Vettel and Ferrari aren’t in panic mode
FERRARI’S Sebastian Vettel said there was no need to panic after seeing his Formula One championship lead slashed to a single point on Sunday. The German, who felt lucky to see the chequered flag after a penultimate lap puncture at the British Grand Prix, finished seventh with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton triumphant in front of his home crowd at Silverstone.
“The car is great, it has been fantastic in the race again today,” Vettel told reporters.
“So there is no reason to panic or to worry. But we need to be aware that they (Mercedes) are very quick and there are a couple of advantages that we need to work on. Then it could be a different picture.” Vettel said the puncture had happened out of the blue. “It was very sudden,” he said, explaining that he had already dropped the pace and was nursing the car home in third place before the blowout.
“The tyres were going down but nothing out of the ordinary, so it was quite sudden when the tyre decided not to take me to the end of the race,” he added.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished third but he too suffered a late tyre problem that forced him to pit while in second place. Pirelli’s sporting director Mario Isola said the tyre failures were not the same on the two cars and they were investigating.
Vettel had already been in damage limitation mode, with Hamilton heading for a dominant victory while he struggled at the start with smoking brakes and then battled with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The tyre problem changed the picture entirely, leaving him with a fragile championship lead as he prepares to go to one of Hamilton’s favourite circuits in Hungary on July 30.
“It could have been a bit better for sure, but a disaster? I don’t think so,” said Vettel, who has won three races this season to Hamilton’s four. - Reuters Top Ten Driver Standings: 1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari - 177 2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes -176 3. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes -154 4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - 117 5. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari - 98 6. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull - 57 7. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - 52 8. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India - 43 9. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso - 29 10. Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Renault - 26