Vettel: I dedicate my victory to Professor Sid Watkins, a very special man
23 September, 2012
Sep.23 (FIA) Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull suffered a dose of bad luck when they retired from the lead in Valencia back in June. The motor racing gods made amends in Singapore when the world champion took victory, despite at first looking as if he would not be able to challenge an on form Lewis Hamilton and McLaren.
Instead, after two gruelling hours and a drama packed Singapore Grand Prix, it was Vettel who stood on the top step of the Marina Bay Street Circuit podium as the German scored his second victory in a row at the venue and with that leap frogged into second place in the world championship standings. He spoke after the race.
You’re a back-to-back winner here. What’s the secret?
Sebastian Vettel: I think it’s one of the toughest races of the year to be honest. It’s very long; the full two hours. The circuit is a killer. There’s so many bumps, there’s no space for mistakes and the race just seems to go on forever. Obviously we benefited from Lewis’ failure. A couple of laps before that he lost some oil and then after that I think we generally we had very, very strong pace all weekend. I had a good start, which got us into second and in the hunt. The pace was there so…I’m just incredibly happy and proud because this is a such a tough race. I would like to dedicate it to one very, very special man, Professor Sid Watkins who passed away and we remember him for sure. I think he is one of the biggest reasons we can go out on a circuit like this and enjoy ourselves and be reasonably safe. He pushed the boundaries in terms of safety for all of us, so a big thank you to him.
Can you see something reminiscent of 2010; how you came from this position and just sneaked that win of the championship in 2010?
SV: I don’t think Fernando would be too happy if it happened again in the last race. But it’s an incredible season for all of us. But we have a lot of races left, the car seems to be competitive and we just have to use the momentum and keep pushing for these last races and see what happens.
Really should we have expected that result after practice – but perhaps not after qualifying?
SV: Yeah, it just underlines that we obviously struggled a bit yesterday, especially in the last section of qualifying. Up to then I think it was fine and the pace was there. The confirmation was straight away there in the grand prix when we found ourselves behind Lewis and were able to push him quite hard. I think he was obviously trying to save his tyres, we were trying to save the tyres. It’s a bit of a different race, it’s very tactical but I think the pace was there in the race throughout. Also, towards the end versus Jenson I think we could have an answer every time he was going quick and it was a good finish of the grand prix. Obviously it’s a long race, a lot of laps – we did the full two hours again – but it’s fun in a way, you are excited, a bit nervous before the race starts, knowing there is a little bit of a marathon coming, but I think that’s what makes this race so special: not just racing at night, it’s also the circuit with a lot of corners, a lot of bumps, making it extremely difficult. It’s a great challenge for us. Very happy with the result, obviously. I think the team deserves a big thank you. In fact working in these conditions is very, very hot and in the garage it is another 10, 15 degrees hotter than outside. So not the nicest office to work it but obviously it’s nice to give a little bit of champagne back and bring a trophy home – so I’m very happy.
And good for the championship chances as well…
SV: Yeah, it looks better than before. Fernando finished third. I am not a genius but I think it’s looking ten points better than it was before. There’s a lot of races left and it’s a bit difficult to predict what’s going to happen. We have to make sure that we finish the races first of all. I think the pace is there, even if we are not quick enough to win then it is good enough to collect a lot of points. And we have to make sure we do that. It’s a tough championship so far but we’re still in it. We’re still looking forward to the next couple of races, and obviously the target at the moment is to beat Fernando.
When you were chasing Hamilton, you were losing three to four tenths on several laps in sector two alone, although you were recovering it a little bit in sector one and sector three. Was there any particular reason for that, because you did mention that turn ten was a difficulty yesterday?
SV: No, not really. I saw that I was gaining a little bit in the first sector, not sure in the second sector but I could see that I probably lost a bit but I think Lewis has been very quick in sector two all weekend. Also, I think I was fairly close to him, so obviously the closer you get, it’s a bit of a disadvantage but I try to keep the gap fairly much the same, lap by lap. I didn’t really mean to close the gap, because I know that the closer I get, the more grip I lose, and obviously I will lose tyres just by running close to him and losing downforce so I think it was a tactical race in the beginning, especially the beginning of the second stint after the first pit stop. If you go all out in one lap you probably go a second faster but then you do this exercise for three laps and Jenson is coming. It’s the races that we have these days but I think, as I said, Lewis was already quick in sector two so it was probably not a surprise to lose a little bit against him.
You say this is a tough circuit. What does it feel like to win twice in a row?
SV: Very good. I’m very happy. I think this is one of the best races to win in terms of atmosphere. Everything is a little bit special here. It’s a surprise in a way, because we haven’t been racing here for fifty years – Formula One hasn’t been racing here for fifty years but it still feels like a real classic already. It’s nice. I think everyone likes coming here. It’s a bit funny to be in the European time zone and a little bit against everything else in this city. It’s great to get the opportunity. It’s a great city, more than five million people living here and the circuit is right in the middle. When you do the drivers’ parade and you see a lot of people around the track it’s nice just to be part of it, obviously even greater to win, which was great last year, but is even greater this year to repeat it. I’m very happy, especially with this year’s championship. It’s very tight. We probably didn’t have the fastest package this weekend but we still won the race. I’m very happy.
What are your expectations for Suzuka and your specific car, each of you?
SV: I think we have to improve. I think there is still a little bit that we need to gain. I think that at the moment McLaren is the fastest car and the Ferrari is a little bit of an allrounder. It’s always quick and always there so we need to make sure that we see the chequered flag. Reliability will be important but it’s a fun track so I’m looking forward to it. The Sauber will be quick, unlike this weekend and we will go from there.
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