Vettel grabs Fastest Lap at ‘slow’ Monaco GP
The waiting game
The tight, twisting curves of the Monaco Grand Prix don’t provide many opportunities to build up a lot of speed. Additionally, Vettel’s options were limited in the first part of the race as both drivers from Mercedes took control of the pace at the front of the pack.
“I was a bit surprised by the slow pace in the opening laps,” Vettel said in the press conference after the race. “Usually you expect two Silver Arrows in front of you and there were two buses today going for a cruise.”
Advantageous timing of two safety car deployments, along with a tactical pit stop during a rare red flag stoppage, allowed Vettel to move up to second place behind Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
Once in second place, Vettel admitted he was resigned to “just waiting for the checkered flag.” But that didn’t mean he couldn’t make things interesting. With a spot on the podium secure as the race came to a close, Vettel felt the need for speed after – as he put it on Red Bull’s team radio – “going slow for 77 laps.”
He defied team orders to preserve the podium and finish conservatively, instead grabbing the Fastest Lap in the second-to-last circuit of the race, covering the 3.34-km course in 1:16.577. Afterward, Vettel's race engineer urged him to be careful, adding that he doesn't get any points for doing so. Vettel's response: "Just satisfaction".
A class of his own
DHL’s F1 Expert and former F1 driver, Christian Danner noted that while it wasn't surprising that yet another Fastest Lap was set right at the end of the race, it was remarkable how easy Vettel made it look.
"Sometimes it's a lad from the mid-field runners who just puts on a fresh set of tires on an empty tank and then sets the Fastest Lap," Danner said after the race in Monaco. "Sebastian Vettel has developed almost a habit of doing exactly that without the pit stop, just in the middle of his normal pace toward a podium finish."
Coming into Monaco, Vettel was facing pressure in the standings from Kimi Räikkönen. But Vettel’s second place in Monaco gives him 21 points of breathing room on Räikkönen, who finished tenth. Vettel tops the Fastest Lap leader board as well with three wins. Räikkönen, Sergio Pérez, and Esteban Gutierrez each have one Fastest Lap so far.
Vettel’s Red Bull team improved their lead in the constructors’ table and are now 41 points in front of Ferrari. The win for Rosberg’s Mercedes team is their first of the season.
Danner’s tip for Canada
Who will race the Fastest Lap at the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DU CANADA 2013? Watch the second video at the top of this page and learn what DHL’s F1 Ambassador and former F1 driver, Christian Danner, has to say.
And stay tuned for more tips and reviews. Before and after each Grand Prix this season, Christian Danner will offer up his fastest lap pick and then review that perfect lap after the race. “One thing that is so cool about the fastest lap,” says Danner, “is that there’s always a story behind the story.” Christian shares that story each week and you can have a look back at his past picks and reviews at any time here or at DHL's YouTube channel