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Rediff.com  » Sports » Images: Vettel cruises to Australian GP win

Images: Vettel cruises to Australian GP win

Last updated on: March 27, 2011 20:46 IST

'We had a very good race today'

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A coy Sebastian Vettel was determined not to get carried away with a blistering start to his world title defence at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Despite blowing away his rivals in qualifying and then claiming a pole-to-chequered flag victory for Red Bull, the 23-year-old said he was most delighted to get his first finish at Albert Park in four attempts.

"I don't really like the word dominant at this stage," the German told reporters.

"Yesterday (Saturday), was a very good day for us and the gap was good to Lewis (Hamilton) and McLaren. Nevertheless, I keep telling the team, it is a long, long season.

"We had a very good race today, won a lot of points, and enjoyed ourselves, which is even more important, and now we have to take it step-by-step.

"It will be very close, but the most important thing is to finish. The car was quick from the very first moment but also very reliable," he said.


Image: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel celebrates after winning the Australian GP at the Albert Park Circuit
Photographs: Getty Images
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'You can't rely on just having a good car'

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Vettel's pace was all the more impressive given team boss Christian Horner decided not to use the KERS system, which provides a boost of power to the driver at the push of a button, because of reliability problems.

Initially refusing to discuss the issue, Vettel finally opened up when he was told that Horner had let the secret out of the bag.

"He could have told me first, I was pushing the button all race and there was nothing there," he joked.

"It's something we're not proud of and we should have a solution for Malaysia," he added, referring to the second round of the championship on April 10.

"You can't rely on just having a good car, and everything running smoothly, you want every single bit that you can get to make your car go quicker.

"KERS is one of the basic things this year and clearly there is a performance benefit from it," he added.


Image: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel crosses the line winning the Australian Grand Prix
Photographs: Reuters
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Webber woes

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His teammate Mark Webber had a less satisfactory day, struggling to keep pace and settling for fifth place, matching his best previous finish at his home race.

"It would have been frustrating wherever I was," said the 34-year-old, who finished third in the title race last year.

"I was pushing as hard as I could but I wasn't getting much back. Similar to yesterday. I haven't been on the pace all weekend and obviously we'll look into why.

"To finish that far behind is not really usual but let's stay cool, it's the first race.

"Disappointing obviously to not get a much better result here because it was certainly possible but in the end, everyone deserved the result they got today," he added.

Vettel, meanwhile, celebrated by having a birthday cake fight with former Red Bull driver David Coulthard, who turned 40 on Sunday, and also promised some treats for his mechanics.

"All in all, very, very happy, we worked many, many hours," he said.

"Now the mechanics can have pizza and beer tonight, which is a good reward," he added.


Image: Mark Webber walks back to the paddock area after the Australian Grand Prix
Photographs: Getty Images
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Hamilton keen to catch up

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Lewis Hamilton is confident McLaren can close the gap on Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull after staging a stunning turnaround to finish second behind the world champion at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Briton said he felt privileged after coming from such an unpromising position in pre-season testing to a podium finish after the team made dramatic changes to the car for the season opener.

"I think we can take this and be very proud of ourselves," he told a news conference.

"A week or two ago, we were not expecting to be anywhere near the top five.

"So to come away with a second, the car was reliable, this was the longest the car ever lasted. I think it's a great achievement.

"Clearly we were catching Sebastian early on in the race... Generally we had very good pace and I'm looking forward to the next race.

"This is a great platform for us to push on from," he added.

Australia has not been a happy hunting ground for the 26-year-old since he won the race on his way to the world title in 2008.


Image: Lewis Hamilton celebrates after the Australian Grand Prix
Photographs: Getty Images
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Sutil, Resta rise to 9th, 10th

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Force India drivers Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta on Sunday sneaked into the points bracket following Sauber pair's disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix.

Sutil and di Resta had finished outside the points bracket at 11th and 12th respectively but they were elevated to the ninth and 10th spot after the exclusion of Sauber pair of Kamui Kobayashi and Mexican Sergio Perez for breaching technical regulations.

FIA stewards said that Kobayashi, who finished eighth and Perez, in seventh, were found to have breached technical regulations relating to the uppermost rear wing of their cars and will not get any points from the race.

Both Sutil and di Resta made a good start to the race, running in 10th and 12th respectively by the end of lap one.

Di Resta was the first to pit for a set of new option tyres on lap 14 while Sutil's first stop came on lap 16.

For the team's second pit stops, Sutil came in for prime tyres on lap 37 and di Resta for new primes on lap 36.

The pair then ran consistently in 11th and 12th, maintaining their positions until the chequered flag.

The exclusion of the Sauber drivers also helped Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who rised to the seventh place, ahead of Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull won the race.


Image: Force India's Adrian Sutil during the Formula One race
Photographs: Getty Images
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