Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel admitted that the Maranello team “got lucky” in Australia to claim the opening victory of the season after benefitting from a perfectly timed Virtual Safety Car. The four-time Formula One world champion was able to pit and emerge in the lead under the VSC – caused by the stranded Haas of Romain Grosjean – gaining him a net two places as he jumped both Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the pits.
Prior to that he had been running a distant third and struggling to find the pace to challenge the top two. However, Sebastian says the team will “take it”, but conceded they’re not quite where they need to be after being outpaced on Saturday as well as struggling a little in the race: “Obviously [feeling] pretty good. We got a bit lucky obviously with the Safety Car. I mean my start could have been better, it didn’t really work so I had to settle for third and then at the end of the first stint I lost a little bit of the connection to Lewis and Kimi ahead. I was struggling a little with the tyre. I felt happier with the soft tyres for the second stint. I was praying for a Safety Car. There was a car stopped at Turn 4 and I was like ‘no’, and then somebody, a Haas I think, had stopped at Turn 2 and then when I saw it and I was really full of adrenaline – even though the race is frozen, but to come into the pits, everything on the limit to try and get back out.” – the German driver explained, at the end of the 2018 Australian Grand Prix.
“They told me it was really close with Lewis. Obviously we were a little bit lucky today, Lewis had a great lap yesterday and he deserved pole position. He drove a good race and controlled it in the beginning. Then as I said we got a bit lucky, but we’ll take it. It is a good start, a good win and fresh motivation for the next few weeks”. – Sebastian Vettel concluded, as reported by the Italian media at the end of the race.