25 November 2013
Brazilian Grand Prix: Vettel: We were lucky to get away with pit-stop
Sebastian Vettel admits that the Brazilian Grand Prix could have been closer after chaos at his second pit-stop.
Sebastian Vettel insists that his record-equalling 13th win of the season nearly didn't happen, after Red Bull appeared unprepared for his second pit-stop.
The four-time world champion appeared to be cruising to victory after dispensing with Nico Rosberg early on, and even as team-mate Mark Webber slowly eroded the deficit between them, but nearly came unstuck as Red Bull anticipated the possible appearance of the safety car following a collision between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
With the Williams stranded at the side of the road, the RBR team on the pit-wall decided to act, but ended up with confusion in pit-lane – and its two cars queuing for service.
Although the crew did not appear to have Vettel's tyres ready for him, the German insists that the call to pit was not his, removing any question that he had attempted to unsettle Webber on his last outing with the team.
“I didn't decide to pit,” he stressed, “Obviously, with the weather, it was critical, and we were trying to go as long as possible because we didn't know [when it would rain again]. When it starts to rain and you pit one lap before, you lose a lot of time because you have to come in again to fit inters so, basically, I was told, at the exit of turn twelve, to box if I can.
“I had enough time to get ready [although], arguably, the team was on the limit. Obviously, they were preparing a stop for both cars, so they had to get both set of tyres out, mine and Mark's, and I think it was just a little bit of a rush because the team was afraid of a safety car.
“Obviously, I didn't know what was going on around the track. The team is able to monitor that much better, whereas I'm very good at judging what's going on where I am right now but not five, six corners down the road, and I think that was the reason why I got called in. Unfortunately, it got a bit messy….”
With Vettel still stationary when Webber arrived, and a more competitive Fernando Alonso staying out on track, the delay could have proved costly for Red Bull.
“I think I had three wheels on the car but was waiting for the front right,” the German recalled, “For some reason, last year and this year, it seemed to be the front right…. They let me wait for a little bit. I saw that Mark was queuing behind me and I wanted to go but there was a bit of chaos in the pit-lane!
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