Poles don’t mean prizes for Red Bull’s Vettel

Updated: Apr 17, 2010, 17:53 PM IST

Shanghai: Sebastian Vettel has learnt from bitter experience this season that pole positions do not guarantee race wins in Formula One and the German is taking nothing for granted at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old gave Red Bull a fourth pole in four races on Saturday but he is aware that his sole victory came in Malaysia last time out when team mate Mark Webber had topped the qualifying times.

“It was a good result today but, as always, the race is where you score points so the most important is yet to come,” Vettel told reporters on Saturday.

A mechanical problem in the season-opener in Bahrain followed by an engine failure in the next race in Australia robbed Vettel of victories from his first two pole positions of the year.

He managed to slip past Webber on the first corner in Malaysia to lead a Red Bull one-two, however, and will take confidence from his pole-to-flag victory here last year.

Having apparently banished the reliability problems that affected his first two races, many pundits have predicted the pace of the Red Bull should easily carry Vettel to a maiden world title.

“It’s four races. We have to stay on the ground,” he said. “Everything can still happen. Just before here I read some people don’t think it’s still a fight for four teams, but I think it is.”

Vettel trails Brazilian Felipe Massa by two points in the drivers’ standings, while Red Bull are only third in the constructors’ race behind Ferrari and McLaren with Mercedes behind them in fourth place.

“In the points there’s not much difference and you see how quickly things can change,” Vettel added.

“I had two failures this year, once I was lucky to manage to finish. Fernando (Alonso) had one just before the end of the race in Malaysia.

“You have to be there consistently until the end of the season in Abu Dhabi and then you see who’s got the most points.

“It’s a long, long way. We have to push to make sure we stay at the top. It’s still very early.”

Bureau Report