Q & A with Sebastian Vettel

The Istanbul collision still hangs over the Red Bull team as they prepare for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, despite the squad's best efforts to play down the situation and move on

Q & A with Sebastian Vettel

When Sebastian Vettel addressed the media in the Montreal paddock, AUTOSPORT was there to hear his thoughts on the intra-team situation.

Q. Do you feel that there is any emphasis on you to apologise for events in Turkey?

Sebastian Vettel: What happened, happened so there's not much more to say. You can look at it from many different angles and you can't change it now, so looking back I wouldn't have done anything differently. What happened was bad for both of us and especially for the team because we gave a present to McLaren, but the most important thing is to move on.

We have the next race here, so two difficult races for us but I'm confident. So far, we've seen that our car works pretty well on all types of circuit no matter what the characteristics so it should be good here as well. But let's see. At the moment the weather isn't too nice but it should be better tomorrow and Saturday, then maybe rain again on Sunday.

Q. But you are not accepting the blame for the accident?

SV: As I said, you can look at it many times from outside and onboard cameras and everyone has the right to their own opinion.

Q. So do you blame Mark for it?

SV: I didn't say that, did I?

Q. But you don't blame him?

SV: If you look from the outside, there is not much time - it's not that you have hours to think about it, with the speed of about 310km/h things happen so quickly that being 20cm more to the left or the right can make a difference.

Q. You have been critical of other drivers' aggressive manoeuvres in the past, in particular someone like Lewis Hamilton you have criticised. Your manoeuvre seemed to be as aggressive as any we have seen in the past?

SV: If you look at my onboard then I don't see any aggressive movements.

Q. You moved across to the right and clearly cut Mark up. Was it naive to expect Mark to move over?

SV: That's your opinion.

Q. Well, we're trying to get your opinion...

SV: As I said, I did what I did and it didn't work.

Q. What did you do?

SV: I was close enough, I made the move - in Formula 1 it is not that easy to get close enough so I got in the tow and then went on the left on the inside. There was not a lot of room for me on the inside, it was just one car's width which is fine. I had the tow and the extra speed and was more than half a car ahead and tried to slowly come back to the right. Then I spun.

Q. He had turned his engine down on that lap and he got a run. Were you aware that you had maybe one lap to do it?

SV: To be honest, F1 is not about yesterday, it's about tomorrow. I don't want to spend much time talking about what happened. It's important to understand what happened and that's why we met and talked about it. But to be honest, it took less than this session has already taken.

There have been so many things in the press about engine turning down, turning up, this and that but most of it is not true. If you look, all four cars - Mark, myself, Lewis [Hamilton] and Jenson [Button] - we were all of a similar pace and it was quite exceptional to have a race for 40 laps within three or four seconds. Nobody was a second faster than anybody else and at that time I felt that I could go quicker, and as I said I got close enough, tried to pass and didn't work.

Q. Do you race Mark in a different way now after what happened in Turkey?

SV: To cut a long story short, what happened happened. Obviously, it looks extremely stupid when it happens between team-mates. As I said, I've talked to him and we are both fine with the situation. If it happens again, then it looks very stupid!

Q. How surprised are you by Mark's form? Last year you outqualified him 15-2 but this year he is ahead of you in the championship?

SV: If you look back, every race has its own story and this year it probably wasn't the smoothest for myself. There were many races where we had something go wrong - I could go through it now race by race - but with the amount of trouble I have had we are still in very good shape.

We are not where we would like to be in the championship, but on the other hand the gap to the front is not massive. With the new points system, it sounds big but it is quite small. Mark did a good job; he did a good job last year and he's doing a good job this year but I should have been much closer sometimes than I was.

Q. Mark said he had a positive phone call from Dietrich Mateschitz. Did you have anything positive?

SV: I don't have anybody in the team that I don't get along with so it doesn't matter if it's Christian Horner, Helmut Marko or Dietrich. So no problem.

Q. You arrived in the sport as a rising star, but now Mark has the edge over you. How do you deal with that?

SV: No matter what sport you are in, if you think you are unbeatable then that is not very intelligent. There will always be somebody at some point who is better than you. But it's not about how you start, it's about how you finish.

There are a lot of races left, and as I said so far things haven't gone as smooth as planned but that's life. How do I deal with it? I don't really care. I move on, I know what I can do, I believe in myself and I believe in us so there's no point to start to think about this.

Q. What are you chances of winning the championship?

SV: Better than last year.

Q. Is it between you and Mark or are the two McLarens coming into contention?

SV: Obviously the spotlight was mainly on us, especially after what happened in Turkey and in the last couple of races. But you should not forget the others - Ferrari, Mercedes is probably further away if you look at the points but it's a tough fight and things can change quickly. You have to ensure that you keep pushing and we are pushing very hard to bring new parts to the car to make it even faster. If you don't do that, then very quickly you will find yourself behind the other cars. You never know what the others are doing, so as I said things can change quickly.

It's more than just us. If you look at the points, it's quite simple. If you look at how many cars are within a couple of points - and even Renault isn't too far off with Robert Kubica in the championship. It might be a bit amount of points, but don't forget that you score a lot more points than last year so if you convert this to the old system, he is not that far behind. The most important thing is to be consistent.

Q. When you caught Mark you did two laps that were four tenths faster than what you had been doing. Why did you go quicker and get on his tail?

SV: Now I could continue all of the confusion and say that I turned the engine up! So I was revving up to 19,000rpm!

Q. One of the things that this incident has done is to blow open the debate about how much Red Bull has invested in you and wanting you to be the guy that goes out and wins the championship. People don't like that sense of entitlement. Do you regret being painted into this picture?

SV: Whatever you guys write, I cannot influence. You all have your own opinion and it comes out in what you say. We do what we do and some things are nice to read, some things are not. If you keep cool and look at the situation I don't see that there is any reason to see that one guy in our team is preferred over the other.

So far, there have been a lot of parts on my car breaking down so we were not the luckiest, but still we have managed to get a lot of points and are in a good position in the championship. It's something you have to learn to deal with, but in the end the best thing is to focus on what really matters.

Q. You are a competitive person and sometimes it's difficult to say I got it wrong. Michael Schumacher was a good example. Are you capable of doing it?

SV: The way that I grew up and the way that I am, honesty is something that is very important to me. You can ask anybody in the garage, if I make a mistake in qualifying then I am the first to raise my hand and blame myself.

I am open for self-criticism and I try to improve myself. I'm not jumping out of the car and saying this is a s*** car if I couldn't do better. If from my side something isn't right I raise my hand and stand up. I have no problem with that and it's one important thing in life otherwise it will always come back to you.

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