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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Ferrari have speed in hand

29 Jul 2016

Sebastian Vettel finished an encouraging third fastest on Friday afternoon at his home circuit, half a second off Mercedes, but three tenths clear of the two Red Bulls. The bad news is that the Scuderia struggled on race simulations, but the good news is that Vettel is sure the team can find even more performance overnight - which might just pave the way for him to challenge for what would be only his second ever podium at Hockenheim...

Q: Sebastian, you grew up very close to this circuit - in fact you even called it some kind of living room given you know it by heart. But you have never won here. Isn't it about time you took the winner's trophy home?

Sebastian Vettel: Indeed! I think it was four years ago when I was on the podium in second, but was relegated to fifth and stripped of the trophy. So it is about time I took a nice piece home, and if it is the 'big' thing, that of course would be the best – and would fit best in my living room. My living room isn't too big, but it would look good with a big trophy! (laughs) 

Q: One big question in the paddock, and for your fans, is how Ferrari handle the change of technical director in the middle of the season. How do you see the situation after James Allison's departure?

SV: It was a decision that was made mutually, and I think in the light of the respect on both sides it is not something that we should exploit too much. Yes, it is a big change for us – but I hope for the better for us. It will become different – not in the immediate future, but in weeks and months in the way we will be operating. James's role was too important not to cause changes when someone else takes over. But this is something we don’t know yet. It is something that has to be seen.

Q: You have sometimes said the media doesn't have enough vision to see where Ferrari are headed. With Red Bull breathing down your necks, and with you currently sitting fifth in the championship, are you far behind your expectations? How do you see the it?

SV: Well, I have always tried to tell the truth. It is no secret that we are behind – but at the same time it is also no secret that we have big plans that we have not been able to make reality. Still we have these goals, and we must not change! The goal is still to win every race we attend – this also goes for coming here. And as long as the season lasts – until it is mathematically impossible - you focus on winning the championship. That can sometimes be misunderstood. We are not stupid. We also see that we are behind in the standings – but we will do all we can to change our course. Of course being a realist you can say to yourself that Mercedes will not doze off for the second half of the season – and that we at the same time will not find the philosopher’s stone. But we are all racers and want to find out who at any given race is the better team. If you went strictly by qualifying, you would say: why come back on Sunday if everything is decided already on Saturday. But it is not. And that is why we are here. To show that nothing is written until it is written. Take me: on Sunday I always wake up a bit nervous. I am excited about the race. There is a prickle in you stomach and the only thought that you have is: let’s go racing; you start to think about moves, about strategy. That is the excitement of F1.

Q: So how exciting was it today? And how promising, both on single laps and race simulations?

SV: I think the single lap pace was pretty good - but there is always room for improvement. We definitely should find some time tomorrow! On the long run we were on the harder compounds and definitely slower – so we have to look into that.

Q: If you say that you have to ‘look into that’ what do you mean with that?

SV: That we have to look into the ratio of front suspension and rear suspension. That it is not pushing from the back, as the car was pretty lively this afternoon! (laughs) I am sure we can do something with the set-up so that it feels better tomorrow.

Q: How do you feel about the change in radio regulations?

SV: It clarifies the whole matter. Everybody can do what they want – and I think that’s the right way to go.