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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Singapore already ‘a real classic’

15 Sep 2016

Sebastian Vettel’s record in Singapore is impressive: four wins from eight races, twice as many as any rival. But can the Ferrari driver really repeat his 2015 victory on Sunday and once again conquer the might of Mercedes around the Marina Bay streets? Here’s what Vettel had to say to the media on Thursday…

Q: Sebastian, you are heading into the most demanding race weekend of the season and, depending on who you listen to in the paddock, there are many ways to prepare for it - training in a steam room or a heat chamber, for example. What have you done?

Sebastian Vettel: I have not done anything special. I believe that the time rhythm is always the biggest challenge here and for that neither steam room nor heat chamber really helps. Yes, physically and mentally it is the most demanding weekend, as the track is pretty long and pretty uneven with an awful lot of corners on top - a true street circuit! The high temperatures and the humidity make us sweat like hell, but that is the titillating thing with this track. (Laughs)

Q: Car-wise, you should theoretically be closer here to Mercedes than anywhere else. Is a win on the cards on Sunday?

SV: I think it would be foolish to make a prediction on Thursday. It is a track that I personally like very much and it was a good fit for us last year, so if we get up on the right side of the bed on Sunday we should have a good race - even if we are not the favourites, even if we were the dominant force in 2015.

Q: The rumours in the air about Mercedes’ technical chief Paddy Lowe joining Ferrari next year - what are your feelings about that?

SV: Ah, I see there always has to be a rumour in the paddock! I know him, of course, even though we’ve never worked together. I think with people of the calibre of Paddy Lowe, you should never exclude them from any possible scenarios, and should somebody like him be available it is always worth thinking about. As far as I know he is not available, so I cannot comment on anything.

Q: A champion has always been the victor here in Singapore. Is it that what it takes to win here?

SV: I have no idea. Could be only statistics; could possibly also be a reason behind it: I have never mused about it. What I can say is that this track has always treated me well, but I also must confess that I haven’t found a shortcut yet!

There will, of course, come a time when this statistic will be broken - but for my own sake I hope not this year! (Laughs) Maybe somebody who has won a championship - or who is fighting for the title - has a bit more experience and that is probably what can make a difference here. But then if you are fast and have a good package, anything should be possible - title or no title!

Q: Is this track your best shot at a win this season, considering the races that will come next?

SV: Aside from experience, a lot always depends on if you are lucky with the safety car - and that is out of your control. When looking at last year’s race, Mercedes was struggling quite a bit - but that was last year, so there’s no guarantee it will happen again. Should they struggle again, everybody else will take advantage of it - hopefully us the most! But right now there are too many unknowns to stick my neck out and predict a result.

Q: Looking at the team standings it is pretty obvious that Mercedes will win the title, while Ferrari and Red Bull are locked in the fight for P2. Do you mind whether Ferrari finish second or third - is that something that matters for you?

SV: I would prefer to finish in P1, but I’m realistic enough to say that we are a bit far off that position. So definitely it matters to me whether we end up in P2 or P3. I would say at times we have not scored as high as we should have, but there are enough races ahead to harvest good points.

Q: It has often been said that this race is very special - from the track layout to the fact that it is a night race. What vibes do you get from this weekend?

SV: It is a real classic by now. We come here now for the ninth time, but it is still very special every single time. The vibes are completely different to any other race. To drive past these city lights, all the high-rise buildings that are glittering - that’s pretty impressive.