Infiniti and Red Bull F1 Racing: Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying


, Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Mie prefecture, Japan

Infiniti and Red Bull F1 Racing: Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying

QUALIFYING Car 1 SEBASTIAN VETTEL, Position: POLE POSITION, (3rd Practice – P3, 1:32.122)
“I went off in the free practice yesterday and damaged the front wing, so it wasn’t ideal to prepare the car for today. We suffered a bit from that this morning regarding the car’s balance and were too slow. We sat down after P3 and looked at where we could improve and we were able to extract everything out of the car in qualifying, which was crucial. There wasn’t much between me and Jenson! I want to say thanks to the team and the factory for getting another front wing out for me, I would not sit here now without them, so I’m very happy and very proud. Regarding one point or no point tomorrow, I’m not focussing on that. I had a lesson yesterday where for a little moment I wasn’t 100% focused and lost the car. Tomorrow is a long race and it’s challenging; I’m looking forward to it. We really love to come here, it’s a special atmosphere and the fans are so passionate and crazy. When we leave the hotel in the morning, it’s full of people and they’re all screaming, so it’s a nice feeling to be part of that and starting from pole tomorrow will be special. It’s a long race and a lot of things can happen.”

Car 2 MARK WEBBER, Position: 6th, (3rd Practice – P5, 1:32.401)
“I’m very surprised to be sixth. I did my best, but it wasn’t quick enough and it was a bit of a surprise that I couldn’t go with the pace there at the end. Seb obviously did a massive lap for pole so he got on the front row just, which was a great effort. I’m disappointed to be on the third row. The car was pretty good yesterday on the long run – and it was good on short runs too, up until the end there – so clearly I didn’t get the most out of it today. I’ll wake up and push tomorrow.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER: “A phenomenal qualifying. It was very, very close with a tremendous last lap from Sebastian. It’s been tight with the McLarens all weekend and he produced a remarkable last lap to get the pole by 100th of a second. This rewards the hard work that’s taken place both here and in the factory after one of the new front wings was damaged yesterday and needed to be replaced. It’s a fantastic way to pay back that effort. With Mark, he was up on his last run and was purple in his first sector, but thereafter the lap seemed to move away from him time-wise and he wasn’t able to improve in the final two sectors in a very, very tight grid. Hopefully he can make good progress from there tomorrow.”
(Renault) CYRIL DUMONT: “Again a wonderful result from Sebastian. This weekend was a tremendous job in terms of teamwork and I would like to congratulate everyone here and at the factory – they did a really good job. For Mark, I feel a bit sorry as we deprived him from running this morning due to an electrical engine problem, so he wasn’t able to do the first part of P3 this morning. I would have preferred for him to have been up with Sebastian, but I think his pace was good during P2 so he should be solid tomorrow.”


Clinching last year’s title was a long way from Sebastian’s days as a young hopeful, getting to grips with his first single seat racing car in Formula BMW. Here Dr. Helmut Marko remembers…

I remember it was a race at Hockenheim, in October 2003, which would have been Sebastian’s first year in Formula BMW. It was the final race of that season. I had gone to the race for various reasons, but one of them was to sign Sebastian for the Red Bull Junior Team. Red Bull Germany had been giving him some small support before this, but we wanted to help him in a bigger way. The Junior Team was just in the process of being established and he was obviously a promising young driver and was on his way to finishing second in the Formula BMW Championship. But honestly, at that stage I couldn’t see that he would become the youngest-ever World Champion. He was certainly talented, but it takes a lot more than being quick. Now, it’s easy to see what makes him a champion, but at that point he was like many other young drivers. The things that made him what he is today didn’t really start to come out until the following year, when he won the Formula BMW Championship with 18 victories from 20 races. And then in F3 and Formula Renault 3.5 – then it really began to show. We have a diagnostic centre, where athletes are assessed and trained and within a few months Sebastian was the best in all the tests. He knew already, even at that age, how important fitness and conditioning are to a driver – and after that it was simply hard work, which is often underestimated by drivers. You can be quick and talented but if you don’t work in all areas – being fast, intelligent, hard working, completely focused and motivated – you will fail. Sebastian was excellent and those are the things that made him the driver he is today.”

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