As he raced to fourth in today’s Japanese GP, Sebastian Vettel took issue on several occasions over the radio with drivers failing to respond to blue flags.
The Ferrari claimed that he had lost ground during his battle with Lewis Hamilton, admitting however that the Mercedes was quicker in the end regardless of the successive delays Vettel encountered in the corners.
“I lost three or four seconds to Lewis just across the blue flags,” Vettel complained after the race.
“I had them sitting in front of me in the sections with a lot of corners. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win in these situations and I think today we weren’t the luckiest ones. But in the end it didn’t really matter.”
Vettel’s problems started when the Ferrari was undercut but Hamilton following his second pit stop and switch to the Soft Pirelli compound.
But the German underlined tyre degradation rather than an aggressive strategy , believing the Ferrari pit wall had indeed made the right call.
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“Obviously with the penalties for both of us it was harsh because you start out of position. We managed to come back, then it looked like a podium for the majority.
“But we wanted second place, we didn’t want to sit back and seal third, we wanted second place. That’s why we decided to stay out when Max [Verstappen] pitted early for another set of hard tyres.
“I think it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately the tyres at the end didn’t hold up as much as we hoped for. We just had more tyre degradation to fight with than we expected.”
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