7 October 2013
Korean Grand Prix: Race 'more or less in control' - Vettel
The Korean GP might not have been quite the crushing domination that Sebastian Vettel had enjoyed in the previous outing at Singapore, but he admitted that things had been pretty much under control.
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.
"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.
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