Sebastian Vettel hailed Red Bull's 'incredible' 2013 Bahrain GP pace after dominant win
World Champion hadn't expected to be quite so strong
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 22/04/13 6:51am
A delighted Sebastian Vettel hailed the pace of Red Bull's RB9 as "phenomenal" after he crushed his would-be rivals to win the Bahrain GP at a canter.
The triple title winner displayed his full racing repertoire during the course of the 57-lap Sakhir race to cement his lead at the top of the drivers' standings heading into the European season with a victory as resounding as any of the 27 before.
Although initially passed by Fernando Alonso at the first corner, Vettel dispatched his Ferrari rival by the end of the opening lap, and after several attempts to pass ailing polesitter Nico Rosberg swiftly thereafter, overtook the Mercedes on lap three for the lead. From there on he never looked back.
Impressively consistent middle stints on the harder of the tyre compounds proved the foundation for his victory and after beating Lotus's two-stopping Kimi Raikkonen by the best part of ten seconds Vettel exclaimed: "A fantastic race. Big, big thank you to the team today.
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"A faultless and seamless race from start to finish. I knew it was crucial straight away at the start to get into the lead if I can and then go from there and look after the tyres.
"The pace was phenomenal, the car was very quick, it just seemed to get better and better towards the end. A really beautiful race where you could really push every single lap and we took care of the cars. So overall [I'm] very happy."
Indeed, with the pre-race suggestion having been that Red Bull, as in Melbourne, may find their pace stimyied by high tyre wear, Vettel added: "The pace we had today was incredible. We surely did not expect that.
"In the end it was quite controlled and we managed the gaps and we still had enough tyres to push towards the end."
Looking back on his wheel-to-wheel dices in the opening laps of the race, Vettel explained how a reserve of KERS power allowed him to cut back on first Alonso and then Rosberg coming out of the turn four hairpin.
"It was obviously very tight into the first corner with Fernando on the outside," he reflected.
"I had to give way - I wanted to line it up to get Nico probably on the next straight, but Fernando squeezed in. But then I got him back, it was crucial. I saved some KERS and I could out-accelerate him into turn six.
"Then Nico was a tough one. I really had to think for a while because he was quite quick down the straights. The headwind today helped the cars behind but it still wasn't as straightforward as I was hoping for.
"So again quite tight and out of turn four I managed again to turn up a little bit of KERS and I got him on the inside. Then the track was clear and we could unfold the true pace of the car."