• Spanish Grand Prix

'I felt my tyres going away' - Vettel

ESPNF1 Staff
May 22, 2011 « Massa struggles to find balance | »
Sebastian Vettel: "I think it is another confirmation that we are very, very strong" © Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel said he feared for his position as he attempted to hold Lewis Hamilton for victory in the closing laps of the Spanish Grand Prix .

Vettel crossed the line 0.6 seconds ahead of Hamilton after a tense battle in the final 16 laps of the race. The Red Bull had the advantage in the corners but the McLaren was quicker on the long pit straight, with KERS and DRS working to its advantage.

But in the last laps Vettel said his tyres were going off towards the end of the race - as they did in China when he lost out to Hamilton - and was concerned he would come under attack.

"I knew that it would be very close and in the last few laps I was feeling a bit like China where I felt my tyres going away from me," he said "I was just praying the same thing was happening to Lewis because he was catching up and they seemed to be so much quicker in the last sector and the DRS zone. At the start of the pit straight he was quite a long way away and then at the end of the straight you'd look in the mirror and he was there or thereabouts. So you don't know if you should defend or not. Thankfully in the last two laps I got quite a good run in the last sector and enough to make it stick."

Vettel also lost the use of his KERS power boost towards the end of the race, meaning Hamilton had even more of an advantage on the straights.

"On top of that we had KERS on and sometimes off and I was playing around with the buttons and the brake distribution," he said. "It wasn't an easy race and obviously McLaren and Lewis gave us a very, very hard time. It's quite a big release when you cross the line, see the chequered flag and know that you've made it. So I'm very happy, it was a great result and after yesterday I think it is another confirmation that we are very, very strong."