Vettel admits that 'nothing was under control' in Bahrain

Bahrain Grand Prix: Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari celebrates in parc ferme
© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel celebrated his 200th Formula 1 Grand Prix race with one of his most exciting victories.

"Really pleased," he said on the podium after the race. "If you manage to get the win under these conditions it tastes even better. So really happy.

"I think I came on the radio with ten laps to go [and said] 'I have everything under control'," he recalled. "I don’t know whether they broadcast that. But it was a lie, I admit. There was nothing under control!

"When they told me the pace of Valtteri at that time, no way could I do that. I was making the maths inside the car, ten laps to go, at that pace he was going to catch me."

The Ferrari driver eventually crossed the line just 0.699s ahead of Valtteri Bottas - the closest finish ever seen in Bahrain. To seal the deal, Vettel had been forced to expand his second stint on soft compound tyres to a mammoth 39-lap run.

“I really tried to keep it as clean as possible," he said.

By the end he was clearly struggling the car's handling. But he still just managed to succeed in stopping the Mercedes from getting by him in the final corners.

"I guess in the straight, for Valtteri, he had a bit of a sniff. But fortunately he ran out of laps, so I'm really happy."

Ferrari's original plan was to two-stop their drivers. but the team soon realised that this would drop Vettel behind the one-stopping Mercedes drivers who were on medium tyres.

"Going onto the medium tyre I thought that was checkmate because we had to come in again," Vettel admitted. "That was the original plan.

"Then we diverted, obviously, and tried to make the tyres last - nursed them as much as I can. It worked, but just. There wasn't much."

Vettel has now won the first two races of the 2018 world championship. Usually when a driver does that he goes on to win the title. The last time there was an exception to that rule was back in 1982.

But Vettel, devoted motorsports historian though he is, didn't put much store in that as a sign and portent for his own championship campaign this year,

"They had less races in 1982," he pointed out. "I don't believe in all those things. Sometimes they work for you, sometimes they work against you.

"It doesn't matter. We won, so it's a great feeling tonight."

Vettel's celebrations were tempered by news of the Ferrari mechanic injured during Kimi Raikkonen's ill-starred second pit stop.

"Send obviously him the best regards, I'm sure the guys are looking after him," he said. "Overall a mixed day - knowing that, then one car retiring. But fortunately we managed to stay ahead of those two [Mercedes drivers]."

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