Raikko­nen was faster, ad­mits tri­umphant Vet­tel

Daily News - - SPORT - MO­TOR­SPORT

FER­RARI headed into the Au­gust For­mula One break with a onetwo vic­tory in Hun­gary yes­ter­day, but race win­ner and cham­pi­onship leader Se­bas­tian Vet­tel recog­nised that team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen had been faster.

The Ger­man’s fourth win of the sea­son put him 14 points clear of Mercedes ri­val Lewis Hamil­ton, who could have been on the podium, but in­stead ceded third place back to Fin­nish team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas in an act of sports­man­ship.

Vet­tel was suf­fer­ing with steer­ing prob­lems and had to stay off the kerbs, but there was never any sug­ges­tion that he might let Raikko­nen, who was in dan­ger of be­ing caught by Hamil­ton, go through.

“I didn’t do a favour to Kimi, who ob­vi­ously could go faster. I didn’t have the pace,” the Ger­man said. Vet­tel ex­plained that the steer­ing wheel had be­gun to go side­ways from early on, forc­ing him to fo­cus on keep­ing the car steady.

“To­wards the end it did come back a bit. I had a cou­ple of laps where I had a bit of a cush­ion and I could breathe a bit. But, yeah, I re­ally had to stay fo­cused the whole race,” he added.

“It was a weird feel­ing be­cause ba­si­cally it was tilted to the left, so you go down the straights and the steer­ing isn’t straight, and then in righthanders it’s sort of okay.”

Raikko­nen still cel­e­brated his eighth podium in Hun­gary, even if six have been sec­ond places at what is al­most a home race for the Finn with plenty of com­pa­tri­ots in ev­i­dence.

But he recog­nised he might have hoped for more at a cir­cuit where over­tak­ing was dif­fi­cult.

The top five all fin­ished in their grid po­si­tions.

“The other guy has to make quite a big mis­take or have some is­sue. It’s not easy to over­take and es­pe­cially with team­mates, you take more care. But at least they (Fer­rari) are still happy – that’s the main thing,” said Raikko­nen.

“Seb was yes­ter­day first (in qual­i­fy­ing) and he got away first and ob­vi­ously the aim was which­ever way we fin­ish we’re go­ing to fin­ish one-two.”

Mean­while, Mercedes recog­nised that the act of sport­ing sac­ri­fice in Hun­gary could cost Hamil­ton a fourth For­mula One ti­tle, but said it was a price they were pre­pared to pay. “It cost us three points and po­ten­tially the cham­pi­onship and we are per­fectly con­scious about that,” team boss Toto Wolff said af­ter Hamil­ton slowed on the fi­nal lap to let team­mate Bot­tas take third place as part of an ear­lier agree­ment.

“Nev­er­the­less, this is how the driv­ers and team op­er­ate,” added the Aus­trian, whose team have won the past three driv­ers’ and constructors’ cham­pi­onships.

“We stick to what we say and if the con­se­quences are as much as los­ing the cham­pi­onship, we take it.

“But long term, we will be win­ning much more races and cham­pi­onships with that ap­proach than do­ing it the other way around.”

Bot­tas had agreed to let the faster Hamil­ton through to chase the lead­ing Fer­raris, on the un­der­stand­ing that the po­si­tions would be re­versed again if un­suc­cess­ful.

The Bri­ton duly kept his word, even if oth­ers might not have done with so much at stake, and fell 14 points be­hind Fer­rari’s cham­pi­onship leader and race win­ner Vet­tel. – Reuters

PIC­TURE: EPA

TEAM­WORK: Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, right, cel­e­brates on the podium along­side sec­ond-placed team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen af­ter win­ning the Hun­gar­ian Grand Prix at the Hun­garor­ing in Mo­gy­orod.

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