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Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Sunday, 27 March 2011 14:09 UK

Sebastian Vettel plays down Red Bull 'dominance'

Sebastian Vettel

Highlights - Australian Grand Prix

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel says he is not going to get carried away with his victory at the Australian Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion produced a blistering lap in qualifying on Saturday before leading from start to finish in Sunday's race at Albert Park.

"I don't really like the word dominant at this stage," said the 23-year-old.

"We had a very good race today, won a lot of points, and enjoyed ourselves, which is even more important, and now we have to take it step-by-step."

Vettel, who became the sport's youngest world champion when winning the title last year, blew his rivals away in qualifying with a time 0.778 seconds faster than nearest rival Lewis Hamilton of McLaren.

And he was equally as comfortable in the race, leading from the first corner and carving out a 2.4 second lead over Hamilton by the end of the opening lap and extended it by a further 0.8secs on lap two before easing off to look after his tyres.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel delighted with dominance

Vettel added: "[The season] will be very close but the most important thing is to finish. The car was quick from the very first moment but also very reliable.

"Saturday was a very good day for us and the gap was good to Lewis and McLaren. Nevertheless, I keep telling the team, it is a long, long season."

One moment of slight concern for Vettel was when he came out of his first pit stop behind Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Jenson Button.

However, any worries that he would be held up were soon dispelled as the German passed Button within four corners.

"The car was perfect," said Vettel. "The first stint we have seen there is a lot of things that we need to learn and understand with the tyres.

"Lewis was a bit better in control of his tyres in the first stint, so he was catching up, right up to the point that we pitted.


"Then it was crucial for myself to get past Jenson, which worked. He was on used tyres, so it was quite a big difference at that stage plus, because of the wing, I could get really close after turn one and then into turn three/four pass him around the outside."

Vettel was also helped by Hamilton running for the second half of the race with damage to the floor of his McLaren.

"We made some small tweaks at the pit stop, which seemed to help a lot, also for tyre life, tyre wear," explained Vettel.

"From then onwards, second part of the race, I didn't know what was going on behind Lewis. If he was under pressure or not but he took it a bit easier, wasn't pushing that hard anymore, So, I could do the same and just control the gap to him."

Vettel's performance is even more impressive considering his Red Bull did not run with the Kers energy recovery and power-boost system, which is worth on average about 0.3secs per lap.

"I think it's pretty obvious. If you ask Lewis how much Kers is worth, there is performance in there," said Vettel.

"Obviously we work very, very hard on that. [Not running with Kers], it's something we're not proud of but we need to keep working hard and improve for two weeks' time (the date of the Malaysian Grand Prix).

"We have solutions, more or less, which should help us. But surely, you can't rely on just having a good car or everything running smoothly.

"You want every single bit that you can get to make your car go quicker so Kers is one of the basic things this year and it's worth something between three to five 10ths a lap. I don't need to tell you how much that is over a race distance. So, yes, we are working on that."

Mark Webber

Webber frustrated by gap to Vettel

For Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber, it was a less-enjoyable race as he struggled for pace and eventually had to settle for fifth, which matches his best finish at his home race.

"It was very frustrating," Webber told BBC Sport. "It was a tough race to be honest.

"I was pushing as hard as I could but I wasn't getting much back, it was similar to yesterday [qualifying]. I haven't been on the pace all weekend and we will look into why.

"You want to look at everything, yourself, to finish that far behind is not really usual. Let's stay cool, it's the first race.

"It's disappointing obviously to not get a much better result here because it was certainly possible but in the end, everyone deserved the result they got today."

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see also
Vettel beats Hamilton in opener
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Petrov boosted by Renault podium
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I'm back in the fight - Hamilton
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Perez is silver lining for Sauber
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Australian Grand Prix race result
27 Mar 11 |  Results
Australian GP as it happened
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Australian Grand Prix photos
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Australian GP from the pit lane
27 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Vettel blasts to Australian pole
26 Mar 11 |  Formula 1

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