Sebastian Vettel is refusing to say that Red Bull Racing will be the pacesetter at the Italian Grand Prix, despite taking a 1-2 result against the odds at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.
The Belgian circuit, with its high-speed first and third sectors, was thought not to play to the RB7's strengths, but Vettel led home RBR team-mate Mark Webber for only the team's second 1-2 of the season. Along with Monza, the Ardennes circuit was thought to be the weakest link in the team's armoury heading into the final eight rounds of what is looking increasingly like another successful championship campaign, but Sunday's result has led some experts to re-evaluate RBR's chances in the final European round of 2011.
Vettel, however, is refusing to believe the hype, despite obviously being delighted with the RB7's performance against Ferrari and McLaren in Belgium.
"True, this is a quite different situation this year," the German conceded in an interview with the official F1 website, "[In] sectors one and three, where you have a lot of straights and you need the speed, we've been really competitive this weekend, and that feels good. We probably sacrificed a bit in the middle sector [where the Red bull was expected to be stronger
] but, overall, the balance was there. Last year, we were doing very well in sector two, but missed out on the straights, so with a more balanced performance we did it.
"Looking forward to Monza, we cannot promise to be competitive there, but we will definitely do our best to please. However, as the car felt so fantastic here and the balance was fabulous, it should be manageable."
Vettel's Spa success was Red Bull's first since the European Grand Prix in Valencia at the end of June, and team principal Christian Horner admitted that it showed just how unpredictable F1 had become when trying to presage results.
"In many respects [the Belgian 1-2 was a surprise], because power is a dominant factor here, particularly in the first and third sectors and that was arguably our most competitive race of the season," he claimed, "We had very strong race pace. We thought it would perhaps favour some of our opponents more. But it just shows how difficult it is to predict performance.
With both championships still unresolved, and McLaren and Ferrari hoping to close the points gap, Horner acknowledged that upsetting the Spa formbook was crucial.
"For the team, it has been a phenomenal weekend," he told journalists, "[Saturday] was massively tricky for the team with the conditions, [but] it shows how strong we are as a unit to recover from difficult situations, to get the calls and strategy right. The cars had tremendous pace and the drivers did their bit. It was a massive
result for us."