Vettel says he "had to try" move on Bottas

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Vettel says he
By: Glenn Freeman
Apr 29, 2018, 3:30 PM

Sebastian Vettel says he "had to try" to pass Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, even though it cost him a podium finish.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, and Lance Stroll, Williams Racing, in the drivers parade
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ blow out
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H PIT STOP
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ at the start of the race
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, at the start of the race
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H leads at the start of the race

The Ferrari driver – who led the race comfortably until a safety car period allowed Bottas’s Mercedes to make a pitstop and emerge still ahead – locked up trying to retake the lead on a restart with four laps to go, ultimately dropping to fourth.

“I’m happy that I tried, I’m not happy that it didn’t work, but I have to try,” said Vettel.

“I don’t think it was overly optimistic to jump down the inside. I wasn’t overly late, otherwise I don’t make the corner at all, but I did make it, just.

“I didn’t have any option – Lewis [Hamilton] was on the right so I can’t close on him. Valtteri was ahead of me, he left a gap. I was surprised, judging the braking was very difficult. 

“I was a bit trapped because I couldn’t see where I was relative to Turn 1. We have our references, and they are on the right – a kerb, the signs on the wall, and on the left there is hardly any reference. 

“I had a decent restart, I saw the gap on the inside, and unfortunately I locked up. 

“Without the lock-up, braking at the same point, I think I make the corner and it turns out to be a good move.

“It’s easy to say it didn’t work, so it is the wrong thing, but I had to try. We can’t let one or two seconds from the race have a shame on all the race, because there are a lot of positives." 

Vettel initially fell back from the top three cars after locking up, but he battled on with a flat-spotted tyre and tried to steal a podium finish from Sergio Perez at the end.

“With that flatspot, I tried to get back to the Force India,” he said. “First I had to reshuffle a little bit and understand what the car balance was like with that flatspot.

“[Force India] were quick on the straights, then [Perez] had a tow from the cars ahead, and I had not really a chance to try something. Bit of a shame.

“Other than that I think it was a strong race, and that’s how it goes sometimes.

“Without the safety car it would have been easier for us – there is probably 47 laps of positive and maybe one turn without a positive note. It’s part of the game.”

Additional reporting by Edd Straw

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