Vettel reminds rivals how far they are behind with dominant win
Bull’s Sebastian Vettel sent out a clear reminder at Sepang track of the pace of his car and how much work his rivals have to do in order to prevent the Formula One world championship from becoming a one-horse race.
The reigning world champion eased to an immaculate win in the Petronas Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix to take a comfortable 24-point lead to the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai this week over Jenson Button.
It was thought that the wider tracks of Sepang would give a better indication of how the battles for the championships would be played out compared to the street circuit of Melbourne two weeks ago.
But Vettel expertly handled the shredding of the Pirelli tyres on the sweltering conditions of Sepang, requiring only three pit-stops in comparison to the four his more experienced team-mate Mark Webber made.
The German’s ability to stay comfortably ahead of rivals McLaren, Ferrari and Renault in a car he could not even employ the effective use of KERS (kinetic energy recovery system or power boost) for portions of the race made his rivals scratch their heads in charting out how to stop the rampaging Red Bulls.
But true to the 23-year-old German’s character, he played down talk of retaining his title with 17 races remaining.
“Some people were already talking about brutal dominance or whatever. I tried not to read anything. That’s just two races. I don’t think I need to explain how many things can change,” said Vettel after his fourth consecutive win dating back to last season.
Vettel also shrugged off growing comparison with the legendary countryman Michael Schumacher, who was also dominant in his heyday with Ferrari a few years back.
“Don’t talk to me about that stuff. Look over there, he is my hero,” said Vettel, pointing to Schumacher.
Closest rivals McLaren are, however, determined to close the gap.
Button finished three seconds behind Vettel on Sunday but the Briton was never in contention to win once the Red Bull driver come out from his final stop with a 10-second lead.
“The Red Bulls’ pace is very good. He’s won two races out of two and nobody else has been consistent. He’s got a 24-point lead and that’s a lot after two races,” said Button, who was still, nevertheless, satisfied to grab his first podium finish.