Sorry I'm not an Englishman, says victorious Vettel
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel had only one slight regret after eclipsing home favourite Jenson Button and running away with the British Grand Prix on Sunday.india Updated: Jun 22, 2009 00:03 IST
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel had only one slight regret after eclipsing home favourite Jenson Button and running away with the British Grand Prix on Sunday.
With words that would have sounded remarkable from the mouth of Michael Schumacher, the retired seven-times champion whom Vettel is fast replacing in his country's affections, the 21-year-old Red Bull driver almost apologised for being a German.
"I regret a little bit I'm not an Englishman because the fans were fantastic," said Vettel, who dominated the race from pole position in front of a capacity crowd of 120,000 spectators.
"Already on the last two laps I could see the people standing up and cheering. At the time I wanted to wave and say thank you, but then I said no," he added.
"There have been stories in the past where it didn't look so good with drivers doing it."
Vettel, who has a keen sense of Formula One history as well as a love of British humour, was doubtless recalling Briton Nigel Mansell's 1991 Canadian embarrassment.
In that race, Mansell's engine cut out while he was waving to the crowd while heading for victory on the last lap. He ended up sixth.
The 1992 champion more than made up for that with epic victories at Silverstone which triggered crowd invasions and scenes of Mansell-mania.
"I want to thank Silverstone," Vettel said, the champagne soaking his race suit and a huge grin on his face. "It is only my second time here but I enjoyed it so much.
"This is what I was dreaming of when I saw the first grands prix here in Silverstone in the era of Mansell and so on. It's kind of unreal now to think that I am here, I have made it and won this grand prix."
The crowd might also have been on their feet for Button as the championship leader made an ultimately doomed last-gasp attempt to catch and pass Germany's Nico Rosberg in the Williams for fifth place.
Vettel's victory, and Red Bull's second one-two of the season with Australian Mark Webber again the runner-up, was well-deserved.
"I think we have made a step forward. The car was brilliant here and this circuit suits us. On top of that I think the conditions were right for us, we had no issues with the tyres so everything was working," he said.
"It was very close to being perfect which is very very difficult to achieve, but should always be the target."
The German's third career victory left him 25 points behind Button with nine races remaining and plenty still to play for with his home race at the Nuerburgring next up.
"We have had this home race for the team, kind of," said Vettel, whose team are based at Milton Keynes but race under an Austrian licence with that anthem played for the winning constructor.
"The next one is for me at home and that's great so I hope to continue and try to repeat what we did here, which won't be easy."