Vettel: To win every race since the summer break is unbelievable, the car has been phenomenal
25 November, 2013
The record breaking statistics are simply astounding as quadruple F1 World Champion signed off his season in the best way possible: yet another win! The 13 of one of the most remarkably dominant seasons in the history of the sport. Nine of those victories scored in succession and despite long ago being crowned champion for a fourth time, the 26 year old German never took his foot of the right pedal, powering to victory at the season finale in Brazil. Here is his take on his afternoon at Autodromo Carlos Pace, Interlagos.
You just equalled two records, the most consecutive wins – nine – and the highest number of wins in a single season: 13. So, what do you feel?
Sebastian Vettel: Well, I’m actually quite sad that this season comes to an end. I think the last couple of races, really since the summer break, to win every race is unbelievable. The car has been phenomenal. Just kept getting better. I think today was a very interesting race. I had a poor start but then I was able to come back straight away in the first lap, build a gap which was nice to control then. But in the pitstop, obviously, I was waiting for my tyres again. I think it was a bit of a confusion going on because we had both cars coming in at the same time. Fortunately I got all the tyres in time ready to go. Mark was behind and then, yeah, the last laps, very difficult with the rain because you could see the fog is coming, [then] it’s leaving, so it was very difficult to judge but yeah, for sure, extremely proud. Big, big thank you to the team, big thanks to Renault. I think there’s a couple of guys that stand out. First of all Mark, obviously it’s his last race, we’ve been team-mates for a very, very long time. After all we didn’t have the best relationship but I think we always had tremendous respect for each other. And together I think we’ve been very, very successful for the team. And then there’s one other guy, he’s working on my car. His name is Tom Batch and unfortunately he’s leaving so farewell Tom, all the best for the future, and who knows, maybe we’ll meet each other again in the future.
Tell us about the race – give us some idea. Bit of a voyage into the unknown for all three of you in terms of tyres as well but also the start, the pitstop…
SV: Yeah, obviously we didn’t have any dry running, which was quite exciting when we started: bit of an adventure to find braking points, etcetera. Start was obviously quite bad for me. I had lots of wheel-slip and didn’t get the initial launch off the line as good as I was hoping for. Nico passed me straight away, Fernando was closing in. I was lucky that as soon as I got on the KERS I could recover a little bit and then it’s not a long way to Turn One – which helped today. So, lost the position, saved some KERS for the end of the lap. Was hoping to get him back up the hill which worked well, so I managed to get back in the lead straight away and was basically benefitting I think from Nico probably a little bit slower than the cars behind – Fernando and Mark – so I could open a gap and control that for more or less the rest of the race – until we came in for the second stop, which was a last minute call. I think we were afraid of a safety car at that stage. I came in, hoping everybody was ready. I think I had three wheels on the car but I was waiting for the front right. For some reason, last year and this year, it seemed to be the front right that… yeah, they let me wait for a little bit. I saw that obviously Mark was queuing behind me and I wanted to go and there was a bit of chaos in the pitlane but it was obviously fine to get the right tyres in the end, get out again and I still had a bit of a gap. We obviously lost to Fernando at that stage, both of us, but was still able to have a little bit of a gap and control that until the end which was very helpful to get through traffic and with the rain coming in and going – you could really see it from the car. The fog was coming and the rain clouds. You didn’t know how strong the rain was and, yeah, in the end it was fine all the time to stay on dries but a little harder rain and it could have been a different story so, yeah, lucky to get away with that.
When did you tell your team that you wanted to come in? Was it because of a potential safety car?
SV: I didn’t decide to pit. Obviously with the weather it was critical, we were trying to go as long as possible because we didn’t know… when it starts to rain and you pit one lap before, you lose a lot of time because you have to come in again to fit inters (intermediate tyres). So basically, I was told, exit of turn 12, box if I can. I had enough time to get ready. Arguably the team was on the limit and obviously they were preparing a stop for both cars so they had to get both set of tyres out, mine and Mark’s, and I think it was just a little bit of a rush, because I think the team was afraid of a safety car. Obviously I didn’t know what was going on around the track; the team is obviously able to monitor much better… to see the whole track, whereas I’m very good at judging what’s going on where I am right now but not five, six corners down the road. I think that was the reason why I got called in but unfortunately it got a bit messy.
What are you going to do until Christmas?
SV: Nothing. Obviously there are some things you have to attend to in December which is also nice, but mostly try to relax. Obviously Mark is retiring from Formula One but he’s not retiring from racing so, as he said, he will obviously get ready, probably has a little bit less pressure because the season maybe starts in a different way but I think for us it’s the same thing as the previous years. Obviously a lot of changes for next year but in terms of rhythm it is probably largely the same. Potentially you start a week or two earlier in January, to prepare the tests a little bit more. Equally, you can’t prepare so much because you need to wait for the first day on track, to know and see where we are.
What do you feel having reached Alberto Ascari’s record with nine victories in a row, a driver who comes from the distant past of Formula One?
SV: Well, I think it is very very difficult for me to realise probably now and in the next couple of weeks what we have achieved again, and in particular this year at the end of the season. I think in terms of a certain record with Alberto Ascari you can’t really compare it, it’s at a completely different time. If you consider the fact that in the fifties the races were much longer and there were a lot of things that were breaking down, much more than nowadays where it’s very professional, reliability is exceptionally good for everybody. I think his record still stands out a lot. So at the end of the day, as I see it now, it’s just a number but hopefully one day, when I’ve got less hair and chubby then it’s probably something nice to look back to.