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Vettel 'pretty happy' with fifth given poor first lap

15 April 2012


Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel felt he made a 'good recovery' today in the Chinese Grand Prix, the third round in the 2012 F1 World Championship.

Vettel found himself unceremoniously knocked-out in Q2 on Saturday at the Shanghai International Circuit and lining up eleventh on the grid he had it all to do. A bad start didn't help his cause either, but nevertheless he managed to come back through the pack.

Indeed despite being passed late on by both the McLaren's of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate, Mark Webber, as his tyres dropped off, he two-stopped his way to fifth place overall and what could be ten vital world championship points.

“I had no tyres left at the end of the race. Sitting in the car, I was reacting with brake balance, diff, everything to try and keep the tyres, but by the last few laps, I knew the only chance was trying to keep ahead of Kimi [Raikkonen]; I think he ran into the same sort of problem,” Vettel explained.

“We got some good points though, and it was a good recovery from 15th. Mercedes won pretty comfortably today, so well done to them. We were generally too slow on the straights, and we're losing time there; it made it difficult to pass other people. But overall, I'm pretty happy with fifth given the poor first lap.

“I missed out on the start, I wasn't entirely happy finding the revs and I lost the initial bit when the lights went off. Usually I'm pretty quick with that, but today I was one of the last ones. The first lap wasn't great, but with the strategy we managed to come back.

“I think the weekend was good for us, we learned a lot and hopefully we will take these lessons on board and go in the right direction for next week,” added the 2010 and 2011 F1 world champion.

Red Bull Racing team principal, Christian Horner meanwhile was reasonably happy with the 4-5 result.

“That was very busy and action packed race. Ultimately from where we started, and where we were on the first lap, we faced some difficult strategic decisions,” he continued. “We were the first to stop with Mark, which was very aggressive. We stopped early with Sebastian and split the strategies at that point – Mark on a three-stop and Seb onto a two-stop and the race started to unfold.

“Our race pace was pretty strong and we got amongst the McLarens. Unfortunately, the front left tyre on Sebastian's car took a real hammering, possibly behind Kimi, and he didn't have anything left tyre-wise by the end of the race, but nonetheless having been fifteenth on the first lap, fifth is still a strong result.

“Mark also went onto a long last stint. He had a great scrap with Lewis, we got Mark track position to Lewis and he just lost out at the end there. Nonetheless, it was a good haul of points. Congratulations to Nico Rosberg and to Mercedes on their Grand Prix victory.”


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