Although Sebastian Vettel only finished third in the Hungarian Grand Prix, he sustained his healthy lead in the world championship title race, but will no doubt be anxious about the pace and race performance of both Mercedes and Lotus who look to be their main rivals going into the second half of the season. Vettel spoke about his day which many thought would end in victory for him and Red Bull, but did not.
Only third but the fans seem pretty happy with that. How do you feel about it?
Sebastian Vettel: Well, it was not the best race. The start was difficult but I was able to defend second and then Lewis pulled in, we thought we had a little bit more on the Soft but the rear tyres seemed to fall apart pretty quickly and then I lost a bit, came out behind Jenson which was crucial and struggled to get past, damaged my front wing which didn’t help, after that managed to get past. It was a long time but lost a bit of speed and basically tried to hang in there, tried to fight back. Very close with Kimi in the end but, he was very quick through the last two corners and then I couldn’t really get him on the straight. So yeah, I did all we could but surely wanted a little bit more today.
You felt Kimi didn’t leave you enough room at turn four towards the end of the race. You felt that was a bit too close?
SV: Yeah, I told him but he was laughing only. It was fine. Obviously in the heat of the moment it was quite tight getting into there, I tried to prepare the next corner but nearly lost the car. That’s racing.
A little bit of trouble behind traffic during the race itself. What do you feel about third place?
SV: Generally happy. Not the best circuit to be stuck in traffic because it’s quite difficult to overtake. I think we had not enough speed on the straights to put people under enough pressure so yeah, obviously got stuck behind Jenson for a long time. Damaged my front wing as well which dropped us back and after that obviously it was about the fight back as much as we could. In the middle of the race I didn’t know where I was. I just tried to hang in there and try to come back as much as we can. In the end obviously quite close with Kimi. We were faster, I had fresher tyres but as I said, no way past. Once I was pretty close up the hill. I think I didn’t have enough room on the outside but it’s pretty difficult to judge. Obviously I couldn’t go around the outside and pass him but I was trying to maybe put him under pressure for the next couple of corners and try to create my chance but yeah, was not a decent gap anyways. So, I tried, didn’t work, we have to be happy with third. The car was good all weekend, there wasn’t much missing. But as I said, I should have done a better job with Jenson in the beginning and especially not damaged my front wing – and then it could have been a different race. But…would, could, should. In the end I think we’re happy with third.
We heard you complaining a bit over the radio two laps from the end when you thought that Kimi didn’t leave you enough room in turn four. Was it serious?
SV: In the heat of the moment, for sure, obviously it’s narrow there. As I said before, it was clear…or it was to me at that stage that I didn’t find a way past around the outside. First of all, Kimi is not an idiot and secondly, it’s a narrow part of the track so it was clear but I was pushing very hard, trying to create a chance, put him under pressure and as I said, it was clear I didn’t pass him there, but maybe two corners later or something. Yeah, I was not too happy but as I said, it was quite hot this afternoon, I was pushing very hard and it was quite narrow and I was a little bit on the dirt, turning in. You feel that you have to say something so that’s what I said.
Three weeks ago in Germany, you were asked if you would relish the challenge of having Kimi as your teammate next year and you said you would enjoy having such a competitive teammate. I was wondering if your opinion had changed, now that you had finished behind him.
SV: There have been races where I have finished behind him, especially in the beginning of my career – I finished nearly every race behind him. And there are races where I’ve finished ahead of him so that doesn’t really matter. As I said, I think he’s one of the drivers I get along most with. He’s been very honest all the time which I appreciate a lot. I think at the end of the day we’re a group of 20, 22 guys; some of them you like, others you don’t. I think at the end of the day you have to beat everyone. Obviously we enjoy it a lot more as well if you’re fighting other drivers in similar cars, meaning with similar pace, because it’s kind of boring when you’re only fighting your teammate. I think this is something we all enjoy.
At Nurburgring, after your battle with Kimi, you said that one day you will feel as angry as Kimi felt that day. Do you feel angry now?
SV: I don’t think it was really really angry but obviously it was a battle for the win so I was happy that I succeeded. Today was for second, but still, you know, second is better than third. I’m not entirely happy with my race because I think the car was probably a little bit better than where we finished today but as I described, with the race that I had, I think P3 is what we have to be happy with. It’s not a disaster. We were still on the podium which is nice, a lot of people here which is still very special so I think we have to keep our feet on the ground. I’ve always said that there will be days when there will be people ahead of us, and there will be days when we will be ahead of them so it’s just life.
Do you think that today there is some complaint about the strategy because as you said before, you were twice stuck behind McLaren when you came out of the pits?
SV: Usually in the past it was not a bad thing when you came out behind a McLaren but this year’s a bit different. Yeah, I’m not blaming the team. I think it’s pretty easy [to see] what happened. In the first stint I lost more time on the way to the pits, because the tyres were falling apart [more] than they expected, probably around 1.5s. If you take those away, I come out ahead of him, so I think in terms of strategy they did the right call. Second time round, I think he was on a very used set of Soft tyres which was going away quickly and I found my way past pretty quickly as well, so I’m not blaming them. If there’s anything to blame, today, then it’s me because I damaged my wing which wasn’t the best thing.
How did the high temperatures today affect you, your performance?
SV: Yeah, it was pretty hot, especially, obviously, towards the end of the race when the drink is not cool any more, it’s more like tea, which isn’t the nicest to cool down. But yeah, I think we were probably in a bit of a different situation to Lewis, still fighting towards the end, I was pushing very hard. Every time you get close, you lose some grip. I was struggling to get past, didn’t succeed but yeah, it’s not the only hot race we have during the season.
If, at the end of the first bend you were first in the race after the start, the story of this race might have been different?
SV: Well I wasn’t so, hard to…If…if. If I was sick today I wouldn’t race so…I think Lewis did a great job today, a good lap yesterday and deserved to win today no doubt. I think we had a bit stronger pace than what we probably had towards the end of the race, but I didn’t do the best job either. I damaged my front wing, I got stuck behind Jenson, didn’t find a way past unlike Lewis so yeah, there are things that I could have done better but it’s hard to say where we could have been without those two things. I think it would have been close. Obviously he had track position, overtaking is difficult, maybe we would have been a bit closer, maybe with strategy we could have found a way past, I don’t know. But in the end, as I said, it wasn’t the case.
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