Christian Horner says that his Red Bull team did an “incredible job” to deal with tyre and gearbox issues during what looked from the outside like a straightforward win for Sebastian Vettel in Monza.
Vettel made his life harder in the first stint by flat spotting a front tyre at Turn One, and later there were concerns about the gearbox. It says a lot that the German only set the 12th fastest lap as he nursed the car home – and for once he didn’t try to add to his tally in the record books.
“It was a fantastic weekend for us really,” said Horner. “We had a few issues to manage during the race, but an incredible team performance. We’ve been strong all weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We had a few issues that did need managing during the race – Sebastian locking up into the first turn created a big flat spot, which put a massive vibration into the car that he was certainly concerned about, and we were monitoring quite closely. If he had any fillings he won’t have any more!
“Then we managed to get into the one-stop window. A fantastic double stop by the guys, 2.6s and 2.7s. It was enough to get Mark ahead of Massa, get Sebastian back out into the lead on a round set of tyres, and control the race thereafter.”
Both Red Bull had their fifth, sixth and seventh gear ratios changed before the race – for identical replacements – and the team became further concerned when Webber had another issue in the race, which led to both drivers being asked to short shift to protect their equipment.
“The only issue we had after that was loss of gearbox pressure in Mark’s car in the closing laps, which we just needed to take some precautions with to get to the finish.
“We had a bit of damage to a couple of dog rings on both cars. Under parc ferme after applying to the FIA due to it being damaged they were allowed to be replaced. Of course when that’s hanging over you, and we weren’t sure why that happened, we’ve not seen that before, and it’s not something that happened on the Caterham gearbox, which is obviously something that we supply. We were concerned as to why that was there.
“When you’re sitting there in the race not quite knowing what’s caused that issue and then you start to lose gearbox pressure, obviously it was a bit of a concern.
“If it was happening to one, the chances were [it would again]– because yesterday it happened to both. So as a precaution we asked Sebastian to do the same thing.”
Meanwhile Horner was unconcerned about the booing of Vettel on the podium.
“I think anybody racing a Ferrari, and beating a Ferrari, at Monza, in Italy, is never going to be cheered! It was inevitable that there wasn’t going to be a big reaction for Sebastian beating Fernando Alonso in front of the tifosi who have come to cheer their car and team around. I don’t think it surprised any of us the reaction that there was. If anything it fuels the motivation of Sebastian just to go out there and continue to improve.”