Sebastian Vettel says he “kidded himself” thinking he might win the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix.
Vettel suffered an untidy start to the Monaco weekend, with a crash in third free practice sidelining him for the majority of the session. The German then hit the barriers twice during qualifying, in which he finished fourth.
During the race Vettel benefited from a pit-lane clash between Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas in which the latter would make an additional stop and drop behind Vettel.
Verstappen was handed a five-second penalty for the incident and in his attempt to pass Lewis Hamilton for the lead on the penultimate lap, he touched the Mercedes’ rear wheel. Vettel, watching from a close third place, says that moment gave him a fleeting hope of victory.
“It was a tough race today but, in the end, second is a great result and I am happy for the team that we got a podium finish on such an iconic track as Monaco,” says Vettel. “We were also able to benefit from mistakes of other people today, but that’s part of this game.
“When I was following Lewis, who was struggling with his tyres, and Max chasing him very closely, I saw that they touched and for a brief moment I even kidded myself I might win it!”
Benefitting from Verstappen’s penalty to finish second sees Vettel’s best result of the year, while team-mate Charles Leclerc suffered a retirement in front of his home crowd.
“We know we have a lot of work to do so today we are happy, but not entirely happy,” says Vettel. On the other side, it’s a pity for Charles. Not the best weekend for him.”