• Australian GP

Vettel: Third on debut feels like a win

ESPN Staff
March 15, 2015 « Rosberg: Hamilton drove like a champion | Hamilton: I was in complete control »
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Sebastian Vettel says third on his Ferrari debut felt like a victory in Australia.

In the battle for final spot on the podium Vettel managed to leapfrog Massa by pitting two laps earlier than the Williams, with a little help from former Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo holding up the Brazilian. From that point on he was comfortable in third and kicked off his Ferrari career with a spot on the podium behind the dominant Mercedes pair.

"I think it was a great race for us," Vettel said. "Of course it's not a victory but for us today it feels like a victory, it's a great relief after a horrible season last year to know in general the car is working. People have done a great job both on engine and chassis side so big compliments to Maranello. I have secretly been a fan, now officially I can be a fan and since the day I arrived there is something magic about the place and I feel very happy."

Vettel admitted it was special to see the Ferrari flags on the formation lap.

"I'm over the moon in many ways. It was great on the parade lap to see the flags, I think they've been there before but I didn't pay much attention obviously! The support has been great this weekend. It's really an honour to sit in the red car and when your head is down and you race and try to push every race you don't really notice the colour so much. But certainly when the chequered flag came out it was great to see and a great feeling, a great reward for the team."

At the start, Vettel and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen came close to touching and the Finn was relegated back through the field after contact from behind. Vettel is not entirely sure what happened at Turn 1.

"I think he had a better start for sure. I got a little bit back under braking and then was side-by-side with him, I don't think it was great for him as he lost a bit. I saw immediately I couldn't make the corner as tight as I wanted to which made him lose a couple of positions. But I understand we didn't touch and I didn't feel anything."

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