Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has issued a stark warning to the drivers looking to catch Sebastian Vettel in the race for the 2011 F1 title by insisting that the defending champion 'just continues to improve'.
Vettel's sixth win of the season in Valencia allowed him to extend his championship lead to a mammoth 77 points – equivalent to more than three race wins – while the German has yet to finish outside the top two this season.
The way in which Vettel dominated the Valencia weekend came after his mistake on the final lap of the Canadian Grand Prix handed victory to Jenson Button was described by Horner as a sign of his push for perfection with more still come from the youngster.
"He was keen to have a perfect weekend in Valencia, and he did just that,” he was quoted by Sporting Life
. “He bounced back. But then he never ceases to surprise us because at one point we hadn't told him we had put the prime tyres on Mark's car because we didn't want him to push any harder.
"But then he came on the radio at one point and said 'What time is Mark doing on the primes?' We all looked at ourselves and thought 'Who told him?' Of course, he was watching the big TV screen as he was going round, and he's the capacity to take that in. So he's always thinking, which is one of his major strengths.
"He just continues to improve. His confidence is sky high, he's won six out of eight races now, finished second in the other two, is 14 points off a maximum score at pretty much the halfway stage which is hugely impressive. At the end of the day he's a perfectionist. He analyses his own performance more than anybody, and that's so rewarding for the guys to be working with.
"It pushes everybody."
However, like Vettel himself, Horner said the team couldn't afford to get complacent with more than half of the season still to run.
"He and the team have got ourselves into a strong position, but as we know there's such a long way to go in this championship," he said. "You can never say never. So our focus is race by race, to go and maximise our performance to get the best out of each weekend we can.
"But nobody takes anything for granted."