Sebastian Vettel has been left rueing the mistake that cost him victory in the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix after dominating the majority of the race.
Starting from pole-position for the third race in a row, Vettel extended his lead over Lewis Hamilton to over eight-seconds before the chasing Brit made his first pit-stop.
A late safety car period brought about by a clash between both Aston Martin Red Bull drivers saw Valtteri Bottas take the lead, having served his only pit-stop behind the safety car.
At the restart, Vettel launched an attack on Bottas, but the German locked his front-left wheel, flat-spotting his tyre and running wide, dropping to fourth. Vettel gained a position courtesy of a late puncture for Bottas, but in turn lost out to the Sahara Force India of Sergio Perez.
“We are not entirely happy, because we could have won,” said Vettel. “In fact, I am very upset about losing the position at the restart, because I didn’t want that to happen, but there are also so many positive aspects to take from this race.
“When the safety car pulled away, I saw a gap and I went for it, but obviously it didn’t work. So, now it’s easy for everyone to say that it was too big a risk, but I was driving at 330 kph on the straight, there was no reference on the left and I didn’t really have many options.
“Lewis was on the right, while Valtteri was ahead, but I couldn’t really go to the right. I also wanted to go for the inside, but once I locked up, it was tough luck.
“After that, with the flat spot, it was a shame that I had to give the position to Sergio.”
Despite the lost victory, Vettel remains positive and urges Scuderia Ferrari to “stay hungry and keep working.”
“Apart from that, I think it was a very good race; we had a good pace and were in control. Anyway, this is how it goes sometimes.
“I had a chance to win and I tried…It just didn’t work. It was a quick decision, so there was a chance it wouldn’t be right.
“Now I think we need to look ahead because we had a strong car today. We’ll see what the other races will bring, but we need to stay hungry and keep working.”