While he was unable to run away and hide at the front in Korea as he had two weeks ago in Singapore, Sebastian Vettel admitted that he hadn't been too worried about holding on to the lead and clinching his eighth win of 2013 in this weekend's Korean Grand Prix. That's despite potential problems with tyre graining, front-right tyre wear and two safety car periods that allowed the field to close right up to him for the restarts.

"Yeah, not great getting stuck behind the safety car. Obviously we had [built up] a little bit of a gap," said Vettel after the race. "Fortunately we had enough pace to always open up a little bit of a gap even though I think Kimi and Romain, to be fair, were pretty competitive the longer the stint was.

"You never know whether the safety car helps you or not. I think Lotus probably had more range today," he suggested, suggesting that if the second round of stops hadn't been dictates by the safety car then the final stint might have had a different complexion to it.

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"Romain could have afforded for the last stint to pit a little bit earlier than us. Maybe we could not react to that immediately because we know that it will be tight for our range, so I think it would have been close without the safety car," he said. "But in the end, I think Kimi was obviously quite consistent, doing lap times around 1:42.0s and we just had two or three tenths in hand. Maybe at the very end, a little bit more. I think he was also controlling the gap to Romain behind but as I said, maybe in terms of raw pace we were a little bit quicker, but in terms of range, the Lotus was again very strong."

Vettel said that the Lotus drivers were once again doing a better job with their tyre management compared with the Red Bull, with the pit wall having to caution Vettel on a number of occasions to ensure that he didn't over-stress the medium Pirelli compounds during what proved to be two lengthy runs during the 55-lap race.

"This track, it's known that the limit is the front-right - we saw it the previous years," he said. "It's good to have the team on the radio warning you - because obviously you see what's going on, the tyre grains immediately and then kind of stabilises.

"They obviously have a lot of data that they go through and they could obviously follow pretty well what was happening on the track," he explained. "Obviously I have my eye on the front right, it's quite easy to see. It's more tricky with the rear tyres in the mirrors, but we know that this track is pretty monster for the front tyres, especially front right.

"When it stops graining basically there's nothing left and that's quite dangerous because it's quite likely to have a big lock-up. You have a flat spot, which could end with pitting the stint earlier than you want or having a tyre puncture. So yeah, they were quite worried, similar to last year.

"I thought I had it more or less in control but obviously it's good to communicate," he added.

Key to Vettel's success on Sunday was the start, which saw him make a textbook getaway from the front of the grid and easily beat the Mercedes of fellow front row man Lewis Hamilton into the first corner.

"To be the first car is the worst because you have no tow," he pointed out. "I had a good start and could focus on the first corner. I had a very good exit and was able to get a couple of metres between myself and Lewis and then I think Lewis was in more trouble with Romain from behind into turn 3 and I obviously benefit from that and had a little bit of cushion and again for the next straight and then kept the lead - which I think was crucial.

"After that I tried to build a gap and keep it quite consistent. I knew that on the soft tyres it will be tricky and yeah, obviously with the safety car later on it got quite busy!"

Vettel came in to exchange his option tyres for the medium prime flavour on lap 11, much earlier than had been expecting - but Vettel said that this was more a reaction to the events going on around them than because they were having any problems.

"To be honest I think we came in last. I think we reacted to the other people behind. I think Lewis pitted lap nine, Romain lap ten. In that regard we had to react because obviously a ten, twelve lap-old supersoft tyre is slower than a new Prime," he said. "We were responding to them. I think we could have stayed out another two or three laps but it didn't really hurt our strategy. I think we estimated more or less to pit around that time."

The timing of the safety car pulled the second round of pit stops even further forward than expected, but Vettel hadn't been worried about making the final set of primes last to the finish from there.

"In terms of tyre age it was no problem," he said. "Obviously the cars get lighter towards the end, so fortunately we didn't have to challenge the absolute maximum out of the tyres because I think the Lotuses were probably a little bit better in terms of endurance.

"The speed was there and in the end obviously I tried to build up a little bit of a gap to Kimi and keep it quite consistent," he added, after finishing the race four seconds clear of Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

That's a lot closer than the mammoth half-minute advantage he'd ended up with in Singapore. But despite the complicating factors of the safety cars and tyre wear, it didn't sound as though the weekend had been anything other than an enjoyable routine shift at the office for Vettel, who is now close to clinching his fourth consecutive world championship title - possibly as early as next weekend in Suzuka at the Japanese Grand Prix.

"I'm very much looking forward to one of the highlights during the season," said Vettel. "I think it's the best track in the world, to be honest."