Red Bull chief hails Vettel’s GP drive

Red Bull chief hails Vettel’s GP drive

ABU DHABI - Agence France-Presse
Red Bull chief hails Vettel’s GP drive

Vettel had a remarkable podium finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner heaped praise on defending world champion Sebastian Bull yesterday, a day after the German’s dazzling drive from the back of the field to finish third in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

As his rivals pointed to the luck that helped him race from starting in the pit lane to a remarkable podium finish that enabled him to keep hold of a 10-points lead in this year’s title race, Horner described his 25-year-old driver’s effort as ‘phenomenal.’

Vettel battled back from a pitlane start and two collisions that damaged his front wing to finish third and lose just three points to main title rival Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.

Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus won the race with a characteristically determined drive to take full advantage of the retirement of dominant leader Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren and Alonso finished second. Horner admitted he did not expect to see such a recovery from Vettel, who had been made to start in the pit lane after being disqualified from qualifying on Nov. 3 for lack of fuel to give a one litre sample for analysis. He said: “I think it was one of the best [races] of his career. I think he really went for it and to go from the pitlane to the podium, it was phenomenal.

‘Demolition derby’

“Leaving the track on Saturday, when we were faced with starting from the pitlane, because we knew we wanted to change some things, then I really thought if we could sneak into the top 10 and score a point. That would be a great result.

“It is not that easy to overtake around here so maybe we could get an eighth or a ninth... that was the most we hoped for.

“But I went to see Seb before the race and he said, ‘I will see you on the podium’. He was absolutely convinced going into the race that he could get great result. He is just amazing!”

McLaren team chief Martin Whitmarsh was less effusive and said that to have two Safety Cars in a race at the Yas Marina Circuit was unusual.

“I think he was pretty fortunate with Safety Cars and the general ‘demolition derby’ that was going on in that race... He didn’t have to overtake as many of the quicker cars as he should have, as they were already taken out.

“I don’t think anyone would have expected that many Safety Cars here, but they were pretty helpful to him and he did a great job to get through. I think he was fairly lucky this weekend one way or another.” Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said: “He did a great race and he was pushing like as normal.

“He had moments where he was lucky or unlucky. It is part of the game. He had moments when you see the safety car coming at the right moment. This is something you cannot control.”