Vettel: Pole position is a big surprise

Sebastian was all smiles in the post qualifying press conference

Mar.13 (YF1) Sebastian Vettel was more surprised than most people about his memorable duel with the Ferrari biys to claim pole position for the season’s frist Grand Prix in Bahrain. The popular German ahs been a preseason favourite from the moment the Red BULL RB6 took to the track. He spoke at the post qualifying press conference about his achievement. Here are the highlights:

Seb was number way on a hot afternoon in Bahrain

How big a surprise is pole position to you?
Sebastian: A big surprise. I mean in winter testing no-one really knew where we were. Of course it was clear that there were four teams pretty strong, but close to each other. To be honest yesterday it was a very tough day for us and we had not as much running as we were hoping for. Another long night especially for the mechanics, not a lot of sleep, some tired faces, but everyone was still keen this morning to push. I knew we had a great car but first of all you have to get it together. I have to say practice this morning and qualifying went pretty smoothly. Obviously I am very, very happy to be on pole, so thanks to the team. As I said the boys didn’t get much sleep in the last month with a lot of testing in a short amount of time. To come here first time everyone really shows how strong they are and to be on top is definitely a very, very nice feeling.

First race, first pole of the season for Vettel and Luscious Liz

You start the race on the same tyres you qualified on. What is your thinking on this?
Sebastian: I think we all don‘t know really what will happen tomorrow. It could be exciting. It could be very boring. That is what I hope for. That is what all of us like to be more or less where we start. I think it is a very difficult situation to be in. The first part of the race will be crucial but on the other hand it is not a big secret that you need to take care of your tyres and the question mark is what you do with your strategy. A lot of things unknown I have to say, so all of us we don’t know what to expect tomorrow.

Seb was full of praise for Felipe Massa on his return to F1 after his accident last year

How exciting was that for you?
Sebastian: Very exciting. Yesterday I have to admit we were not very happy, especially myself. We knew there was potential in the car but we were just not putting it together. On top of that we had some problems, so we did not do a lot of running. But this morning straight away it has been quite a lot better. In qualifying a very smooth session as per plan but it is never easy especially as I saw in the last lap where I saw myself going around one-and-a-half or two-tenths slower around the lap. I was already thinking I have to push push push and it was really close. At the end of qualifying the circuit got a bit more difficult with the conditions changing all the time. The heat here is different to what we had in testing, so you could see people having quite big jumps in lap time either up or down. But concerning ourselves I think it was a good result and a good position to start from, but tomorrow is going to be a long, long race. It is the first race out of 19. It is not going to be a sprint, it is going to be an endurance event, so you have to take care of your car, tyres and so on. But for sure there is no better position to start from than pole position and finally, and I think I am speaking more or less on behalf of all the drivers, give some great respect to Felipe. It is very, very difficult, well, I don’t know, you can ask him, but from the outside big respect for what he has achieved. First race he is back and he is bang, bang bang. It is good to have him back.

Vettel was quick to heap praise on his hard working team

Did you do a lot of changes to the car overnight or did the track to some extent come to you?
Sebastian: Well, I think the track was not very good to start with yesterday morning but then rubbered in quickly. There was a lot of rubber. I think it was more transforming your car and making it work in the conditions. We did change a lot overnight. Yesterday we could not show our full performance, we would have wished to do more runs, but I had a braking failure and Mark had a problem with the drive-shaft, so overall we did not do a lot of laps, but nevertheless we could feel the potential. We changed some things, I won’t tell you what, but nothing special, small things, but they had  a big effect in the end. We were trying to read the conditions and what will happen throughout qualifying and it seemed to work quite well. I think we were one of the most consistent.

Sebastian eyes a win in Bahrain

What will be the main difficulty in the race tomorrow: saving the tyres, saving fuel in the engine?
Sebastian: Well, in Formula One I think people like to talk about packages; I think it will be the package. As I said, in the past it was probably more a sprint event. You started the race on whatever fuel load – 50, 60, 70, 40 kilos. Of course you had to take care at the beginning and then you could push, more or less which I think everyone of us enjoyed a lot. This year, the challenge is not attacking every lap and pushing and trying to go as fast as you can. It has changed. The challenge is now obviously controlling the package, as I said, trying to listen to your car, listen to your tyres, listen to your brakes, everything. Try to read and understand the race inside the car. There will be a lot of things to learn and also for the pit wall. No one really knows what to expect, I think that’s exciting so far. Hopefully we will have a good race tomorrow. As Felipe and Fernando said already, it will be a long season, so the most important thing is to finish, for sure, but I think everyone is looking forward to tomorrow’s race, so we will see. I think it is a good mix of everything; you have to keep in control to be the best.