Vettel: Going to Brazil in the best possible position 19 November, 2012 Sebastian Vettel arrives on the Austin podium to celebrate second place (FIA) Sebastian Vettel may not have won his 100th grand prix this weekend, but he did give a strong performance to take second place in the United States Grand Prix and increase his championship lead to 13 points, putting him in command with only next weekend’s final race in Brazil to go. He spoke about his afternoon at the Circuit of the Americas. You did everything you needed to do to protect your lead in the championship and as usual you were fantastic with your qualifying and so forth. The obvious question again is your reaction to the circuit. Sebastian Vettel: As Lewis [Hamilton] said, it was incredible. Actually I did my first race five years ago, the last time we were racing in the United States, so it’s a very nice comeback today, it was my 100th grand prix, and amazing y’know, the amount of people we had all weekend. It’s great for us to have so much support, very happy today for the team in particular. We won the constructors’ championship so, yeah, thanks to all of you, it’s been a great year, now we’ve got another station coming up in Brazil and as you said, in terms of the championship it’s looking a bit better after the race today. Obviously it was a close fight with Lewis, he had one chance and he took it. After that I tried to stay with him and maybe pass him again but he was probably as quick as I was and there wasn’t much in between us. All in all, a great race and a great result for us. You’ve extended your championship lead. What are your feelings after second place? SV: I think very quickly we noticed that Lewis is the one we [were] racing. Obviously, for the rest, I don’t know what happened to Mark – he was quite a while in third place. After that, obviously, there was a big gap down to the Ferraris, so yeah, it was clear that we were racing Lewis. Everything seemed to be in control. As Lewis touched on, with traffic it’s quite difficult depending where you get it on the track. Surely it didn’t work in my favour. Lewis was then close enough, after he tried many times before, to open his rear wing and then down the back straight, it was a bit of an invitation really. It didn’t matter which side I would have picked, they were quick enough on the straight and he took the lead fair enough. After that I tried to be as close as I could but, as he said, it was difficult to follow, difficult to get in range. So, bit of a shame to lose first place but as you said I think we did everything we could. Fantastic job for the team today to seal the constructors’ championship against Ferrari who are now in second. I’m very happy with that and the guys can be, for sure, very proud of themselves. I think we will have a drink tonight, enjoy the time here. All weekend has been incredible, I think, for all of us, for the whole F1 paddock here. The last race [in the US] obviously, as Lewis said, he won it. It was my first race in F1, here in the United States and to come back and get so much support, so many fans… The signing session yesterday was absolutely crazy and full grandstands, so full house. It was really, really nice to race today in front of the crowd. Your teammate stopped with another alternator problem. To what extent is that a concern? It seems to be an unsolved problem… SV: I don’t know what happened to him, so I need to check, obviously. The first info I only get now, so it’s hard to comment but in case it was the alternator, it’s not good news but I think we’ve managed the last couple of races pretty well so I’m sure it should be easy to explain, to find the problem. After Monza, I think we learned the lesson and we should be prepared enough for next week. With what feelings will you go to the last race in Brazil? SV: Excited because the car seems to work very well, good enough to fight for a win. We’ve been very quick in Brazil the last couple of years so plenty to look forward to. On top of that, we increased our lead in the championship today so I think we are in the best possible position. What were you complaining about when Lewis overtook you? SV: I think you misunderstood. I wasn’t complaining about Lewis, obviously. I wasn’t too happy send a nice big invitation to Lewis when I obviously had to go through Karthikeyan and he was basically right behind at the DRS zone; to do a big difference within one corner is hardly possible and then he took that opportunity – fair enough – down the straight and passed me. I tried to defend, I moved to the inside but I knew that he would have so much more speed that he can pick either side, so it didn’t really matter what I was doing and after that, I was obviously not too happy, because on all the laps before I tried to manage the gap to him, tried to manage the tyres until the end of the race, to be able to attack towards the last couple of laps. We had, I think, something like 20 laps, 15 laps to go at the time. It was not targeted at Lewis, it was more targeted at the backmarker which, as I said, gave a nice big envelope with an invitation to Lewis. We don’t often see you being very emotional but we heard you being emotional on the radio there. A question about the pressures you’re feeling. You’ve been in this position twice before, is it harder third time around? SV: I don’t think it had anything to do with that in that moment. I was really thinking about the points that could make a difference today or next week or the championship. I wanted to win today. I had a fantastic race, I was very happy, enjoyed the fight with Lewis a lot and obviously through that lost the lead. Equally knew that we can get it back but as it turned out it was extremely difficult. We had the same pace so I think I was probably in the same boat as Lewis, the first half of the race where I was just trying to get close enough to try and get the move done but that didn’t happen until the end. I think many times it’s difficult for you to judge what’s going on because not all the messages get broadcast so we do communicate quite a bit during the race – sometimes calmer, sometimes not so calm so at that moment, obviously, I wasn’t too happy to lose the lead. 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If not, Renault will have been responsible for the destruction of Vettel’s 3rd WDC – single handed. Pretty nasty position to put themselves in, so I assume they have their ducks in a row for this one last event.