Sebastian Vettel may have made the win look easy at the front in Bahrain, but the defending world champion has admitted that he did not expect to be so strong today.
The Red Bull driver took the lead from Nico Rosberg early on before pulling away from the rest of the field to win the race by around 10 seconds, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
“I surely did not expect that. I think it was pretty dominant today, which was certainly not the expectation,” Vettel said on the podium after the race.
The Red Bull driver admitted that he knew he had to get ahead of Rosberg, and that from then on it would be his race to lose.
“It the beginning it was quite tight racing. I knew it was crucial to get in the lead if I could as then I could have a margin to look after and manage the tires from there. I felt I could pull away. Once you settle in, it is difficult to overtake.”
The need to pull away was increased by the high winds in Bahrain, which accentuated the use of DRS.
“There was a strong headwind down the straight so the advantage for DRS was bigger than usual.
“I think we could have had a strong race even if I had not been in the lead immediately. But I preferred it that way for sure.”
The win sees Vettel surpass three-time world champion Jackie Stewart’s total of 27 wins, and he is now just three behind Fernando Alonso and Nigel Mansell, both of whom have graced the top step of the podium 31 times.
Vettel also increases his lead in the drivers’ championship to 10 points, with Kimi Raikkonen currently being his closest challenger. Lewis Hamilton, in third, is 27 points behind the Red Bull.