Vettel still leads despite hard day

By on Sunday, May 13, 2012

Photo credit: Red Bull GEPA

Sebastian Vettel remains in control of the Formula Drivers’ Championship, despite enduring what the Red Bull Racing driver called a “hard day at the office” at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Vettel started seventh and climbed to sixth but dropped to ninth when he was hit with a drive-through penalty for failing to heed yellow flag in the wake of an accident involving Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna. The defending champion was also hindered by a long regulation third stop when he took on a new cone.

Despite that issue dropping him from fifth to 10th, the pre-race title leader recovered in his final stint to climb back to sixth by the chequered flag, passing both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the final few laps. Vettel is now level with Alonso on 61 points, though the Red Bull Racing driver stays at the top of the standings only by virtue of the sixth-place finish he scored in Spain.

Today’s result is his fourth-best of the season, which betters Alonso’s fourth-best. Otherwise the pair are even on results, with the best three results of each man being a win, a second place and a fifth. “I think we have to be happy,” said Vettel. “It was a hard day at the office. We had a good recovery at the end – we know that we are probably a bit stronger at the end of the stints and that worked. It was good fun, but obviously when it’s up and down, up and down like that it’s quite difficult.”

Of the issue with the nose cone, Vettel said that while it had cost him time, it had been the right decision to make the change. “I didn’t think I had damage to the nose. But it felt like something was stuck. You know that with a lot of rubber off line maybe a big piece of rubber got stuck and that ruins the aerodynamics. I wasn’t sure. I tried another lap but it wasn’t the right thing to do, so we changed the nose. It cost a lot of time but was the right thing as then I was told that something on the front left of the wing was broken.”

Source: FIA

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