• Monaco Grand Prix

'We took the risk and we got the reward' - Vettel

ESPNF1 Staff
May 29, 2011 « Button rues safety car timing | »
Sebastian Vettel enjoys his reward for winning in Monaco © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel admitted he took a risk to win the Monaco Grand Prix after a mistake at his first pit stop forced him into an unconventional strategy.

Vettel, who led away from pole position at the start of the race, lost the lead at his first pit stop when a communication problem resulted in his Red Bull team fitting the wrong tyres during a slow pit stop. He left the pits on prime tyres instead of super-softs, but rather than make a second scheduled stop, he attempted to go the 63 laps to the end of the race on the same set, getting ahead of Button when the McLaren made its second stop ahead of the first safety car period.

"It's fantastic," said Vettel. "It was a very long race and a long way to the chequered flag and at some stage the victory seemed quite far away. The safety car came out and we got back in the lead but it was quite difficult to stay ahead. It is difficult to pass here but they had such better grip. I called to the box and I said I wanted to stay out as it was the only chance to win the race."

Towards the end of the race he came under intense pressure from Alonso and Button, but the battle was cut short when the race was suspended following a three-car pile-up. Vettel took on a new set of tyres before the restart to lift the pressure in the final six laps, but reckoned he could have still won without the stoppage.

"With six laps to go before we had a suspended race, obviously I was struggling with my tyres but I think we could have made it to the end. Then I saw the red flag and it was good to hear Vitaly was fine, and we were able to change tyres as I could get rid of these old tyres and then had another short sprint race to the chequered flag.

"We took the risk, we wanted to win and we got the reward. I am happy and it is an extreme honour. It is one of the best grands prix all year and surely a nice one to win."