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Untouchable Vettel

Posted: 08 May 2011 02:58 PM PDT

... but German also thanks mechanics who played big role in his third win

Monday, May 9th, 2011 05:55:00

ISTANBUL: Sebastian Vettel paid tribute to the Red Bull mechanics who fixed his car on Friday after taking his third victory of the season at the Turkish Grand Prix yesterday.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel crashed heavily in a wet practice session and had to sit out the rest of the day, missing 90 minutes of dry running ahead of qualifying. It mattered little though, as he took pole and a comfortable victory at Istanbul Park, and the German gave his thanks to both sets of mechanics who put in the work to get his car repaired.

"All in all I'm very happy," said Vettel. "I had an accident on Friday and crashed the car badly — and all the guys, not only the guys around my car, also Mark Webber's guys helped a lot and together they fixed the car. It meant some extra hours for them which I'm sorry for, but obviously I think yesterday and today makes up for it so I'm very pleased with the result and a big thanks to the team."

During the race, Vettel got off the line well and managed to pull away early on at the front. The leader said the first stint was key as he was then able to decide which strategy to take based on the other drivers.

"I think we had a smooth race, obviously a very good start which was crucial. And then I was able to pull a gap right in the first stint, which was important because then we could afford to stay out a lap longer, wait for what the others are doing in terms of strategy and then just react.

"All in all we always had this three/four to eight second cushion to the second guy and obviously it makes my life easier and our lives a bit easier to find out which strategy is the one that really works."

Vettel admitted he based his strategy on what others were doing, and that he took a final fourth pit stop to cover for the possibility of a safety car.

"It wasn't easy from the start to know what was going to happen because of course you have a rough idea about tyres and how long they will last, but you really have to wait for the first and maybe the second stint to see 'this is the trend and this is where we're going'. In the end I think I could have afforded to stay out on my first set of prime tyres but then you have to be in a position for whatever comes.

"I thought at that time I could have easily made it to the chequered flag which gives us the pit stop of around 15 or 20 seconds, but then again if something happens — there is an accident elsewhere and a safety car comes out — then obviously you are on a used tyre. So I think it was the right thing to come in another time even though it was just a very short fourth stint after the third stop."

Meanwhile, Webber said second place was the maximum he could have hoped for, conceding Vettel is on top of his game right now. The Australian finished over eight seconds behind his teammate. Webber admitted he could have had a better shot had Nico Rosberg not passed him at the start, but he conceded second was the best possible result.

"I got the maximum I could actually. It would have been difficult to beat Vettel. It would have been easier if I was ahead of Rosberg. Rosberg is doing his race, fair enough, but he could have made a cleaner move initially. In the end the result is as it deserves to be, I think."

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Stoke on high

Posted: 08 May 2011 02:50 PM PDT

Victory over Gunners good preparation for City cup date

Monday, May 9th, 2011 05:44:00

Jon Welters

FLYING HIGH: Walters (pic) celebrates after scoring his team's third goal in their win over Arsenal yesterday — GETTYpic


STOKE:
Stoke manager Tony Pulis could not hide his delight to see his side put in the perfect pre-Wembley performance by beating Arsenal 3-1 at Britannia Stadium yesterday.

The Potters could have been forgiven for having one eye on this Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester City when they welcomed the Gunners. If they did, they did not let it show, with the win providing the ideal preparation for a date with City at Wembley.

Stoke's goals were scored by Kenwyne Jones, Jermaine Pennant and Jon Welters while Robin van Persie replied for Arsenal. Pulis was insistent he never expected his squad to take their eye off the ball, with Stoke having established a reputation for giving their all in every game they play.

"It was pleasing in the respect of the effort and commitment the players have put in when they know that their next game is at Wembley in an FA Cup final," he told Sky Sports.

"We have got a real good spirit in the camp and I think everybody understands and recognises that if they are picked to play for us, they have to run around, they have to work hard and they have to competitive.

"We have got some good players as well to go with that, so we are really pleased."

Pulis can now turn his attention to the Cup final and he acknowledges City will pose another considerable challenge to his side.

"I watched it yesterday and they are going to be a massive force in English football, without a doubt, and they played exceptionally well for an hour at Everton. It will be a tough game for us but we will deal with it when it comes along."

While Stoke enjoyed an afternoon to remember against the Gunners, they did see Robert Huth and Jones limp from the field, providing them with an untimely injury headache. What are the pair's chances of making the Wembley?

"Huth is probably the one we are worried about the most, but we will see what it is like tomorrow instead of sitting here and making any rash statements," said Pulis.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits they did not show enough fighting spirit yesterday. The Gunners arrived at Britannia Stadium knowing that three points would edge them closer to automatic qualification for next season's Champions League group stage, and keep their faint title hopes alive.

They never looked like delivering on either front, though, as Stoke gave a demonstration in how to expose Arsenal's weaknesses.

Asked if Arsenal had been competitive enough, Wenger said: "No, certainly not. On that front, we were not at the right level, certainly not in the first-half.

"It is always difficult to say why, but it is a fact. You are never happy when you are not competitive enough."

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