It’s often be said that Sebastian Vettel can’t fight, can’t carve past cars when the going is tough. That certainly didn’t appear to be the case on lap nine of today’s race, as the reigning world champion made three absolutely crucial moves that would put him on his way to victory.
Having made his first pitstop from behind Fernando Alonso, Vettel exited behind a massive gaggle of cars that included both Mercedes, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa. Sitting behind this bunch – if only for the circuit’s 2.9 miles – could have cost him enough time to drop him behind team-mate Mark Webber, then running in P3.
But Seb didn’t mess about. He made light work of Button, Massa and Rosberg, locking up as he got past the Ferrari but otherwise proving his overtaking prowess to be flawless. That gave him track position over both and meant there were no cars between him and Alonso when the Ferrari made its stop. And, perhaps more crucially, it brought him out ahead of Mark Webber.
Sure, he was on new tyres, but he still had to get the job done without banging wheels or shedding any pieces of Red Bull. He did a brilliant job, adding to the feeling that 2011-spec Vettel is a superior machine to the 2010 version. Had he not made these two passes there’s a very real chance he’d have dropped behind Webber, dramatically affecting his race. He later absored intense pressure from Lewis Hamilton to seal the win. This drive was one of a true champion.