need to underline that it is us that is the team right behind them.
Q: How important is it to get such an amazing result this early in the season?
SV: It is a great boost for the entire team. Ferrari had a horrible year last season, and they got criticised a lot from all sides. A lot of things have changed already, including one driver (laughs). And I do hope for the better, and I am very happy to join Ferrari. For sure this is a great day for the team and for myself, and it makes me very proud.