Sebastian Vettel said the team had to tread a fine line on race strategy in Sepang.
Speaking after winning the Malaysian Grand Prix he said: “I think the Grand Prix was quite different to what we saw two weeks ago, especially with tyres going off.
“On one side you don’t want to be first in [to the pits] because obviously the shorter you get the more stops you might have to do in the end. On the other hand if someone has the advantage on new tyres they might under-cut you.
“I think it was quite difficult and obviously it was tight with Lewis. I always had a couple of seconds in hand so we could control that but still it was never easy until the last stint.
“Then obviously Lewis had a problem, I don’t know what happened to him. I realised Jenson was behind and I could comfortably control the gap with not too many laps to go.”
Vettel added that Nick Heidfeld inadvertently helped him at the start by passing Lewis Hamilton:
“The start was really crucial. I thought I had a really good start, I saw Lewis lining up behind me quickly.
“And then I was surprised going into turn one, all of a sudden I saw something black in my mirrors and I knew it was Lotus, so then I realised it was Nick.
“Obviously for the first stint I think it was a good thing to have him because I could pull away lap by lap.”
Vettel said he lost the use of KERS at times during the race:
“Obviously it was not according to plan, but then it was coming back. It was a little bit on-off during the race.
“It’s something we have to work on but still never forget two weeks ago we didn’t race it at all. Today it was very crucial at the start without KERS we would have been in a completely different position and the race would have unfolded in a different way.”
Despite winning his fourth race in a row Vettel says he’s wary of the growing threat of Ferrari and McLaren: “We can’t stop pushing, we’ve seen how close it is, much closer here than in Australia. So that’s how quickly things can change so we have to keep our heads cool and keep working, keep pushing.”
2011 Malaysian Grand Prix
- Hamilton says Sepang driving “didn’t put anyone in danger”
- Domenicali praises Massa’s “return to form” in Malaysia
- 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Who was the best driver of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend?
- Red Bull stay ahead but KERS is still a weakness
- Ferrari on form in race after poor qualifying
- Hamilton called for his extra tyre stop at McLaren
- Renault recover from Friday drama for podium
- Schumacher scores for struggling Mercedes
- Two more retirements “not acceptable” at Williams
Browse all 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix articles