Sebastian Vettel has praised the entire Red Bull operation for putting him in a position to dominate the Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite the expected appearance of the safety car at around mid-distance, the German was only briefly headed – by Nico Rosberg into turn one – as he cruised to a 30+ seconds win, telling his team that that's 'what I mean by total control' as he took the chequered flag.
“It doesn't happen just like that, and it was not easy to get everything right all weekend, but I'm extremely happy,” he told the media after extending his championship advantage to 60 points over Fernando Alonso, who finished a distant second in the race.
“I think the whole team can be extremely proud. I know how much work is going in. Here obviously we have a funny rhythm - when it's nine o'clock, the curfew kicks in. That's when our mechanics leave the track on Saturday morning. But they are flat-out, checking everything on the car they can, [and it's the] same with the engineers, [who work] late hours in the office here, but also in the factory. There's a lot of team effort going in and, if we have results like today, where we have the luxury to control the race at some stage, then it's because of those late hours, because of the commitment that goes in from everybody. It's just a privilege to be part of the team and be part of that.”
Vettel's success was not only his seventh of the season, but his third in a row on the streets of Marina Bay, in a race he deems to be the toughest of the season.
“Well, the toughest in terms of physical challenge, I think,” he clarified, “A couple of years ago, Fernando asked for the race to be a bit shorter, and it's quite long, to be honest. Obviously it depends where you are in the race, but I think, from a physical point of view, this is the most challenging. It's not because there are so many high-speed corners, but it's a long lap, there are a lot of corners, no room for mistakes, very bumpy, very humid, artificial lights – all this makes it a very tough combination. It's then even sweeter to be successful here.”
The only threat to his 'total control' came within seconds of the start of what became a two-hour race, and Vettel admits that he was fortunate to be able to emerge in front after Rosberg's determined challenge.
“When the lights went off, I thought I reacted pretty well, but was a bit lazy to get off the line,” he revealed, “I thought that Nico might still be there - he was and we were side-by-side, kind of, so I had to give him room. Fortunately, he was braking quite deep into turn one and I was able to come back on the inside to get the position.
“The next corner was a left-hander, so I got in front and, from there, we had a very, very strong pace. The safety car didn't help, but also I think didn't hurt us and, at the very end, obviously, we had a new set of supersoft [tyres], compared to those guys, who were obviously on very old primes by then, so we could control the race.”