Tenth podium of the season for Vettel
Suzuka – A good start and a consistent pace saw Sebastian Vettel come home third in the Japanese Grand Prix. Having moved up to second in the exciting opening moments after the start, the German was undercut by Nico Rosberg at the second and final tyre change. Kimi Raikkonen had a tough race and produced a faultless performance to come home fourth. Vettel and Raikkonen both consolidate their championship positions, in third and fourth places respectively. So too the Scuderia, which extends its lead over third placed Williams in the Constructors’ classification.
Maurizio Arrivabene: “You’re never completely happy when you don’t win the race, but I think this result should not be compared with what we had achieved in Singapore one week ago. We’d rather compare this track to Silverstone, because it has similar characteristics. And if we look back at the British Grand Prix, at the gap that we had there to our main rivals, we can see that today we have been closer. And this means that there has been a major development in all areas, starting from our power unit. As for the strategy, we were in doubt as to shortcut the Mercedes or pit after them; but there were not many data available from practice, due to the rain on Friday, so making certain choices would have meant a huge risk for the life of the tires.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today we did the maximum we could and, considering where we had started the race from, fourth position is the best we could get. The car was OK and we had the right speed, but on a circuit like this, when you are stuck behind other cars, it’s always hard to overtake. We did a good job at the pit stop, managed to jump Bottas on the way out, and chose the right tires at the right time. I don’t think we could have done much more. This kind of track is not the best for us right now, but it seems things have worked well today. There’s still work to be done, but we are doing the right things and going in the right direction. Obviously, we always want to be at the top, but I think we have done an amazing job all year long and since last year. Now we keep doing the same progresses and try to improve. We take what we have got today and go to the next race trying to do the maximum.”
Sebastian Vettel: “All in all, today there is plenty of reasons to be happy with third place. At the second round of pit-stops, we were surprised by the outlap that Nico pulled. I guess we thought the gap was big enough, so you can’t say we made a mistake. But in the end it’s a bit of a shame when you cross the line; I think that if we could have stayed ahead it would have been difficult for Nico to pass, as around there it is not so easy to get close, and we saw that he struggled a long time with Bottas. But we have to accept that Mercedes were just a bit quicker and for this reason they deserved to be ahead. Nevertheless, third and fourth is a great result for the team. We got good points, and it was a strong recovery after a difficult Saturday morning.”