Winner Vettel: McLaren still one of the fastest
22 April 2012 – Sebastian Vettel opened his winning account for 2012 by taking the chequered flag in Bahrain on Sunday afternoon, confirming that four different teams have now won as many races this year. Although he and Red Bull now top both championship tables, the German remains highly wary of the threat from McLaren.
The English team started the season with two pole positions, a win for Jenson Button in Australia and three consecutive podium finishes for Lewis Hamilton; today, they made two more crucial pit-stop errors to drop the 2008 Champion back into the pack, whereas his title successor was forced to pull out with engine problems.
“This is a very tight season, with cars very close to each other and only small things making huge differences,” Vettel smiled in the post-race press conference. “We started the season saying McLaren is the fastest but quite a bit; we have seen that that can be quite different on Sundays, but I still think they have one of the strongest packages.”
After fending off Kimi Räikkönen in another highly entertaining race, Vettel added:
“I’m very happy we have made it here because we were not quite sure how competitive we would be. I think China (when he reverted to an older specification exhaust) was a very good lesson to understand the weaknesses of the car. For now, I’m just happy – I don’t really care what happens in the next race…not for now, at least!”
After the finish, Vettel immediately stopped his car due to a shortage of fuel; a similar sight to 2010, after a spark plug failure meant he lost victory and two more places.
Post-race feelings from McLaren:
Hamilton and Button: One of those days…