Vettel hails unbeatable Button
German full of praise for Briton after opening victory in Melbourne
Last Updated: 19/03/12 1:12pm
Sebastian Vettel (R) celebrates on the podium in Melbourne with race winner Jenson Button (L)
Sebastian Vettel admitted he was powerless to prevent Jenson Button's win on Sunday, describing the Briton's performance in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as "unbeatable".
So often last year Vettel left his rivals trailing in his wake, claiming a record-breaking 15 poles from which he won 11 races and his second Formula One world title.
Over the course of the weekend at Melbourne's Albert Park, the shoe was very much on the other foot as it was Vettel and Red Bull who were found wanting.
In qualifying Vettel could only manage sixth, his worst grid slot for 25 races, 24 of which he had been on the front row.
The 24-year-old German at least went on to finish second, but was no match for Button who led for 57 of the 58 laps after passing McLaren team-mate and polesitter Lewis Hamilton on the run to the first corner.
"Jenson deserved to win, he was out of reach for us, unbeatable," said Vettel. "I'm very happy with second, especially after the difficult day we had on Saturday.
"At least it was good to finally go racing again and stop all the talk, to see some results.
"In winter testing we said McLaren looked very strong. They had a very solid winter with no issues with the car.
"They did a lot of laps so we expected them to be strong, although they did surprise everyone a little with their qualifying pace.
"In the race it was a bit better for us, but nevertheless, they are the ones to beat at the moment, but we will see what we get next weekend in Malaysia."
The normally effervescent Vettel was then irked by a question in which he was asked to assess fighting from further back compared to controlling races from the front.
It has previously been cruelly suggested Vettel lacks the skills of an attacker, such as Hamilton who had to settle for third due to a safety car on lap 37 which aided the German.
"I don't really understand the question," said Vettel. "I was also asked following qualifying how I would deal with the disaster of sixth on the grid. I don't think it was a disaster.
"We didn't have the best day in qualifying, maybe that's true, but I was quite confident going into the race.
"My eyes were on the front, not looking in the mirrors too much, and the racing was as we've seen before, making your strategy work in the pit stops to quickly pass a couple of guys.
"It was a bit different maybe to the majority of last year, but it's not as if it's a completely new situation.
"Okay, I was second, but the winner totally deserved to win, so we gave our maximum and I'm very happy with that.
"We just have to make sure we give them a harder time next week."