Sebastian Vettel lost his lead in the Russian Grand Prix by the braking point of turn two when win-hungry Valtteri Bottas managed to get ahead and close the door on the Scuderia Ferrari. He couldn’t reclaim the position and finished second in Sochi.
It wasn’t that Vettel had a poor start, in fact it was practically faultless. The trouble that Ferrari have compared to Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team is that they are less suited to long straights. And Sochi has a fifteen second straight from start to braking.
Bottas’ position behind the Ferraris also gave him a slipstream advantage that could have only assisted in his overtaking efforts.
“I think my getaway was OK,” he said. “Maybe I could have been a bit more aggressive.
“There was a delay in turning the lights off, so that I didn’t get a proper reading of how the grid was. Still, I had a good start but we had a strong head wind all day and Bottas could get a massive tow, so there was nothing I could do.”
On reflection, Vettel considered Bottas to have been the superior driver on the day and fully deserving of the win.
With younger tyres, Vettel tried his best to claw back the Silver Arrow’s advantage, attempting to force an error from the Finn. But all efforts were in vain.
“Valtteri had a great race,” he continued. “He drove better than the rest of us so he deserved to win.
“Towards the end I was flat out, I had a feeling that I could get into DRS distance, maybe on the back straight, put some pressure on him and, who knows, lead him into a mistake, but he made none.
“What happened with Massa was just a bit of a misunderstanding, I wasn’t sure where he was going, but I did not lose the race at that point.”
Vettel is looking forward to the next race in Spain, and will arrive thirteen points ahead of nearest rival Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari will be looking to replicate their success from this weekend with another strong race weekend.
“Now we look ahead to Spain,” he added. “We are here to win, to do our best, but we can still learn and improve.
“The speed was there today, but we could have done better. Yet, we have a strong car and a strong team and there is a lot of positive aspects.”