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Vettel fears Red Bull chasing McLaren

Sebastian Vettel may have been pleased with his Australian GP result, but admits that he could not live with the pace of Jenson Button's McLaren.
Sebastian Vettel believes that Red Bull Racing has some ground to make up on old rival McLaren after being beaten to Australian Grand Prix victory by Jenson Button.

The reigning champion could only manage second place in the season-opening Melbourne race, aided by a late safety but still an upgrade on the sixth place he took in qualifying, and reckons that RBR currently lags behind its Woking rival despite going into the season as favourite for success. Team-mate Mark Webber, who qualified one place ahead of Vettel, could only take fourth spot after another poor start, unable to overhaul McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages.

"We are not [neck-and-neck with McLaren]," Vettel insisted in response to journalists' questions after the race, "I think they were stronger this weekend - look at the result yesterday, look at the result today. As I said, Jenson deserved to win, he was out of reach for us.

"I'm very happy with second, especially after the difficult day we might have had yesterday but, nevertheless, this was race one. I think it was good to finally get back to racing and stop all the talk, to see some results. We always said in winter testing that McLaren looked very strong. They had a very solid winter, no issues with the car. They did a lot of laps every day, so we expected them to be strong.

"Yesterday, they did surprise everyone a little bit with their pace in qualifying and, today, in the race, I think it was looking a bit better for us but, nevertheless, they are the ones to beat at the moment. We will see what we get next weekend - if I remember last year, we were pretty dominant here and then qualifying [in Malaysia] was just a couple of hundredths between Lewis and myself, so we will see what happens."

Starting from row three allowed Vettel to lay to rest questions surrounding his overtaking ability, but he insisted that the qualifying result was not as bad as people were making out.

"People already asked yesterday, 'how do you deal with the disaster of sixth place on the grid?', [but] I don't think it was a disaster," he claimed, "They said we were in the sh*t, then other people behind us, who were at the back of the sh*t. We didn't have the best day yesterday, maybe that's true, but nevertheless, I think I was quite confident going into the race. I felt I can do better, my eyes were on the front, not looking into the mirrors too much.

"I was surprised by Nico [Rosberg] - he had a very good start. I got a bit stuck at the inside, didn't really have an option on where to go and he got past, so then I had two Mercedes ahead. I got past Nico very quickly – which was a great manoeuvre, on edge - and then I was behind Michael [Schumacher], where I made a mistake and went off in the first corner. Then he decided to do exactly the same the next time I got close to him, so that was good.

"I think the racing has already been like this last year, when you had pit-stops and, to make the strategy work, had to pass a couple of guys quickly. It was a little bit the same today although, obviously, all the time for position. At the beginning of the race, right after the lights went out, it was a bit different maybe to the majority of last year, but it's not as if it's a completely new situation.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Podium – 1st Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes, 2nd Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing & 3rd Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes
Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing
23.03.2017 - detail Red Bull Racing RB13
23.03.2017 - detail Red Bull Racing RB13
23.03.2017 - Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13
23.03.2017 - Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
23.03.2017 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
23.03.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
23.03.2017 - detail  McLaren MCL32
23.03.2017 - detail Red Bull Racing RB13
23.03.2017 - Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13 helmet
23.03.2017 - Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13 helmet
23.03.2017 - Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13 helmet
23.03.2017 - The helmet of Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13
23.03.2017 - The helmet of Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13
23.03.2017 - The helmet of Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13

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OilSpud69 - Unregistered

March 19, 2012 2:40 PM

@Gazza1JB Drivers come and go, so I'm not too hung up on any of them. If I could turn back time, I'd rather watch hard chargers like Mansell, Senna and them lot, 24 hrs a day, seven days a week. However time waits for no man, therefore the only solution is to remain true to the ethos of racing. Man and machine in unison at high speed, competing for top honours, no quarter given. Today, thanks to Bernie, who cares more for the circus and the sponsorship money,than staying true to what made F1 great, we are left with nothing but a shadow of what the spectacle really ought to be. Bernie's constantly banging on about bringing the costs down, and yet each year we get new rules that force teams to spend more. Go figure. Fans today care only about their favoured driver, never mind the ethos, and that is part of the problem. Demand more, and maybe all the new money coming in would be put to better use mainting the purity of the ethos.


March 19, 2012 1:50 PM
Last Edited 1830 days ago

@ Oilspud69 Give it a break, in the good old days they winded up the boost by 200-300hp just to overtake the guy in front then back into fuel conservation & tyre conservation mode with no refuelling, no one in any era until the last decade or so went flat out quali laps the whole race, you think Prost went flat out quali laps for the whole 70 lap race to win his championships? I think not... Does that mean Prost is not a big talent & one of the best?

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