Vettel “surprised” by race pace after tyre worries

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Sebastian Vettel indicated his relied at the performance of the Red Bull in the Belgian Grand Prix.

He had started the race amid concerns over how long his soft tyres would last having blistered them in qualifying.

Speaking in the post-race press conference he said: “We had a lot of concerns going into the race after the damage we had on the tyres from qualifying. So we weren’t quite sure and actually took quite a lot of risk.

“We had reason to be confident it should be fine but you never really know and there’s no-one walking up and down the paddock giving you a guarantee,

“We didn’t feel too comfortable and both of us stopped fairly early, right at the beginning of the race. The main target was to see how the tyres feel after a couple of laps and to go from there, really, not thinking too much about the outcome.

“But, surprisingly, the pace was very good in the race, I was feeling very comfortable in the car and without too much effort in the beginning I was able to keep up with the guys and get back into the lead.

“So halfway through the race after the safety car it was crucial to get back in the lead, jump Fernando, and build a gap, which obviously made it more comfortable towards the end of the race. But as I said it was more management than usual.

“But I have to say the car worked brilliantly and I think to compare to previous years we were very competitive.

“So I’m very, very happy with the result and very happy with the race, and how we managed the tyres in particular. So I think we need to learn from that and head now to the next race.”

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    19 comments on “Vettel “surprised” by race pace after tyre worries”

    1. It wasn’t the pure race pace but good timing of the safety car IMO.

      1. And Ferrari’s bizarre strategy.

    2. Red Bull did a good job, especially with Vettel, need to work on Webbers starting asap, but they have found a way to have reasonable straight line speed. Monza now also looking like they can go for a podium at the least.

      1. If there’s a place where we could see Red Bull weak, it should be Monza… All those straights should give an advantage to the Mercedes cars too.

        1. True, and after today’s Mercedes performance, they can be expected to show good results, and maybe FI as well.

          McLaren, well, I somehow expect HAM either to get a penalty, or hit/crash somehow, while Button nearly gets qualifying right, but not well enough to win, but good enough to again do a great race to the podium. Behind Vettel, no doubt.

          Ferrari will look strong, as they always do at Monza, but last year at this time they were stronger on the harder tyre, and Red Bull weaker on this type of track. So Alonso will get at least close to a podium, maybe 2nd, while Massa will have a great race with a too long, or extra, pit stop, or having gotten backed up behind someone.

          1. I think McLaren migth be even more of a danger come Monza. First of all they will not need to have much wings up, giving them better top speeds.

            And both Button and Hamilton might have posed had a chance at Vettel if not for the bad qualifying and the race incident for the other.

            But for the sake of a good race, let us hope that the FIA finds a nice and ineffective place for DRS there, if we want to see a great battle like last year.

            1. I don’t think the McLarens could have won today. Red Bull easily had the pace on everyone and were controlling the race from the start.
              Last year we saw that McLaren did have an advantage in regards to straight line speed, but with DRS and KERS this year pretty much every team sets their gear ratios too low and they hit the rev limiter long before the braking zone at the end of the straights.
              McLaren had relatively low top speed compared to the others today and it cost them.
              With that in mind…I don’t think they’ll have any sort of advantage in Monza either.

        2. I expect Mercedes will burn up their rear tyres in the traction zones, but we’ll have to see.

    3. I enjoyed the footage of Vettel poking the Pirelli employee in the chest. It was nice to see him genuinely rattled, concerned and involved all at once.

      Perhaps he is not the joking, laid back boy that the media like to portray. A great drive by him.

      1. I think it’s more that he presents his happy face to the media rather than they go looking for it, as you saw today when he does get serious they pick up on it.

    4. The Bulls got great straight line speed this weekend! Was quite weird, really!

      1. Yeah, they were relatively weak at twisted circuits recently and fast at straight…It looks like their strength is swapped.

    5. Keith there is a typo in the first sentence, I assume it is relief instead of relied :)

    6. Let’s be real /alonso were challenging the bull right up until the sc appeared. When vettel pitted and alonso did not. alonso was in a clear disadvantage. he was in old tire,had to make them last longer and do more laps with the harder compound. so I was clearly ,the ferrari team ,the person who comes up with the strategy that lost the race,he should be fired. they need someone smart for that place,red bull doesn’t make those mistakes. Ferrari lost the wdc last year because of the strategy. It doesn’t matter to have a good car if they are throwing away point like that.

      1. They wont have any engineers left if they keep firing them

      2. But Webber remained out on primes and after the last pit stops passed Alonso easily, if Webber had been ahead of Alonso at the re-start I doubt it would have finished any better for Alonso.

    7. I thought the end of the race was going to be great if McLaren and Red Bull struggled on their tyres. It didn’t happen, Alonso was already behind the Bulls and Felipe was too much behind.

    8. And still the Pirelli’s surprise us, the teams and the drivers! Fantastic.

    9. Now it’s a question of when (which race) rather then if Vettel will clinch the WCT.Great drive.

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