After rival Jenson Button sealed the Formula One drivers’ championship in Brazil, a disconsolate Sebastian Vettel admitted that Saturday’s monsoon-like qualifying disaster had robbed him of the chance to take the title fight to the final round in Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time.
“I think there’s a guy out there who’s a lot happier than me today,” said Vettel referring to Button, after the Briton finished fifth behind the German, but taking enough points to take the crown.
“All in all it was a good race, starting from the back and finishing fourth,” Vettel said. “Obviously people crashing helped and I think it was the maximum we could do today but without the problems in qualifying yesterday we should have won that race. But we didn’t, so there’s not much more to say.”
Vettel added that until the closing stages he had had no time to think about how the race would affect the title race. “I was only focusing on the laps I did on the circuit and the car,” he said. “You’re quite busy when you’re driving. Obviously I’m smart enough to see Jenson just behind me so I wasn’t going to score massively more points than he did, that finishing fourth was not going to be enough. So for the last couple of laps I had time to realize what the situation was.
“Before that… you never knew where you are and it could still happen,” he added. “At one point I was praying for rain. There was the smell of rain in the air but it never came. But congratulations to Jenson and to Brawn; all in all I thnk they just about did the better job this year.”
Vettel can take some heart from moving ahead of Rubens Barrichello in the race to finish runner-up to Button, the Red Bull Racing star now sitting on 74 points, two clear of the Brazilian, who despite starting from pole, could only manage an eighth-place finish. Vettel now goes to Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time with the target of sealing his second place position in the drivers’ championship.