Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2017

Vettel reveals Stroll delay almost cost him win

2017 Australian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Sebastian Vettel revealed the strategy which won him the Australian Grand Prix was almost ruined when he got stuck in traffic.

Vettel inherited the lead from Lewis Hamilton when the Mercedes driver made his first pit stop earlier than planned. The Ferrari driver then stayed out for six laps as Hamilton began to lose time behind Max Verstappen.

2017 Australian Grand Prix in pictures
However Vettel almost missed his chance to pit and come out ahead of Hamilton as he caught the Williams of Lance Stroll which was at the rear of a four-car train.

“I lost a lot of time on the in-lap because I had a lapped car, I think it was a Williams,” said Vettel. “I lost about a second so I was a bit angry, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

Vettel made his pit stop and emerged with a slight lead over Verstappen and Hamilton.

“It was just enough and I had Max right behind me and Lewis as well, so that was quite tight.”

“Turn one was a bit slippery, but I managed to get a decent exit and a decent run down to turn three. I just held the inside.”

Vettel said he was wary of Verstappen springing an attack.

“I knew that Max would probably try something but I just kept in front,” he said. “That was obviously crucial for our race.”

“I tried to push for as hard as I could for the one or two [laps] Max was still out because he was slower on the older tyres, to open a bit of a gap and control the race.”

2017 F1 season

Browse all 2017 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

13 comments on “Vettel reveals Stroll delay almost cost him win”

  1. @keithcollantine typo in 2nd paragraph. It should read:
    Vettel inherited the lead from Lewis Hamilton when the Mercedes driver made his first pit stop earlier than planned. The Ferrari driver then stayed out for six lap as Hamilton began to lose time behind Max Verstappen.

  2. Funny, Vettel told Autosport that he won thanks to Verstappen holding up Hamilton. I guess it’s just a matter of glass half full or half empty.

    1. Vettel won because:

      1) Hamilton got stuck behind Verstappen
      2) Vettel didn’t lose 2 seconds behind Stroll
      3) Ferrari especially Vettel had excellent pace

    2. Alex Nicklisch
      26th March 2017, 16:16

      @addvariety

      the difference is that vettel was held up by back marker, where as hamilton v. verstappen was a fight for position.

      so i guess he is saying if a back marker had cost him track position and possibly the win, he would have been pissed. After all, whatever your thoughts on blue flags and back markers holding up the front runners, I think you would agree that racers (in this case hamilton) can’t really complain if they are being held up by cars that they are actually racing.

      that said, i think ferrari would have had only themselves to blame if they let vettel get stuck behind a four car train battling for position just before pitting. But maybe the gap was not there yet on the previous lap, although judging by vettels comments i guess it was.

      1. But maybe the gap was not there yet on the previous lap, although judging by vettels comments i guess it was.

        By the end of his previous lap Vettel had 22.3 on Verstappen, he did lose 7 tenths in S1 of his inlap compared to his own previous lap but lost only 2 tenths on Verstappen in that sector. By the time went into the pits he had 22.8 on Verstappen.

        So if he had pitted a lap earlier, he would probably not have made it.

        1. Alex Nicklisch
          27th March 2017, 15:14

          so, ferrari got it just right! another big change from last season!

  3. That understeer started to creep on Lewis car. Last year I said Lewis was perfectly able to develop the car, his McLaren’s were all good, that said I’m now thinking the 2017 car is a little like the 2015 but less dominant, it just understeers. China is not only going to show the pecking order but also expose that problem, Mercedes thought they had fixed it on Friday but I just think rather than being a “floor” problem they have an inherent problem. The wheelbase is too long I’m sure they’ll make a shorter wheelbase car as Ferrari’s and RedBull, the latter dramatically shorter.

    1. Alex McFarlane
      26th March 2017, 20:03

      Can the wheelbase be altered that drastically without fundamentally changing the whole dynamic of the car?

      Their setup might work better on circuits with longer straights and faster sweeping corners than the Ferrari or Red Bull.

  4. How can you tell the favouritism for all things British here. Vettel ‘inherited’ the lead – rather than managing his tires better, having the smarter strategy and a faster car (he was after all a good 10 seconds ahead of the untouchable Mercedes at one point).
    Fact is the Ferrari looked good in preseason testing which held very true through the first race. Credit where it’s due ffs.

    1. I have no idea what you are talking about. Vettel was in second place. You can take the lead by passing or get it for free if the guy in front pits. That’s what happened. This piece is not about how he handled the race, just that part of the race where stroll was costing him time. The credits are given elsewhere.

      1. He didn’t ‘inherit’ anything. What actually happened is he put the petal to the metal after LH foolishly drove the shyte out of his tires like a novice. How many times was he on the radio making excuses? Vettel was by far the best driver on the grid and earned his victory.
        But I look forward to a flustered Hamilton more than anything. Should make for even more creative headlines/articles.

        1. “What actually happened is he put the petal to the metal after LH foolishly drove the shyte out of his tires like a novice.”

          Except Hamilton only pitted one lap before his target lap, and the facts show that the gap between Hamilton and Vettel grew slightly even when Vettel was out in clean air on his own (Hamilton started setting purple sectors after his stop). Had Hamilton not caught traffic, he would have had the necessary gap to stay in front after Vettels stop.

          Next?

          1. Had Hamilton not caught traffic

            VET stayed out long enough not to – that’s where he (or Ferrari’s engineers) earned the lead (and where HAM and/or Brackley’s engineers lost it).

            after LH foolishly drove the shyte out of his tires like a novice.

            Mercedes being weak at this wouldn’t be unprecedented – or maybe HAM felt the tyres were worse than they were, I wouldn’t be so quick to call the drive novice-ish though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.