Q & A with Sebastian Vettel

Sebastial Vettel heads into this weekend's Australian Grand Prix keen to make amends after having victory snatched from his grasp in Bahrain a fortnight ago

Q & A with Sebastian Vettel

He kicked off his build-up to the Melbourne event on Wednesday with a promotional appearance at Melbourne High School - taking in a bit of Australian culture by playing a didgeridoo and learning to throw a boomerang. And despite seeing some errant boomerangs hitting a car and a photographer, Vettel was in high spirits as he looks to take his first win of the season.

AUTOSPORT heard from Vettel after the event as he spoke of his experience, his hopes for the weekend and the local interest around Mark Webber

Q. How was your experience of the boomerang and didgeridoo then?

Sebastian Vettel: It was good, but I don't know if it sounded good!

Q. As a boomerang thrower, does that make you a good Formula 1 driver?

SV: Well, I mean, driving the car is easier obviously. It is quite tricky - and I was surpised. With the wind you have to check each time you throw, the way you throw and how hard is also quite crucial. I think I could develop it a lot, and obviously I was just starting, trying to understand how it works. It was good fun definitely.

Q. But you seemed to get the hang of it in the end?

SV: Yes, it was getting a bit better. But as I said, the wind always changes and it is quite tricky to really control it. Sometimes it was quite close to come back, and other times it was far away.

Q. How are you feeling for the Australian Grand Prix weekend? Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are all talking about how quick the Red Bull Racing car is - so you must be quite confident?

SV: Well I think coming out of Bahrain, we have a very good car. There is no reason why we shouldn't be competitive here. I like Albert Park, it is a nice track. It is usually quite slippery in the beginning, but I think we had a good race last year. It obviously wasn't a good finish but the car was quick as well, and it should be good as well.

Q. And Australia is hoping that you will let your team-mate win...

SV: I think second is not a bad result! It is a long way, and starting the practice on Friday, followed by Saturday and Sunday - you saw in the last race that so many things can happen. You never know until the chequered flag - the race is over only when it is over. We will see. Hopefully Mark and myself will do well for the team and get some good points.

Q. How do you think Mark copes with the pressure when he comes to Albert Park?

SV: I think he is enjoying it much more than he feels under pressure. It is a good thing to race at home. Obviously you can take it in a bad way to accept all the pressure, or you can see the positive and see that you have plenty of people supporting you.

He is the only Australian on the grid, so for sure that is special for him. When we go to Germany, there are five others apart from me, so it is not quite the same. But still, it is always special to race at home.

Q. Mark won your home race last year. Would it be sweet revenge for you to beat him here?

SV: Yeah. Last year I was close to finishing on the podium here. Usually you get a trophy with a kangaroo on it, and I really would have liked to have got that last year, so I will try again this year.

Q. How much of a difference did it make to Mark having that breakthrough victory in Germany last year?

SV: I think if you know Mark, he is a confident guy. He knows what he can do. Obviously he was not always in the best cars in the past, so he didn't have the easiest time. But still, he is still in F1. There are many others who lost their way, so finally he made it - and it was good for him.

I am sure if you ask him, he will probably say the same thing. The first win is always something special. He knows how to win, but it has been quite a while before last year. He had good races last year, he won in Brazil also, so he is definitely a strong driver.

Q. What is the latest on what happened to you in Bahrain?

SV: We initially thought it was an exhaust failure, but it turned out to be a spark plug issue. The top of the spark plug broke and I was running around on one cylinder less. You need every bit of power to stay where you are, and we lost between 50 and 100bhp over the last couple of laps. It was quite a lot - and therefore I couldn't hold first place. Luckily, I could bring the car home and finish fourth.

Q. Apart from some new spark plugs, are there any other changes on the Red Bull this weekend? Any move to put a McLaren-style vent on?

SV: What McLaren has is not so easy to copy right away. You need to find a way how to do it. It is quite clever, but everyone is thinking of a way to copy it. I think by now, more or less, everyone understands how it works - but we need to fit it into the car. That is the more difficult bit.

We come here with more or less the same car. We have nothing really new on the car. It has been only two weeks and it is overseas so you are not that flexible. It is quite an effort to bring the cars down here, so to bring new parts is really tough. But as the season goes on, obviously you always have to bring some new bits and improve the car.

Q. Do the new rules concern you, and the fact that there is so little overtaking?

SV: I think it is what we expected in a way - thinking about how the race would unfold before we ever raced, it looks pretty much like what it was two weeks ago. Let's see. For sure we have only had one race now, and I remember a couple of races last year that weren't exciting either but it is definitely not easier with the new rules.

Q. Did it surprise you this week when Lewis Hamilton said the Red Bull Racing car is 'insanely' fast?

SV: Did he?

Q. Yes.

SV: Oh, maybe I am not up to date then! I think, as I said, the most important thing going out of Bahrain, even though we didn't win, was that we have a very fast car. So, Friday we were struggling, we were not up to speed, but on Saturday and Sunday we were in quite good shape. So, it should be strong here - let's see what we can do.

Q. Is the reliability factor a worry for you, after what happened on the Friday in Bahrain and then the race?

SV: The problems we had on Friday were totally different. The failure on Sunday, it is seldom that happens - maybe it happens only every 10 years. It shouldn't happen again. It is quite rare that the spark plugs fail.

Q. Who are you most wary of - Ferrari?

SV: If you look in Bahrain, they looked extremely competitive. For sure, quicker than anyone else, but also in winter testing, all the way through, they have been very, very strong. But it will also be circuit to circuit. Some circuits you like more, some circuits you like less - sometimes from a driver point of view, sometimes the car just behaves better on one type of circuit.

So, it is difficult to really say, okay, this car or that car. For sure there are four teams that are very strong, but the midfield is also very strong - like Force India. We have done one race in Bahrain. That is the only real experience we have, apart from testing, so we need to wait a bit more.

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