Sebastian Vettel describes his pole position at the German Grand Prix as “one of the best moments” of his career.
At his home race, the championship leader took pole position from Valtteri Bottas by over 0.2s as main championship rival Lewis Hamilton suffered a hydraulics problem. In front of a big crowd at Hockenheim, Vettel admits the result is special having only ever been on pole in Germany once before, eight years ago.
“I think today is definitely one of the best moments,” Vettel said. “I have a bit of a mixed relationship with this track — it seems that sometimes we were really close in the past then for some reason it didn’t come together. But so far this weekend has been great and the car has behaved well.
“I think we improved it for today. Tomorrow we need to be sharp; I don’t know what the weather’s going to be like, anything can happen. But for now that doesn’t matter — just happy. It’s great to get the lap together here and obviously it means a lot with the support that I get and we get as a team, with so many passionate German tifosi, I think is quite nice. That’s what counts and what I feel now.”
Vettel’s result is all the more significant with Hamilton due to start from 14th on the grid, but the German insists he takes no pleasure from the defending champion hitting trouble.
“Well, obviously we saw but I don’t know what exactly happened. I think it doesn’t really matter, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. You look after yourself and for me it was a good session. We prepared the car well and everything went smoothly. Obviously you always try to push the limits.
“You don’t wish anything bad, something like a technical issue which he had, to happen to anyone. So it was a shame to see him go out, and I mean it. But you look after yourself and we will try to do the race tomorrow which is the most important part of the weekend.”
With Ferrari tending to be stronger in race trim than qualifying, Vettel is confident he will be able to convert his pole position into victory even if potential thunderstorms hit the race.
“I think for the race usually we are a bit quicker. The last couple of qualifyings, the last one was very close with Mercedes. Here we seem to be a little bit ahead. Yesterday was a good day, from yesterday to today we improved the car. Obviously the track was quite a bit cooler, so I think everybody has the sensation that the car was a bit better today because the track was not that hot, but nevertheless I thought what we were lacking in a few places we were better today.
“We are quite confident for tomorrow but there’s a lot of things that can happen that can bite you. So we need to be sharp and awake, but for now I think I will just enjoy the pole and then tomorrow when I wake up I will look forward to the race and try to be there. That’s what counts.
“We’ll see what the weather does, but one way or the other I believe we have a strong package so we need to make the most of it.”