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Red Bull ready to 'attack' final races

ESPN Staff
November 5, 2012 « Domenicali remains cool over updates | Kubica lines up two rallies in WRC-winning Citroen »
Christian Horner monitoring Sebastian Vettel's progress from the pit wall on Sunday night © Sutton Images

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is taking nothing for granted in the drivers' championship after Sebastian Vettel avoided a potential crisis by salvaging a podium in Abu Dhabi.

Vettel was forced to start from the back of the grid or the pit lane on Sunday after an error in qualifying left Red Bull without enough fuel for an FIA sample. Despite the handicap he came back through the field to finish third, just one place behind championship rival Feranando Alonso, and limit the damage to his title lead to just three points.

"We know how consistent Fernando has been this year and it was entirely predictable that he would be on the podium from sixth on the grid," Horner said. "So I already had a mental image of him taking 15 or 25 points out of us today, and to limit that damage to only three and finish behind him is a remarkable recovery and a great drive by Sebastian. He showed that he is world class today to anybody that doubted him as a racer.

"The constructors' [championship] is looking great and hopefully we can score five points over the next two races [to win it]. With the drivers' [championship], as we've seen this weekend, when you're on the edge things can go wrong. We can't take anything for granted and we need to go to Austin and attack the weekend. It's a new track for everybody and we've got to go there and get a good result."

Asked to explain how Vettel was sent out in the final session of qualifying without enough fuel, Horner said it appeared as though something had left engine-supplier Renault Sport's calculations short.

"To be honest, it's a difficult one," he said. "Renault is certain enough fuel went into the car, but we couldn't drain it to get it out. I think maybe the margin that was left was that bit too fine. I think the car that finished the race probably had an awful lot of fuel in it.

"The [fuel] calculations are made dating back to pre-season and the engine guys are keeping a close eye on how that is developing. Basically the process is that our race engineer will inform the engine engineer how many laps he is going to do, so in Q3 it was two runs of one lap and in the race it was 55.

"The engine engineer will then work out the fuel required and that will be put into the car. It's not something we get involved in as a team as we rely on Renault to provide and look after that. Unfortunately, this glitch has happened. It's one of those things and I'm sure they've learnt from it and we've had a good recovery today."

Horner said the only man that still believed a podium was possible in Red Bull's Saturday night briefing was Vettel.

"He's incredibly strong mentally. Before the race I went to see him in his room to wish him good luck and he was in there playing a drum kit with his trainer and he said 'I'll see you on the podium'. He was the one guy in the briefing room on Saturday night, when the rest of us were ready to slit our wrists, who was saying it's not an issue. It's that mental strength that he has that is one of his biggest assets."