Q: Sebastian, watching the television images of the track it just looks unbelievable: the narrow stretches along the old city wall are some of the best F1 racing has seen in a long time. How was that from a driver’s perspective?
Sebastian Vettel: Pretty cool. And not easy! It took a bit of time to find your way around. It’s fun - especially the high-speed sections.
Q: You have tried everything today in order to get a taste of it all: the kerbs, the run-off areas - what is the trickiest part?
SV: Probably to find the perfect braking point as you have no reference at all. The timing has to be pretty perfect here. The kerbs are not that important here and the slower part along the city wall - even if it is pretty tight - is not so demanding, which is not what we had expected from the simulator. The fast corners, on the contrary, are not as easy as we had guessed. All in all it is a super track that feels pretty good.
Q: When looking at the times, there is the impression that you were not looking at quick laps today. What program was on the Ferrari agenda?
SV: Yes - and as I said often before: Friday is not really significant. Yes, we have still to look for time. The car felt good, but the time did not - we know that there is still work ahead for us.
Q: You said that it was a very smooth weekend for you in Canada. What about this weekend?
SV: I was running pretty smooth, but I have no idea what happened to Kimi (Raikkonen). I hope it is nothing dramatic. For me it was a productive day. We’ve done quite a lot of laps without any serious issues - but as I said before, the speed as missing a bit. We are simply not quick enough. I know that we have the speed - I just hope that we will find it tomorrow! (laughs)
Q: Where do you hope to find speed?
SV: Ha, probably right now we are a bit clueless, but a Friday on a brand new track is always important to get a feeling for it and to get into the right rhythm. And I guess I found that rhythm in my last couple of laps. Maybe I needed the first session to warm up. I believe that we can improve.
Q: Over the team radio there was talk about possible gearbox issues…
SV: No, it didn’t feel that way but yes, I was asked to return to the pits slowly - which I did. There was obviously the fear that the same could happen on my car as had happened on Kimi’s - but we will have to analyse what exactly happened on Kimi’s car.
Q: Baku is called the ‘city of winds’. How did that affect you?
SV: if you have head wind you think, ‘Wow, I have super grip’. When you have a tail wind that is another - not so pleasant - matter. But that is the same for all. It was pretty windy today - and the forecast shows that it was the windiest day today, so I don’t expect any further problems.
Q: Are you confident of a good qualifying tomorrow?
SV: If I am not? What then? Go home? (laughs) Of course I am confident, as I believe in this team and this car. And sometimes I also believe in myself!