When he lined up on the second place on the grid for the start of the British Grand Prix
on Sunday, Sebastian Vettel
knew that the one must-do item on his to-do list if he was to have a shot at winning the race was to get past Michael Schumacher starting alongside him.
Unfortunately for Vettel, that didn't happen - and not only did Schumacher get away in front, but the Red Bull
also had Felipa Massa leapfrog it from behind.
"Yeah, the start was not too good to be honest, I lost a little bit too much," admitted Vettel after the race. "I had too much wheel slip and I could see the first row disappearing. It was quite tight and with Felipe he had a better start and I lost the position to him."
In the end, Vettel did well not to lose yet another place in the opening corners at Silverstone. "Down to turn four it was extremely tight" I tried to defend the position to Kimi who was right behind," said Vettel. "I think I damaged the front wing a little bit. Not sure how bad it was, but it didn't turn out to be a massive disadvantage. So from there I got stuck a little bit."
Massa proved impervious to his attempts to pass, although Vettel enjoyed the battle: "Once I got close to get past Felipe but he did a very good job, he very hard but very fair, so I enjoyed that a lot."
When it became clear that Vettel wasn't going to be able to pass Massa on the track, and that both cars were being held up by Michael Schumacher while the two leaders - Fernando Alonso
and Mark Webber
- were scampering away at the front in the meantime, the Red Bull
strategists decided that the only only thing for it was an early pit stop.
"We did the right thing coming in a little bit earlier and used to the momentum and got past both Michael and Felipe at the same time, which was good," said Vettel, who was pleased to be shot of the soft option tyre, which he said "didn't perform very well."
"We were aggressive with the first stop and got Seb into clear air, which elevated him up the order," agreed Red Bull
team principal Christian Horner.
After that it was a case of running as hard as possible on the remaining two prime tyre stints and hoping that Fernando Alonso
hit problems when it came to the Ferrari's turn on options in the closing laps. It worked for Webber, who won the race; and it almost worked for Vettel, too.