Sebastian Vettel finally won his home Grand Prix in Germany after holding off the challenge of Kimi Raikkonen in the closing laps at the Nurburgring.
It was the reigning three-time World Champion’s first win in July, an unusual statistic that has followed him around in recent years.
“To be honest, for sure, there are a lot of expectations,” said Vettel of the pressures of racing at home. “Especially when you have a good car and for a couple of years you’ve had a good run, when you come to home soil (and) people expect you to win. I think the whole team, including myself, we never ever let that get to our head, but it just feels very, very sweet now to have succeeded after a couple of tries. Sometimes we were close.
“I think we had good races in the past in Germany as well, and finished on the podium, which was a great experience but today, to win here … both tracks — Hockenheim and Nurburgring — mean a lot to me. To race in Germany, I think, is a privilege. I think it take some little while to sink in, but I’m just incredibly proud today.”
Vettel said, in general, the race had gone to plan.
“The team did a fantastic job for strategy and for the pit stops,” the Red Bull driver said. “On the track it was so difficult. I pushed every single lap but it’s so tough when you’re on the edge and you know that you can’t go over the tires too much because then you will not reach the end of the stint. Equally, passing people, you know that you have to get through traffic as quick as you can, so not an easy race.
“The safety car didn’t help us. We had a little bit of a cushion but Lotus was incredibly quick today and gave us definitely a big run for our money. I’m just very happy that it worked out. Last but not least, our compliments to Pirelli.
“They did a very, very good job within a couple of days to react and bring a different rear tire to this event. I think we didn’t have any failures throughout the whole weekend. They had a lot of criticism after the last race, but it looked like they made up for it this race, and hopefully for the next races we continue to have racing like that.”
The critical time for Vettel was around his final pit stop, when he pitted in response to Romain Grosjean coming in.
“Tires were holding up OK and the gap to Romain was increasing a little bit again at that time,” he said. “Just before the stop, a couple of laps, I lost KERS and I was able to switch it back on and pull away again. But, obviously, I think we try to cover him to make sure we stay ahead and we defend the lead, because we saw that overtaking is quite tricky here. … I went through traffic pretty quickly but obviously there was a big delta in speed, in pace at that time. So in order to make sure we stayed ahead, we tried to cover him.”Formula 1, Sebastian Vettel