Sebastian Vettel is preparing for the upcoming race at the Nurburgring, where at one time, in 2013, he won. Since then, the stages of the World Championship on the legendary German track have not passed, the more interesting it is to return there – the four-time world champion told about this in an interview with RTL TV channel..
Q: What is the significance of the Nurburgring legend?
Sebastian Vettel: The Nürburgring is a unique racetrack, although I believe that this legend is only alive thanks to the Nordschleife. Unfortunately, we will not perform there, but only on the Grand Prix track. But it’s still great that we are returning there.
Question: What are your very first memories of the Nurburgring? Have you ever been there just as a fan?
Sebastian Vettel: Need to think. The very first memories … Yes, exactly! Years ago, when I first got my driver’s license, I drove there in my car to ride the Nordschleife. It was fun, at least in the first half of the lap. Because then at some point the brakes overheated, and I almost flew off the track.
And I also remember the Formula BMW races, which were part of the Formula 1 support program, they also left very vivid impressions for young racers like me.
Q: Michael Schumacher won five victories on this track, and his success caused a real euphoria among the fans. Have you ever met him at this circuit?
Sebastian Vettel: We met there when I was competing in Formula BMW. We, young racers, were allowed into the Formula 1 paddock, and I was generally lucky: thanks to my connections with the karting track in Kerpen, I got a pass to the Ferrari boxes.
I was 16 or 17 at the time, and I was completely captivated when I saw all these people in red uniforms. The interest in motor racing, which appeared in Germany thanks to Michael, then opened the way for my generation. This year we are returning to the Nürburgring due to very special circumstances, and yet I am very happy about that.
Q: What were you thinking when you won this circuit in 2013?
Sebastian Vettel: After that victory, I felt a real relief, because I always dreamed of winning the German track. And when, after several attempts, I finally won the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, it was great.
Q: You probably know the Norther Loop very well. What emotions does it evoke in the riders? Amateur pilots come to this track from afar, just to ride it at least once – is it just a passionate love of speed, or is there something else?
Sebastian Vettel: Formula 1 races have not been held on the Northern loop for a long time, and this is what makes it so attractive. We all dream of driving along this track. But even if there is no way to ride there in a Formula 1 car, the Grand Prix track is also good and difficult in its own way, and in theory it should constantly go to the championship calendar. It is a pity that this is not the case. Still, it’s great that we are returning there this year.
Q: Have you ever talked to Niki Lauda about this track? Did he tell you about that terrible accident he had in 1976?
Sebastian Vettel: Niki and I talked about this track several times. But there was hardly any talk of that accident. He told me that driving there was a pure gamble. In those days, there was no connection between the driver sitting at the wheel of the car and the team. This track was nicknamed “Green Hell”, and during the main part of the circle we had to go there all alone. In general, the time was different, the cars were also different.
But Nicky liked it all. It amazed me how vivid his memories were, although he recounted the events that happened many years ago.
Question Let’s talk about the modern track, which hosts the Grand Prix. You played there three times, finished 2nd, 4th and finally won. What do you think is the best part of the circle?
Sebastian Vettel: My favorite part of the circle is the one around the Dunlop bend. I don’t remember if this name has survived to this day. This section is at the maximum distance from the start-finish line. The track there first goes downhill, then the ascent begins again, and after this turn, two more small twists must be overcome.
This is the remainder of the old track – it feels like it has a special character. It is a pity that there are no more Castrol chicanes, but the track was rebuilt, after which its first sector became less exciting and rhythmic. But the rest of the circle is great.