Q: Sebastian, the big news at Ferrari are the engine upgrades. How much hope is attached to them to further close the gap to Mercedes?
Sebastian Vettel: Yes, it is true we have a new engine. It is a small upgrade that hopefully will help us to continue to chase Mercedes. We are very optimistic even though it is clear that they are still the favourites when it comes to the race win.
Q: Can you give a hint of what the ‘new’ is on your new engine? Are the rumoured 30 extra horsepower for real?
SV: I cannot give any numbers - and we all know that rumours are the favourite sport of the paddock, and most of it is not true. As I just said, it is a small step that hopefully will help us to get closer.
Q: Is this the right moment to be aggressive?
SV: Well, if you are not leading you have to be aggressive. But that goes for a number of teams that are behind at the moment. But you go into the season with a plan - you don’t wake up one morning thinking: now I have to be aggressive. You plan your season and this engine upgrade should help us in following that plan.
Q: Could the characteristics of this track help Ferrari make a step forward in catching Mercedes? Nico Rosberg said yesterday that he expects Ferrari to be a real threat here…
SV: A real threat - that would be great! But the gap is still there - I am under no illusion about that. But yes, moving again a bit closer - that should be within reach. Today we saw a typical Montreal day - three seasons within a couple of hours: thirty degrees in the sun, when the sun is gone a drop in temperature of about fifteen degrees, then we saw massive rain in FP2. So the most you could hope for was to get through your programme and have the best possible preparation for qualifying tomorrow.
Q: There was the impression that your race pace this morning was pretty promising…
SV: Yep, it felt good. Now we have to sit down and analyse where we are compared to the others. It is never clear on a Friday what others are doing in terms of fuel load. We know that Mercedes is quick - anything else would be a surprise - one that we would love to have! (laughs) In the end it was a bit of a shame that we only had thirty minutes in the afternoon - but everybody was in the same position. To sum up the day I would say that we did the maximum that we could - probably being in a slightly better position than Mercedes who decided to start on the soft compounds first so didn’t have so much time compared to us - even if I have to say that our runs were not ideal either and that there is still room for improvement. Overall I am quite satisfied with today’s running given the conditions that we had. We knew that it would rain - but not that much!
Q: At the end of last season you were frequently frustrated at race weekends when again it didn’t work out. Six races into the season with Ferrari, is that all history? Are we seeing the old positive ‘Seb’?
SV: I had no real expectations of how it would be at Ferrari. Now I can say it is very positive so far. I’ve had a lot of podiums and we are very competitive and improving our competitiveness with every race. So yes, it’s shaping up nicely and going into the right direction. For sure we are here to win - best if it would happen this weekend! But I have no illusions that in reality there is still plenty of work to do - that the gap is still there waiting to be closed.