• Chinese Grand Prix - Race

Vettel happy with 'difficult' second

ESPNF1 Staff
April 17, 2011 « Hamilton praises team and strategy for win | »
Sebastian Vettel had a poor start and had to hold Nico Rosberg off in to turn two © Getty Images
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Sebastian Vettel has said he was happy with second position in the Chinese Grand Prix, after experiencing what he called a 'difficult race'.

A poor start left Vettel in third place after the first corner behind both McLaren's, and as a result Red Bull switched to a two stop strategy. Although he regained the lead on two occasions and was in first place with six laps to go, his worn tyres meant Lewis Hamilton was able to pass easily late in the race, and Vettel said the start was crucial.

"I think the start was not the best we had this year," he said. "For some reason it seems the left hand side is worse than the right hand side here, plus the fact that you turn right doesn't really help. It wasn't a 100% good start so I also lost a position to Lewis who started behind me. Then it was about being patient, I think we treated the tyres better in the first stint and could have stayed out but there's no point in doing that because you try obviously to pit earlier.

And then I think we probably tried too hard staying on two stops, so the middle stint ideally should have been a bit longer but surely in the end you'll find yourself out there on the hard tyre. I saw Lewis coming closer and closer and there was no point really [in fighting too hard], I tried to defend as much as I can without losing too much time to the guys behind, but he found his way past easily."

It was the first race that Vettel has not won this season, and he gave McLaren some praise for Hamilton's victory, but said they had profited from the Red Bull mistakes.

"It was a difficult race for us, as I said we did a couple of mistakes on top of that we had some problems but still we finished second so I'm very very happy with that. So first of all congratulations to Lewis and to McLaren, they did a very good job and it shows that one second or one race where you just try something a bit different and you do mistakes - it's natural - and there's someone else to beat you."

Vettel also had problems with his radio communication to the pit wall, which he said meant he was unaware to feed back to the team about how the car was handling.

"It didn't make it easy because usually you exchange information; how the tyres, what the other guys do, which tyres they're on and so on. So I asked a lot of questions but didn't get any answers, so we had a problem with communication. On top of that I don't know how much it was shown but we had some problem with KERS in the race as well so as I said it wasn't a trouble free race.

We see Mark obviously had a good race and very good pace so the pace was there, it was there all weekend. But once we decided to go two stop obviously you have to be patient, look after the tyres, and when it just doesn't work it doesn't work. So that's why I think we missed that one step today."

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