Q&A: Formula 1 Star Sebastian Vettel

Pretty big week in Ann Arbor, following Sebastien Vettel’s decisive Formula 1 win in Montreal last Sunday—his first win at that circuit after several attempts, and his third win this season. If you don’t follow Formula 1 racing like I don’t follow Formula 1 racing, you’ll have many questions, as I did. First of all, why was it a big day in Ann Arbor? Well, because he came here to the Automobile Magazine/Jean Knows Cars offices to give us an interview. The list of questions was the subject of intense back and forth between Vettel’s Red Bull Racing team handlers and our editors. They wanted to vet all Vettel questions and, of course, we said no. We wanted to ask our readers and Facebook fans what they wanted to know from him. This was not necessarily anything that he’d want to answer. The first question might be, why should anybody care about Sebastian Vettel? Who is he? He’s a slightly built, curly-haired German kid, twenty-five years old, who has won the last three Formula 1 championships in a row. He is dominating the points lead after seven races out of nineteen, with a major lead (see below) of thirty-six points on his nearest competitor, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso from Spain.The next question might be, why is the team called Red Bull Racing-Renault when he was coming to see us was in his new role as Infiniti’s performance director? Well, it goes like this: Renault owns Nissan, and Infiniti is part of Nissan. The engines are from Renault, which has been in Formula 1 racing for a long, long time. Infiniti is trying to become a bigger entity in Europe, and Formula 1 racing is the number-one automotive billboard for the rest of the world outside the United States. So it makes sense that Infiniti would buy into a sponsorship of the team and Vettel to amp up its presence.Vettel And Mounties 622You might wonder why they wanted to vet our interview questions. Why would they care? Because Vettel’s first win this year, in Malaysia, came at the closing moments of the race when the driver separating him from his teammate, Mark Weber, who was running in first place, dropped out. Vettel then ignored team orders, passed Weber, and won the race. He later apologized, but the die was cast, and the fans have been unruly ever since. In fact, when he won in Canada, he was booed loudly by the crowd. We actually did ask him about his reception after the Canadian race. He rightfully pointed out the huge number of Ferrari fans and said he was encouraged by the increasing number of blue-hatted Red Bull fans in the crowd. Watch the video for the answers to this and other questions from our Facebook fans and readers.Then he was gone, leaving behind a big stack of Red Bull/Infiniti hats with a big, fat number 1 on each bill.

2013 Formula 1 Standings after Canada

Top five DRIVERS:

1. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Red Bull Racing-Renault: 132 points
2. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Ferrari: 96
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Lotus-Renault: 88
4. Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes: 77
5. Mark Weber, Australia, Red Bull Racing-Renault: 69
6. Nico Rosberg, Finland, Mercedes: 57

Top five CONSTRUCTORS:

1. Red Bull Racing-Renault: 201
2. Ferrari: 145
3. Mercedes: 134
4. Lotus-Renault: 114
5. Force India-Mercedes: 51

First seven races/winners:

1. Australia: Raikkonen
2. Malaysia: Vettel
3. China: Alonso
4. Bahrain: Vettel
5. Spain: Alonso
6. Monaco: Rosberg
7. Canada: Vettel
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