Red Bull gives Vettel the wing to fly
Suzuka (Japan): A 10,000 km dash across two continents translated into a crucial 68 centimetres for Sebastian Vettel at the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday.
Red Bull, who like to boast that their energy drink `Gives You Wings`, flew a new front wing from their British factory to Suzuka overnight to make sure their world champion had the fastest car possible for qualifying.
Even if Vettel barely requires any extra help, given that he needs just one point from the last five races to become Formula One`s youngest double champion, his team were determined to pull out all the stops after the 24-year-old German crashed in Friday practice.
As he crunched into the tyre wall at Degner 1, he smashed one of just two special front wings the team had brought to Japan.
Vettel had to use an older version of the wing for the remaining practice sessions, and was eclipsed by McLaren`s Jenson Button in all three, but it all changed when the new one was bolted on for qualifying.
The champion saw off Button, the only man who can deny him his second successive crown on Sunday, for pole by just nine thousandths of a second -- a margin McLaren calculated came down to just 68 centimetres when travelling at 280kph across the finish.
The pole was Vettel`s 12th of the season, keeping him on a record-breaking course, and maintained the team`s run of 16 in a row.
Team boss Christian Horner said it had been a close-run thing. Asked when the new wing had arrived, he replied: "About 20 minutes before quali."
Horner said that although Vettel`s team mate Mark Webber had the new wing on his car, they had never considered taking it off the Australian as they did controversially at Silverstone last season.
"Sebastian damaged it, he went off. Last time, it failed and we had one left and it wasn`t anything to do with the driver.”
"Yesterday it was purely down to him, that`s why he looked pretty pissed off when he got out of the car because he knew he`d damaged a front wing that he knew there were only two of in Japan at that time."
Vettel, who has now taken five poles in a row, was delighted and said the effort had made all the difference.
"We sat down after the practice session this morning and fortunately got everything together and we were able to get everything, every single bit out of the car, which was crucial," he told reporters.
"A special thanks to the team, who just in time brought the front wing. Many regards also to the factory. I think without them I would not be sitting on pole position today."