Sebastian Vettel recovered from an engine failure in Saturday morning's practice to qualify fourth fastest for the European Grand Prix. But speaking to the media afterwards he admitted he can ill afford to lose another power unit from his allocation.
Vettel also discussed the advantages of having KERS, how difficult the system is to introduce with a testing ban in place, and why he was encouraged by the Red Bull's pace in the heat of Valencia. AUTOSPORT was there to here what he had to say.
Q. How did qualifying go?
Sebastian Vettel: It's closer here than the last events and it's no secret to say that McLaren look very quick and possibly will be very fast tomorrow. So at least at the start it will be very difficult to beat them. Later, we will see. Yesterday we were not as strong as we are today so we have improved our pace.
Q. How do you feel about McLaren's KERS advantage?
SV: At least at the start there is no McLaren-Mercedes KERS behind us! It will be interesting to see from a different angle how much of an advantage it really is.
Q. Are you looking forward to having KERS in your car?
SV: At the moment, it is not a criteria, so we have to live without it.
Q. Would you like it?
SV: It's difficult just to pop it into the car and say now we have KERS and everything is fine. That's the reason behind why so many teams are running without. Even BMW started the season with KERS then decided to run without it. It's quite difficult to fit it into the car and still keep the balance right. It doesn't work just to put it in the car. That's why at the moment it's not a criteria for us.
Q. You drove the Red Bull equipped with KERS in pre-season testing. Although the RB5 has changed a lot since then, it must have given you a good idea of how it affects the setup?
SV: Yes, but we don't have any testing so it's difficult and you don't have to test it on a Friday. Everyone knows nowadays how important the Friday is to prepare yourself for qualifying and the race. Then you go to circuits where for example like here you have no grip on Friday and whatever you test doesn't give you an idea. At the moment it's not something we're thinking about.
Q. McLaren is back on form now, does that affect your championship chances?
SV: If there is someone who is taking the big points it's not easy to catch up, especially if you are the hunters like we are. Will will try hard and try to do our best. Let's see tomorrow. Fourth is not a disaster. It's a long race, no-one has scored any points yet - 57 laps tomorrow and then we'll see. Last year on this circuit everyone was close, in qualifying Force India, for instance, is not far off. It's not a secret that if you have something on board that is worth three or four tenths the rest will not find a part that gives you that much of a jump.
Q. What's your feeling on the pace of the Brawns?
SV: They are in good shape. Yesterday they looked strong and we were slower, but we improved the car and will find out tomorrow.
Q. Are the track conditions helping Brawn?
SV: It's difficult to say. It's hot and we had a lot of conversations about it being an advantage for Red Bull if it's cold and for Brawn if it's hot, but it's hot here and we are close together. On Friday we were slower than Brawn and tomorrow we will see how quick we are because we made some pretty big steps. It's not a secret that in these conditions they have been strong in the past.
Q. Are you concerned about your engine allocation after what happened this morning?
SV: I can't change anything now. Of course, if you want to win the championship it is not a good thing that towards the end of the season it will get tight. How tight, we will see. From now on, there is no room for any more failures or mistakes.