Q & A with Sebastian Vettel

Q: Does Sunday's victory make you a championship contender?

Q & A with Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel: How many races do we have this year? 17? With 14 races left anyone is a championship contender. It depends a lot on your package - team, car and driver - but it's crystal clear what we are here for and what we are aiming for.

Obviously, it has always been the target of Red Bull to rise to the top. This year with the help of the changes in the regulations we have made a very good step in the right direction. But the season is still long. Anything can happen. We have to look at every race on its own and try to make the best of it. But of course we are here to win, so...

Q: Do you think Kate's Dirty Sister will be as quick here as in Shanghai?

SV: We will see. This circuit is completely different, it has a different character. Apparently there is no rain forecast (smiling), but you never know. Two weeks back in Qatar for the first race of the season in MotoGP, they had to cancel it because of rain. So you never know what can happen.

It's probably not going to happen this weekend. There's more of a chance of a sandstorm than rain, but we will have to see. In Australia, Malaysia and China, the car has been quick no matter what the conditions - wet or dry - so we obviously have a good car.

Of course the target is to score some points, but the favourites are still the Brawns. They had very good pace in the first two races, also in China, not so much in wet conditions, but they are the ones to beat I guess.

And you can never underestimate the others. You never know, maybe they've some new stuff here. There are some rumours going around that various teams have brought new packages, new updates. What we have seen so far in the championship is that a bit of improvement here and there can give you a huge step as it's very tight.

Q: With no points after three races, have Ferrari got no chance in the championship?

SV: I wouldn't say that. You never know what's going to happen. If they, all of a sudden, bring an update and they are back at the front, then you would be completely wrong to under-estimate Ferrari and also McLaren-Mercedes. They are here to win the championship.

They've obviously both had a bad start, but they have the experience and the resources to come back sooner or later.

Q: But if your car is this quick without a double-decker diffuser, then people are saying once that is on for Monaco or Turkey then you should be up there with the Brawns and maybe more?

SV: We will see. As I've said, the target is to win, and we are trying to beat everyone. It's never easy with the double diffuser. The big secret is to make it work. It's not just about having it or not having it, the whole car has to be one unit.

So if you mount a double diffuser, which is a big effort because you have to change the back end of the car to make it fit. In some cases it's easier, others it's a bit more complex, like in ours with a different rear suspension. But the first thing is you have to get it working.

Q: Did you envisage being in this position after three races when you decided to change teams last year?

SV: I had no doubt last year I had made the right step. I was very happy at Toro Rosso, but of course when you leave a team and you feel happy, on the one hand you are looking forward to your new challenge, and on the other you don't really want to leave. But there was no doubt at the point we made the decision last year, so I'm extremely happy where I am now.

Q: Has it caught you by surprise being in this position?

SV: You have to be fair. The big favourites are struggling at this stage, but you never know when they will come back and how strong they will be. Obviously, we are here to win, and our target was to build a car that was quick enough to be at the sharp end.

"But what happens from now on, no one knows. We will try and focus on every single race, and try to do the best we can. Australia, Malaysia, I didn't score any points. Although the car was good, we didn't get as much out of it as we could. In China we did a good race, and this is only round number four, so we will see.

Q: Bernie has been saying a lot of complimentary things about you - before and after China. Did you speak to him after the race, and if so, what did he say?

SV: Yeah, he called me and he passed on his congratulations. That was very kind and I was very surprised. I had someone calling with private number, and I wasn't very keen to pick up the phone, but I did and it was Bernie, so I was very happy. He said I did a very good job.

He was joking quite a lot on the phone. I wasn't prepared for that, so he got me on that one, but it was very nice of him.

Q: What kind of jokes?

SV: I can't say.

Q: Was he pretending to be somebody else?

SV: No, no, no.

Q: Do you feel for McLaren in their situation at the moment, a good team that has come into some problems?

SV: What can I say? I am happy for my team and for myself. I don't really care what the others are doing. As long as we are in front, the better it is.

Q: Sorry, I meant as far as the appeal hearing next week is concerned?

SV: I can't really comment on that. The only ones knowing what is going on are themselves and the stewards, so I don't really have an opinion. We will try to focus on ourselves. We have plenty of work to do, and no time to think about the others too much.

Q: What has made your car so strong?

SV: It's obvious - the Red Bull on the side!

Q: Do you feel a little bit like the saviour of this championship because you have showed to everybody Brawn can be beaten?

SV: They had two phenomenal races, they surprised everyone out of the box at the start of the season. A very strong effort. But no one is unbeatable. In the end everyone wants to win, but you never know what's going to happen. A grand prix is long, and anything can happen.

So who says they are invulnerable. Anything can happen to them as well - bad pit stops or problems with the tyres, reliability issue or simply not quick enough. You have to fight, otherwise you don't belong here. If you start the race saying 'okay, we have no chance', then something is wrong.

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