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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Vettel: KERS was key to my pole

Sebastian Vettel reckons there was no way he would've taken pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix if Red Bull hadn't got their KERS sorted in time for Sepang.

There had been doubts over whether the champion squad would use the energy-boosting device in Malaysia after reliability problems in Melbourne practice forced the team to remove KERS before the race.

That didn't stop Vettel taking a relatively easy win from pole in the opener, but with the Sepang track featuring much longer straights, KERS was thought to be a vital addition - and Vettel concurred after edging out Lewis Hamilton for pole and seeing team-mate Mark Webber take third.

"It's a big compliment to the guys, especially with the KERS," said Vettel.

"We got criticised after the last race for not having run it all the time and it's something that we were not proud of.

"But we came here and sorted out most of our problems and I think if we would not have had it today then we would not be here, both of us, so it's a great achievement."

Vettel was not quickest in any of the three practice sessions and admitted it had taken him a while to get on top of things at Sepang.

"It was quite a challenging weekend," he said.

"Until qualifying, I was happy with the car but we never got into a rhythm so yesterday was not as smooth as we hoped for and also this morning, but we knew we had it in the car, so the main thing was believing in it.

"In qualifying it worked out straight away, and was very close at the end with the McLaren guys."

He added: "It was not a particular problem with the car or anything that broke down, it was just not as smooth.

"We did not have all the laps we wanted, had a little bit of traffic, and I did mistakes and it just didn't all come together as nicely and allow us to find that rhythm.

"The track here can be very challenging in that regard, you've got lots of corners with different lines."

Vettel's margin over the field in Malaysia was much smaller than it had been in Australia, with Hamilton just a tenth behind, and the Red Bull driver said that showed those who had predicted he would dominate the year had spoken too soon.

"The gap is quite a lot smaller than it was in Australia so it just shows how quickly things can change and at the next race, you never know..." said Vettel.

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