‘Positive day’ for Vettel, but ‘could have been better’
Sebastian Vettel came away from the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix with the lead of the drivers championship after finishing on the podium in third place at the Red Bull Ring.
For most people that would probably have been enough, especially given that Vettel had been demoted three places on the grid overnight for an infringement in qualifying, and was starting from sixth place.
But Vettel was still disappointed not to have done even more with his day and wasn’t willing to admit that he was happy to settle with third.
“No, I think it’s boring if I take that!” he told Sky Sports F1 after the race. “I don’t want to sound arrogant but you never know what the race is offering.
“It would have been nice to start further up. I tried to get some back at the start at turn 1 but it didn’t quite work.”
Vettel dropped two places in the first corners, but quickly started working his way back through the field.
“We had a really good car, really good pace. Obviously we were quite far back after lap 1, and we recovered well.
“I was left with no place to go and then lost momentum,” he recalled of the start. “And it was the same thing a little bit at turn 3.
“I had to fight with the Renault and the Haas at the beginning of the race and lost a little bit of ground. And obviously we lost a little bit of time at the stop.
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“So for us it was pretty much damage limitation,” he concluded. “But I think the pace was very good, the tyre management was very good, so a positive day.
“I’m happy with the podium, I think it was a great race, but equally I think there was more to grasp – so I’m bit mixed, if you see what I mean.
“Could have been better, but it was a well deserved win for Max [Verstappen],” he said, also praising the performance of his team mate Kimi Raikkonen who finished in second.
“I told him: very good race, very consistent, no mistakes. We were chasing him down at the end but couldn’t quite make it.”
There had been no suggestion that Raikkonen would be ordered to make way for Vettel because of the championship battle.
“No, why?” Vettel replied when asked he’d been expecting a call from the Ferrari pit wall along those lines.
“I was trying to hunt both of them [Max and Kimi] down. Kimi was pushing as hard as he could, I was pushing as hard as I could, I think the both of us were catching but not enough.
“Obviously I was further back on lap 1, I lost with the pit stop, so arguably I had to recover more than others. But I’m fine with that.
“We had great speed, the difference was made with the tyres today which worked well, the strategy worked well.
“But Max won the race because he deserved to. He did very well managing his tyres to the end. He didn’t have any mistakes by my understanding, I didn’t see him going off, so that’s a strong performance from him.
“Kimi did everything he could,” Vettel continued. “He had one lock-up I believe where he lost a position to Daniel [Ricciardo] but he recovered after that.
“I tried my bit to come back,” he insisted. “Obviously saving tyres pushing at the same time you never know – you’re a bit blind because the race is long and it was more than 50 laps to do on the same tyres.
“I tried to do all that and I think most of it I got more or less right, but it could also have been a bit better today without the [starting grid penalty.]”
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