Australia win 'positive surprise' for Vettel, but no title thoughts
Sebastian Vettel called his victory in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix a "positive surprise" for Ferrari, but is refusing to think about a challenge for the Formula 1 drivers' championship after just one race.
Vettel converted Ferrari's impressive pre-season pace into a confident win at Albert Park on Sunday, jumping Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in the pit stops before pulling clear, eventually beating the Briton by almost 10 seconds.
The win marked the first success for both Vettel and Ferrari since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix, with the German saying it proves the hard work the team has put in over the winter following a barren 2016.
"I think for all of us this is a positive surprise," Vettel said. "We focused on what we had to do at the time, obviously there's been a lot of up and down left and right in the last 12 months but I think especially in the last couple of months things calmed down and we just tried to do our job.
"Obviously there's been a big reshuffle, but people are happy, happy to work, working with each other so that's the key and in the end there's no shortcut. I think just focusing on ourselves really has been the big difference and the key to deliver a great car, which we obviously have. The speeds were alright both on the straights and in the corners we are competitive, as I said I was able to stay with Lewis.
"[Mercedes] had the upper hand yesterday, but I knew we had much better balance yesterday than on Friday so I knew in the race anything can happen. It's the first race of the season I'm surprised we didn't have a safety car, but anything can happen so I really wanted to stay in there and make it clear that we have the pace it was nice to see that we had, and to get the job done."
Vettel's success marked Ferrari's first win in Australia since 2007, when Kimi Raikkonen prevailed on his debut for the Italian marque ahead of a run to the drivers' championship.
Despite this good omen, Vettel refused to get ahead of himself, saying he had no time for history.
"No, I'm not interested in that point to be honest," Vettel said. "Obviously I was very fortunate so far in my racing career that I had some very good races and good years, but definitely after the first race is not the time to look at the table. We really have to go step-by-step.
"It's good to know we have a great car but it's just the beginning. New regulations, new generation of cars so there will be a lot of progress. [Mercedes] have proven to be the ones to beat in the last couple of years more and more. We know they have a great engine but they've had a great car the last couple of years and they made good steps forward so we're the ones who need to catch up.
"For today I'm just very happy and for sure whatever happens this year, the race today doesn't hurt.”