“Not really fantastic,” Vettel said. “If I were given the chance to do it again (differently) I would. I can only repeat myself: I’ve made a mistake and I have to apologize to Mark. What I did was not correct, but had I been aware of it in that very moment I wouldn’t have attacked the way I did and wouldn’t have taken so much risk. After all that I would say that it was an excellent result for the team and we can be proud of that. Today we’ve been able to handle the tires better than anybody else and that got us into the position to fight over the win.”
Further back, Lewis Hamilton said he didn’t feel that he deserved his first podium finish for Mercedes, as team mate Nico Rosberg was repeatedly instructed by team boss Ross Brawn not to pass him as they both had to turn their engines to maximum fuel-saving mode. Rosberg honoured that instruction, but Hamilton said that he felt his team mate had driven a more intelligent race, as he himself had given in to his natural competitive instincts to take the fight to the Red Bulls and as a result had taken more out of his car.
It was a disastrous day for Ferrari, as Fernando Alonso ran into the back of Vettel in the second corner after the start, and then crashed going into Turn 1 on the second lap after gambling that a damaged front wing would hold out until his first pit stop.
Front row man Felipe Massa lacked the pace to stay with the leaders, but took a solid fifth ahead of the duelling Lotus’s of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, which lacked the speed they had shown in Australia. The black and gold cars, however, were able to get to the finish with only three pits stops to their rivals’ four.
The controversial result catapults the repentant Vettel into the lead in the drivers’ world championship with 40 points from Raikkonen on 31, Webber on 26, Hamilton on 25 and Massa on 22, while Red Bull have a comfortable lead in the constructors’ stakes with 66 points from Ferrari and Lotus on 40, and Mercedes on 37.