Vet­tel and Fer­rari aren’t in panic mode

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORING -

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

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