Vettel pays tribute to tragic stars

Sebastian Vettel has conceded to suffering "mixed emotions" in the wake of his latest win which saw him claim a Formula One record.

A familiar sight this season.

The Indian Grand Prix proved to be the perfect race for Vettel as he achieved F1's 'grand chelem' - grand slam - of pole, race victory, fastest lap, as well as leading every lap.

The latter fact means he has now been in the lead for more laps in a single season than any other F1 driver in history, overtaking the 1992 mark set by Nigel Mansell.

But on the other hand there was also sadness on Sunday from Vettel in light of the tragic deaths in the last two weeks of double Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon and MotoGP star Marco Simoncelli.

"It is the first grand prix in India and I am very proud to be the first winner," said double world champion Vettel.

"But we have recently had two tragic weekends, losing two of our mates. For everyone who is a fan of motorsport it has been a hard time.

"I didn't know Dan Wheldon, but he was a big name, and I only got to know Marco Simoncelli this year.

"Yes, we are ready to take certain risks when we jump into the car, but we obviously pray that every time nothing happens.

"Sometimes you get reminded of what can happen, and it is the last thing that we want to see.

"So there are mixed emotions and our thoughts are with them at this moment, especially with their families.

"We should never forget those two young, very committed race drivers."

It was a perfect tribute from Vettel, who despite the fact he is only 24, continues to display remarkable maturity. And it came just minutes after his 11th win of a stunning season and 21st of his career, the former statistic leaving him two wins shy of Michael Schumacher's 2004 single-season record of 13.

Victory in the final two grands prix in Abu Dhabi and Brazil will see him equal the mark, leaving him with a potential target for the year.

"People have questioned my motivation coming into this weekend," added Vettel.

"But as I have touched on, the whole team is still very hungry and the best thing is we still have two races to go so we can enjoy it a lot. For me motivation is not an issue."

The debut race on the subcontinent has proven to be a roaring success, even if the facilities need a little work ahead of next year's race.

But with 95,000 fans in the stands, it should be an event that grows for the future.

"There were a lot of people here, this was a big event with a great atmosphere and with all the grandstand nearly sold out, so great to be part of it," said Vettel.

The German ultimately finished 8.4 seconds ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button, with Fernando Alonso a distant third in his Ferrari.

Both Button and Alonso echoed Vettel's sentiments when it came to reflecting on Wheldon and Simoncelli, for whom a minute's silence was observed before the start.

"The last two weekends have been very, very difficult given the two fatalities," said Button.

"I knew Dan from a very early age. He was the guy we always had to beat in the early formulas, so I'm very sad.

"I think we should dedicate this first Indian race to him and Marco who was a super-talented youngster, the most amazing guy to watch on a bike."

Alonso gave his perspective, saying: "As Sebastian and Jenson said, mixed feelings this weekend after sad weeks for motorsport with the two accidents.

"I think we all raced for them today [Sunday], and looking ahead we should always remember these two fantastic people."



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