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Vettel Q&A: Ferrari on the back foot, but can recover overnight

21 Oct 2016

Sebastian Vettel got off to a rather unusual start in Austin, as bodywork issues disrupted his programme - and led to him completing a lap while hanging on to one of his wingmirrors. The German admits Ferrari are on the back foot slightly in their battle with Red Bull as a result - but is confident the team know exactly where to look to make rapid progress...

Q: Sebastian, how did it feel in the car today? Better than in Suzuka?

Sebastian Vettel: It was pretty mixed today. In the morning session we lost valuable time because a part came off the car and destroyed the mirror…

Q: What kind of part?

SV: It was a small wing from underneath the car that came off - but it meant we couldn't go through our programme as planned. The afternoon session was significantly better – but I still feel that we've been caught a bit on the back foot today because when it comes to the balance and speed of the car we are still behind. Hopefully will find valuable time when we go over the data this evening. The Ferrari that you saw today is not the Ferrari that you will see tomorrow! 

Q: What does your gut tell you in terms of Red Bull's performance? They are ahead today – and they are the ones Ferrari has to beat in the constructors'. Is that manageable?

SV: I believe so, yes. They were strong today, true. But I am pretty sure that we have still something to come for tomorrow - as I just said we weren't fully satisfied with today's performance. My guess is that the gap should be smaller tomorrow. 

Q: Let's get into details: what do you want to change to be closer tomorrow?

SV: It's Friday. That should say it all. It is not the day where you put all your cards on the table. As I said before we will have to work on the balance, as I don't feel completely comfortable in the car. But should that be sorted out I am sure it should be possible to find a few tenths…

Q: If you say balance: is it a kind of rhythm that you are missing?

SV: Yes, something of that kind. The car simply doesn't do what I want from it, but once car and driver come together it is faster per se – and if you feel comfortable on top of that it is already half the battle won. 

Q: What kind of car is needed here to be fast?

SV: One that gives you confidence. It is not that I distrust the car – but it is sliding a bit too much and that is why we couldn't shine with the long runs today.

Q: What about qualifying – the single lap speed?

SV: I believe we will do well. It is a track that I generally like! And just because we didn't have the rhythm today for a couple of reasons – some of them I mentioned, some of them I don't want to mention - that doesn't mean that we cannot do well in qualifying. 

Q: Did you have any issues with the tyres today?

SV: No, not that I know of! (Laughs) It was a bit chilly in the morning, probably more than we had expected, but in the afternoon the conditions were almost perfect. We can expect that for the rest of the weekend, so no tyre laments this weekend!

Q: It sounds like you're expecting a good qualifying and race then, as long as you can iron out the little glitches…

SV: Yes. You always have to think positive!