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Motor Racing

Vettel settles for second as Hamilton takes step forward

Despite finishing second to Jenson Button, the young German Sebastian Vettel was delighted with his performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix in his Red Bull yesterday as he had suffered tyre problems.

"Very good," he said. "A good result and good points, but it was a difficult race. The start was okay, but then suddenly Lewis [Hamilton] was next to me – he must have pressed his special button and got an advantage. At the first corner we were three deep, me in the middle and Jenson [Button] on the outside, so I had to give way and lost two positions. Unfortunately, I then got stuck behind Lewis, which caused degradation to the tyres – you start to slide and never really come back from that. It's hard braking here so you need the tyres and rear stability."

Vettel won the previous grand prix in China but his focus was on holding on to second rather than fighting for first. "In the second stint I was behind Jarno [Trulli], which was a shame as I was on soft tyres and could have gone a bit quicker. In the third stint, it was the other way round and I had to defend against him. He was very close in my mirrors, but I didn't make any mistakes and we came second."

Trulli was less thrilled. "I'm a little disappointed because I thought we had a chance to take Toyota's first win. But it was a hard race. I was pushing Vettel [towards the end of the race] but there was no way to overtake."

Lewis Hamilton was happy with his final position and sees signs of progress with his McLaren. "I'm delighted with fourth," he said. "The Toyotas, Red Bulls and Brawns were so fast in the high-speed corners that it was just impossible to keep up. But this is another encouraging step for the team, we just need to keep working on the car because we're not really fighting back quite yet, we are collecting points. And the gap will be bigger when we go to Barcelona because it's a high-downforce circuit."

"I am happy to have picked up a few points but I can't be that pleased with our level of performance," said Kimi Raikkonen, who finished sixth for Ferrari's first points this season. "I've been around long enough not to get very excited about a sixth place."