Aston Martin “had to try” switch to slick tyres – Vettel

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel said he had to risk switching to slick tyres during the Turkish Grand Prix, but admitted the gamble backfired.

Vettel pitted on lap 38, just after Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen had both made their stops, from the lead. Both the Mercedes and Red Bull took new sets of intermediate tyres.

But Vettel and Aston Martin decided to try a move to slick tyres. They opted for the harder medium compound, the soft having proved fragile in practice.

“We had to try,” Vettel said of the decision. “The inters, there was nothing left, and so we thought the dry [tyres] could be as good but I couldn’t break them in.

“It was worse than I expected because it was damp still, a little bit here and there or wet but the main thing is I couldn’t break the tyre in and then you’re just sliding all the time. It was clear it was never going to come.”

Vettel was able to very cautiously get round a lap on the slick tyres before struggling back into the pits, skidding at the entrance.

He said that, in hindsight, staying on intermediates was “a no-brainer” but that it was less clear at the time.

“I was tempted already, some laps before and the inters weren’t getting any better,” he reasoned. “If you look at the inter tyres, there’s nothing left on them. They look like a slick. So I think I had reason, but obviously it was the wrong decision.”

“People were going on intermediates, but it was a comparable situation to last year,” Vettel explained. “Last year I was thinking 15 laps to go that I wanted to try the slick tyres when the track was a little bit worse. So I thought it’s worth a go, but it proved to be wrong.”

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2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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11 comments on “Aston Martin “had to try” switch to slick tyres – Vettel”

  1. I guess he didn’t learn from last year’s race on this track. Its not a track to take liberties on.

    1. It’s been heavily resurfaced though.

  2. Well, I suppose someone had to try it. Retrospectively, it is of course easy to see that it was a horrible call, but had it worked out, Vettel and the team would’ve scored some big points.

    1. Yes, I like this resurfaced track, it’s insane that when it’s not raining (I think, hard to see) you can go a whole race distance with inters being the better tyre and slicks never come good.

  3. As risky as it was, they’ve got nothing to lose in the position they were in.

  4. It was simply ridiculous. Properly disappointed with Vettel.

    Reply moderated
  5. Hard disagree on « they had to try it ». It was obvious that the track was quite wet at that point, wetter than it had been earlier in the race.
    A bold strategy would be going long on the first set and then pitting for drys with 5 laps to go. Those five last laps looked like it was actually possible to drive drys on.

  6. Who does he think he is? Jenson Button?

  7. What a totally ridiculous call by a World Champion(x4) to switch to slicks – and the way it turned out i.e. complete and immediate loss of control, instead of lap time detected mistake, shows how bad a choice this was.

    He was on the track the previous lap – that’s right, actually driving the car and could not tell? This should have been an argument situation with the team telling him to come in and he refusing due to being completely aware of the actual driving conditions. Stupid.

  8. Well, I don’t know. It was worth taking a risk imo. His gamble didn’t work.

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