• Australian Grand Prix

RB8 has 'a lot of potential' - Vettel

ESPNF1 Staff
March 18, 2012 « Strong winter key to Button success | Hamilton unable to explain performance gap to Button »
Sebastian Vettel finished 2.1s behind Jenson Button © Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel believes that there is "a lot of potential" in the RB8 after finishing second at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Eyebrows were raised when Vettel could only qualify sixth on Saturday and then the McLaren pair of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton proceeded to ease away at the front early on. Once Vettel got in to third place, however, he started to gain on the McLarens before taking advantage of a safety car period to take second place. Vettel admitted he could do nothing to stop Button winning, but that the RB8's performance had been encouraging.

"I think all in all congratulations to McLaren, to Jenson, I think he drove a fantastic race and was unbeatable today," Vettel said. "But I'm very happy to come away with second. It's a lot of points; I think a lot of people would not have expected that after the result yesterday. I think we had a better car in the race and the car seems to have a lot of potential. Now it's up to us to get to it and then we should be very close with these guys but I think it was a great day so thanks for everyone pushing so hard and making the race result today possible."

When asked about the help of the safety car that saw him leapfrog Hamilton for second Vettel said he felt he would have had a chance of beating Hamilton regardless having seen off the threat of Mercedes.

"I think nevertheless we would have had a good shot at [Hamilton] because it was very close and I was quite quick. I decided to stay out, he went in to the pits and I decided to stay out and I think we would have had a crack even without the safety car. I would have been very close, but surely maybe it did help out a little bit.

"Nevertheless I think it was a great race. Quite a lot of fun. A good start, initially, and then I was surprised by Nico [Rosberg] because he had a very good start and I got a bit stuck on the inside. I didn't really have an option where to go and he got past, so then I had two Mercedes ahead. I got past Nico very quickly which was a great manoeuvre and on edge, and then behind Michael [Schumacher] I had a mistake - went off at the first corner - and then he decided to do exactly the same the next time I got close to him so that was good."