Tipsy Vettel revels in belated joy of victory
Sebastian Vettel giggled and admitted he had sipped too much champagne when he addressed the media after storming to victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The German led a Red Bull one-two ahead of team-mate Mark Webber and his eagerness to celebrate could be forgiven as the team finally converted on a strong qualifying session after mechanical failures deprived him of two victories this season.
It was a case of third time lucky in Malaysia after Vettel sped past Nico Rosberg and pole-sitter Webber to charge into the lead by turn one, before cruising to the chequered flag without a hint of the unreliability that has dogged the team this season.
"I feel a bit tipsy because of the champagne. I think I sipped too much," Vettel said before the start of his news conference.
Image: Red Bull Formula One team members pour champagne over driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany after he won the Malaysian F1 GP
'It was crucial for the team not to panic'
"What a day!" he told reporters. "We had a magnificent car and the key once again was to pace yourself. At the end of the day, a very good result for us and for myself after two races where I didn't finish where I wanted to be.
"It was crucial for the team not to panic and to stay relaxed. It is a long season but this is the best result we could get and on top of that Mark getting second place is a big plus for the team and a lot of points," he added.
Once in front, Vettel's only concern was the prospect of Webber utilising a faster stop to gain track position but the threat never materialised when the Australian was delayed by a stubborn front right wheel in the pits.
Image: Sebastian Vettel with the trophy
"The second stint was extremely long and it's extremely hot here so I didn't stop sweating," Vettel added.
"Fortunately I did not run out of drinks in the car. I was trying not to be too extreme at the beginning but it is very hot very physical at some stage I was hoping for rain just to get a bit of a cool down," he joked.
Webber lamented a wheel spin at the start of the race that cost him vital speed off the grid but was still delighted to follow Vettel home, well clear of the field.
Team principal Christian Horner explained how he had briefed the drivers to behave themselves if they got into a race situation and not go wheel-to-wheel, adding that the result was a vindication for the work his engineers had put in.
"We've got a great team. We've had tremendous support this weekend, we've had guys in the factory throughout the Easter weekend so this is a big result for them as well," Horner said.
"We've got a fast car, we've got two great drivers. we should have won the first two races, we didn't but we've fought back and finished the job off here today."
Image: Sebastian Vettel crosses the line
Kubica finishes fourth
Renault's Robert Kubica followed up last week's second place in Melbourne with another strong showing in fourth, ahead of Adrian Sutil's Force India. The German held off McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who was sixth, for the second half of the race.
The McLarens and Ferraris started on the back four rows of the grid after misjudging the conditions in qualifying on Saturday but Hamilton made light of starting in 20th place by surging into the points by the end of the fourth lap.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa followed Hamilton through the field to take seventh place from 21st on the grid and move into the lead in the championship after team mate Fernando Alonso failed to finish.
Massa has 39 points, Alonso and Vettel 37 with McLaren's world champion Jenson Button on 35.
Image: Robert Kubica
McLaren pair happy in points after qualifying woes
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton produced a blistering start to move up 10 places in the opening four laps at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday and salvage a sixth place finish after his qualifying woes.
Qualifying in 20th place following a team misjudgment on the Malaysian rain, Hamilton's chances of securing championship points looked tough when forecasted showers failed to materialise at the Sepang circuit.
Team-mate and world champion Jenson Button also finished in the points in eighth, behind winner Sebastian Vettel, after qualifying 17th.
"Overall I'm well happy with that," Hamilton told reporters. "I could not ask for any more -- 20th to sixth. I really think the team deserved it. So we'll take forward a lot of positives with us into the next race.
"I couldn't see a thing when you went down the inside of A1 the dust that came up was incredible."
Hamilton is sixth in the drivers' standings on 31 points, eight behind leader Felipe Massa of Ferrari while Button is fourth on 35.
Image: McLaren leads the way at Malaysian GP