9 May 2011
Vettel: A good start to the season always helps, but...
Sebastian Vettel insists that, despite his flying start to the 2011 F1 season, a second title is far from guaranteed.
Sebastian Vettel was quick to trot out the ubiquitous 'long way to go' line when asked about the stellar start he has made to F1 world championship title defence, but admitted that it could hardly have been better with three wins in four races.
After last season opened with wins being more evenly shared between the frontrunners, Vettel's whirlwind getaway in 2011 has left his rivals reeling, but the German refuses to accept that he is on an easy path to title number two, even though he made winning the Turkish Grand Prix look relatively easy. Starting from a pole position he earned by almost half a second over Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, Vettel was never seriously headed in the 58-lap race, eventually coming home nearly nine seconds clear of the Australian.
His championship lead is now up to 34 points, with Lewis Hamilton in second place, but Vettel insists that a lot can happen between now and the end of the season.
"It is good to get as many points as you can every single race, but it is a long, long way and we saw how quickly things changed last year, especially with Fernando [Alonso] coming and going and coming and going," he noted, "In the end, it was very, very close.
"We have to really go step-by-step, see every race on its own and try to maximise our points. A good start to the season always helps, but it is a long, long way to go. Four out of 19, so you can work out how many points there are still to get, so we have to keep focused."
Despite his reluctance to start considering the possibility of becoming the first back-to-back world champion since fellow German Michael Schumacher, Vettel conceded that he could not complain about a 2011 record that showed three wins and a second place from four races.
"I cannot really complain," he admitted, "It was a very good race today, very smooth and [I was] pretty much in control from the start to finish. It was a bit of a comfortable situation having Nico [Rosberg] behind me at the beginning, at least for the first five laps, as I was able to open a gap maybe quicker than if Mark had been behind.
"Throughout the race, I had this cushion and we were able to react rather than act, so I'm very pleased. Especially in the first two stints, you have to really see where you are. The tyres are tricky to handle [and] we saw today again [that there were] different strategies with different people. It is never perfect as, naturally, the tyres go away from you at some stage and you have to deal with that. I think there was nobody today with no tyre wear.
"I think we expected this circuit to be extremely challenging, and especially around turn eight it was very difficult to handle, but [it was good] being in the lead and having this extra cushion - plus we also had the pace in case we had to react. We never had someone really close behind."
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