Sebastian Vettel scored Red Bull’s first race win of 2010 in Malaysia today, while teammate Mark Webber, who qualified on pole, had to make do with second place behind his young German teammate.
Vettel, who started from third, passed both Nico Rosberg and his teammate in the opening corner. He explained how the opening stages of the race unfolded. “At the start, I realised that I had a good start past Nico (Rosberg). I was then able to gain on Mark; it's a long sprint down to Turn one and I had an advantage, so I took the chance into Turn 1 and just made it through! Mark had a better exit out of Turn 2 though Turn 3, but it was very slippery and we both tried to push. We are here to fight, but you should always keep respect and I think we both had respect for each other. If Mark had been in my position I'm sure he would have done the same. After that it was a question of getting away from our competitors.”
The German controlled the race from that point onwards, but said it wasn’t as easy as he made it look. “I could see that Mark and I had the same pace – he was a little quicker in the beginning, but I was trying to save my tyres so I could pull away before the stop. The second stint was extremely long and it's very hot here – I didn't stop sweating. It's very physical and at some stages I was hoping for rain just to get a bit of a cool down! Yesterday was extremely difficult with the conditions, but today it stayed dry.”
The race winner, who has had a disappointing start to the season up until now, was quick to praise his team. “We have a magnificent car and the key once again was to pace yourself and watch your tyres. Bridgestone did a good job bringing two compounds here that worked well. It's a very good result for us after two races where we didn't finish where we wanted. Thanks to the team – it's crucial not to panic in that moment and stay relaxed as it's a long season. Sitting here on Sunday afternoon after finishing in first position is the best result we can get. On top of that, Mark is in second place. It's a big plus for the team and a lot of points for us, I'm very, very happy.”
Mark Webber described the start was his point of view. “We know these days with the strategy and the way the races unfold that the first part of the race is crucial. I got a bit of wheel spin at the start and Seb got a tow into the first corner. I didn't know where Nico was, so I braked late. Both Seb and I were on the limit to make the first corner. I had a little bit better exit coming out of Turn 2 and the fight continued into Turn 4. We had a chat to Christian at the start of the race and he said “Boys, behave yourselves!” and we did. The spirit and the chemistry in our team is awesome and we fight very hard. You saw that today – it was a good fight between Sebastian and I. It could have gone either way, but in the end he did the job at the crucial stage and deserved the victory.
Summing up the weekend, the Aussia was hiding his disappointment of missing out on the win. “A one two finish for us as a team is sensational. The cars ran very well and it was a nice come back for us after a tough few races where we didn't finish as we wanted to. I'd like to be one spot further up, but it's a great result for the team. We executed a beautiful weekend, so well done to Red Bull and also to Renault, the engines were great today.”
Team principal Christian Horner had plenty of praise for his drivers and the team after their perfect result. “A fantastic team performance. The race ultimately came down to the first 500 metres; both drivers had excellent starts. Sebastian got the inside line into Turn 1, Mark gave him enough space and they fought each other through Turn 2 and into Turn 3. That was the difference between them today, they matched each other tenth for tenth in pace and it was great to see the team achieve a faultless one two finish. It's been a huge amount of hard work.
“Obviously we've had frustrations in the first two races, but the team has stayed focused. We've had tremendous support from the factory this weekend and people gave up their Easter to ensure that our cars had the best opportunity for finishing at arguably one of the toughest races. Both cars behaved impeccably, so it puts us right back in the Championship and gives everyone a lot of confidence.”
Renault’s Fabrice Lom was pleased with the reliability shown by the engine and was very happy with the result. “Woo hoo! What a good result – it's the one we deserved since the beginning of the season, but due to reliability problems we were not able to make it. Now it's done, the reliability is there and it's a one two finish – it's great. After all the difficult times we are a team and are back in the fight. Our big competitors didn't score a lot of points so it's a really good result for us and the engines behaved very well in this heat. We are fully happy today.”