Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel: “Without the slow stop, I think we had sixth place easily in the bag”

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Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

Sebastian Vettel admitted his adrenaline was pumping hard in the closing stages of Sunday’s United States Grand Prix as he climbed back through the field after a slow pit stop cost him a certain sixth place finish.

The Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team driver led a handful of laps at the Circuit of the Americas as strategies played out, but a slow pit stop left him outside of the top ten and forced him to start a fight back through the field.

He passed a number of cars to get back into the points and then was involved in a last lap battle with Kevin Magnussen over eighth place, which he won by diving down the inside of the Haas F1 Team driver at the penultimate corner.  A penalty post-race for Fernando Alonso then promoted him to seventh place and six FIA Formula 1 World Championship points.

“In the end it was a good recovery drive to score four points today,” Vettel said prior to being promoted to seventh.  “I really enjoyed the last few laps, especially the final-lap fight with Kevin [Magnussen]. When I crossed the finish line, the adrenaline was really pumping.

“Without the slow stop, I think we had sixth place easily in the bag so we should focus on the positives of our competitive car pace today.

“We were strong all race; the start was great and I was up in fifth place early on. It was also nice to lead the race for a while because it has been a while since I was in that position.”

“It was not as if I squeezed him against the wall” – Lance Stroll

Team-mate Lance Stroll believed he was on course for a good result on Sunday, only for his race ending clash with Alonso on the back straight that earned him a grid penalty for next weekend’s Mexico City Grand Prix.

The Canadian ran as high as third in the opening laps before falling back behind some of the faster cars but was still on course for a top ten finish until he clashed with BWT Alpine F1 Team driver Alonso, with the FIA stewards deeming it to be Stroll’s fault.

Stroll was able to walk away unharmed from a crash that appeared bigger than it felt inside the cockpit, but he does not believe he as fully to blame for the incident as the stewards decided it was.

“We had a good start to the race; everything was feeling great with the car and we were sitting in third for a little while,” said Stroll.  “Unfortunately, we had contact with Fernando [Alonso] which was a shame.

“There was a big difference in speed and I was defending. I gave him plenty of room on the left of the track, so it was not as if I squeezed him against the wall. He could have moved earlier or moved more to the left.

“Thankfully, it was not a big impact with the wall, I did not hit anything hard, and I am OK after the contact.”

Lance Stroll was having a strong day at COTA prior to his crash with Fernando Alonso – Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team
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