Vettel “surprised” by “massive gap” to rivals

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2013Sebastian Vettel said he was surprised to finish so far ahead of his rivals in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel ended the race half a minute ahead of team mate Mark Webber and his lead had been as much as 40 seconds at one stage.

“The car was absolutely brilliant,” said Vettel after taking his 11th win of the year.

“It was flying at some stages, at least it felt like it. Massive gaps, big surprise, really thanks to the team.”

“Thanks to Renault as well,” he added. “A lot of our success is also down to them, they’re doing a very good job and I hope that next year we’ll have an engine that is as powerful and reliable as this year’s.”

Asked what the key was to extracting the most from Pirelli’s tyres Vettel said: “I don’t know if there’s a secret.”

“I’ve got traction control!” he joked, “at least that’s what they said three or four races ago…”

“These tyres are difficult to drive, extremely sensitive. Obviously it helps when you are in free air, not so much in traffic.

“But somehow we got the hang of it more and more so towards the end of the year looking after them, really listening to them and yeah being able to extract maybe a little bit more performance than the other guys.

“But I don’t think there’s any secret genetically. I’ll take it though!”

For the second race in a row Vettel celebrated his win by performing doughnuts in front of one of the stands, but said he doesn’t think he’ll get a fine again.

“No I don’t think because I brought it back so it’s fine,” he said. “As you can see, it’s in parc ferme!”

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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47 comments on Vettel “surprised” by “massive gap” to rivals

  1. The first stint on softs was incredible: he was lapping consistently a second faster than everybody, and managed to extent the stint longer than almost everybody. How can anybody beat him currently?

  2. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 3rd November 2013, 15:47

    Asked what the key was to extracting the most from Pirelli’s tyres Vettel said: “Lobby them in an aggressive PR campaign until they are changed more to your liking.”

  3. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 3rd November 2013, 15:51

    I really hate this about Red Bull. Why are they surprised that a dominant car and a dominant driver isn’t dominant? We’ll arrive in Austin, Horner will play down their chances, Vettel will play down their chances, Horner will then talk about how fast Hamilton was last year, probably conjure up some kind of illusion about a competitive Lotus or Ferrari, and then try to act surprised when Vettel wins by half a minute. And then we’ll arrive in Brazil, and it’ll be “Ohhh, well Mark’s always been quick at this track” from Horner, and yes, he will be quick, but he’ll still come home 20 seconds behind Schu..er, Vettel. STOP IT RED BULL! You have a dominant car. You have a driver at one will the car he’s driving. You have dominated both championships. Please can you accept how irritating it is when you try to act surprised after dominating to the extent that you dominated at Singapore; a track with very similar characteristics as Abu Dhabi. But no, and although I ran out of motivation before I had the chance to watch any of the pre-race interviews, I imagine Horner said something to the tune of, “WOW! We weren’t expecting that! All of the credit of that incredible performance goes to Seb…(sigh)…well, Mark’s a brilliant driver…(yawn)…we’re not being complacent…(sigh)…we should be in good shape at Austin…

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 3rd November 2013, 15:52

      *Why are they surprised that a dominant car and a dominant driver is dominant?

      • shogun said on 3rd November 2013, 16:01

        Really agree. That car in Vettels hands has been a rocketship. The surprise shouldn’t be if he wins but by how much. I would really love to see Vettel go full throttle for a whole race. I believe he could realistically finish a full minute ahead of number 2.

        • Hyoko said on 3rd November 2013, 18:09

          I’d make it well over 2 minutes, really. Something like 2.5 seconds/lap x 55 laps. But the fun of it would be hearing Rocky’s anguished messages ^_^

    • Nick (@nick-uk) said on 3rd November 2013, 15:55

      Trust me. I understand your pain.

    • SpadXIII said on 3rd November 2013, 15:56

      For the sake of sanity I totally ignore the nonentity getting away in an empty RBR and focus on the real race behind, also for the 2nd places in the WDC and WCC championships, etc.

    • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 3rd November 2013, 15:56

      I wonder if the RB engineers get annoyed that they don’t get the credit they deserve. I mean, Sebs great, but, erm whats that saying… ‘You don’t win an F1 race in a Fiat Panda’

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 3rd November 2013, 16:06

        @full-throttle-f1 Exactly! I really don’t know why Red Bull are going on this Vettel publicity drive recently. What are they trying to do? Divert paddock perception that Alonso is the best out there onto Vettel? But why? What’s the point? Are you not selling enough Red Bull caps? I would argue that some of the booing even derived from fans being force feed the concept of Vettel superiority, because every race when Ted Kravitz asks Horner about Vettel’s performance he always says something like, “Mark is a great driver, but Sebastian is really showing that he’s in a different league at the moment.” It drives me mad.

        • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 3rd November 2013, 16:24

          For the same reason Hamilton is praised by Mercedes and for the same reason Alonso is praised by Ferrari.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 3rd November 2013, 16:55

            @mnmracer – Yes, exactly, although for the sake of balance Mercedes have been constantly praising Rosberg for how well he is measuring up against Hamilton, and approximately 100% of any competence shown in a Ferrari in F1 since 2010 has also featured a blue helmet, so I suppose Ferrari are right to grateful; although di Montezemelo was hardy showering Alonso with praise during the summer break. That aside, the top teams always feel compelled to shower their hero drivers with praise, and in the case of Red Bull, compare them to their less illustrious teammates as measure of their greatness. I will choose how I want to interpret the top drivers thank you very much.

          • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 3rd November 2013, 16:57

            “not knowing why Red Bull are going on this Vettel publicity drive recently” is completely irrelevant to how you want to interpret the top drivers.

            I’m not gay, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t know why one man could love another.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:12

            @mnmracer What? By going this publicity drive Red Bull are trying to exert influence over how I interpret the top drivers in F1, whether intentionally or not. First line of political theory – the expression of an opinion is the direct or indirect attempt to exude influence. Parallel external understanding is irrelevant, and is simply a trait of human nature, in fact even dolphins can do it.

        • “Sebastian is really showing that he’s in a different league at the moment.”

          Well, is he not?

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:02

            @vettel1 – Compared to Webber he is, yes, but beyond that, you know as well as I, Max, that any hypothesis as to how he compares to the rest of field is sheer speculation. Frankly, I find it insulting that Horner is constantly trying to persuade me into thinking that Vettel is far superior by comparing him to Webber, and Vettel should find it insulting too. Shouldn’t his on-track performances speak for themselves? Why should they need a dollop of Horner PR served with them?

          • I can sympathise with that: I personally feel Vettel is speaking more than enough for himself with his performances and that it is unnecessary for Horner to almost state the obvious that he’s doing a lot better than Webber. However, is it in the line of duty for a team principle to praise his drivers and team? That could be argued, and I’m sure in a similar position many other team principles would similarly be “blowing their own team’s trumpet” so to speak.

            Whether that is a good thing is of course up for debate @william-brierty!

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:24

            @vettel1 – I have no problem with Horner praising Vettel; he deserves it. But a simple admission of the facts would go down beautifully. Vettel wasn’t challenged out there today, he was under no pressure, and if you saw his onboards he was coasting, drumming his fingers. These aren’t the performances we should be congratulating Vettel for, especially when he’s had so many great victories like Germany and Japan this year. Vettel has a car that is in race trim, about 0.7 seconds a lap clear of the field at the moment, so with such a huge advantage in machinery you’ll have to excuse me for not fainting in surprise when he dominates a race or for not kneeling at his feet in worship.

      • @full-throttle-f1 Vettel always thanks the team when he wins or when he gets a pole. He apologizes when he makes a mistake (like yesterday).
        The media and the fans say extreme things. Either it’s all Newey or it’s all Vettel.

    • You haven’t noted that he is quoted as being surprised at the “massive gap”, not winning. Which is a lot more understandable.

    • iAltair (@ialtair) said on 3rd November 2013, 16:27

      I don’t see why he isn’t suprised when FP1 and FP2 were so close.

    • uan (@uan) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:01

      @william-brierty

      “Why are they surprised that a dominant car and a dominant driver isn’t dominant?”

      The reason they are dominant is that they don’t think ahead, and take each race, each session of the race week, as it comes. When you do that, you keep your expectations in check. Alain Prost was talking with Sky after the race and remarked on how hard they work to achieve what they have. (and suggested that Hamilton needs to do more to emulate Vettel in this regard)

      Also, I think on the outside we can get rather blaise to things, but I’m sure within the teams and paddock, putting 30 seconds on your teammate (who finished P2!) isn’t something you’d ever have an expectation of doing. That kind of gap hasn’t been that common in F1 since the Schumacher era. It might also put what Vettel did last year in perspective – that it had less to do with luck and safety cars and that Vettel can just put in that kind of performances with the RB. The difference this year, being a year older, he seems to be able to do it more much consistently and as his norm.

    • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:05

      @william-brierty @nick-uk

      So you would prefer if they said something like this “Yeah, obviously we are the best, we’ve been dominating that much because the other teams produce crap cars while we are genius. 100% sure we will win the race, the question is ‘by what margin?’ muhahaha!” ?

      Personally, I think it’s great they don’t underestimate their rivals ;)

      • Nick (@nick-uk) said on 3rd November 2013, 21:18

        @paeschli

        They don’t play it all down for the sake of respecting their rivals. At this point none of the teams are bringing new updates to the cars. Red Bull know that they can win quite easily with their current car. It’s won on every kind of circuit by a considerable margin, why should the remaining ones be any different.

        I believe the main reason we get fed so much BS is for the sake of viewing figures. So long as people get told that the Mercedes/Lotus/Ferraris are dangerous and ones to watch, there will be those that believe it. It keeps people interested when there is a challenge at the front to Red Bull. If Horner came out and said nobody had a chance this year there would be those that wouldn’t watch anymore. What the teams say has a direct effect on the commercial value of the sport.

        It is also possible to acknowledge your advantage/success without calling the other cars crap. Instead we get endlessly patronised by Red Bull telling us how they don’t feel they’ll be strong at the next event, how the others have made a step forward this weekend blah blah…. then they go and win the race by half a minute, and having not pushed for dozens of laps anyway (proven by Vettel’s sporadic super laps to claim fastest lap, the rest of the time they just manage a gap). If Vettel was truly let lose in that car I believe he could lap the entire field, even Webber – but doing that, again, is contrary to the commercial interest of the sport.

        • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 3rd November 2013, 22:05

          @nick-uk

          Instead we get endlessly patronised by Red Bull telling us how they don’t feel they’ll be strong at the next event, how the others have made a step forward this weekend blah blah….

          Thats simply not true, in India, Horner said they will keep pushing in the last 3 races to win there too. RB never said they weren’t the favourites for the last races, they just said they take the races one by one and don’t take anything for granted before the race. If you have the fastest car, but you see that some cars can make the tyres last longer (cf. Sebastian was keeping an eye on the Lotus), it’s normal to be alert. If you can finish with a 20 seconds gap in normal conditions but another car can do a pit-stop less, you might not win the race. It’s just about staying focused and knowing that a technical failure can end this streak of wins.

          • Nick (@nick-uk) said on 3rd November 2013, 22:13

            @paeschli The one stop less strategy doesn’t work against Red Bull, they have the best tyre wear management regardless of pace. Vettel was streaking clear today and certainly wasn’t the first car to need to stop. Before the 2nd stops started he was 40 seconds in front. Trying to stop one less time than a Red Bull is a fools hope strategy. Red Bull clearly had enough in reserve to adapt to whatever situation presented itself today.

    • tmax (@tmax) said on 3rd November 2013, 19:49

      @william-brierty what else is Christian supposed to say. We have the best car, everybody else have lemons and we will beat the hell out of them if they dare to come close to us. And oh yeah our drivers are the best of the lot so you guys don’t have a chance at all.

      I am sure Ron Dennis , Frank Williams, Ross Brawn they all said the smae thing when they had a dominant car. It is just being modest and this is a sport which can throw up surprises at any time .

  4. kpcart said on 3rd November 2013, 16:08

    it seems like only yesterday that Hamilton won a race for Mercedes and the media were making all sorts of predictions… the past 7 straight wins by vettel have come so fast, I never saw it coming at the start of the year. Mercedes are still miles off from challenging Redbull over the course of a season – the past 5 seasons (including mercs previous guise as Brawn Gp) shows Redbull gaining as the year goes on, and Merc fading as the year goes on. Most likely they will never catch them, maybe when they get rid of Ross Brawn.

  5. svianna (@svianna) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:42

    I am surprised I have not seen any comment yet about the fact that Vettel’s points alone would be sufficient to give RBR the constructors championship (so far). It is an incredible demonstration of domination over the rest of the field. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for Lewis and Alonso knowing that they are at least as fast (as drivers) as Vettel, but don’t have the equipment to mount a challenge.

  6. Yeah right. Choke yourself on a phallus, Sebastian…

  7. HardHitter said on 3rd November 2013, 18:01

    Sebastian Vettel said he was surprised to finish so far ahead of his rivals in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Including Mark!!! I smell fish. wow. vettel really is superman :)

  8. Patrick (@paeschli) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:09

    “No I don’t think because I brought it back so it’s fine,” he said. “As you can see, it’s in parc ferme!”

    Smart guy :D

  9. Hairs (@hairs) said on 3rd November 2013, 19:14

    I think it’s safe to say vettel is the only one surprised by the red bull’s dominance. Assuming his surprise is genuine and not an attempt at self deprecation.

  10. Comrade Scott said on 4th November 2013, 3:17

    All credit to Vettel. He’s dominating like Schumi but he’s not a total **** on track ramming people and making his teammates give him points. (Or steal their setups like he did with Reubens).

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