Vettel: F1 title defeat expected, but still painful

Sebastian Vettel said losing the 2018 Formula 1 world championship to Lewis Hamilton in the Mexican Grand Prix was "a horrible moment" even though he knew it was inevitable.

Vettel: F1 title defeat expected, but still painful
Listen to this article

Vettel needed to win at Mexico City with Hamilton eighth or lower in order to keep the F1 title battle alive.

Though the Ferrari driver beat his rival on the day - finishing second as Mercedes struggled and Hamilton came home fourth - it was not enough to prolong the championship fight.

"It's a horrible moment," Vettel admitted.

"You put a lot of work in and even if you saw it coming - I did pay attention in maths so I could do the numbers - you hang in there as long as you can.

"Three times now in my life I've had that sort of disappointment where you realise one day that you can't win the championship anymore and those are not happy days.

"You reflect on not one moment, but the whole year and the work that goes in, the effort that goes in from the end of last year until now.

"We had our chances, we used most of them. Maybe some we did not. But in the end we were not good enough."

Vettel broke off his post-race interview on the track to go to congratulate Hamilton on his fifth world championship.

"He drove superbly all year," said Vettel of his opponent. "He was the better one of us two.

"I told him it was well deserved and to enjoy it. Number five, I think it's something incredible.

"So I mainly congratulated him and asked him to keep pushing for next year and said I'll do my best to fight him again."

Vettel started only fourth in Mexico, and briefly dropped to fifth behind Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas on the first lap, but gained ground by running long in his first stint.

He then passed both Daniel Ricciardo and Hamilton on track before trying in vain to chase down leader Max Verstappen.

"In the beginning I couldn't go at the pace. The first couple of laps obviously I was in the pack, so it was very difficult," Vettel explained.

"Then I sat back a little bit and wanted to go a bit longer, which worked well.

"It gave us the advantage in the second stint. I was a bit surprised when others pitted and how much they dropped off.

"For me it was not so much of a problem, maybe because I saved more in the beginning.

"After that we had very good pace and at the end of the first stint we were also a little bit faster than Max.

"In the second stint obviously we had a different goal and I had to go through two cars, which we managed to do, and then from there it was very far to Max and we had nothing to lose."

Additional reporting by Erwin Jaeggi

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari in Parc Ferme

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Sutton Images

shares
comments
The 10 moments that decided the 2018 F1 title
Previous article

The 10 moments that decided the 2018 F1 title

Next article

Hamilton can target Schumacher's records now - Rosberg

Hamilton can target Schumacher's records now - Rosberg
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022