Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2018

Vettel doubts slow pit stop ended his victory shot

2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says his slow pit stop in the Hungarian Grand Prix probably didn’t cost him a chance to win the race.

The Ferrari driver lost time in the pits when his mechanics had trouble swapping his front-left wheel. It was the third-slowest complete pit stop of the race.

Vettel had been hoping to come out of the pits ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who he had built a gap over despite losing time in traffic.

“We were faster on an older tyre than Valtteri and pulled a gap. Then I think it’s a bit difficult to foresee the traffic and – knowing how well you go through traffic or not – and in that case I lost quite a lot.”

However Vettel lost 1.8 seconds compared to Bottas in the pits and emerged behind the Mercedes driver.

Had he come out in front, Vettel would have been around eight seconds behind Hamilton with 30 laps to go, and running on ultra-soft tyres compared to Hamilton’s softs. However Vettel doesn’t think he would have been able to catch and pass the eventual winner.

“I think without that it would have been a much more relaxed last part of the race. Probably hunting down Lewis, but with the gap that he had, I think it would have been difficult to catch.

“And then it’s a completely different story, especially around here to overtake. So I think we could have done the catching bit but not really the overtake, so, in the end it doesn’t change much to the final result.”

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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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24 comments on “Vettel doubts slow pit stop ended his victory shot”

  1. 2 seconds lost here and the 2 seconds lost running wide did really hurt them.

    Seb makes alot of errors. You have got to think that if Daniel Ric or Alonso was in that car it would be a very different championship.

    1. To be fair though, if the traffic respected the rules of the blue flags then both of those things would be irrelevant. Gap to Hamilton was 14.5 seconds, and it was down to 9.5 seconds after the traffic (laps 31-38)

      1. @hugh11 those blue flags are almost becoming a strategy tool for the big teams. Their B/C teams are jumping out of the way at the first blue flags but staying as long as possible for the opposition. That might make some time difference after some backmarkers (plus effect on the tyres).

        While I think it would be better without blue flags (as Keith have wished for a while) and lead drivers passing on merit, it’s hard to see that happens under the current team relations. How to enforce and regulate that?

        1. @jeanrien – couldn’t agree more about blue flags, racers need to to be good enough.

          Same with “allowing lapped cars to pass” under the safety car, does nothing for the sport or the spectacle.

      2. you need to remember lewis turned his engine down and cruised to victory in the final part of the race.
        whereas vettel was always pushing.

      3. Sainz ignored 9 blue flags where rules only allow a maximum of 3. That allone costed Vettel 5 seconds.

        For some reason the FIA is very selective with penalties.

    2. Every driver runs wide. No need to scrape the bottom end of the barrel to justify your dislike for a particular driver.

    3. Agree, always been a Seb fan even after his errors last year and holding him in the same bracket as Lewis but the last two weeks have changed my opinion. His error in Germany was disastrous, it would have been a huge win for him and Ferrari establishing him as the number 1 driver and Ferrari as the number 1 team, it was an error than has probably had a fatal consequence on his championship. His qualifying in Hungary was poor, Lewis’s superior skills evident in the wet and put Ferrari on the back foot at a track they would have won at. His move on Bottas just sums Vettel up as driver, crazy stuff and incredibly lucky not to puncture or DNF and put the nails in his championship efforts coffin. I feel Ferrari have a better car than Merc generally, one or two circuits Merc have and can blow them away but generally Ferrari are fastest, yet they are loosing both championships. I don’t think Vettel can win Ferrari the championship, at least not while Lewis has a decent merc under him. I think Ferrari need Danny Ric, hes consistently Fast, confident and error free. If Alonso was in the red car he would be smashing Lewis, but Alonso will never be in a Ferrari or decent car again. IMO Ferrari should be trying to get Danny Ric in the seat, partner him with Leclerc.

      1. Yes, alonso is such a wasted chance, for both him and ferrari. Vettel has a competitive ferrari but makes too many mistakes, alonso was driving very well but 2010 and 2012 ferraris were too slow, if you combine the 2 things together it should really be enough, alonso on 2017 or even better so far, 2018 ferrari.

  2. Vettel lost the chance to fight Hamilton because Ferrari were preoccupied with jumping Bottas. I would imagine Bottas was doing a two-stop like Kimi. Seeing how good of a job Bottas was doing blocking Vettel they decided to keep him out. That’s my interpretation. Vettel should have pitted at lap 45 with Ricciardo and ideally, Bottas would have moved out of the way to pit, not long after Kimi.

    1. @carbon_fibre Completely wrong. Bottas wasn’t doing any job of blocking Vettel. Bottas was 25 seconds behind Vettel! Easily outside of Vettel’s pit window.

      Ferrari were simply too eager to extend Vettels stint a few more laps while slowly but surely they were risking Bottas to emerge ahead of Vettel.

      Vettel lost almost 8 seconds to Bottas over the last 5 laps before his stop.

      Stopping on lap 45 is even more ridiculous. Vettel would more likely have ended up behind Raikkonen too if he went that long.

      1. Yes, losing that much time on traffic was a terrible strategy, the commentators kept talking about attacking hamilton, meanwhile I noticed hamilton got closer and closer to him, took a look at bottas and saw that slow pit stop or not, it would’ve been close. The slow pit stop was the icying on the cake to not get 2nd place.

  3. joe pineapples
    30th July 2018, 15:33

    I think Lewis had something in reserve with those softs, had he needed to use it. And we saw how long it took Vettel to pass Valtterri whose tyres were much older than Lewis’s. Seb would have chewed his own tyres up at best, catching then trying to pass Lewis.

    1. also without VSC, Seb would take longer to catch up to Bottas as he was overheating already behind Bot… so it is hard to say what made much difference…

  4. Hindsight can be dangerous because you aren’t aware of all the factors necessary to make a good decision. I was surprised to see Ferrari waiting for so long before pitting Vettel. It seemed to me they’d left it too late.
    I was watching to see how much lead Vettel had over Bottas before he pitted, and it seemed to me he had about a 25 second lead over him at one time, but as the need to change tyres became more urgent that dropped to much less. I think it was about 17 seconds when he did pit, so I wasn’t surprised to see him come out behind Bottas. Looking at the Interactive lap time chart it seems the 25 second lead over Bottas was from about laps 32 to 35. The chart says Vettel came out 1 second behind Bottas, so if he’d pitted even just 4 laps earlier then it’s far more likely he’d have come out ahead of Bottas.

  5. Exactly, he was losing a second per lap and 3 seconds extra in the last lap before he pitted. In total he lost almost 8 seconds over 5 laps time.

    He simply should have come in one or two laps earlier.

    1. Stopping earlier wouldn’t have been an option, or he’d have to complete 35 laps in the ultra softs. The counter strategy they devised for Vettel (propably trying to mimic Hamilton’s recovery from Germany) was flawed from the start because the circumstances were totally different. No potential rain to help, being already near to the front, track where position is critical and where traffic plays a huge role since its incredibly difficult to find a place to pass back markers. If they’d started on the ultra softs they would have had a much better chance of jumping at least Bottas at the start, and then attempt the overcut to pass Hamilton.

      1. Exactly, it’s as if this folks don’t understand what they are watching!

        1. @rockie Why because his math is so lacking you think it makes sense?

          They could have pulled Vettel in one lap earlier and he would not have lost those extra 3 seconds. He would have been ahead of Bottas and done.

      2. @toiago Oh wait, other way around: 31+1=35?

        The strategy was fine. Ferrari had a much faster car. Vettel should have been able to use that extra speed, but it didn’t materialize because they are also very bad at math I guess.

        Either way, it was the only shot they had after failing in qualifying.

        That’s all not the point anyway. This discussion here is about how he ended up behind Bottas. Which was plain dumb.

  6. Pretty much first place was out of Sebs reach by the time he was stuck behind Bottas at the end of lap 1.

    If he was behind Hamilton all the way and then did the undercut, there would be a decent chance.

    But without that no way. By the time there was a decent gap pulled by Hamilton it was over.

    It is funny how Ferrari is unable to turn the fastest car in to fastest results. They clearly had more dry pace…

    In Germany aswell… Maybe Seb should practice some rain driving.

    1. Fiorano has sprinklers right?

    2. Some rain practice wouldn’t be a bad thing, it’s like, every time it rains hamilton is on pole and\or wins since years, however I think it’s also dependant on the car.

      Verstappen used to be very good in the wet, not this time, ricciardo also struggled, raikkonen and vettel were both beaten by bottas, who isn’t exceptional.

      Something tells me it’s mercedes > ferrari > red bull as a rain-car this year.

      Also remember how bad BOTH ferraris were in monza 2017 qualifying, they were behind slow cars like williams or force india!

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