Sebastian Vettel refuses to blame Ferrari for the strategic gamble that saw him unable to challenge Lewis Hamilton for victory in the Singapore Grand Prix.
A good opening lap resulted in Vettel overtaking Max Verstappen for second place and following Hamilton for much of the opening stint, when Ferrari opted to switch from hypersoft tires to ultrasofts. It was an unusual choice as it left Vettel at risk of needing a second pit stop, and Hamilton duly switched to softs, as did Verstappen who was able to regain second position at the same time.
“I think today with the way we raced we didn’t have a chance,” Vettel said. “There might be something extra in the fact that maybe we were not quick enough but I think I said before the weekend we can only beat ourselves and we didn’t get everything out of the package.
“I will always defend the team. I think the decision we took in the race, the decisions to try to be aggressive, if it works it’s great; today it didn’t work. Obviously it didn’t work by quite a bit and we need to look into that. But I believe we saw something and that’s why we go for it.
“Obviously inside the car it’s difficult to be on top of everything because you cannot see where you come out, etc. We were aggressive in trying to get ahead, taking into account that we have to go through traffic, which in the end bit us also, to lose the second place.
“If it doesn’t work it is always easy to criticize but I will always defend what we did. Overall, we had a very strong package, both Kimi (Raikkonen) and myself — I think we looked very competitive throughout practice but in the end if you look at the race result we finished third and fifth. Like yesterday, probably not where the speed of our car belongs so that’s what I mean by saying we didn’t get everything out of ourselves.”
Both Hamilton and Verstappen were easily able to make it to the end of the race without tire concerns, while Vettel finished over half a minute adrift of the Red Bull. However, the Ferrari driver insists his crash in FP2 that cost him his long run did not have a negative impact on the race performance.
“Not at all. I mean, I’ve done enough laps around here. Obviously, it’s never great if you miss out but I think Friday and Saturday morning we were first in practice, so I don’t think that made a big difference.
“And also, late on in the season, you know enough about tires and you can read from other people, so I think we got all the information and the fact that I think today we made it until the end with the most laps on the tire you probably least expect to go that far, shows that we didn’t have any problems with the tires. But obviously, you know we had to manage our race differently than the other guys.”