Oct 15 2013
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Sebastian Vettel proved in Japan he has more than one string to his bow when it comes to winning a race.
Vettel triumphed at Suzuka for the fourth time in five years, and at the fifth consecutive grand prix this season, to move within touching distance of his fourth successive Formula One world title.
But instead of blasting away from pole position and opening up a gap, as has become his modus operandi over the years, Red Bull and Vettel had to play a more tactical game.
From second on the grid, Vettel was beaten into the first corner by both the Lotus of Romain Grosjean and his own team-mate Mark Webber.
To complicate matters, Vettel sustained minor front-wing damage after it clipped and punctured the right-rear tyre of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.
It meant Vettel had to be patient and let the race and a two-stop strategy come to him, before pulling off the defining overtake when he passed Grosjean for the lead after his second change of tyres.
Assessing a very different victory for Vettel, Horner said: "He had a damaged car, and yet he just managed to adapt.
"He played the thinking game. He watched and he waited in that first stint, and he preserved the tyres.
"He was very smart in the way he handled the race. He created the options for himself by having the range in that first stint.
"He then did the same in the second stint by making the tyres go longer and further than any of the other drivers.
"And then when he had the one opportunity when he needed to nail Grosjean, he did so immediately."