Red Bull Racing continues to deny it can repeat the kind of domination it produced in the Singapore Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel left rivals stunned with his phenomenal pace in the race, where at times he was more than two seconds per lap quicker than any other car. Although that form has prompted some to suggest that Vettel could easily win the remaining six grands prix of the season, the team itself is unconvinced.
Team principal Christian Horner reckons that a combination of factors at the Marina Bay circuit played in to the team’s hands to make its advantage over the rest of the field look bigger than it really was.
“There were times last weekend when Sebastian was two seconds quicker than the rest of the field, but I think it was due to unique circumstances,” Horner said, when asked about the possibility of Vettel’s form continuing. “It was a circuit he was completely on top of and the setup of the car was working well. It was man and machine working at the top of their game.”
Although Horner is not expecting such dominance continuing, he sees no reason why the team cannot continue to be strong.
“The next challenges we have in Korea and Japan are quite a bit different in characteristics,” he said. “I’m hopeful that we can be strong at those venues, but we can’t take anything for granted as Mercedes have been strong at different points of the year and [Fernando] Alonso keeps turning up. He’s always there.
“He’s had three second places to Sebastian’s three wins; so arguably, we should have had a bigger lead over him than we currently have. But he keeps finishing second and he’s keeping us honest.”
ANALYSIS: WHY VETTEL’S PACE LOOKED SO GOOD
By Jonathan Noble
The extent of Sebastian Vettel’s advantage over the rest of the field left many in F1 shocked. At times during the race most notably after the safety car period he was in a class of his own.
But while some fear that such a gap to the Red Bull has been there all season and was only exposed in Singapore because Vettel was unleashed to build up a big lead, other factors did make his speed look more impressive.
After the safety car, Vettel was on brand-new medium tires while the cars right behind him that had not stopped were all on well-used super-softs that they had started the race on.
Vettel was also going on the attack well aware that he needed to build a big enough margin to the cars that had stopped. Furthermore, the car immediately behind him Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was struggling with understeer caused by rubber debris lodged in his front wing. That meant his pace had dropped away and the lack of overtaking opportunities ensured that his pursuers were all being held up behind him, allowing Vettel to get away.