Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Vettel explains “we had it” radio message in China

2019 Chinese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel has explained his post-qualifying team radio message at the Chinese Grand Prix which suggested he believed he could have beaten Mercedes to pole position.

The Ferrari driver qualified three-tenths of a second slower than the Mercedes drivers and seven-tenths of a second off his pole position time at the track last year. After crossing the line he exclaimed “We had it, we had it.

“We know why, though,” he added. “We know why.”

Speaking to media ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix Vettel said he had been surprised by a change in the wind direction at the end of Q3.

“We saw the wind direction changing a bit,” said Vettel. “I think in all fairness it helped me in the first part of the track to do extremely well but it hurt me in the second part of the track.”

Vettel was just 0.012 seconds slower than Hamilton in the first sector in qualifying but lost most of his time to the Mercedes driver in the final sector which includes a long, 1.4-kilometre straight.

“Inside the car I just lost a lot of time down the straight but I think that goes for everybody,” he said. “After the qualifying I also checked, I lost around two-tenths down the straight. But I know other people did as well.

“At that time I didn’t know it was just me with a headwind. That’s why I thought we had it, then we lost it obviously going down the straight.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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6 comments on “Vettel explains “we had it” radio message in China”

  1. Sebastian Vettel has explained his post-qualifying team radio message at the Chinese Grand Prix which suggested he believed he could have beaten Lewis Hamilton to pole position.

    Ultimately it was about beating Bottas to pole position, no?

    1. They’re so used to having Lewis on pole position, it’s now become sort of like a household name kinda thing :).

  2. 1147 meters or 1.147 kilometers actually.

    1. interesting, how is it measured?

      This time I decided to use Google Earth and measure every straight through that, while not completely accurate it’s enough for a decent comparison and means everything is measured the same way.

      Track Straight Length (m)
      Shanghai 1200
      Baku City Circuit 1200
      Yas Marina 1200
      Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez 1200
      Monza 1120
      Sakhir 1100
      COTA 1100
      Catalunya 1050
      Sepang 900
      Hungaroring 800
      Spa-Francorchamps 770
      Albert Park 750
      Silverstone 750
      Suzuka 750
      Sochi 700
      Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 670
      Interlagos 650
      Red Bull Ring 650
      Marina Bay 520
      Hockenheimring 500
      Monaco 470

      https://f1statblog.co.uk/2016/06/longest-straights-f1/

      1. erikje, it seems that even the official F1 site has contradicted itself on the exact length of the straights of some circuits.

        For example, back in 2011 the official site posted the following statement:
        “The back straight at Shanghai International Circuit covers 1170m, equivalent to 21.4 percent of the total lap distance. This is the longest straight encountered during the Formula One season, closely followed by Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina (1140m), Italy’s Monza (1120m) and Korea’s Yeongam (1050m).”

        However, in an article in 2017, the official site then stated that the length of the back straight in Shanghai was 1209m, with Abu Dhabi said to be just 4m shorter i.e. making it 1,205m in length. Considering that neither circuit was subject to significant alteration in that period, it seems odd that the length of the straights had increased over time.

        That said, even a generous interpretation of the length of the straight at Baku, or the length of the longest section of track where the driver is on full throttle, pales compared to some circuits that were used in the past. Avus, famously, was basically two straights with a simple loop at each end, making the straights about 4km in length, although even that pales with Pescara – that venue held just one race, in 1957, but the straights at that circuit were approximately 4 miles, or 6.4km, in length.

        1. I miss the old Hockenheim… Microprose and Geoff Crammond days…

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