Horner: It’s unimaginable that Vettel has had the run of success that he’s had

Sebastian Vettel celebrates his 35th F1 career win

Sebastian Vettel celebrates his 35th F1 career win

Red Bull chief Christian Horner admitted Sebastian Vettel’s run of five successive wins was beyond his imagination after the breakaway Formula 1 championship leader swept to victory in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Teammate Mark Webber’s three-stop strategy ended in a second place, from pole, and came under scrutiny following a pulsating Suzuka race. But Horner insisted that, whichever way you diced it, Vettel was in a class of his own.

“Sebastian has won every race since the summer break which is an incredible achievement,” gushed Horner. “Still four races to go. Our target is to try to carry this momentum into the last four races.

“I don’t think any of us could have imagined that he would have had the run of success that he’s had. The way he’s driving at the moment is quite supreme.”

Christian Horner and Sebastian Vettel celebrate victory in Japan with red Bull team

Christian Horner and Sebastian Vettel celebrate victory in Japan with red Bull team

Vettel, set to become only the third man to capture four successive F1 titles, has a 90-point lead over Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso with only 100 available.

Even a brush with Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes at the start which damaged his front wing failed to stop the rampaging German, who won a three-way tussle with Webber and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

“He picked up a bit of damage from the incident with Hamilton that took about 20 points of downforce off the front wing,” said Horner. “He manages to adapt. He played the thinking game today.

“He watched, he waited in that first stint. He preserved the tyres. He was very, very smart in the way he handled the race.

“We went into the race thinking we could be marginal for a two-stop and believed [that] in clear air we could do that.

Sebastian Vettel locks up during the Japanese GP

Sebastian Vettel locks up during the Japanese GP

“The first stint dictated everything for us, where Mark put Grosjean under quite a lot of pressure…to the point that he’d run out of tyres by the lap that he pitted on, nine or something, pretty early in the race, which was too short for us to make a two-stop really work.

“Sebastian went about five laps longer than we expected him to. He created the options for himself by making the tyres go longer and further. And of course when he had the one opportunity to nail Grosjean, he did.”

Vettel on a two-stop and Webber pitting three times also posed a conundrum for Lotus, Horner said.

“Strategically you’ve got a bit of a chess game going on,” said Horner. “We effectively hedged our bets and split the cars, which was then, tactically, what do you do at Lotus? Which one do you cover?”

Horner also revealed Vettel used the DRS (drag reduction system) to perfection to pass Grosjean on lap 41, while Webber had made a mistake with the technology, costing him precious time at the end of the race, when he was on quicker tyres.

Red Bull team celebrate victory at Suzuka

Red Bull team celebrate victory at Suzuka

“Seb has DRS when he passed Grosjean,” he said. “There was one lap where Mark got right into the slipstream but because he pushed the button too early the flap didn’t open so he didn’t get the benefit.”

With Vettel’s coronation only a matter of time, Horner burst into laughter when asked if he was disappointed Red Bull had not clinched the title at Suzuka.

“How disappointed are we with a one-two finish in one of the best races strategically ever for this operation?” he smiled.

“We came here to try and win the race and championships will take care of themselves,” added Horner. “We’ll go to India and take that weekend as we have here and if we score more points than the others then we’ll win the championship.” (AFP)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Not convinced

    The whole weekend was one big PR stunt to try and buy Vettle credibility and to try and dupe people into believing that he too has his fair share of KERS issues the truth is that by the amount of lock ups he had he can’t adapt to a car that isn’t 100% and if we are to belive that he wasn’t afraid to actually race Webber then why was he told that he was no longer raceing him when they knowingly put Webber on a slower strategy. Webbers tyres had not gone off and he was right behind the Lotus , 5 laps would not have made that much of a difference plus there he was crying on the radio again at the end of the race to keep Webber away from him. This race was just like Abbu Dabi 2010 when Webbers strategy was changed to lure the opposition into pitting to benefit Vettle. I wish RBR would be honest about these things they say they will aid the driver that has more points at the half way stage of the year which Webber has done twice and they haven’t helped him they said they would help him in Abbu Dabi 2010 when he went into the last race with more points and didn’t and as for people talking about Brazil payback is a bitch. Vettle supporters hate what they fear and that’s Webber they spend to much time trying to convince us that he’s unbeatable everyone else knows the truth.

  • Alberto

    I have been keeping an eye on live timing for the whole race and Webber was definitely the favorite in terms of pace and tire degradation to win the Suzuka GP from the second half of the race. Obviously Redbull decided to change Mark’s strategy from 2 to 3 pit stops because he was going to win the race indeed (he was something like 17 sec behind Vettel and Vettel had still to pit, so not difficult to make the math in this case). So, Redbull did not make a strategy mistake, it was as clear as sun, they knew by doing that Mark would have ran just for the podium. Obviously they just preferred to have Vettel scoring heavy for the title run, which is now boringly decided.
    Vettel might have been in a class of his own in other races this year and in some of the past ones but not in Suzuka 2013, he was obviously privileged by the winning strategy, again at the expenses of Webber, unfortunately. Anyway Mark is a gentleman, respect for him!

  • farizY

    Even if it was deliberate by RB, it was the logical thing to do. Vettel was in the run for the championship, while Mark is not. So they gave the edge to the man who needed it the most. Webber done a great job as a team player, helping his teammate to a victory. Again, brilliant strategy from RB. And Vettel, kids 26 years old, already achieved more than any driver could dream of, give him a break.

  • Tinto

    What Ferrai would have done in the same situation? And what comments would have drawn from their fans?

    This is a team work, that maximizes what is best for the team and drivers. Mark’s contribution to overall points and glory is modest, so why so much fuss. His late move on Grosjean proves he is not a top dog.

  • Angela

    It’s a shame that Red Bull decided to deny Webber one of his very last victories in F1. Even if Vettel didn’t win at Suzuka, was there any chance at all, that Alonso would be able to “catch” him and steal the championship from him? Everyone knows they favor Vettel, but, come on, do the decent thing in this case!!

  • F1 Neutral

    It would only make common sense for Red Bull to get both championships in the bag and then let their drivers race. Personally I think Mark has always had trouble with these tyres and has always used them up a little bit more than Vettel, so I don’t believe they deliberately compromised him with a 3 stop strategy.

    Rubens always seemed to be a little ‘quicker’ and win a couple of races once Michael had secured the title. Maybe Red Bull will do the same and give Mark a decent crack at one last race victory after Seb is world champion.

  • bmendon

    I can’t believe the haters here. If you watched the race, you would know that Webber put himself on a three stopper by virtual of his early pit stop. He blew through his tires in the first stint. There was no way his tires would have lasted to the end of the race after that. Even on a three stop strategy he still would have had a chance to take the fight to Vettel but he couldn’t get past Grosjean in the third stint-the man he called a first lap nutcase just a year ago. So my friends, holler all you want but the facts are the facts.

  • looool

    Lol at the sour grapes by the Vettelhate brigade ;)

    Every Sunday/Monday I read the different F1 messageboards just to laugh at all the sore losers that hate on Vettel. Their tears are very entertaining.

  • Boycotthehaters

    “This race was just like Abbu Dabi 2010 when Webbers strategy was changed to lure the opposition into pitting to benefit Vettle.”

    Every single sentence you wrote was a lie, but I’ll just focus on this one. In Abu Dhabi 2010 Webber stopped when he did because his tyres were shot, not as part of some “strategy”. And Alonso stopped when HE did because HIS tyres were shot and not as part of a Ferrari strategic response to what Webber was doing.

  • Dangerf1

    Vettel fans should really start using other words than “haters”, it’s like those idiots who doesn’t have a come back so they attack your grammar, anyway, Boycotthehaters, u r wrong, alonso pitted because webber pitted in Abu Dhabi, because he had to make sure he stays in front, besides, Webber had a shoulder injury for the last 4 races in 2010, and Alonso got stuck behind Petrov, A renault engine, I bet Vettel would have passed him easily, because he would have moved over his “renault” car, anyway, no need to bash vettel, he is the most disliked man in F1 today, he made formula 1 one so hollow for the last 4 years, he has no value as a person nor as a world champion, only liked by teenagers or new F1 fans and Germans, anyone who blinds himself of Redbull’s cheating and favoring is an idiot, or again, a teenager.

  • Adriana

    The funny part is that everybody that hates Vettel , trash his victories and everything good that he does , but nobody said nothing because the ” top caliber driver ” made a big mistake ( I can’t imagine if he wasn’t a top caliber driver , what kind of errors would be he doing ) and took himself out of the race , and that was Vettel’s fault too ? what a bunch of sore people .

  • Dangerf1

    Be specific about what victories do u want us not to trash, the one that he took out Alonso and won, or the ones his team hampered Webber, or the ones he won after Hamilton retired for so many times, or the ones he won with Illegal wing, defuser, traction control? or the ones he started from pole and lead with a much faster car with no competition at all, be specific girl, we don’t want to randomly trash such a star.
    I would rather trash his retirements than victories, it shows his real metal, getting angry red out of the car, hitting his gloves against the wall, nagging like a little boy when something goes wrong, or idealizing himself when he has a problem, like brazil in 2011 when his gear box had a problem ” this is just like Senna”, Shut up, u r more like Senna’s sister.

  • marina

    “Vettel fans should really start using other words than “haters”…”
    being to mild in your case.
    I have a different word which describes your condition but I don’t want to use it here because it is not right to point on ones (mental) illness.

  • Dangerf1

    marina, I must hit a nerve there, u r one of the (your grammar r wrong) ppl aren’t, because u all go through the same stages, wrong grammar, haters, and at last ur sick because u say the truth
    U just inspired a new word for Vettel fans (Vediots)

  • marina

    Danger….(you are in it)
    You have a severe and profound intellectual disability and you are in need for more intensive support and supervision.
    Find some professional help and please don’t try to pretend yourself as “inspired” it will only make you look even more retarded.

  • Dangerf1

    Where did u hear such a big word? but as I said, u all go through the same stages, and now ur stuck at the (ur sick) stage because u don’t know what is the next one.
    but I thank u, i’m inspired, and if u ever heard the word Vediots spreading, always know that u were the muse.

  • Boycotthehaters

    “alonso pitted because webber pitted in Abu Dhabi, because he had to make sure he stays in front”

    No he did not, he pitted because his tyres were done. If his tyres had NOT been done he could easily have stayed in front of Webber simply by staying out on the option tyre while Webber was bottled up behind slower drivers.

  • Dangerf1

    Oh yes he did, he said after the race that when Webber pitted he had to pit, because on a new rubber webber could got in front of him if he stayed out for long, and being stuck behind Webber could cost him the title.