crankandpiston.com catches up with Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg – the 2013 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix podium finishers – to hear their thoughts on the start of the race, a key battle for second during the closing stages, and further record-equalling runs.
Sebastian, I’m not sure if you’re aware but with this victory you’ve equalled the record for most consecutive race victories in a season…
“[Pause] I’m not sure I got exactly what you said! I don’t know. I think we did seven now. I don’t know who else did seven or eight…”
Alberto Ascari won nine in 1952/53 and Michael Schumacher won seven in 2004.
“They did seven?”
Yes. You’ve equalled Schumacher today.
“[Pause] Well, it doesn’t make me jump into the car, but it’s a shock when you mention these numbers. Any kind of record you talk about, Michael is involved for sure. Yeah [pause]… I don’t know what to say. I mean, people see seven races and they doesn’t see the challenge that it takes every single race to nail it. So to answer your question, the numbers aren’t that important to me but equally they make me very, very proud. When you equal something or you’re close to something… I don’t think I’m old enough to really appreciate it yet.
What does seem important to you is doing donuts! Are you worried about getting into trouble again?
“[Laughs] Not really. I didn’t do anything wrong, I brought the car back and I stuck to the rules. I hope now that we can provide a fuel sample, because these use up quite a lot of fuel. But yeah, I spoke to the stewards after India. I’m not sure I remember everything they said(!) but… at this stage, it’s a really nice way to celebrate with the crowd.”
Mark, the start proved very decisive for the race. Is there a hint of disappointment considering you started from pole position?
“Well I don’t think the start was decisive. Off the line Sebastian was just in another category today, so this was probably the maximum result today even if we’d got away in front. He was quick, and very, very strong. Obviously then it was a recovery drive against Nico, who got a better start than either both of us in the short run down to turn one. I got into the race from there [on the softs], and I had a reasonable run when they were fresh, but I had no real feeling for those tyres when they were scrubbed. So, I was really slow in the first stint. It was gripping at the stops and I don’t think my pace was too bad after that, but Seb was already gone. Incredibly good pace
“The fight with Nico was good. I managed to get that right! I didn’t use too much KERS, whereas Nico used all of his KERS on the main straights. I left just a little for the final sector and managed to get him. It was good fair racing, as you would expect from someone of Nico’s quality, and in the end we are probably sitting here with the results that we all deserve.”
Nico, a great race from you today. But did you think that second place was possible?
“Well the main thing is that I got my balance wrong on the car for that second stint, and that’s why I just wasn’t as quick as I was hoping, and I was driving for quite a bit to get past a Toro Rosso [Jean-Eric Vergne] and Paul Di Resta. I gave it a shot down into turn eight, used all my KERS up, wasn’t able to do it, and Mark got me on the next straight. So yeah, that was unfortunate but that’s the way it is. Anyway, third place is still a very good result.”
Sebastian, just coming back to you. This seems to have been a very emotional win for you. Is that a fair assessment?
“Yeah, actually you made it quite an emotional day. Obviously winning is very special, and especially seven races in a row. Every single one is tough. The work that goes into it with the simulator and across the weekend… yeah, you’ve got to stop mention these things! It makes you remember these things. I remember when I was a small kid watching Formula 1 and Michael [Schumacher] was with Ferrari and dominated. They had a very, very strong car, and a very strong team spirit for many years: if you look back it was almost like he won every second race! But, to equal what someone else has managed to achieve is very special, very special for me and also the whole team. Definitely after 2011 [Vettel’s second title], it was a special year and we knew it was going to be very, very difficult to repeat a year like that. It comes across maybe once in a lifetime, and now we can maybe say that it came across twice!”