Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second place in the Chinese Grand Prix, a race in which luck wasn’t on the German driver’s side, as the timing of the safety car during the early stages of the Grand Prix was “unfortunate”, Sebastian confirmed at the end of the race.
Vettel lined up on the front row alongside polesitter Lewis Hamilton and held his position early on, but pitted under the early virtual safety car, thus looking to gain an advantage over his rivals. When the cars got back to full speed, the safety car was soon deployed on the track as a result of Antonio Giovinazzi’s incident, with the neutralisation allowing Vettel’s rivals to make their pit stops under the Safter Car and minimise the time loss. The German driver dropped to sixth and was able to recover to second place, thanks to moves on Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo, and also profited when Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas made several errors:
“My start was OK but then I realised that the intermediates had quite a lot of degradation. It was very dry in some parts of the track so I knew they would not last. With the virtual safety car you save a bit of time in the pitstop. And then we were a bit unfortunate maybe with the safety car. It came just when I was about to start to feel that the dry tyre was a lot quicker, so I couldn’t use the momentum, the advantage and I lost a lot of positions. But then I had a very exciting race; I really enjoyed it. I tried to chase Lewis down as much as possible but I had the feeling that every time I put a lap in he was able to respond. So, I think we were a good match. It could have been a different race but a good recovery.” – Sebastian Vettel said, as reported by La Stampa, Italian daily newspaper published in Turin.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver made the best move of the day as he won the close battle with former teammate Daniel Ricciardo on the circuit, at turn 6: “I was stuck in the train and I was getting a bit annoyed, I wanted to get by and I had the feeling that I could go a lot faster in these conditions. When I was behind Daniel I saw him blocking down the inside because I had a good run out of Turn 4. I said ‘OK, you have to try it around the outside, brake really late and hard. Fortunately, he didn’t lock up. I had him in the mirror, checking, otherwise I have to open immediately before he would make contact. Then on the exit I was a bit compromised, a bit in the dirt, getting a bit of wheel spin, but then I got a bit my elbows out. Yeah, he really squeezed me, but it was good fun and I had the inside for the next corner.” – Sebastian Vettel concluded.