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Vettel thrilled by 'fantastic weekend' in Singapore

22 September 2013

Sebastian Vettel led from lights to flag at Singapore on Sunday, with just a few seconds the first time through turn 1 the only point at which he seemed even remotely under threat of losing control of the race.

"It's just been a fantastic weekend," Vettel said afterwards. "The start was close, but then we had strong race pace, especially when the safety car came in, and we pushed very hard to try to build up a gap."

The safety car had wiped out an early big lead, but once the race resumed Vettel seemed to be able to pull away from the rest of the field at warp speed, sometimes more than two seconds a lap faster than the next car down the road. In the end he finished over half a second clear of second-place man Fernando Alonso and made it look like a walk in the park.



"You never know what's coming up and what can happen," he cautioned. "I kept my concentration by reminding myself how easily you can make a mistake around here, the walls are close and if you don't pay enough attention it can go wrong pretty quickly. I focused on hitting the brakes correctly and on saving the tyres.

"The last ten laps seemed to go on forever inside the car," he added, mindful that things can go wrong at any time - and perhaps alluding to the developing drama on the sister Red Bull during this time, which was suffering from terminal engine woes that forced Mark Webber to retire on the final lap of the race and drop from an expected fourth place finish to 15th in the final classified standings.

"I think I did pretty much everything I could today," said the Australian. "Then six laps from the end, the guys were getting worried about the car ... I was having to short shift, but then, unlike Monza, we started to lose a lot of power. We were just trying to get home at that point but then on the last lap we caught fire."

Webber had to pull over at turn 7, and later hitched a lift back to pit lane from Fernando Alonso - an act which earned them both a reprimand from the stewards. As it's Webber's third reprimand of the season that means a ten-place grid penalty will have to be served in the next race in Korea. (See separate story.)

"A really bittersweet result today," said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner who joined Vettel on the podium but who was clearly disappointed for Webber. "There was huge frustration for Mark that after two hours of driving really well we could see with 12 laps to go that we began to lose water pressure. The water then effectively ran out at which point it is only a matter of time until the engine overheats, which is what happened on the last lap - it was cruel luck."

By comparison, the only blot on Vettel's day was that his appearance on the top of the podium was greeted by another chorus of boos from the crowd, despite admonishment from master of ceremonies Martin Brundle.

"Some people like what we do, some people don't," Vettel said. "If they boo, it's a compliment - that's the way I take it, they are jealous because I win. It seems as if they are on a tour and they are wealthy enough to come on flights to Singapore.

"I was really amazed to hear the booing going on," said Brundle later. "It has become a default, and it's wrong because the guy has just put in stunning sporting performance ... They don't like one person dominant, but what can you do? He is in a groove and in a class of his own. We should be celebrating that brilliance."

Vettel said he hadn't been expecting to have the sort of performance advantage over the rest of the field that he eventually displayed on Sunday.

"We didn't expect to be that strong, but it's a team effort," he insisted. "Everyone is pushing hard and I think the secret, if there is one, is that we love what we do and we're so passionate.

"The conditions aren't great here with the heat, but the team always pushes hard and I think that's what makes the difference. I'd like to say to everyone working for team that it's a privilege for me to be driving the car you have built."

His complimentary words were echoed back to him by Horner, who called Vettel's race on Sunday "a phenomenal performance by Sebastian. It was one of his strongest ever drives."

Horner added that Vettel had truly earned the pay after the safety car came out and wiped out the early lead the young German had enjoyed. "It wasn't the best moment for us and after that, Seb needed to pull out a gap of 27 seconds. He pulled out 30 seconds in 15 laps, at times lapping over two seconds quicker than the rest of the field.

"It was incredible to watch and it was a thoroughly deserved and really dominant victory today," he added - with which few people who saw the race could dispute.

"It's easy to forget how young he is - he is only just 26," added Horner. "The talent has always been there, but as he gets more experience he is just continuing to improve. He works so hard, he leaves no stone unturned, and he is more self-critical than any other driver I've ever worked with."


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