Vettel: Hamilton tow stopped me passing Rosberg

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel said he couldn’t pass Nico Rosberg at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix because the Mercedes was getting a tow from his team mate.

Vettel arrived on the Rosberg’s as Lewis Hamilton slowed the pack in the hope someone would overtake his team mate. But Vettel pointed out Hamilton’s tactics inadvertently aided Rosberg on the straights.

“At the end I thought of having a go for the victory but the problem was they were too quick on the straights,” said Vettel. “Lewis was giving Nico such a good tow that it was difficult to really create something in the straights.”

The Ferrari driver hadn’t been informed of Mercedes’ radio messages urging Hamilton to speed up but said “it was clear he was slowing down.”

“We did two seconds, he was one-and-a-half seconds than I think he could have gone.”

Vettel added he could “understand” Hamilton’s approach. “Everybody picks his own tactics.”

“Obviously for myself it was interesting because I thought I could have a go, have a shot at the race win. But I can see that for Nico it wasn’t very pleasant as well as for the team.”

“From my point of view I tried everything to finish second or higher. I had a little bit of a go but as I said at the end he got DRS from Lewis because he was so close which made it very difficult and my tyres also started to drop following cars at the end.”

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    41 comments on “Vettel: Hamilton tow stopped me passing Rosberg”

    1. So…Hamilton’s fault?

      1. @mashiat Doubt he’s saying that – besides, VET’s not denying it was HAM’s tactics that got ROS to be slower than VET on the rest of the track to begin with – a part of the track even Alonso couln’t overtake on with the championship at stake.

        1. To be fair, ALO didn’t have DRS. The Petrov Incident is actually responsible for the existence of DRS.

          1. Technically, Vettel didn´t have DRS on Rosberg also, since Rosberg had it form Lewis

          2. Michael Brown (@)
            27th November 2016, 18:27

            DRS was already going to be introduced before that race

          3. The Petrov Incident is actually responsible for the existence of DRS.

            Not true as DRS had actually been written into the 2011 regulations well before Abu Dhabi 2010.

            See this article from September 2010 (2 months before Abu Dhabi) that discusses it.

      2. How? If Hamilton hadn’t been that slow, Vettel wouldn’t have even gotten close enough to contemplate passing Rosberg.

        It was a nice attempt by Lewis but Max was too far back anyway.

        1. @trublu What I meant was that it was ironically Hamilton’s own fault Vettel couldn’t pass.

        2. LOL, “nice attempt”

      3. Ha ha ha, so that’s what Hamilton was doing..

        All the time we thought he was slowing the race, when according to Vettel Hamltn was giving Rosberg a tow by providing him the additonal advantage of DRS.

        I guess we only see the truth the way we are told to see the truth. Now i wonder why the mainstream press haven’t picked up on this alternative take on the race?

        ‘Hamilton helps team mate secure the championship.’


    2. Vettel better start driving better :-) Raikonnen should have been ahead of him today and for many of the races this year.

      The least he could have done is tried to pass Nico. Max nearly caught up with them by the end and he had fallen so far behind. I think Jenson’s mom or Paris Hilton could have probably passed Nico on the last couple of laps…

      1. @freelittlebirds, You must be kidding me. Vettel destroyed Raikkonen today. He did well to lenghten his stint on the Softs, and than showed faultless, brilliant pace on the Super Softs.

        1. Do not think so. Pitting both drivers so early was a mistake. And I think Ferrari did it on purpose: they sacrificed RAI in order to get Ricciardo out of VET’s way. It worked: RIC responded to RAI pit-stop. But it was a mistake because RAI was ahead of RIC before the pit-stop, then behind. Usually, the first driver who stops has the upper hand and remains ahead. They should have concentrated on their own strategy, of course, guided by the times of the others, especially RBRs. And they should have used the same strategy for Kimi too and changed for UltraSofts in the last 10 laps instead of 15 laps. This way I think they would have had big chances to get both Ferraris ahead of RBRs and having fresher tyres give VET even better chances to attack Rosberg at least.

        2. @me4me IMP Raikonnen is getting the shaft in terms of strategy…

          1. +1

            It became obvious there’s an unwritten contract that guarantees VET P1 in the team. Let’s not forget Ferrari were on the way of dumping RAI, but VET had a say in keeping him for 2017. Having RAI a good P2 inside the team works awesome for VET too, more exactly for VET’s reputation. Otherwise, they should have given the boot to RAI at the end of 2014 and hire Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Perez etc. But they’re afraid those might spoil VET’s plans and give him a bad headache, something a la RIC vs VET in 2014. And it works fine for Kimi, he’s cashing up good millions although he’s the oldest guy and waaaaay past his prime, younger guys already retired (Button and Massa) , some others in better shape think about retirement (Alonso) and while there shouldn’t be much interest in him from the other teams in case Ferrari dumps him. Kimi might find a place at some backmarker (like HAAS or Sauber) for his experience, but with a lot smaller paycheck or if he becomes a pay-driver. Otherwise, he won’t find a seat. So, of course he’ll agree with P2 inside the team.

            1. I like those conspiracy theories

          2. All those are poor theories and conspiracy… Kimi goes to pit as soon as he is asked to… Vettel doesn’t.. like Mexico and like today.. he stay longer if he thinks he can and that have payed off more.. so vettel I suspect ia very aware of the crappy strategy that’s why he try to change it by staying longer and going to pit when he wants

        3. Yeah that was sublime from Vettel. And I see him making suggestions about the strategy in the race as well. He did the same in some other races and it always works out for him in the end. You only need to look at where Raikkonen finishes to see the results of their standard team strategies in those races.

      2. You are joking, aren’t you ?

    3. Interesting, so we know for next time, should the situation occur again, that the “correct” tactic is to drive very slow to bunch the cars behind, but then to turn up the car and build a gap really quickly.

      1. Tactics are neither correct nor incorrect, and if one could win you the championship, why wouldn’t you use it?

    4. I think Ferrari is kinda bad at tactics. They should fire the entire strategy deparment, they’re mediocre. They try to “cover” Mercedes at the first pit-stop, then try to cover RBRs at the 2nd pit-stop. Jeeezzzz……!!! In my opinion, they should have kept both drivers longer on-track, VES showed that the tyres lasted surprisingly good, plus HAM wasn’t pushing. So, had they pitted both drivers 5-10 laps later each time, I think RAI could have had a big chance to catch and pass RIC in the dying laps, while VET would have had better chances to pass ROS at least, maybe even HAM. By the time he caught VES, ROS and HAM, VET’s UltraSofts started to wear off, he was pushing for 10 laps already. Plus, using the same strategy for both drivers, maybe they could have got RAI ahead of both RBRs too given that he was ahead of VET before the 1st pit-stop.

      1. Fire the entire strategy department!!!??? Hehe. Well, that does seem like the kind of thing Ferrari would do so you might just get your wish.

      2. Actually, it looks like Vettel solved the problem there for himself. In the first half of this season he could have won 3 races if not for the unfortunate team strategies. So he was making suggestions to alter them in the second half and it always got him out front whereas Raikkonen finished down the road in each case with the standard team strategy. I also doubt Raikkonen was faster than Vettel this race, because he was giving DRS to Ricciardo which was preventing Vettel from overtaking Daniel in the first place.

    5. Vettel’s ignoring the fact Hamilton needed Verstappen to overtake Rosberg too though. I think it was only the last lap that Rosberg had DRS, at which point he was pretty desperate.

    6. Hamilton biting the hand that feeds him? He might be fast, if not the fastest, but the Mercedes top won’t forget this, I’m afraid…
      He’s lucky they can’t do a RedBull-To-TorroRosso move on him.

      1. Next year do they want to go into the new era fielding Rosberg against Max, Ric and Seb?
        Mercedes are at risk of alienating Hamilton, if they carry on shielding their cheat. Spain was ridiculous, then they renewed him. So then there was Austria.

        1. Absolutely, it’s really hard to see much logic in how the Mercedes brass handle their drivers. They’ve only been able to do it because there car has been untouchable.

        2. Absolutely, it’s really hard to see much logic in how the Mercedes brass handle their drivers. They’ve only been able to do it because their car has been untouchable.

        3. It could be the ideal time to take Alonso instead. He would dominate.

      2. Do you think George that Rosberg would have let the championship go had the positions been reversed?
        Hamilton did what he could, and so would had Rosberg. And Mercedes perfectly understands it.

    7. I don’t even think Vettel really wanted to pass Nico, aha. Probably said to himself “why should I destroy this mans dreams just to finish second” the points were meaningless. Happy to settle for the podium.

      1. “I don’t even think Vettel really wanted to pass Nico”

        this ;)

        1. I doubt that considering he made a very valid attempt at the end of the second straight.

          1. Seb was going for the win, but it took too long to pass Rosberg with Verstappen not so far away. Everything could happen then and I think Seb didn’t want Lewis to be 4 x WDC ;)

      2. Probably was think more risk aversion than thinking about Rosberg’s dreams. Solid third over a risky pass for second.

    8. Vette likelyl doesn’t want Hamilton to overtake his title tally. The way he’s been driving this year he won’t win more than 4.

      1. No. VET can win more than 4 if he gets a winning car. That’s the biggest problem for most drivers. He’s lucky enough not to have a top team-mate, so I wouldn’t worry about RAI in case VET has a car fast enough to win the champ.

    9. I think Seb has gone mad.

    10. with 4 cars in a tow, there’s less chance to make last 2 of them pass Nico. Hamilton totally understood it but it was his only chance. Actually I claimed Nico already won when Max caught up Vettel. Now Vettel was under attack of crazy Max, he was not able to concentrate on Nico. It only made more difficult to pass, however Hamilton had no time to waste. in the end I’m glad the tactics didn’t work.

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