Sebastian Vettel finished his first Italian Grand Prix as a Scuderia Ferrari driver with a visit to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza podium, with the German driver feeling it is the best second place finish he has had in Formula 1.
The German was unable to match Lewis Hamilton on Sunday, but felt the Tifosi below the podium made it an incredible post-race experience for the four-time World Champion.
“It’s an incredible day, it’s the best second place I ever had in Formula One,” said Vettel. “Thanks to all the Tifosi for giving me those emotions today on the podium: it’s fantastic to see so many fans, feel the support we get as a team.
“It just makes our lives so much more worth living when you see all the fans coming underneath the podium.”
Vettel felt it was a near-perfect day for Ferrari, but bemoaned team-mate Kimi Raikkonen’s start-line issues as he felt the team had the pace to secure a double podium finish in Italy, but felt the team had brought themselves closer to the pace of the dominant Mercedes team with its new power unit introduced this weekend.
“In terms of emotions it’s more than a victory,” said Vettel. “It’s nearly a perfect day: I’m saying nearly because I don’t know what happened to Kimi at the start. It’s a shame because otherwise I believe we could have both cars on the podium today.
“The speed was there, unfortunately not enough to win, but we’ve tried everything. Monza is known to be a power track and we all know how dominant Mercedes was here last year. I believe the engine guys have done a great job.
“There are for sure things that we need to improve: we’ll do step-by-step. Tyres were ok for the whole weekend.”