Sebastian Vettel admitted third place was not the target in the Singapore Grand Prix, but it was the best result possible on a difficult evening for the Scuderia Ferrari driver.
The German managed to jump Max Verstappen to run second on the opening lap at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, completing the move just before the safety car was deployed for a crash between the two Racing Point Force India F1 Team drivers that left Esteban Ocon in the wall on the outside of turn three.
However, strategy played against Vettel, who made the earlier stop but was held up by the other Force India of Sergio Pérez, and as a result was jumped by the Dutchman. After then, on the Ultrasoft tyre he was always on the back foot, falling further and further behind the leading two, finishing almost forty seconds behind race winner and championship rival Lewis Hamilton.
“It’s never easy to come and win even if, obviously, that was our target,” said Vettel. “Yesterday the qualifying didn’t go the way we wanted and we couldn’t extract the best out of ourselves.
“Today, starting from third position, we had to try something different, but it didn’t work out and we finished where we started. We were running second after a good start which allowed me to get past Max, I was happy and confident when I got the call to box, I knew I needed a mega out lap to try and challenge for the lead but it didn’t work.
“I lost time behind another car and the brakes got a little too hot, it was close but we got the worse of it.”
Vettel says he completely supports the strategy choice of his team but ultimately the speed of his SF71H was not enough to better third, which means he leaves Singapore with a forty-point deficit in the championship.
“I fully support the team’s decision because, as I am sitting in the car, I can’t be aware of everything that goes on, so I rely on them,” said the German.
“Our target was not to finish third, but today we just did not have enough speed.”