Vettel: We can take nothing for granted
14 October, 2012
Oct.14 (FIA) Sebastian Vettel won his third race on a trot as he powered to a dominant win in the Korean Grand Prix, and with that now leads the 2012 Formula One World Championship standings with four races to go – the German’s third consecutive world title is looking increasingly likely. He spoke after the race at Yeongam.
You’ve got to be happy with the way it’s gone? Perfect start, perfect race, third straight win, you’ve got to be happy with the way things are going?
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, very pleased, fantastic, I’m very, very happy. I think it was a fantastic race. Obviously the foundation was to have a good start, which I wasn’t sure because I was starting on the dirty side but I have to say I had reasonable grip and a very good launch. I think Mark had a little bit of wheel-[spin] and I was able to get even side-by-side. Even then it wasn’t over because it’s a long way. When I was up-shifting to seventh gear I could hear Mark coming, he was side-by-side and then I tried to use my KERS to defend and fortunately had a good exit after the third corner, so was able to stay ahead. And after that tried to push. It was quite close in the first stint, Mark was always on my toes but towards the end I felt I had a little bit more left in the tyres and could go a little bit longer.We had two brilliant pitstops. The only mistake I did was once I locked-up the front right quite badly into Turn Three, bit of a mistake from my side but fortunately by then we had quite a cushion to the cars behind and were able to control the gaps in the end. I think we were all a bit worried about the front tyres because we’ve seen a lot of people locking up wheels and overshooting the apexes. So, really, really happy. I have to thank the boys on this one. The mechanics in the garage because they have been flat-out, arriving here obviously there’s not much break from Japan to here, flat-out every night and working very hard on the car. I think we have done another step and that is exactly what we need and hopefully we can carry that momentum through to the next races.
You’re leading the championship finally, how are these guys, especially Fernando, going to be able to beat you? What are you going to do?
SV: It’s tough but that’s what it is about. I’m looking forward to the next couple of races. We had a good last couple of races but y’know we’ve seen the championship is pretty much up and down, a lot of things can happen. What do we do? I think we have to focus on ourselves; we need to have our best possible results and then we go from there. I think at the end of the year if we have enough points there’s a lot of people telling us so we don’t have to do the mathematics ourselves.
First of all, was it really all about the start, and then tyre management I guess?
SV: Well, we didn’t know! It’s difficult to say. Obviously now we can say that the start was very important. In my case obviously we started from the dirty side. I think the right side generally we saw last year, usually is a bit better but I had a very good launch and yeah, could see that Mark was struggling a little bit in the first bit of the start and I was able to get side-by-side and obviously then had the inside into Turn One, which was very good for us. But it wasn’t over at that stage because there’s still a long straight and quite a big head wind all race from Turn Two to Turn Three. I could hear him coming and obviously he was sideby-side but fortunately I had the inside and after that I focussed on having a very good exit out of Turn Three, which fortunately I had and then I was able to stay ahead. I think it was then that Mark was side-by-side with Fernando, going into Turn Four. It was a perfect start for myself and after that a perfect first stint. I think towards the end I was able to pull away a little bit and open a gap to Mark which helped to stay out a little bit longer and I think after that we had a very good stop, a very strong second stint opening the gap again. Only at the end of the second stint I had a mistake, braking for Three, locking up the right front. I think a lot of people suffered issues with the front today so the last stint I tried to control a little bit more and I had more juice in the tyre until the end. Obviously we had the gap and were controlling that towards the end, but I think once you reach the point where the front tyres are gone, it’s sudden death, so there’s no point of return. We were talking a lot over the radio, trying to stay on top of the problem and manage the front tyres quite well, which I think we did until the end. Very happy with the result and have to say thanks again to the mechanics, the team, they have been working more than what we should ask them for. Every night, flat out, the whole team and I hope now they get a bit of a break, some sleep finally. But obviously it’s a nice reward to finish first and second today for the guys in the garage. Really pleased with the result.
It’s the first 1-2 for a team this year, so that’s the reward. But obviously Ferrari’s going to come back as strong as they can, McLaren too. Have you still got bits in the pipeline, is the motivation still there?
SV: I think the motivation is still there for sure. The guys, I don’t know, I could not deal a single night with that lack of sleep and they do it three weeks in a row. So, really impressive and I think we are not lacking motivation. The spirit is perfect in the garage, the atmosphere is great and I think we all want to do our best and to really try and win the race on a Sunday. I think we’ve been pushing very hard all season; we have tried lots of stuff. Sometimes it was more successful than other times but the most important is today. Obviously whatever happened is history and we have to look forward. Very pleased with the result today. I think we can have a couple of drinks tonight before heading back. It’s difficult to predict the next couple of races. As you said, the first 1-2 this year, I think it shows how difficult the season has been for everyone. Ferrari was extremely competitive today, probably more competitive than everyone expected in the race. Both of them, Felipe I think was only a little bit off Fernando, so yeah, quick in the race, we know their car works in all circumstances, so we have to stay on top of our game, focus on ourselves and do what we can.
In the last few laps, on the radio we were always hearing the team telling you to be cautious, go slow, there was a problem with the tyres and then you set your fastest lap on the last lap, so what is the truth: was it a big risk?
SV: Obviously you start your stint in the beginning with a little bit more than 20 laps to go, after the last stop. I think you can work that out yourself, you have a lot of kilos in the car. Towards the end it’s nearly empty so you go quicker without even trying harder. I think it’s the same for everyone, given that you still have the tyres. Obviously we try to look after them during the whole of the last stint, because we’ve seen in the stint before how sudden the front tyre can lock up and you can lose control of the front tyres, so obviously we didn’t want to run into that sort of problem again, especially with pressure from behind so even if you have quite a big gap, when you start to struggle a lot with these tyres, then there is a lot of time lost within a couple of laps – I’m speaking of a couple of seconds per lap, so we didn’t know that. As I said, we controlled that very well so we still had some shoes left, tyres were not new but they were not completely worn until the end so I was going a little bit quicker in the last sector so that’s why the lap time was pretty similar to what I started with in the beginning of the stint, but calculate the difference of fuel and it’s a big difference.
Do you also now have a psychological advantage over Fernando, from a technical point of view, as Red Bull seems to be ahead. And secondly, how did the double DRS help you, as you didn’t use it in Suzuka?
SV: Well, I didn’t use it again today in the race. It was obviously not an option. It’s not just one feature on the car that makes you go quicker. I think we tried to work a lot around the car and sometimes you bring some new parts but sometimes you just work on the set-up: you do something smart, you listen to your stomach, you listen to what you see on the data and you act on what you see on the data and everyone is pushing hard. You sometimes might find more with the set-up than you might find with new parts so, as I said, we are pushing very hard but I think if you look at this season, it has been pretty much up and down and it was very good for us in the last couple of races but we also know how little it takes to maybe end up in a different position in the Grand Prix. I think we can take nothing for granted, we have to look after ourselves. Whether we have a mental advantage or not, psychological advantage or not I don’t really care. I’m not into those kind of things. As I said, we look after ourselves. There’s a lot of things we have to focus on to do a perfect job and that is the target every weekend.
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