Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Secret of Sebastian's Success in Bahrain

By Editor - 23 April 2013

Whether or not the 2013 Bahrain GP marks the beginning of another Red Bull dominated season, is yet to be seen. Not the fastest car over one lap and certainly not the fastest on the straights, Sebastian Vettel caressed 'Kinky Kylie' to a very dominant victory.

He also demonstrated why he is a triple world champion and why he can indeed pass. Sebastian answered his critics in superb style as he swept passed Fernando Alonso on the first lap at turn 5 and overtook Nico Rosberg a few laps later in the same corner - all without DRS!

Did Sebastian have any secrets at his disposal to take such a dominant victory?

According to Christian Horner, it was he who advised Sebastian of the overtaking opportunity at turn 5. This strategy learnt while Christian was watching the same overtaking moves being performed in the GP2 race earlier in the day. Horner relayed this to Sebastian who replied jokingly, that he (Sebastian) did not need to be told how to do his job. However, the two crucial overtakes at turn 5 showed that Vettel is not a man who would let pride get in the way of his fourth consecutive WDC.

Sebastian also sported lucky charms on his shoes, one of which was given to him by his grandmother. These lucky charms seem to have protected Sebastian against the bad luck that have plagued Fernando Alonso over the last few years. In the last race of 2012, a collision with Senna damaged his exhaust and should have spelled the end of Sebastian's WDC campaign. But Sebastian dragged his damaged RB8 home to take 6th and the 2012 title.

However, the main reason for Sebastian's win in Bahrain could be attributed to the fact that he was able to apply the same proven formula which has helped him become the youngest triple world champion ever.

His formula: Get into clean air, open a 10 second gap, maintain that gap, check lap times and respond to the pitstops of his rivals, continue to cruise and maintain the gap, leave a little bit of tyre life for an attempt at the fastest lap, bring the car home first and show the world the finger.

Sebastian likes free air and knows it is crucial if he wants to secure a win.

"I love to be in clean air so I was pushing hard to get into the lead, and certainly at the end, with the speed we had mid race, it [the win] was quite comfortable" stated Vettel after the race.

In China, Sebastian lost vital time behind Nico Hulkenberg's Sauber. Vettel was unable to pass Nico on the track despite the Sauber being a significantly slower car. Vettel was only able to pass Nico in the pits, but the lost time cost him a podium finish.

The RB9 seems aerodynamically sensitive and seems to struggle behind another car's dirty air - more so than other teams. In clean air however, it is a different beast. This may explain why Mark Webber, who is unable to consistenly lead a race, has less race wins to his name. This seems to be the RB9's Achilles heal.

In Bahrain, Vettel knew that taking the lead early and getting in clean air was crucial. If he was unable to do this, it would have compromised his race. The fact that he saved all his KERS for turn 5 enabling him to execute those vital passes, shows that Sebastian is also an intelligent racer.

The only hope for the majority F1 fans who do not want to see Sebastian's index finger race after race is for the other teams to up their game. Ferrari need to improve their strategy calls and their reliability. Lotus on the other hand, need to develop a car that is capable of consistently qualifying higher up the grid so Kimi has less work to do. Mercedes need to find a solution to their tyre degradation issues.

However, once Red Bull work out how to best use these new Pirelli tyres, it is feared that not even the combined might of Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes can deny Sebastian Vettel's insatiable appetite to win.


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