• Turkish Grand Prix

Vettel thanks mechanics for victory

ESPNF1 Staff
May 8, 2011 « Pirelli chooses tyres up to Silverstone | »
Sebastian Vettel won his third out of four races this season despite limited running on Friday © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel paid tribute to the Red Bull mechanics who fixed his car on Friday after taking his third victory of the season in the Turkish Grand Prix.

Vettel crashed heavily in a wet practice session and had to sit out the rest of the day, missing 90 minutes of dry running ahead of qualifying. It mattered little though as he took pole and a comfortable victory in Istanbul, and Vettel gave his thanks to both sets of mechanics who put in the work to get his car repaird.

"All in all I'm very happy," Vettel said. "Obviously we lacked the Friday - I had an accident on Friday and crashed the car badly - and all the guys, not only the guys around my car, also Mark's guys helped a lot and together they fixed the car. It meant some extra hours for them which I'm sorry for, but obviously I think yesterday and today makes up for it so I'm very pleased with the result and a big thanks to the team."

During the race Vettel got off the line well and managed to pull away early on at the front. The championship leader said that the first stint was key as he was then able to decide which strategy to take based on other drivers.

"I think we had a smooth race, obviously a very good start which was crucial. And then I was able to pull a gap right in the first stint, which was important because then we could afford to stay out a lap longer, wait for what the others are doing in terms of strategy and then just react. All in all we always had this three/four to eight second cushion to the second guy and obviously it makes my life easier and our lives a bit easier to find out which strategy is the one that really works."

Vettel admitted that he based his strategy on what others were doing, and that he took a final fourth pit stop to cover for the possibility of a safety car.

"It wasn't easy from the start to know what was going to happen because of course you have a rough idea about tyres and how long they will last, but you really have to wait for the first and maybe the second stint to see 'this is the trend and this is where we're going'. In the end I think I could have afforded to stay out on my first set of prime [tyres] but then you have to be in a position for whatever comes.

I thought at that time I thought I could have easily made it to the chequered flag which gives us the pit stop of around 15 or 20 seconds, but then again if something happens - there is an accident elsewhere and a safety car comes out - then obviously you are on a used tyre. So I think it was the right thing to come in another time even though it was just a very short fourth stint after the third stop."

Having lost out to Lewis Hamilton on strategy during the last race in China, Vettel said he was happy that Red Bull had learned from its previous mistakes.

"As I said it was very much in control and I'm very happy with how we communicate during the race and how we reacted. So I'm very very pleased and I think since China we have definitely made a step forward, so we have learned our lesson and we have to make sure we keep our momentum in to the next couple of races."