• Malaysian Grand Prix

'I couldn't be happier' - Vettel

ESPNF1 Staff
April 10, 2011 « Hamilton rues early pit stop | »
Sebastian Vettel celebrates his victory in Malaysia with the Red Bull team © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel said he could not be happier after taking back-to-back victories by winning the Malaysian Grand Prix.

After a dominant performance in Melbourne two weeks ago, Vettel had a tougher afternoon at the front in Sepang, eventually taking the chequered flag 3.2 seconds ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button. Having started on pole, Vettel admitted that Nick Heidfeld getting past Lewis Hamilton for second at turn one was crucial for his race.

"[It was] another great day obviously," Vettel said. "The start was very crucial, I thought I had a really good start and ten I saw Lewis lining up behind me quickly, and then I was surprised going in to turn one all of a sudden I saw something black in my mirrors! And I knew it was a Lotus and then I realised it was Nick, and obviously for the first stint I think it was a good thing to happen because I could pull away lap by lap."

Vettel also said he felt that the race was very different to the one experienced in Australia, with tyre degradation a lot higher.

"I think the grand prix was quite different to what we've seen two weeks ago, especially with the tyres going off. On the one hand you don't want to be the first in because obviously the shorter you get then the more stops you might have to do in the end, on the other hand if someone goes in then obviously has the advantage on new tyres and might undercut you.

So I think it was quite difficult and obviously it was tight with Lewis. I always had a couple of seconds in hand so we could control that, but still it was never easy until the last stint and Lewis had a problem, I don't know what happened to him but then I realised Jenson was behind and I could comfortably control the gap. So obviously with not too many laps to go it was quite good. Very pleased, as I said I love what I do, and I don't think I can be happier at this stage."

The KERS system on Vettel's Red Bull caused some issues during the race, with the 2010 world champion being told not to use it after 29 laps. He admitted that it would need to be fixed as the rate of development was so high.

"Obviously it [KERS problem] was not according to plan, but then it was coming back so it was a little bit on-off during the race. It's something that we have to work on but still don't forget two weeks ago we didn't race it at all. Today it was very crucial at the start, without KERS again we would have been in a completely different position and the race would have unfolded in a different way. So it was giving us what we needed, and obviously being in a luxury situation by being a little bit ahead, we had a little problem so we turned it off and then it went back on.

I think coming here with only ten days overseas, reacting the way we did I think we can be very proud of ourselves. Obviously we can't stop pushing, we've seen how close it is - much closer here than in Australia - so that's how quickly things can change so we have to keep our heads cool, and keep working, keep pushing. I'm not worried to be honest; all the guys know that this is the only way forward. So for today I think we all can enjoy it and we can be very proud."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told the BBC that he was pleased with Vettel's performance, and with the way he was developing as a driver.

"His composure in the car, the way he controlled the race, looked after the tyres; he did what he needed to when he had to," Horner said. "We had the option of doing a three or a four stop and he gave us the options, which was a really mature drive by him today. He's just experienced. He's so young, we forget that he's only 23 years of age - he can only just rent a hire car! He's in his sixty-something grand prix and he's just learning. He's just getting more experienced and he just continues to get better."