It’s refreshing to see a smiling face rather than a hardened campaigner in the post-quali press conference with the attitude that this a chore to got through before the interesting business of a four-hour debrief with his engineer followed by a glass of water and an aspirin salad with his fitness guru.
Sebastian Vettel received a warm round of applause from journalists waiting in the media centre and he didn’t stop grinning all the way through. Vettel has such an infectious smile; it was impossible not to feel happy for the 21-year-old, particularly on a day when he really did the business.
True, he drove with the flair and confidence of someone who knew he had a good car beneath him. But he really used it to good effect during atrocious conditions that caught out more experienced drivers.
There was a nice touch when the fastest three were asked to recall the last time they had won a race in the wet. Before anyone could speak, Vettel nudged Mark Webber, sitting to his left, and said: ‘Well, before he says anything, it would have been last year at Fuji for Mark if it hadn’t been for me!’ a reference to Vettel driving into the back of Webber’s Red Bull as they followed the safety car in the pouring rain.
Webber laughed and put his arm round Vettel’s shoulder. It had been a bit different at Fuji when Webber made a pointed remark about this being what happens when you put ****ing school boys in Formula One cars.
That 21-year-old with the big grin earned his stripes during qualifying here at Monza. Now he’s got to make it pay during 53 laps. If it’s wet, don’t rule out seeing that smiling face before the cameras on Sunday afternoon.