Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2018

Vettel: Intermediate tyre call was due to weather forecast

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel revealed Ferrari believed more rain was about to fall at Suzuka when they chose to fit intermediate tyres for Q3.

The decision backfired and contributed to Vettel qualifying just ninth on the grid.

He revealed the call was influenced by a weather reported predicting further rainfall during Q3.

“Five minutes [later] it started to rain quite heavy so there was something in the air,” he said. “I think we expected that there was more rain coming. And obviously it didn’t so then it was the wrong decision. When the conditions are like this you either get it right or you get it wrong so I’m not blaming anybody.”

Further rain did arrive later in Q3, by which time Ferrari had already changed tyres. “If it started to rain five, six seven minutes earlier then we did a miracle because we’re the only clever ones and if it’s like that obviously we’re the only ones looking stupid,” said Vettel.

“Therefore I defend the decision, it’s our decision as a team. Obviously it wasn’t wet enough to start with and then the rain came later.”

Vettel did not say who made the call to fit intermediates. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Why does it matter? It was our call.”

Following Esteban Ocon’s penalty, Vettel is now set to start from eighth position.

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2018 F1 season

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15 comments on “Vettel: Intermediate tyre call was due to weather forecast”

  1. So, Vettel’s decision to go with inter’s.

  2. I think the timeline was like this:

    1. RAI and VET were set for a lap with intermediates but they did not complete the lap and returned to pits -> the blame is on the team; no other team chose that compound at that moment; track was not dump but rain expected soon; you are the first in the pit exit; why not try super-softs before the rain comes? Half of the circuit would be dry and slicks would still be the fastest tyre.

    2. RAI and VET fit super-softs, RAI managed to get 4th place, VET 9th -> Kudos to RAI and fault is on VET here.

    3. Ferrari call their two drivers in for a new set of super-softs -> OK for RAI not for VET if rain was expected soon; both cars had enough fuel to keep going; VET tyres were only 2-laps-old and the track was not that dump at the moment.

    So, a hell of mistakes there. At least not all of them fell on RAI as we are used to.

    1. I think we saw in Q1 when Vettel spun that the Super Softs were only good for one lap. But yes, he might have gone better.

      I think, in addition to your points, he wasn’t carrying fuel for the whole session, and had to take on more fuel, but I could be wrong as I only heard one of the commentators say it, but didn’t see it.

  3. Incompetence at its best, LOL.

  4. GP2 Team and GP2 Driver

  5. Very poor all round. I’m glad they’re behind in the championship at this stage

  6. A little bit of luck would be nice now and then..
    But most of the times luck is something to make your own.

    Maybe the start will be interesting.. Ham will gift the win to BOT but he does not want it.. as a result they both crash out of the race on the first few corners.
    Alternatively.. both Mercs are known for bad starts and are on the harder tire. VER has a streak of very good starts ( and is the best starter at the moment in the field, Motorsport magazine results) and on softer tires. He passes both Mercs before the second corner.. Kimi passes Bottas who will take him out and as collateral damage HAM crashes too.

    putting crystal ball to rest..

    Interesting start tomorrow ;)

  7. The Mercedes pair will do as before, move to the first corner in formation to stop a car behind them getting in front. Who gets to the corner first and what the detailed rules of engagement are is difficult to say except the main and overriding instruction will be not to take one another out.

    If Verstappen does one of his red mist charges at the Mercedes wall goodness knows what the result would be.

    1. Most red mist was Bottas this and last year.
      People seem to forget fast.

  8. Other than that, is anyone excited that Max starts from P3? Turn 1 is quite tight who knows what happens there?

  9. People are overanalysing a decision made when conditions were changeable with Ferrari being well behind in the championship.

    If they were aggressive with going with inters does it matter? They were well behind in the championship, Hammy almost an unbackable favourite. Why not be aggressive and hope to lock out the front row. There’s nothing to defend.

    1. And Vettel binning it at Spoon?

    2. The strategy was wrong but Vettel made it seem much worse. Kimi managed p4 so Vettel should have had the pace to start p3-5 easily. But he made yet another mistake and ended up 9th. People can blame Ferrari but this ones on Vettel. As Anon says, Ferrari were looking at P3/4 anyway so it’s Vettel who’s let them down.

  10. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
    6th October 2018, 14:59

    And still no one learns from Malaysia 2010

  11. Didn’t Ferrari use the exact same tactic in one of the qualifying segments in Spa this year? And when it started raining halfway round the outlap, they looked like geniuses?

    Really, there’s no skill to perfectly predicting exactly when and where rain will appear, because it can’t be done. Ferrari took a punt on rain arriving early, and fair play to them for doing so; Mercedes look to have a comfortable advantage this weekend, Ferrari wouldn’t have beaten them by doing the same thing.

    With the championship situation as it is, Ferrari are well past the stage when playing it safe and bringing home will keep them in contention. They have to roll the dice, take every chance when it comes along. On this occasion it didn’t work; it was an unfortunate decision on their part, but it was far from stupid.

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