Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel and team principal Maurizio Arrivabene have paid tribute to the staff and workers at Maranello upon returning to the factory in Italy following their sensational victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend.
In just his second grand prix start for Ferrari, Vettel stormed to a shock victory ahead of the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg by managing his tires better to save a pit stop.
With both Vettel and Ferrari enduring miserable 2014 campaigns, the result marked the return of both the driver and the team to the front of the F1 field after long durations without a victory.
Vettel addressed the Ferrari team in Italian back at Maranello on Wednesday, and made no secret of his delight.
“It was a very emotional moment,” Vettel said. “I have won many races, but the first one with Ferrari is very, very special.
“On Sunday night I wanted to celebrate with the mechanics and I said to them, ‘thanks a lot, but I want to be one of you – no more, no less.
“I am part of the team and, even if out on track, I’m alone, I know that really I never am, because I am always with you.
“I want to thank you for giving me a nice car and I think, in fact I know, that we will experience many more great moments together.”
The comparisons drawn between Vettel and F1 legend Michael Schumacher have been frequent over the past few months. Growing up, Vettel aspired to follow in the footsteps of his hero, and Arrivabene recognized the enormity of his victory in Malaysia.
“I think that, the ‘forza Ferrari!’ from Seb over the radio immediately after taking the checkered flag, was not just for the achievement of a childhood dream,” Arrivabene said, “but also for memories of the moments spent with another great champion who won so much for Ferrari, namely Michael and above all there was the joy of being there with all of you.
“You have been here for such a long time and you deserve it.”