Vettel felt “like letting the team down” after error

2015 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel admits he feels he let his Ferrari team down after his mistake caused the front wing damage that took him out of contention for a podium during today’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Vettel had been battling with Nico Rosberg for second but ran wide under pressure and damaged his Ferrari – forcing an unscheduled third pit stop for a new front wing.

“I tried to defend another time against Nico [Rosberg] and on the exit of the last corner I went wide and seemed to damage the front wing there,” Vettel explained.

“I don’t know what happened. I can’t see the front wing but I just felt that I had a lot less front grip and we decided to pit, which I felt was the right call.

“In the end, obviously a bit of a shame to get stuck and not to get that fourth place so I feel like letting the team down a bit today, I feel there was more in reach, but all-in-all a good result for us.”

Vettel’s error and subsequent pit stop dropped him to fifth behind Valtteri Bottas, but despite catching the Williams, the Ferrari driver was unable to pass and crossed the line in sixth.

“I think Kimi proved second was possible,” added Vettel. “Obviously he was on a mirror strategy. I think he drove a good race.”

“For myself, I think it would’ve been difficult to catch Nico [Rosberg] and overtake him because I was on the same tyre, but I didn’t get to find out because I damaged the front wing. So it was my mistake and in the end a good recovery and still some decent points.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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44 comments on “Vettel felt “like letting the team down” after error”

  1. If I were Vettel I’d feel angry at Ferrari for giving my teammate a better tire strategy.
    Ferrari were lucky Vettel got himself in trouble and they didn’t need to answer for it.

    1. Rofl. You should send your application to be Vettels race engineer right away as you see to know better.

    2. I’m a fan of his but c’mon

    3. Vettel´s early stop caused Merc to react and stop rather early too, which was what made Raikkonens strategy work in the first place. Furthermore, after his stop when he was ahead of Rosberg, he only needed to stay ahead for about 2-3 laps of pressure before Rosberg would have needed to back off and save tyres and breaks, so Vettels strategy didn´t look bad, and it wasn´t clear to anybody at that point in time Kimis strategy would come good later. Even Kimi himself questioned it and asked if another stint on mediums wouldn´t be better rather then softs.

      1. @crammond So Ferrari used Vettel as bait to give Kimi better chance at Mercedes. WOW
        And yes it was clear immediately. Every one of his laps was better than Vettels.

        1. If you have your cars in 3 and 4, you need to pit P3 to put P2 (and possibly P1) under pressure to make them pit, and you try to go long with the car that was in P4 initially. You never know ahead which way will work better, but that´s the way to go if you want to put pressure on the team ahead and you´re not caring which of your drivers will end up better and not caring that inevitably it won´t work the same for both.

        2. @ivan-vinitskyy

          So Ferrari used Vettel as bait to give Kimi better chance at Mercedes. WOW

          Most folks espousing a preferred driver theory at Ferrari are leaning toward Vettel.

      2. Actually his early pit was successful, he was behind Rosberg before the pit and won that position back, as Rosberg exited behind him, and that also put him right behind Hamilton (in theory).

        He just didn’t have the pace to stay there. (and couldn’t defend because of DRS)

    4. Vettel got track position on Rosberg several times and lost it every time. What more can the team do for him?

      1. Vettel is just not a wheel-to-wheel racer, similar in many ways to Rosberg.

        That’s why he couldn’t keep track position that his team strategy afforded him.

        1. @supremacy It was a poor race from Vettel, but you can’t say he isn’t a wheel-to wheel-racer. Rosberg’s Mercedes went past Raikkonen similarly easily due to its superiority, only ceding position at the end with his braking problems.

    5. in case you missed the race in China, Vettel doesn’t do so well when hes behind someone else sucking up their bad air. I would be surprised if Vettel didn’t need to pit early just to keep up with Mercedes. Kimi hasn’t had the luxury of being able to stay close to the Mercs this year, so hes had a lot more clean air.

      what you are really seeing is the inability of Ferrari to stay behind Mercedes less than 2 seconds. And unfortunately, for the spectators this year, Lewis and co are probably going to keep putting their “talk to the hand” strategy to work and force Ferrari to suck up turbulence while they walk it all the way to the end of the championship. Merc have a faster car in a straight line, off the line and over one lap, once they get a good setup to match the tires, it’s normal service resumed.

    6. They both did 2 stints on the soft and 1 on the medium from what I recall, and the way Vettel had them was the only way to possibly gain track position rather than have to overtake.

    7. If Vettel didn’t make that mistake, Kimi would have had to overtake Vettel before catching up to overtake Rosberg and would have lost time and further damaged tyres. In most cases, the alternate strategy is a comparatively slower one in ideal state, which is why Mercedes didn’t go for the same when they had the choice. Bahrain is not a track that allows easy overtaking.

      Last year, Nico-Lewis battle showed how difficult it was to overtake your team mate even with an option tyre versus the prime for the team mate.

    8. Exactly, They Need to Opt for Different Strategy as Merc are Following them till 1st Pit Stop. They Never push themselves in the first stint and simply watches Ferrari to Cover them.

  2. Ferrari gave it to kimi because he made the soft tires last on the first stint. Vettel was slow already even before the first pit.

    1. Because he shot his tires when he locked them.Before that he was faster than Kimi.

  3. If Vettel didn’t have that problem I wonder if Ferrari would’ve used team orders to let Raikkonen go after Rosberg, if not then I’m certain it would’ve been third for Kimi and fourth for Sebastian.

    1. Certain are you? /facepalm

    2. I don’t think Vettel would’ve had enough pace to hold Kimi behind him.

  4. Vettel didn’t look up to scratch this weekend. He only had a good quali lap but I just felt he made too many mistakes through out, certainly during the race.

  5. All race Vettel and Kimi looked like they were asking too much of the car, instead of ‘getting more out of it than it has’, it looked more like they were pushing too hard for the car to handle at times. Mind you, I mean the car as the entire package, as I’m still not sure what to make of the tyres.

    We’re not in the Pirelli tyre gamble of 2012 anymore, but I do feel like these tyres are very hit and miss. Some weekends they enable racing through strategy, others they look like they’re really limiting the drivers to either push or go on a different strategy.

    1. I agree with the first part. I think it’s not just Vettel and Raikkonen, but the whole team is being super aggressive. They were very aggressive with the undercut in China and today, they split strategies to maximise their potential. They are trying everything they can to put pressure on the Mercedes and today it worked out, more or less.

      As for the tyres.. well, for the last two races there was a clearly better strategy, but in order to make it work the drivers had to do crazy amounts of tyre saving, which is a bit disappointing.

      1. @yobo01 I think that is the nature of Ferrari. They would for example take a win and a DNF over P2/3.

      2. They have the luxury of a comfortable advantage to the next car behind, usually the Williams. They can make bold calls and when they get it right they can beat one or both Mercedes. If they get it wrong, they will be third and fourth. Unless if course they break the front wing or fail to fasten tires correctly.

      3. @yobo01 Remember that finishing 2nd and 5th (18 + 10 = 28 points) is better than finishing 3rd and 4th (15 + 12 = 27 points) so I think they got the strategy right this time.

        1. @paeschli Very good point, I didn’t think about that. Yeah, I guess there’s just no reason for Ferrari not to go with the aggressive strategy.

  6. He should be angry with himself.
    Seb made several mistakes today. This one was the worst. Strangely, since the beginning, I felt he was somehow unsecured. On the opposite, his team made an excellent job. The pit stops were tremendous! Incredible job. The first two stops were under 3 sec. And he wasn’t able to take that advantage. So, in the end, yes, he has to feel bad with his job today.

    1. It was obvious it was gonna be a problematic one right? I just knew even before the start that he was gonna do something or even somethings that’s gonna botch the job. It was weird.
      There must be something that made people think that. I watched Friday,Saturday and interviews and I just knew. Crazy.

  7. Last year his fans said Red Bull used him as bait to force others to stop and open the way for Ricciardo, like in Monza that this happened.

    Now this again.

    It’s easier to wonder why Vettel always thinks the undercut is the best option. He got track position THREE TIMES today and lost every single time. They can’t beat Mercedes on sheer speed. Probably won’t be able to this year. Kimi’s strategies are not “better”. “Clever” is a better word to describe.

    1. Not really, all I can say is that he tends to try and make things happen to get ahead on the contrary the Mercs use 1strategy for both drivers. Ultimately in Monza2014, China2015, Bahrain2015 he was the 1st of the front runners to pit the outcome being unknown.

    2. I don´t believe it was actually Vettel´s choice. However, as a team that wants to put a car ahead that´s just the way you do it. Suzuka 2013 is another example, Red Bull splitted strategy to force Grosjean/Lotus into a situation where they couldn´t cover both, that time Vettel profitted and Webber fell a bit short. You can actually dig up dozens of examples where teams used that sort of split since 2011 (also Force India and Sauber did so very often from 2011 onwards). Obviously though, this is about getting the best team result. You don´t do this if you specifically care about one driver, and you don´t do so if you want to treat them as eqqual as possible (and honestly, I´d fire a driver that demanded this sort of equal treatment to the harm of the team).

    3. You are trying to make Kimi look more “clever” than Sebastian obviously. But this was a team play, it was all like 1 big strategy and generally it is the strategists and such that decide what to do. You think that this strategy belongs to Kimi because their strategist is the same guy who used to work at Lotus with him.

  8. Good qualifying, bad race, time to move on. Happy he admits his mistakes. A bit disappointed by Ferrari’s pace after showing promising long-run times on friday. They are still some way behind, at least to Hamilton.

  9. Helluva race for him and the one to forget ;) .
    p.s. Bottas was pulling away from Seb just like Hulk from Alonso in one of 2013 GP’s (can’t recall which one). Unexpected and tiring.

    1. Michael Brown
      20th April 2015, 2:58

      Korea, perhaps? He saved that race from being truly forgettable.

      1. Korean GP, yes. Thank you ;)

  10. dont know whats going on with sebastian last night. have to admit that his defend were behind fernando. but who knows, after he made a tons mistake, he will fight back. particularly from kimi :D. and lets hope ferrari dont have 1st driver and second driver like fernando and michael era.

  11. It certainly made errors Fernando never would of in the same position. But we already seen in racing situations and under pressure last year he is prone to the odd spin.

    Nothing against him, so don’t get on my back seb fans as i think he is doing a great job.

    1. It certainly made errors Fernando never would of in the same position.

      That’s right. Alonso would never damage his front wing in a Ferrari.

      1. Alonso is not infallible but he never had a stinker like that, with so many individual goofs. That was like Massa’s infamous race at Silverstone, but in the dry. I’ve never seen a driver, even a backmarker, go off so many times appropos of nothing—and some of those cars in the back, to the naked eye, have handling like ice cream trucks. I’m sure he’ll be back to his normal self, but he has to wipe this from his mind completely.

    2. Malasia 2013 Alonso’s mistake and front wing damage ;)

  12. Quite an awful performance for a 4 times world champion. I mean everyone can make a mistake but he did like 4 with one destroying his frond wing and then seemed unable to even find a way to try a move on Bottas despite being a second faster than him.
    He made enough mistakes in one race that some others do in a whole season.

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