Vettel has stepped it up another level - Horner

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Brazil, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagosbr

Christian Horner is of the course the happiest team principal at the moment after Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel clinched their third consecutive double championship. The team principal however was particularly praising the World Champion's drive at the Brazilian GP.

You said that the Brazilian GP was the most stressful race ever. What did you think during the race, were your concerns very high during the race? "When we saw the car facing the wrong way we probably thought an expletive! Our cars aren’t renowned for their strength but Seb's absorbed the impact when he was hit near the start and he reported on the radio that he had some damage. We managed to get some visual images to Adrian during the race for him to understand whether the car was safe to continue or not and he was content that the car was safe. In the meantime Sebastian had set about being the fastest car on the track and getting himself back into the race. It was a quite remarkable drive in the first part of the race; when it's damp when you really see driver skill at its purist and he came back through the field and got himself back into the top six."

"Then the rain increased then we had to change to inters, then it stopped so we had to change to slicks then we lost the radio and because of the damage to the car as the circuit dried out it was chewing up the rear tyre quite badly, so we were in a situation where we had to stop but it wasn’t wet enough for inters and slick tyres…it was a horrible decision to make but we had to pit and stick to our principles of putting the right tyres on for that moment which was a slick tyre. And within a lap and a half he was on the radio that we couldn’t understand obviously saying ‘It’s getting pretty slippery out here’ and arrived at the pit lane without the crew fully ready at which point he re-emerged 11th and we thought that could be it because Fernando by this point had been gifted third place by Hulkenburg’s move on Lewis Hamilton, which then became second by a further gift from his team mate. We knew Sebastian needed to do more than 11th to defend his title and he fought his way through. He fought his way back up to P7, Michael graciously gave him P6 and that was enough to convert his third consecutive World Championship. It was such an intense race that I don’t think we had a chance to pause for thought about different permutations at any point really until seeing him cross the chequered flag."

How hard have people in the factory worked this year compared to previous years? "They have always worked hard, but this year has by far been our toughest challenge, it has been the hardest championship – Constructors’ and Drivers’, as we have really had to fight our way back into them and that it what has made it the most gratifying in many respects. The sacrifices made, the personal sacrifices, the time that is given up away from family and friends particularly here in Milton Keynes has been remarkable. The reason this team is so successful is because of the spirit that exists in the team, because of the desire, the way that we work as a team the way we work as one unit. You know, there are so many heroic stories this year of people going beyond what they are asked of to deliver, to get performance to the car, to get parts to the circuit, to get development into the wind tunnel, to hit all of these targets and what you see on a Sunday afternoon is a very small percentage of what is involved in a Grand Prix Team and this Championship, a triple Championship, would never ever have been imaginable without the commitment and dedication of the staff here."

The last two races seemed to be difficult. Has Sebastian changed as a driver this year having had to work harder on track this year than he did last year? "In many respects this is his best Championship because he has had to work so hard for it. His mental strength has always been impressive but this year he has again stepped it up another level. He’s never allowed himself to get distracted no matter what you know, no matter whether people have been trying to get under his skin or not, he has never allowed his focus to wane. It almost seemed that the more pressure he was been under, the better he delivered and he knew, coming out of the summer break 39 points behind, he knew he had to start delivering and I think he really stepped up a gear, especially as we got to the Asian races."

"Combined with some upgrades we bought to the car that bought some more performance to the car as well, he made he most out of them and put a string of four consecutive race wins together, which were hugely impressive. In addition, the way he composed himself in Abu Dhabi and his drive back through the field was again massively impressive and the mental strength on Sunday, a lot of lesser drivers would have wilted under that pressure."

Source: Red Bull Racing