Sebastian Vettel admits he his happy to see Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Kimi Räikkönen take victory at the United States Grand Prix, but feels that he hasn’t an easy time after another racing incident.
Vettel started the race in the USA down in fifth place, after missing out on pole position by 0.061 seconds to Lewis Hamilton. The German, who is fighting in the world championship battle, had to take a three place grid drop for failing to reduce speed under the red flag in Free Practice 1.
On the opening lap, Vettel’s race was immediately compromised after another opening lap incident demoting him down the field. The German attempted to pass the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing of Daniel Ricciardo for fourth on the inside of Turn 13, but the Ferrari made contact with the Red Bull switch sent Vettel spinning towards the back of the pack.
Vettel was able to recover back through the field using the Supersoft tyres he started on his advantage and able close down and pass Valtteri Bottas on the penultimate lap to claim fourth place. His result denies Hamilton from winning the world championship in Austin, meaning the fight for the fifth world championship will continue in Mexico.
The German was pleased to see his team-mate and friend on the top step of the podium, but feels disappointed for letting the team down with another incident during the Grand Prix.
”I am really, really happy for Kimi and his result today, but I am not happy with my race and I am disappointed for letting the team down today,” said Vettel.
“I had a contact with Ricciardo on lap one, I am not sure he saw me when I was getting closer to him. I wanted to put him under pressure for the next corner, I wasn’t thinking about passing in that point at any rate, but I had nowhere to go, we touched wheels and I span around.”
Vettel’s championship aspirations hold on for another race, but the gap between leader Hamilton and the German is now up to 70 points with three races to go.
The opening lap incident from Vettel has been a common theme over the second half of the year, having been involved in incidents when passing drivers. The last race at the Japanese Grand Prix saw Vettel made an ambitious move on Max Verstappen, that sent Vettel spinning down the back of the field. The same happened at the Italian Grand Prix when he made contact with Hamilton on the opening lap.
The thirty-one year admits that he hasn’t had an easy time lately but is hopeful that he can overcome from it at the final three races of the season.
“I think this has been an important race for us as a team and it’s nice to see that we had a good pace during the race, even though there are still many things we need to learn and to understand.
“It has not been an easy time for me lately and bad results are part of the game, but I believe it’s always possible to overcome issues.”