Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is refusing to get ahead of himself and revise Ferrari’s targets for the 2015 Formula 1 season despite winning the Malaysian Grand Prix two weeks ago.
In just his second start for the team, Vettel claimed an emphatic race win at Sepang as Ferrari soundly beat Mercedes.
The result came as a huge surprise to the F1 community which had deemed the German team to be far ahead of the rest of the field following its domination of the Australian Grand Prix just two weeks earlier.
The sport heads to Shanghai this weekend for the Chinese Grand Prix with the prospect of a real fight at the front of the field between two teams – something that hasn’t occurred in almost two years.
However, Vettel does not wish to get ahead of himself, explaining in the FIA press conference how his win in Malaysia has not changed Ferrari’s approach or expectations.
“I think we are realistic about where we are and what we want to achieve,” Vettel said. “I think the targets haven’t changed. Obviously it was a great victory we had in Malaysia and great for us as a team, and especially for myself a very emotional day – my first win with Ferrari.
“The team hasn’t won for quite a while, so I think they enjoyed the fact that they had something to celebrate, there are a couple of rituals involved and it was nice for them to get that feeling again, but as I said, for the next races nothing has changed.
“We want to confirm that we have a strong package, we have a strong car and we want to make sure that we stay ahead of the people we stayed of in the last couple of races, but knowing that obviously Mercedes is in a very, very strong position.”
Although Vettel is confident that Ferrari’s pace in Malaysia was genuine, he acknowledged that his victory was a result of a number of factors coming together and remains realistic ahead of this weekend’s race in China.
“I think it was for real two weeks ago,” Vettel said. “I don’t think Mercedes backed off and everyone else. It was obviously nice for us to see that we were so competitive but I think there were also a couple of circumstances coming together but most important we managed to capitalise and get a very good result and win the race.
“But for here and for the next races, I think in general [at] the start of the season, things can be up and down. We want to make sure that there is quite a lot of up, not so many downs but it’s normal that some races you are more competitive than others.
“So I think, as I said, that we managed to do a very good job in Malaysia but for here and for the next races we have to be realistic about what we want to achieve.”