Having won the Russian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton will equal Michael Schumacher in the number of career victories. On Thursday in Sochi, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel spoke about Lewis’ records and the current situation at Ferrari …
Question the season is difficult for Ferrari, in Mugello, the team held the thousandth Grand Prix, which also ended not in the best way. How does it feel to be a Ferrari driver in this situation?
Sebastian Vettel: No matter what happens, our goals do not change – to achieve the best possible results. A weekend in Mugello is not an outstanding one for us, but there is nothing to do but accept this fact. Yes, the weekend was special for the team, but if we talk about the result, it turned out to be not what we wanted.
Q: Sebastian, as one of the directors of the GPDA riders union, can you put pressure on the leadership of the championship to keep the Mugello track on the calendar?
Sebastian Vettel: Such things are beyond our competence. There are many tracks that we would like to see on the calendar, because we like to fly there, but we do not discuss such things, since very different interests are taken into account when choosing places for Grand Prix.
As for Mugello, the racers like this track, but I don’t know how realistic the plans are for us to return there again in the future. Racers do not participate in such negotiations.
Question: After the last race, you put forward the version that the blockage at the restart was due to the fact that the safety car turned off the lights later than usual, which led to a more spectacular restart at the expense of safety. Do you still share this point of view?
Sebastian Vettel: I don’t remember saying anything about the lights because the safety car was not visible from my position! (laughs) Lewis may have seen it, but I don’t know. Obviously, something went wrong on restart, so you need to think about how to prevent a repetition in the future. The main victim was Antonio Giovinazzi, who rode at the end of the peloton, but he could not do anything to prevent a collision.
Question: You have complained about the starts from a place and said that those who start from the “dirty” side of the track are at a disadvantage. How can this problem be solved?
Sebastian Vettel: Before the first start, the position on the grill can be cleared, but by the middle of the race it is still covered with rubbish, which impairs grip on restart. That is why I consider this position unprofitable. There is no solution to the problem yet, but it will be better if everyone on the starting grid has an equal chance.
Q: Have you noticed a change in attitude towards yourself in the team after it became known about your move to Aston Martin next year? Do you still participate in all engineering briefings?
Sebastian Vettel: I did not notice that the attitude towards me has changed, because it has long been known that I will stop working with the team next year. Everything that should have changed in the workflow has changed a long time ago. There were no more changes.
Q: It is expected that fans will be allowed into the stands at the Nurburgring. Are you planning something special for them?
Sebastian Vettel: So far, nothing, because our interaction with the fans is very limited. It will be great to welcome them during the Grand Prix as they create a fantastic atmosphere. The more fans, the better, but the main priority is theirs and our safety.
I will definitely present the new helmet livery at the Nurburgring.
Question this weekend Lewis Hamilton can catch up with Michael Schumacher’s record for the number of victories. Does it upset you?
Sebastian Vettel: I have always believed that such numbers are impossible to achieve, but in recent years, Lewis is getting closer and closer to these records. At some point, it became clear that it was a matter of time before Lewis set a new record.
On the one hand, it’s sad, because Michael remains a hero to me. On the other hand, I will be very happy for Lewis. He deserves the success he has achieved in recent years. This season, everything goes to the fact that he will win the title again. I don’t know if he will continue his career next year, I think he will. I have mixed emotions.
As for me, I am very far from Michael’s records. As I said, I have always considered such numbers to be unattainable, but as we can see, even such records will not stand.
Question: Do you feel more relaxed now, having decided the issue with the contract for next year?
Sebastian Vettel: I am looking forward to next season, but there is still half of the current championship ahead. The last races turned out to be intense, because I had many different thoughts in my head, but now everything has cleared up, and I can enjoy the next races.
Question: The German government has recommended that its citizens refrain from traveling to Russia. Given this, with what thoughts did you go to Sochi?
Sebastian Vettel: Complex issue. We fully trust the organizers and the FIA. I have nothing more to add.
Q: Roman Grosjean said that the riders informed Michael Masi of their concerns after the restart in Mugello. What exactly do you propose to change?
Sebastian Vettel: It is quite obvious that we were not happy about what happened. In such a situation it is important to maintain a dialogue between Michael and the riders. Perhaps you had better ask Roman this question!