Sebastian Vettel felt second place was the best he could've achieved in today's Australian Grand Prix given his unusually low qualifying position. The World Champion was forced to work his way through from sixth on the grid but managed to split the McLarens after jumping Lewis Hamilton when the safety car came out on lap 37.
Vettel conceded that Jenson Button was “unbeatable” today but expects to mount a strong challenge to him and Hamilton in this year's championship battle.
“I'm very happy with myself today – I think it was the most we could have achieved. I felt good in the car. Even before the safety car, I think we would have had a good shot at Lewis towards the end, as we were getting close. I decided to stay out when he went to the pits and we would have had a crack even without the safety car. I think it was a great race – a lot of fun. I had a good start initially and was surprised by Nico, who had a very good start and got past. I passed him again, which was a great manoeuvre and on the edge. Behind Michael, I had a mistake and went off in the first corner; he then did exactly the same when I got close to him, which was good. Congratulations to McLaren and to Jenson, I think he drove a fantastic race and was unbeatable today. I'm very happy to come away with second place, it's a lot of points and I think people would not have expected it after yesterday. I think we had a better car in the race and it seems to have a lot of potential, now it's up to us to get to it. Thanks to everyone who is pushing so hard and making this race result possible today.”
Red Bull teammate Mark Webber also drove well to finish fourth and pressurised Hamilton in the closing stages, suggesting that the RB8 has the pace to challenge McLaren, and the Australian is already relishing the prospect of racing against them in Malaysia.
“There are some positives to take out of today. Qualifying was difficult for us, but the race pace was better today, it was just that we didn't have track position. I had a poor start, so I need to see what happened there and then I got sandwiched at Turn 1. I didn't want the race to be over; I was able to keep going and then started to build from there. The car felt quite tricky on the options in the first stint and I wondered if I had some damage from the first corner, but then when I got the primes the race came alive for me. We had a bit of luck with the safety car and I was quicker than Lewis at the end, but it's a difficult track to overtake here – in Malaysia it would have been a different story. Today was a strong showing for us and it was a good day for Red Bull Racing given what we went to bed with last night, we had a bit on, but this was a good comeback. It was a strong start.”
Team Principal Christian Horner echoed the thoughts of his drivers and congratulated them for salvaging second and fourth from the third row of the grid.
“After a difficult day yesterday, we saw strong recovery races today from both Sebastian and Mark. After surviving the first corner, Sebastian made a very good move on Rosberg and then set about chasing Michael (Schumacher) who went off ahead of him. Then he started to reel in the McLarens and, before the safety car, was closing the gap to Lewis. On the second stint he went onto the option tyre, rather than the prime and then the pace car came out and we managed to get Seb in, turned around and out just ahead of Hamilton. Jenson was just that little bit too quick, especially at the restart, but nonetheless a great recovery for Seb to finish second and be on the podium.”
“For Mark, after getting caught up by Rosberg and Alonso, once he got into free air he really got his head down and at that point was the quickest car on the circuit. He went onto the prime tyre, doing the opposite to Sebastian as he had an additional new set available to him from yesterday. Again, the right call under the safety car put him out right behind Hamilton and you could see how desperate he was in the remaining ten laps. He tried everything to pass Lewis to be on the podium here in Australia. Unfortunately, he didn't quite make it, but a great recovery to get a double finish in second and fourth.”