Q: You have been with Ferrari now for a few months, but here in Monza things must get realer than real…
Sebastian Vettel: Yes, of course this is a special weekend. Monza is right in the heart of Ferrari land. I have been here a couple of times now - I won my first ever Grand Prix on this track - but this time will be more than special. Of course you always want to please your fans, but here it almost becomes a necessity when you see so many people dressed in red and waving huge Ferrari flags. There is still a lot of work for us to do, as I have massively strong competitors. So no promises on results - only the promise that we will give it our all. (laughs)
Q: You were very emotional on the podium in Malaysia after your first win for Ferrari. What can we expect from you should you win here?
SV: Ha, there is only one other thing that could mean more than winning a race for Ferrari and that is winning here with Ferrari. Our objective for this season is to win three races and if we could choose, then of course one would be here. Everybody in Ferrari is an extra bit proud to work for the team here - and all the Tifosi, the hard-core Italian fans, they are just awesome.
Q: So how was it going out there today?
SV: From the times’ point of view, it’s only Friday, so no predictions. From an emotional point of view, even if it is only Friday it was a huge pleasure circling the track and seeing all the fans that have come here already. Pace-wise I know that we have to improve for tomorrow - and we can! I know that there are things that we can do better, but overall we had a solid day. We had no issues with the car and did quite a lot of running. Right now we are not where we want to be with the car, but there is always Saturday morning to change things for the better.
Q: People always argue that you cannot read anything into Friday times, but what about Mercedes’ powerful demonstration today?
SV: Yep, they are very strong and look very quick. But that in the end comes as no surprise. Actually it would be a surprise if they weren’t on the front row tomorrow. But then everybody likes surprises! (laughs) We will do the utmost to turn things around and this track is one of the better tracks to overtake on. As I just said, I cannot promise anything except that we will do anything to make our fans happy.
Q: It’s been almost two weeks since Spa, so enough time to cool off a bit. Have your thoughts on how that race ended changed?
SV: Well, there have been a lot of efforts going into trying to understand what happened and I think the approach from Pirelli’s side was very professional and that is very positive. But I think that I said in Spa what I had to say and I don’t see a reason why I should change that position. But after that the most important thing is that we make progress, which we have been so far. In the short term there are some actions and in the long term we will see. I think we can always improve.
Q: Pirelli said that the huge number of cuts was caused by debris on the track. Did you have the impression that there was a lot more debris than usual?
SV: No, not really. But the level we are talking about was not for us to see. We are not talking here about rocks or huge pieces on the track that we had to avoid. We are talking here about really, really small pieces and the impact on the tyres - the cuts - were really, really small cuts. So as a driver you had no chance to see what was going on.
Q: So you are satisfied with the answers from Pirelli and the work that they’ve done since Spa? Is there anything more that they could have done?
SV: As I said before, they have reacted very professionally and have put in a lot of effort to find answers and understand, so I can be very happy.