The Telegraph
Friday , October 26 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Vettel: You can’t have the perfect race all the time...
- It’s important not to repeat mistakes, says the champion

Sebastian Vettel

Greater Noida: Dhanyavaad.”

That didn’t come from Narain Karthikeyan, but world champion Sebastian Vettel, at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) on Thursday afternoon!

Smiling, Vettel responded in that manner when copies of The Telegraph going back to the coverage of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, a year ago, were presented to him.

Vettel may not know much Hindi, but he has certainly picked up at least one word which will do his steadily rising stock in these parts no harm.

Aiming for a hat-trick of titles, Vettel spoke to the media in general and, later, took a couple of questions exclusively from this newspaper.

The following are excerpts

If he’s relaxed...

(Smiles) I’m alright, yeah.

Being six points clear of his nearest rival, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso...

It’s a better position to be in (compared to earlier in the year)... One can’t lie back, but it’s a good position... My approach, though, doesn’t change. I just want to stay focused. There’s work to be done.

[As a team, in the constructors’ standings, Red Bull Racing are 77 points clear of Ferrari. Beginning with the one on Sunday, four races remain.]

His approach...

I look to improve.

For a change, being the hunted rather than being the hunter...

Haven’t been thinking too much of the standings... It’s not good if one thinks too much... I first look to have a good start and, then, have a good race... To win the championship, I’ve got to finish ahead of the others.

On the strategy which could be adopted by Ferrari...

I’m not sure about them. I’d rather look at our team... I know that we want to improve and definitely want to get better.

Team orders...

I’m not a big fan... I don’t like talking about it (in public).

[Teammate Mark Webber, incidentally, said that if he had a chance of winning at the BIC, he’d go for it.]

The year having seen ups and downs...

It has been so, but I’ve tried to do my best... Much depends on the car... How you feel about it, whether you can ‘play’ with it... You can’t have the perfect race all the time. The year has been a bit crazy... Indeed, small things can make a big difference. There have been happy days for us and there have been days when we’ve messed it up.

If, having already won the world championship twice, it’s easier to stay calm while coping with fluctuating fortunes...

I think so. Winning the championship for the first time (2010) was a big relief... But the next time, you start from zero... You don’t have an advantage... It’s important not to repeat mistakes... I have made them this year, but I’m also more mature.

Having won three races in a row and being a win away from a massive personal first...

I didn’t know (the statistics bit). To win four in a row is not something easy to do.

Returning to the BIC...

I have fond memories, having won last year. I hope there will be a similar result this time. Sections 2 and 3 are very fast... But it’s going to be a new race, with new challenges, like how the tyres will hold up.

Change from the last GP, in Korea...

The weather, for one. It’s hotter here.

Finally, where does he see himself five years from now...

(Smiles) I don’t know... I’ll be 30 then... That’s what I know for sure.