Sebastian Vettel was left waxing lyrical about Silverstone, his Red Bull Racing RB5 and the progress made by the energy drinks-backed outfit in recent weeks after storming to an unchallenged British Grand Prix victory that has vaulted him right back into title contention.
Having produced a stunning lap to seal pole position around the celebrated 'Home of British Motor Racing' – due to host its final British Grand Prix this year, unless Donington Park proves unable to complete its £80 million redevelopment programme in time – despite carrying the heaviest fuel load of any driver inside the top ten on the grid, Vettel staved off the attentions of the Brawn GP of fellow front row sitter Rubens Barrichello when the starting lights went out, and from thereon in was never again threatened.
The German – already the top flight's youngest-ever grand prix-winner – proceeded to pull out a 20-second margin before making his first pit visit on lap 21, by dint of setting fastest lap after fastest lap. Indeed, the pit-stops were the only occasions during the race when the man from Heppenheim briefly surrendered the lead, to RBR team-mate Mark Webber, and a 15-second margin at the chequered flag was as dominant as any of the campaign to-date. It was, all-round, he confessed, the perfect weekend.
“This is such a fantastic circuit!” the 21-year-old enthused, after closing the gap separating him from long-time F1 World Championship leader Jenson Button from 32 points down to 25 ahead of his home outing next on the calendar, the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. “I think all the drivers enjoy it with its fast corners. It's a dream really, so to stay focussed and keep your eyes open all the time during the race is not easy!
“The start was very important, then in the first stint I tried to pull away and make a gap, as I knew it would be crucial for the whole race. The car was fantastic, just unbelievable. I was able to push more and more and the tyres were very consistent. The second stint wasn't so easy; there were a lot of lapped cars that were battling with each other, so the team told me to be careful. From the last pit-stop I was in clean air, and from then on I was just counting down each lap. I had quite a big gap to Mark and was controlling the race from that point on.
“Everyone in the team has been working so hard, both in the factory and at the track. The way the team has brought the car to where it is now is fantastic – and we've proven it's a step in the right direction, so I'm very pleased. I also want to thank Silverstone. I enjoyed this race so much – when I looked in the grandstands everyone was standing up and clapping, and when I took the chequered flag the atmosphere was so great. This is what I was dreaming of when I watched British Grands Prix when I was younger when [Nigel] Mansell was driving. It's almost unreal now to think that I'm here and I've made it. I've won this grand prix and I'm very happy.”
It was indeed a flawless performance from Vettel, Webber and Red Bull as a whole, and a warning shot to Brawn that the 2009 world championship is far from over yet. The Milton Keynes-based squad's team principal Christian Horner acknowledged that whilst there remains 'a long way to go' to catch and overtake the runaway early-season pace-setters, the chase is now incontrovertibly on.
“What a fantastic team result,” remarked the delighted Englishman, “a one-two with both guys totally dominating the race. There were so many members of the team here today, and for them to see what their cars can do when they have put in so much effort, is just incredible.
“I'm thrilled for everyone at Red Bull; they've done a brilliant job. This track suits our car, and the drivers have been in fantastic form all weekend. Sebastian was outstanding today. It was a great team result. We've still got a long way to go to catch Brawn GP, but we're definitely moving in the right direction.”
“Wow, a magic result – first and second in the British Grand Prix,” concurred Fabrice Lom, principal track support engineer for engine-supplier Renault. “The team is so happy and, for the guys in Milton Keynes, this victory is so deserved – they worked like hell to prepare this new package. It's a great result for them. For us as the engine partner to be part of this adventure is a great pleasure – so congratulations to everyone back in the factories and let's enjoy this fantastic result.”