• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Vettel delighted with damage limitation

ESPN Staff
November 4, 2012 « Ferrari needs more from updates - Alonso | Hamilton 'gutted' to retire from the lead »
Sebastian Vettel: "[Starting from the pit lane] was obviously a chance to f*** it up" © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel was relieved to minimise the damage to his championship lead at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after starting the race from the pit lane.

Vettel finished third after he was excluded from qualifying for not supplying enough fuel at the end of Q3 for an FIA sample. Red Bull decided to start him from the pit lane in order to change his setup and help him to overtake and he managed to finish third, one place behind championship rival Fernando Alonso.

"Yesterday was a surprise for us and I think had we started from third it would have been a different race," he said. "[Starting from the pit lane] was obviously a chance to f*** it up and we didn't do that. So we can be very proud today, we got the maximum and we lost only a very little bit. We've still got the momentum and the car is bloody quick so I'm looking forward to the next two races. We are definitely believing in it and that's the target."

However, Vettel believed a podium was possible before the start of the race.

"I did to be honest with you," he said. "After the first couple of laps that target was drifting a little bit away and I had a messy start to the race and it was quite difficult from the back to get through the cars as quick as I did.

"I wanted to get through the cars as quickly as I could and I damaged my front wing. Then under the safety car I had a bit of a big mistake with Daniel [Ricciardo], who was stopping his car on the straights, which surprised me. If it had been 50 metres earlier or later I wouldn't have damaged my front wing further, but after that I said to myself 'Either I go full attack or nothing, so that's what I did'.

"I had a fantastic race and obviously the safety car was helping at the second one and in the end it was a nice fight with Jenson [Button]. He was difficult to pass and I expected to have a little bit of an easier time because I was passing slower cars before, but with him I was really struggling. I just squeezed my way past into turn 11, which was nice. It was a thrilling grand prix, up and down the whole time, and obviously it's very nice to pick up the trophy."