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Vettel: P2 'important' – but we need to win again!

He might have outscored all-bar one of his rivals in the Hungarian Grand Prix, but after again missing out on victory on Sunday - for the fourth time in the last five races in F1 2011 - Sebastian Vettel fears they are closing in...
It would have been difficult to envisage, even as recently as only a couple of months ago, a period when runaway F1 2011 World Championship leader Sebastian Vettel went three successive races without triumphing in any of them – but following his third consecutive winless weekend in the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Red Bull Racing star has stressed that 'we need to win again'.

The signs that Red Bull has finally been caught – if not quite yet overtaken – by McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari in the performance stakes this season have been there for some time, truth be told, and Vettel arrived at the Hungaroring with just one victory from the preceding four races in Canada, Europe, Britain and Germany, and under pressure to perform after missing the podium for the first time all year on home turf at the Nürburgring a week earlier.

The defending F1 World Champion responded well by annexing pole position in qualifying – his eighth-out-of-eleven this season, and ensuring that it stayed firmly inside the RBR family – but come race day, the young German had no answer to initially Lewis Hamilton, who passed him when he ran wide in the tricky conditions barely a handful of laps in, and later Jenson Button, who scythed his way past on the run down to Turn Two not long before half-distance and thereafter never looked back.

Although he was only three-and-a-half seconds adrift of race-winner Button when the chequered flag fell – and in outscoring the remainder of his title rivals, extended his advantage in the drivers' standings to 85 points – Vettel warns that Red Bull needs to knuckle down over the four-week summer break...and then come out fighting fit once again in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps at the end of the month.

“I was struggling a little bit in the first stint with the intermediate tyres,” the 24-year-old mused. “Most important was to move away from the pack behind and build up a gap, but Lewis was a bit faster and then I lost it and ran a little bit wide into Turn Two – yeah, quite tricky.

“After that, the circuit was drying. I managed to stay ahead of Jenson, and then pulled away slightly at the end of the stint. Both times then on the super-softs I was feeling quite good and reasonably confident initially, but there was quite a lot of drop-off. I think it was the same for all of us with the track being quite 'green'.

“At the end of the stint, I was struggling to keep up with Jenson. [The] second stint I think overall was a little bit better. I was able to change the car a little bit during the pit-stop. Both times, I think a lap earlier could have helped us a bit and gained us some time. We have to look into that – I think we could have been a bit smarter.

“All-in-all, in the last stint I felt the pace was there, but I had to let Jenson go; I did feel I had more speed in the car, but I had a couple of problems with the brakes and it was difficult to know, [with] 20 laps to go, how the car would be in the end, so I couldn't push as hard as I would have liked to. He was still some three or four seconds ahead at that stage, so first of all I have to close the gap and then overtake him, and if you don't have the confidence it's more important to bring the car home. We need to make sure we see the chequered flag.

“I'm not 100 per cent happy because I started from pole. It was a difficult one, especially with the conditions, with the rain [and] very, very slippery at some stages, many drivers making small mistakes here-and-there. I saw Jenson nearly lose it two corners from the end. I'm happy, but not entirely so. We go out there, we try to get pole on Saturday, we did so and we try to win on Sunday, which we didn't do.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
30.07.2011 30.07.2011 celebration for pole position: 1st Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7, 3rd Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, MP4-26
30.07.2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
31.07.2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
31.07.2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
31.07.2011 Podium: 1stLewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, MP4-26, 2nd Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
31.07.2011 podium: 1st Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, MP4-26, 2nd Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
31.07.2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, MP4-26
31.07.2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
29.07.2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
29.07.2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
29.07.2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
29.07.2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
23.07.2011- Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
22.07.2011- Friday Practice 2, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, detail
23.06.2017 - Press conference, Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director

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iceman - Unregistered

August 01, 2011 9:26 PM

Vettel always gets abused. For what reason I have no idea. I just rewatched the start of the race. Vettel sets a fastest lap and Hamilton was still all over his gearbox and passed him the next lap. All drivers get passed. Even Senna got passed. Raikkonen passed Hamilton while Raikkonen was switching settings on his steering wheel. Just because you get passed doesn't mean your crap. Hamilton drives like an idiot in traffic but blitzes the field last week and suddenly he's hailed as the greatest driver again. What? There's more to a season than just driving flatout all the time. Prost knew that which is why he was so damn successful. Vettel didn't fully trust his car and didn't risk it with a huge championship lead. What's wrong with that? Vettel can drive. Hamilton will tell you all about it when Vettel nearly ruined his championship in a Toro Rosso. Vettel will win again.

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