Q & A with Sebastian Vettel

World championship contender Sebastian Vettel admitted after qualifying that he was surprised to see Giancarlo Fisichella on pole for Force India

Q & A with Sebastian Vettel

But despite the fact that he starts from eighth on the grid, the Red Bull driver expects to be in the fight for points during the Belgian Grand Prix.

AUTOSPORT heard what he had to say after qualifying.

Q: What conclusions can you draw from the engine problems through to the weird result in qualifying?

Sebastian Vettel: We didn't have any engine problems. We knew that we would be short on mileage throughout the whole weekend. In qualifying there was no problem. Qualifying itself is difficult to get any conclusion out of yet.

We seemed to be okay in Q1, in Q2 we were up there with the quickest, and in Q3 I don't know, we lost out in comparison to the others. My run was not perfect and I did a mistake in the second timed lap at Stavelot, which leads on to the back straight.

So I lost quite a lot of the speed and cancelled the lap. I should have been around P5, but still it is quite a surprise looking at the result with Force India on pole.

Q: Looking at the long runs it seems as though you have the fastest car here, do you expect to come through in the race?

SV: We have to wait and see how the fuel loads are for the other cars. Maybe that is a surprise but on the other hand, I don't think it will be much of a surprise. They were quick in Q1 and Q2 so they didn't come from nowhere. I hope that they are all pitting on lap five, then we should have a smooth race, but it will be tough starting eighth. It is never easy.

Q: Jenson is P14, how much does that help you?

SV: Not much. There are still seven cars ahead of me. Obviously it is good to have him behind me. I don't know what was wrong with his qualifying, I haven't seen much of it yet. We have to see tomorrow obviously.

Our target is to score big points and starting eighth is not fantastic, but it is a long race. We have a very good race car so... In qualifying as well I was very happy with the balance of the car, there was nothing wrong, so let's see what we can do for tomorrow.

Q: Do you think it is a big problem to start from eighth position or can you pass your way to the front?

SV: It's never easy to pass. Obviously here you have a lot of long straights so it's definitely possible, but not easy. We have a good race pace, a good race car, so we should be able to improve. When we know the weights of the others we will have more of an idea where we are. Then we will see how it goes tomorrow.

Q: Is saving mileage a problem for you with set-up work and things?

SV: I was quite happy with the balance of the car. We knew that we would be short on track time, but it did not seem to be a problem. I know this circuit, I like it, and it suits our car, even though the result today was not perfect. It is also a good thing that on Friday it was wet, whereas now it's dry. We didn't lose too much in comparison to the others.

Q: Compared to the form you showed in Silverstone it must be a disappointment.

SV: Obviously the results are a surprise. Who would have expected the Force India at the top in Q3? The Toyotas were quite high up as well. They did not appear to be very strong in practice. So I don't know...

Q: How was the tyre situation for you?

SV: I don't think the two tyres are too far apart. I think our car was very quick on both compounds. In qualifying we mainly used the option because I think it worked a little bit better for us. In the race it might be different.

We need to see what we did this morning and yesterday, and in qualifying the circuit improved quite a bit. Tyre-wise I don't think it was big secret, it's the first time this year we have had the medium compound and the soft as a combination.

Q: In Silverstone and the Nurburgring the pace of the car was far better than anybody else, wouldn't you have expected that here as well?

SV: Right now no one has an explanation for what is going on in qualifying. Who would have thought Force India would be up there for pole position? In my opinion they are not stupidly light in weight either.

I don't think we will see a big surprise, I hope we will, so it has been a weird session. All the people that are usually on top are far behind. I think we still did a good job to put both cars in Q3, and in Q3 we just lost out a little bit.

Q: Do you relish the prospect of racing through?

SV: I love racing, but obviously I want to win. How I do it doesn't really matter.

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