Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel has conceded the team took a lot of risks today to en-route
to victory in the prestigious F1 2011 Monaco Grand Prix, although he added that made coming out top even sweeter.
Vettel led from pole in the early stages, but a botched pit-stop looked to have dropped him out of contention and behind Jenson Button. However an inspired decision to switch to a one-stop strategy paid off handsomely in the end and he eventually swept to his fifth win of the year, increasing his lead in the drivers' championship from 41 points to 58.
“It's difficult to describe today; it's a great feeling. I've seen what it takes to win here. Today it was a crazy race,” Vettel reflected. “It's difficult to imagine you can one-stop at this race, but that's more or less what we did.
“Our first pit stop was not spot on and we lost the position to Jenson. I was surprised when Jenson came in and we had to react, he was pulling away on the soft tyres while I was on the hard tyres. I thought 'don't give up' and kept pushing to close the gap.
“The safety car helped us, but it was no walk in the park to do roughly 60 laps on the same set of tyres – our estimation was not allowing that! We took a lot of risks, but that made today's win even sweeter.
“Towards the end of the race the tyres I had were nowhere close to fresh – but I saw the only way to win the race was to stay out. I had 20 laps where I was under pressure from Fernando [Alonso] and Jenson, it would have been a difficult final six laps, but there was another safety car and a suspended race, so we were able to change the tyres.
“I'm extremely happy. At some stage I was in P2 and 15 seconds behind Jenson, so victory seemed far away, but it's a crazy place here. I think the roulette was spun last night and kept on spinning during this race. I'm really, really happy. A fantastic result and a huge honour to put my name on the list of Monaco race winners. We fully deserved this win, we took the risk and we got the reward.”
Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner meanwhile was delighted to see 'his' team pull a rabbit out of the hat after the shenanigans in the pits.
“A phenomenal drive by Sebastian today. We had a communication problem with the first stop, which affected both drivers as they were both stopping on the same lap. It delayed Sebastian, but we managed to re-adjust our strategy,” he added. “We didn't panic and managed to engineer ourselves out of the situation to get him back into the lead.
“He then had an awfully long way to go on the harder tyre, which he made work. He soaked up huge pressure from Fernando and Jenson and then our hearts were in our mouths when the accident happened just in front of him. But he picked his way through and, with the benefit of the option tyre, was able to have a bit more comfort in the remaining laps after the re-start. It was a classy drive from Sebastian and a tremendous team performance to recover from what looked to be a difficult first stop to win the race.”