Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF15-T at Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday 27 March 2015.
Q: Sebastian, how much does that Melbourne podium mean for this race?
Sebastian Vettel: I think it is a big relief for the whole team to know that the basis we want to build on is pretty promising. That warms the hearts of all of us, including mine. Of course it makes a huge difference when you start the season looking down from up there [on the podium], but now it is on us to continue writing our history – to show the world that it was not a one-off.
Q: Was that podium the right 'present' for the whole team after many months of drought?
SV: That 'present' goes both ways! Right now the vibes are super because we know in what direction we have to go, but both sides know that the road is still pretty steep. The gap to the guys in front is still significant. That is not a problem that only we have, but for all teams that are not Mercedes. So it helps if the spirit and motivation is high.
Q: How about the situation behind Mercedes - do you feel that Ferrari have established themselves as the second power, or is it still too early to say?
SV: Well we know that it was pretty tight with Williams in Australia and I expect the same to happen here - and I would go so far as to count one or two others as well in that chase group. It is pretty tight behind the two Mercedes cars. Of course our prime focus must be to look ahead and not behind. But for sure our next immediate step should be to establish ourselves as the second power on the grid, and then move ahead from there.
Q: It is the first 'hot' race of the season as the pre-season tests and the Melbourne race had rather cool temperatures – is that something that could work in your favour?
SV: Melbourne is always a special race due to the layout of the track so it is always useful to wait for the first couple of races to make any predictions – but yes, we very likely will have a clearer picture of the pecking order here than we had in Melbourne. And in that respect the temperature does not make a huge difference.
Q: You have a good record at this track – Ferrari have a good record – so there should be a good chance to pull something special out of the bag...
SV: Hopefully! If we can confirm our Melbourne result here, that would be pretty cool.
Q: So how satisfied are you with today's running?
SV: It was very slippery - at one point a bit too slippery for me! I had a spin because I wanted too much. But you have to try things on Friday: if not today when else? Overall it was a decent day.
Q: Are you happy with your race pace and your long runs?
SV: I think we can be reasonably happy with our race pace; this is all you can say on a Friday as you don't know what others are up to. Regarding the long runs it looks good for the both of us. I had to go out with the hard tyres as I had damaged the mediums, but nevertheless things looked solid.
Q: Will tyre management be key in the race?
SV: As we race a bit later [in the day] it will therefore be cooler, so everybody should be happy with the tyres. At least I can say that I am pretty satisfied in this respect.
Q: What are your expectations for qualifying tomorrow?
SV: We have to get everything right. The rest is not in our hands: if it rains it rains! (Laughs)