Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Baku City Circuit, 2017

Vettel: ‘I let Ferrari down in Baku’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel admits he compromised his championship bid by driving into Lewis Hamilton in Baku.

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David is hopeful there might be some fight left in the title battle:

I still think this season is still one race too early to call.

If the diva shows up for the next three races, for instance, it’s not inconceivable that Hamilton could trail in fifth in each race. Both Ferrari and Red Bull have the cars to compete on Mercedes off-days. Add in the increased pressure on Hamilton if that happens, and the extra aggression that would be needed to secure more points, it could still be a turnaround.

I expect Mercedes to be working flat-out to solve the problem, though, and win in Austin, which would more or less wrap up any chances for Vettel.

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  • 39 comments on “Vettel: ‘I let Ferrari down in Baku’”

    1. re: COTD, being an optimist and even being a realist I believe anything can happen and possibly will happen. Streaks can go in any direction. Hoping the rest of the season is not anticlimactic and turns out to be close all the way to the end.

      Vettel finally admitting that he screwed up in Baku is somewhat positive. It would have been better admitting it immediately, but this is better than not at all. Being aware and acknowledging his mistake should make it less likely for him to have a similar incident. He certainly cannot afford any mistakes now.

      1. I think that’s fair comment. For sure anything can happen and often does, but I think the odds weigh very heavily on LH’s side, as he is likely to grab some meaty points yet, even if SV does too.

        Your second paragraph I agree too, and I also think Singapore was a racing incident plain and simple and that SV was not ‘risking too much.’ I’ll take the opportunity to point out something I thought was interesting wrt Martin Brundle’s commentary. He immediately gravitated toward SV risking too much, but it was actually a few days after the race that I watched the Sky pre-race show, and Brundle basically said, knowing Max was going to be on the front row, that SV had to go for it and try to keep MV behind him. So ahead of the race he was all for SV going for it, and then when he (SV) did what he thought was best, obviously not having esp, Brundle was on him for it. I personally don’t have a lot of issues with Sky or Brundle like I know some do, but on this I thought he could have been kinder. I obviously think SV did nothing wrong other than to try to stamp his authority on the start and the first corner. I know many disagree and think he made a mistake, but I think that is coming from the luxury of hindsight.

        1. Singapore was only a racing incident because Vettel forced Verstappen and Raikkonen to make contact. Had that not happened Vettel would definitely have made contact with Verstappen because he just kept on steering to the left. It was Raikkonen’s car slamming into his side that stopped his sideways motion.

          1. Disagree. What SV did was a normal move to try to own the first corner and get the opponent behind to back off like happens in every race. SV could not have known Kimi was coming inside and bottling Max in. Without Kimi there Max had plenty of room to deal with anything SV was doing. Racing incident.

      2. re: COTD. Surely since Mercedes reliability has been so much better this year, the chances are that if reliability issues come into play, they are more likely to affect Ferrari? No?Yes?

    2. As I said last week even if you gave them more wet tyres I still don’t think you would get much running, Especially on weekends where practice is wet but the rest of the weekend is expected to be dry.

      I’ve been watching some older stuff recently including the Suzuka 2005 weekend & the 2 Saturday morning practice sessions were both wet & even with a lot more wet weather tyres available there wasn’t a great deal of running.

      And as was pointed out in reply to my comment last week in the pre-season test’s this year Pirelli set a day aside to do wet testing & even with the option of running as many wet tyres as they wanted over that day hardly anybody went out as it was felt the risk of damaging the car wasn’t worth it (Especially with so few spare parts available early on in the year).

    3. Hamilton could easily DNF in Austin and then this thing is back on. Feels like it’s all over but there is still a feasible chance that it’s not.

      1. @john-h

        I mean sure Hamiltons Headrest can come loose 4 races in a row who knows but it aint exactly the championship battle im looking for…

      2. It’s just as likely that SV will have a few DNFs in the last 4 races. More likely, in fact, based on Ferrari’s recent history…

    4. Not surprised by that racer article. Im surprised Haas re signed their drivers so quickly when neither are f1 material but both are f1 turn off material, not surprised Gene Haas been looking glum.

    5. When you get into the situation where you rely on outside factors to determine your championship victory, then I think that in itself suggests which team/driver was the better combination for the year, regardless of what the eventuality is.

      The other point I’d like to make is, Hamilton took some grid penalties in Austria for a gearbox change and not an engine change. So far, I think Mercedes have done far better with their engine management in the entire season, and it is because of the engine management that Lewis is able to do his thing.

      As a Vettel fan it pains me to say, but the Vettel/Ferrari combo isn’t as good as the Hamilton/Mercedes one in 2017.

      1. @dragoll Vettel was strong until Baku… then he let his hot head ruin a race victory.
        Then he composed himself quite well, and before the Singapore start, everybody thought he could have taken the fight until the last race. But his start was too tight. He could have comfortably finished that race to finish second and that would have been good as well.
        Then… what happened in Malaysia? I mean, after a great recovery, he accelerates and cuts off Stroll? It gave way for tinfoil hat experts to say his Ferrari was short of fuel or running something illegal. And even when Ferrari said the accident didn’t have any major consequence in the gearbox or engine, the fact that his car had to abandon in Japan makes me wonder if there was not another issue precisely because of that.
        Of course a lot of my comment is with hindsight, but Vettel got tense and dropped the ball at least 3 times this season. And you can’t give 3 chances to Lewis Hamilton.

        1. @omarr-pepper i’m pretty Sure the underfueled line is the dumbest theory ever- he’d simply pull over on the finish straight and park. There’s Never been a penalty awarded for Lack of Fuel After a race.

          1. @mrboerns There is actually. The cars need to be able to enter the parc ferme under its own power after race finished. Which is one of the reason why there’s no victory lap in Spa, and the basis of people who speculating Vettel is underfueled (not that I accuse him, but this is the rule they implied to be broken). As for why Vettel doesn’t get penalty for that, it’s probably because accident happening after a race is something not considered when the rule was made.

            1. @sonicslv i know they are supposed to drive to park ferme. Point is they are not penalized if they fail to do so. As has happened due to Fuel, breakdowns, or Vettel doing donuts on the Start finish straight. Also how heavy do people think victorylap fuel is?if it was that easy sauber would just Take off a few grams of carbon here and there and be the Class of the field

            2. @mrboerns well why don’t driver do this nowadays though?

            3. @mrboerns, it is explicitly stated in the technical regulations that the stewards must be able to extract a minimum of one litre from the fuel tank after any session (i.e. not just after the race, but also after practise and qualifying sessions).

              Now, it is true that no driver has been disqualified in recent years after a race for failing to provide a fuel sample. However, there have been multiple instances of a driver being disqualified from qualifying because the car had less than the minimum of one litre in the fuel tank – Hamilton (2012 Spanish GP), Vettel (2012 Abu Dhabi GP) and Webber (2013 Chinese GP) are just some of the drivers who have been excluded from qualifying after failing to provide enough fuel for a sample.

              There is also the case of Massa in the 2009 Spanish GP, where Ferrari ordered him to take extreme fuel saving measures because they wrongly believed, due to a defective fuel pump, that the car was underfuelled – they explicitly stated that one reason why they ordered him to take such extreme fuel saving measures was because they feared that they would not have enough fuel onboard to provide a sample and that they would be disqualified from the race.

              Parking as soon as you have crossed the finish line wouldn’t work either – the regulations also state that, if the car does not return to the pits under its own power after the race, the FIA will automatically deduce the amount of fuel that the driver would have used to get back to the pits from the amount left in the tank.
              In other words, if the driver stopped after the line with 1.4 litres in the tank and the FIA reckoned they would have needed 0.5 litres to get back to the pits (picking arbitrary numbers here), then the team and driver would be classed as failing the post race sample requirement and would be disqualified for breaching that regulatory requirement.

              That detail is one reason why I do not believe the claims that Vettel was trying to hide that he couldn’t have provided a post race sample by crashing – because the FIA would automatically recalculate the required amount of fuel anyway. Furthermore, if the driver stops on track, then the moment that the marshals recover the car, the car is considered to be in parc ferme conditions and the car has to be immediately taken to the parc ferme area for scruitineering.

    6. COTD: Hahahaha. HAM 5th?!? There’re a lot more chances VET won’t win any race anymore this season than seeing HAM finishing 5th in all remaining races.

      1. Hahahaha

        @mg1982 hahahahahahaha Ferrari retaking the WDC in 2007? There’s a lot more chances RAI won’t win any of the last 2 races in 2007 than HAM failing to get at least a single 5th place in any of them with the car that scored the most WDC points that season (though wouldn’t win the WCC because…reasons).

        1. Sorry, but NO. Simply because in 2017 we have grid penalties too after a team uses a certain amount of parts. It’s Ferrari’s case now. This obviously is not helping at all (see VET case in Malaysia). Then, BOT is not a match to HAM, therefore no rivalry at Mercedes like it was at McLaren either. So, no lost points for Mercedes/HAM in Ferrari’s favour, like it happened to McLaren/HAM/ALO back in 2007. BOT is a no.2 now and will help HAM if needed. Then again, RAI now is not Massa from 2007, “stealing” precious from Mercedes, like Massa did in 2007 Brazil and Belgium by finishing 2nd, behind RAI, for example. RAI can barely get a podium. So, no, this is no 2007. The factors that made possible the outcome from 2007 simply do not exist in 2017. Only still having ROS on the grid could have changed things at this moment of the champ the way they changed in 2007.

      2. @mg1982 The point I was trying to make is that if Hamilton doesn’t have a good race and Vettel wins, the championship remains open. And largely because the Mercedes is unpredictable and there are potentially 4 faster cars at each race. If hot weather etc. messes up the Mercedes again, and presuming those 4 finish with decent races, not at all guaranteed, Hamilton could be set on paper to finish 5th, which could see him drop 15 points a race, leaving the title just within reach (without needing to factor in DNFs). Mexico and Brazil are probably worries for Mercedes. If it came down to the wire, Abu Dhabi could be anyone’s. Vettel has to heavily outscore Hamilton each race, obviously, but Austin – the next race – should be the ‘safest’ for Mercedes, and if Hamilton does win, that really is it, bar 3 DNFs or similar. The weather forecast just now is saying hot and humid, with rain showers on race day. Kind of a mixed bag for Mercedes/Hamilton.

    7. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      14th October 2017, 8:37

      Vettel is beginning to sound a bit more humble over Baku, but he’s not yet admitted that he intentionally bashed into Hamilton. And sure, Singapore was a racing incident, but it was also a stupid decision, an all or nothing move at the start against a guy he wasn’t really racing on a day when Mercedes were only third best: he could have waited for an opportunity at the pit stops – and if that failed, he could have afforded to finish second.

      Azerbaijan and Singapore cost Vettel 38 points and made the championship practically unwinnable. The engine problems since the just sealed the deal.

      1. Vettel has probably cost Ferrari this championship, not that his fans will admit it, but it’s a simple enough fact. Throwing away points at Baku and Singapore – and he did throw them away at Singapore – means that he’s not now in a position of being 21 points behind, say. A lot, but one DNF for Hamilton and it’s Vettel in the lead with the Ferrari looking stronger. Or two or three good Ferrari races and Vettel is again in the lead. Is Vettel’s performance this season really worthy of that new contract when you’ve got probably faster drivers (Ricciardo or Verstappen to start with) who could take the seat?

        1. Vettel did not throw any points away in Singapore. There were three drivers vying for the same spot. He didn’t know where Kimi was, and as Ricciardo explained in his last interview with Sky News in Suzuka, he couldn’t even see where Verstappen was when they were racing beside each-other. Hamilton did nothing different in Suzuka than Vettel in Singapore. If you don’t remember, just take a look and see how Ham closes Vettel. Seb was simply unfortunate that day. He went for the lead and I’m happy there are still drivers like him who do that. Now, whether you are a Ham or a Vettel fan or whatever, a bit of honesty is required. Vettel had an excellent start of the season and the best overtakes this year, double fake on Bottas and wheel banging with Ricciardo, are his. If it weren’t for Seb, this season would be boring beyond recognition given that within Mercedes we now have a clear second driver. And that’s the other thing. Many have considered Kimi (thanks to Sky largely) as such, but would have Bottas gone for the lead in Singapore like Kimi (even with more points between him and Seb than Bottas and Ham) did? I think not in a million years. Seb made a mistake in Baku. That’s it! He was punished for it. But I’ve had to laugh at comparisons between track and road safety that many have made. And if road safety was so important to Ham, as he claimed at the time, he would not be having incidents and speeding all the time. This is just to address a bit what it seems to me a double-standard when judging Vettel. Seb was stupid in Baku (although Ham’s restarts should be a concern), unlucky in Singapore and pretty good or great whenever he was able to finish. Ham was pretty good (even though somewhat inconsistent) during the first half of the season and just great since the break. If he wins, it will be because him and his team deserve it, not because Ferrari was unreliable or Seb made mistakes, just like Nico deserved it last year.

          1. Irrespective of the road safety stuff, Baku cost Vettel and Ferrari points, as he himself admits now.

            Singapore was a tactical error, trying to cut off Verstappen after a slower start, on a wet track. The only excuse might be that this tactic was half-planned by Ferrari to block off Verstappen as the main threat at the race start. We know the possible start scenarios are planned by the teams. It would explain why Vettel lunged left almost immediately after a relatively slow start and why Raikkonen went hell-for-leather for a corner he was set to be disputing with his team mate. When I saw it live, I had the weird impression of a coordinated plan that came unstuck. It reminded me heavily of the 2007 Interlagos Ferrari squeeze on Hamilton. I guess if that’s actually so, Vettel is less to blame than the team as a whole.

          2. I disagree. While I accept that Vettels move was nothing unusual in Singapore, it was unnecessary. He was not racing Max so could have left him to run off into the distance. All Vettel needed to do was to beat Hamilton. Hamilton has shown what should have happened by letting Max past relatively easily in a couple of races now. Why risk crashing when the competitor is of no threat?

      2. For me, him saying he let Ferrari down is admission enough. As to Singapore it was a racing incident plain and simple, imho of course, and there is absolutely nothing to blame SV on unless it is that he is not a mind reader or has some way of knowing how much Kimi was forcing Max into a squeeze situation. Kimi nor Max did anything wrong either. Pure racing incident, end of…

        1. You don’t need to be a mind reader to understand that there is a high likely hood of more cars being net to you if you didn’t have the best of starts yourself. Especially if you have been involved in similar incidents a few times already.

          But then I’d have to say that it’s good that Vettel is not that clever. He’d have walked away with the championship if he’d played it a bit more clever throughout the season. He would have been able to take that Malaysia DNF in his stride.

          1. SV and MV both had normal and equal starts and Kimi had a better one than both of the guys in front of him.

    8. The Singapore GP could very well prove to be the decisive race of the Championship ultimately. The first-lap incident there was more or less avoidable by Seb as well had he not tried to defend over-aggressively against a non-Championship contender. He had better chances to avoid that chain-reaction than the other parties involved, so, therefore, he already gave quite a significant points advantage to Lewis even before the most recent reliability problems that further contributed to the current situation of the title win being out of his hands.

    9. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      14th October 2017, 11:26

      If I may add my own bit to the round-up, there’s a fascinating podcast on Lewis Hamilton’s record of poles, here –

      – people in the know give their insights into what makes him so good.

    10. How Vettel reacts under a surge of adrenaline is a difficult thing for him to get a handle on. If he suddenly starts keeping a lid on his instinctive reaction it could dull the rest of his performance. I wouldn’t contemplate defending incidents like knocking wheels with Hamilton deliberately or his outburst against Whiting, but they stem from the same part of him that also performs moves like the pitlane overtake in China last year. Those almost instant reactions to a situation where he jumps on an opportunity are part of what makes Vettel special.

      I think it’s the kind of temperament he needs to learn to wield, and that will come with time.

      1. He’s been in F1 for 10 years. If it hasn’t come by now, is it ever likely to? He who never admits mistakes can never learn from them.

      2. @philipgb I half agree with that, the aggression is vital to him winning. But I don’t think he’ll learn. Maybe some drivers focus their aggression differently, some more on the space that they’re going for (Verstappen, Hamilton, Alonso), others more against the other car/driver (Vettel, Schumacher, maybe Senna even? despite the famous quote).

        A really fascinating little moment in the last race was just before a restart with the SC when Verstappen started driving close to Hamilton, at one point almost alongside. Hamilton then started weaving nonstop and Verstappen simply backed off. Would Vettel have? Or would he have become riled and ‘dared’ Hamilton by edging closer. Baku suggests the latter. He takes it personally when the adrenalin is pumping. Whereas Verstappen probably simply notes the tactic as a good one and saves it for himself another day.

    11. 22/10/1967 – Denny Hulme secures 1967 WDC by finishing 3rd in Mexican Grand Prix.
      22/10/2017 – Brendon Hartleys debut race.

      50 years to the day.

      1. The good news is Hartley was one of the lead stories in one of New Zealand’s main Saturday newspapers, and was a topic of discussion on the top radio station’s sports program. As far as I know it was the first time in ages that F1 got to be a topic of discussion. Next weekend is a three day weekend, so lots of people will be off work and could watch the race as it is will be run at 8 am, Monday, New Zealand time.

    12. No. You totally ruined your championship chance in Singapore.

    13. feeling bad about Baku, is quintessential example of fake remorse from an ungrateful person.

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