Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2017

Tyre troubles ‘not a disaster’ – Vettel

2017 British Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel has played down the impact of his late race tyre troubles that allowed Lewis Hamilton to close to within one point in the drivers’ championship.

Vettel had been running in fourth position until just a handful of laps remaining in the race when he suffered a deflation of his left-front tyre, forcing him to crawl back to the pits and dropping him to seventh.

Despite the late incident that saw him lose valuable points to championship rival Lewis Hamilton, Vettel says he is happy that he was able to recover back into a points finish.

“I think it could’ve been better for sure, but ‘disaster’? I don’t think so,” says Vettel.

“It felt like it took half an hour to get back so I was surprised that I got back out. In the end I think we can be happy we still recovered some points.”

Ferrari had little to no warning about the tyre troubles that struck both Vettel and team mate Kimi Raikkonen, but Vettel is not pointing fingers over the unexpected problems.

“I don’t think there’s anyone particularly to blame,” says Vettel. “With hindsight it’s easy but at the time it felt okay. Kimi [Raikkonen] had a similar issue and his tyres were at least five or six laps fresher, so I think that caught us both by surprise.”

Early in the race, Vettel battled hard with Max Verstappen over third place, making contact with the Red Bull driver but being unable to find a way past until successfully undercutting Verstappen in the pits.

“I’m sure it looked good but it didn’t help me at the time,” says Vettel of the battle. “I wanted to make it past. I didn’t. It was quite tricky. I tried everything.”

In the later stages, Vettel lost third place on track to the charging Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas who was recovering from a ninth place start.

“Obviously he had a huge tyre advantage with the offset of the alternative strategy and it was clear that that would come in the end,” says Vettel. “I think that we were keeping up quite well. The pace looked still very strong, they weren’t that much faster. But once he got into the DRS range there wasn’t much I could do.”

Despite seeing his championship advantage to Lewis Hamilton drop to just a single point, Vettel remains measured about the title battle at the half way point of the season.

“Overall, yes it’s true – Mercedes had a very strong weekend. The cars looked very quick. We were probably a little bit behind.

“But I think it’s been very close this year so far. Maybe this has been a worse race for us for race pace if you compare. I think equally our race was not straight forward, so it’s difficult to draw conclusions.”

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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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    10 comments on “Tyre troubles ‘not a disaster’ – Vettel”

    1. Hmmm.. Here I thought Vettel will be more furious than Kimi or his team. Good lad.

      1. Given Vettel’s pattern of behavior over his many years in F1, I’m convinced he isn’t throwing his toys out of the pram as usual because Ferrari’s tire trouble is down to something different that they’re doing rather than something inherently wrong with the tires… that & the fact that only the Ferrari drivers had that problem. If anybody in red had any feelings that the tires themselves were to blame, we’d have certainly heard about it by now.

    2. Dooesnt help getting mad. Just focus on next race. I thought he would moan about Max more but nothing. Good fare racing. All in all over 10 races or half the year Hamilton and Vettel are starting virtually level as they were before the 1st race. Bottas not far back. Maybe 2nd half of the year would be nice to see 10 straight fights. Denied that so far but circumstances mean they are very close. Hopeing for no mechanical issues at the front or silly penalties. 10 straight fights where Merc and Ferrari and their drivers can show their full pace v eachother please.

    3. Not a disaster, but also not good.

    4. Now that points drop in Baku looks even more damaging for Vettel. Losing his temper cost the German a potential race win and has, without any doubt, given Hamilton a fantastic opportunity to overturn him in the championship.
      Lewis has a good record in Hungary, so it would not be unrealistic to see Lewis lead the championship going into the summer break. Game on now!

      1. The merc is way better than the Ferrari it’s not even worth speculating. Vettel is battling for 2nd in the championship against Bottas who doesn’t look as good as Rosberg

        1. What championship fight have you been watching?… They are more or less on the same level. The drivers said it themselves

          1. Lewis has been extremely unlucky yet he’s 1 point behind. McLaren have dominated every race but one where they’ve had no problems. 3/4 of the last races won by Mercedes (loose headrest being the reason for not a 4/4)

            Don’t get fooled by the fact that Lewis was 15 secons in front of Kimi. In today’s F1 with current engine limitations there’s no reason to leave the second 1 minute behind.

            Just to quote Keith “When Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race on the 48th tour with a 1’30.621, Vettel was 3.7 seconds slower.”

            Lewis only rival right now is Bottas.

            1. Marian Gri (@)
              17th July 2017, 19:57

              Being 3.7s slower than HAM only underlines there was a problem indeed, hopefully the only time this season they have this kind of problem. Not even the backmakers were lapping so slow compared to HAM. So, let’s not fall in the trap of thinking that was the real difference between their race pace.

    5. Vettel knows it could have been nil-points for him yesterday, getting back to the pits with a blown tyre then getting out again and collecting 6 points at the end was probably a relief.

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