• Brazilian Grand Prix

Horner feared race-ending damage

ESPN Staff
November 26, 2012 « Hulkenberg had the pace to win - Fernley | Whitmarsh 'very sad' to lose Hamilton »
Christian Horner feared Sebastian Vettel would have to retire © Sutton Images

Christian Horner revealed that he thought Sebastian Vettel had sustained race-ending damage in his first lap clash with Bruno Senna at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Vettel turned in on the Williams at turn four on the opening lap, getting tapped in to a spin and sustaining a second impact on the rear of his car. A hole in the sidepod revealed a dented exhaust, and Horner admitted he thought the damage would prove terminal even though Vettel was able to continue at the time.

"Absolutely," Horner said when asked if he feared Vettel wouldn't finish. "There was quite a lot of damage to the exhaust and they're sensitive bits of equipment and to receive an impact like that was massively concerning. What we saw is as the pace picked up the problem became more evident; the loss that Sebastian had. Then we saw another bit of the bodywork disappear off the car.

"The only good thing about the race was the laps seemed to go quite quickly, because there was so much going on everything was happening so quickly. One minute he was out of position, the next minute he was in position to do enough, then he was out of it, then [Nico] Hulkenberg got together with [Lewis Hamilton] and suddenly that's a game-changer again. I've never been so pleased to see Jenson Button win a grand prix!"

While Vettel cited some "dirty tricks" from rivals during the season, Horner said that Red Bull's recent championship victories have made the team a target.

"It's been a tough competition and I think that Formula One is a tough business. You're up against some big opponents and the fastest way to become unpopular is to have repeated success. We've ignored what other teams are doing and have really just focused on ourselves."