Sebastian Vettel: “I am happy when we have the chance to race the Mercedes cars”

Sebastian Vettel - Scuderia Ferrari SF70-H - Spanish GP 2017. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was pleased with his race form at the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix, but says there is still some room for improvement.

The German got a fantastic start to beat pole sitter Lewis Hamilton off the line, and did well to forge out a lead over the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver until the first bout of pit stops.

“My start was good, I saw Lewis struggle with wheel spin, and kept looking in my mirror to see if anybody else had a better start.

“The first stint went ok, then we had to pit, otherwise they might have got us with an undercut.”

A delay getting the front left tyre on however brought Vettel out right behind Valtteri Bottas, who held the German up for a number of laps before he eventually made his way by.

That allowed Hamilton to stay out longer whilst closing the gap to Vettel, and when the Brit returned to the track after his first stop of the race, he was right up behind Vettel, who had clearly lost a lot of time having to battle with the Finn.

“My second stint was also pretty good: I managed to get close to Valtteri who was all over the place with his tyres. He blocked me, in the end I managed to get past, but by then I had lost an awful lot of time.”

It was only a matter of time then before Hamilton, who was now on the soft tyre to Vettel’s medium, caught the German and took the lead of the race. Vettel tried his best to put pressure on the Brit, but in the end was unable to catch him, and had to be content with second place.

The four-time world champion enjoyed the close battle on track with Hamilton, but of course would have preferred it if he could have won the race. Nevertheless, the German is happy with the team’s progress so far, but believes further gains must be made if they are to get their nose ahead of Mercedes in the title battle.

“Then in the last stint we did everything we could, the car was good, it was close with Lewis. I am happy when we have the chance to race the Mercedes cars, we can be very happy but not entirely happy today.

“The most important thing, though, is that we were in the fight; the team is in great form, we need to improve because we want to be ahead of them.”