Vettel surprised by wind-assisted Paul Ricard comeback

shares
comments
Vettel surprised by wind-assisted Paul Ricard comeback
By: Scott Mitchell
Jun 25, 2018, 8:24 AM

Sebastian Vettel was surprised by his recovery drive in the French Grand Prix and believes it would have been tougher to pass his Formula 1 rivals without wind assistance. 

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14, and the rest of the field at the start
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, spin to the back after contact on the opening lap
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, battles with Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, at the start
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14, and the rest of the field at the start
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H on the grid
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14, pass by as Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, go off track at the start
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H pit stop

The Ferrari driver finished fifth at Paul Ricard despite having to pit on the first lap for a new front wing after hitting Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1. 

Vettel, who also picked up a five-second time penalty for the incident, was helped by pitting for the wing change under the safety car his clash, and another on the opening lap, caused.

Speaking about his recovery, Vettel said: “Obviously I was out of position but I was surprised to be honest. 

“I think it was to do with quite a strong headwind we had. From the east end of the track to the west end down the long straight. 

“That was helping a lot because we were gaining a lot in the second part of the straights, which obviously made the tow quite strong. 

“If the wind was the other way around I think it would have been more difficult.”

Vettel switched to soft Pirellis at his first-lap pitstop, which meant he was trying to complete 52 laps on the same set of tyres. 

Pirelli brought its thinner tread rubber, especially made for the races in Spain, France and Great Britain, because of fears of higher degradation at the higher-speed circuits.

Ferrari struggled on those tyres in Spain but Vettel was happier with its performance in France, despite taking the chance to move onto fresh tyres late on when Mercedes pit Bottas for a second time and gave Vettel a free stop. 

“Our strategy was a good call,” said Vettel. “There were no problems with the tyres. 

“Kimi was able to sort of stay with that group. It proved that our strategy was a good call.

“For Kimi, he did more than 30 laps with the ultrasoft. Where I would have been, I don't know is the answer, because I had a different race after the first lap. 

“We were a lot better than in Barcelona. We have made progress. I would have loved to have a different result, but we move on.”

Additional reporting by Dominik Sharaf

Next Formula 1 article
F1 Debrief: Hamilton’s glory, Vettel’s escape, Verstappen’s swipe

Previous article

F1 Debrief: Hamilton’s glory, Vettel’s escape, Verstappen’s swipe

Next article

Why Vettel’s small error could have big consequences

Why Vettel’s small error could have big consequences
Load comments