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Vettel’s Podium Shot Nets Fastest Lap

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Danner Reviews Shanghai

Vettel grabs Fastest Lap in late charge to catch Hamilton.

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Danner's Fastest Lap Pick for Bahrain

Who will race the Fastest Lap at the 2013 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX?

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Sebastian Vettel makes a merciless move for a podium spot in the final laps at the Shanghai International Circuit to close an eleven-second gap and score the day’s Fastest Lap.

Tire strategy and management ruled the day at 2013 FORMULA 1 UBS CHINESE GRAND PRIX – and it was Red Bull’s tire strategy that put the team’s number one driver and reigning World Champion, Sebastian Vettel, on fresh softs in the final laps of the race. The German Wunderkind took advantage of the faster rubber, charging out of the pits to attack the seemingly insurmountable eleven-second-plus gap to Lewis Hamilton, who – at the time – was sitting comfortably in third place in the Mercedes.


“A tremendous charge”
Vettel was one of three drivers who started the day on medium tires and had to run softs at some point before the end of the race. “From a strategy point of view, it was pretty clear that the fastest lap would be achieved at the very end of the race, simply because there were a few guys out there who still had to run the soft tires – the faster of the two – toward the end of the race,” said DHL F1 Expert, Christian Danner, in Shanghai. “Sebastian Vettel was clearly dominating when he made a tremendous charge to catch up with Lewis Hamilton. He set the fastest lap of the race a full two seconds faster than anybody else.”

Watch Vettel’s Fastest Lap and hear what else Danner had to say in Shanghai, and see who he’s picked to race the Fastest Lap this weekend in Bahrain in the videos above.


Late attack

When Vettel made his way back onto the track in Lap 52, he was an enormous 11.5 seconds behind Hamilton. Although both the German and his team felt the gap was too wide, Vettel went immediately on the attack, driving the day’s Fastest Lap in 1min 36.808sec right away in lap 53 – another vintage Vettel moment. A string of merciless laps some three-four seconds faster than Hamilton and Vettel had the Mercedes in his sights after turn 13 on the final lap. The Brit was forced to respond, piloting the second fastest lap of the day to ward off the attack, and doing so only by the skin of his teeth.

Vettel crossed the finish line a mere two-tenths of a second behind Hamilton. A few more turns, and he may have secured his third podium finish in so many races.

“When I came onto the long straight for the first time and saw Lewis at the hairpin, I thought I was too far away, but we had more speed on the tires,” Vettel said.

“It’s a little disappointing to lose out at the end. A few more corners and we could’ve tried something.”

After watching those fast final laps, we, too, wish he would have had that shot as well.

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