Vettel sees Brazil GP win as tonic for “tough couple of weeks”

Sebastian Vettel has relished delivering Ferrari its first win since the Hungarian Grand Prix in Brazil to act as a timely boost following a tough run of results which resulted in losing out on the Formula 1 world championship titles.

The German driver got the better of pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas to take the lead into the first turn and maintain his lead over the Finn throughout the race, while keeping an eye on Lewis Hamilton’s reverse strategy attacking from a pit lane start.

After Ferrari’s dismal run of results since the summer break, having lost out to Mercedes and Hamilton for both F1 world titles, while Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne blamed driver error and reliability issues for its 2017 failings Vettel sees the victory as a timely reminder of the team’s progress this year against his front-running rivals.

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“I’m really happy especially for all the guys in the team and back home in Maranello,” Vettel said. “They’ve been working so hard. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us but nice to get it to the end and have both cars up here [Kimi Raikkonen finished third].”

Vettel says his race start was vital to get in front of Bottas and despite his Ferrari missing some top-end speed compared to Mercedes he was able to maintain and measure his advantage to take a fifth win of the year.

“Initially I had a very good launch I thought I got this, then I was may be a bit too greedy with the throttle and spinning the wheels a little bit,” he said. “Losing a little bit of the momentum on Valtteri but then I looked over, and saw that he was still struggling then I sort of came a little bit on the second phase which was just enough to give me the momentum to hang in there into the first corner and yeah, I knew I had to go for it.

“There was a little bit of a gap, I went for that, and obviously it turned out to be very important. I think the restart was tricky, they turned the lights very late and it was very difficult to open a sufficient gap because it’s a long straight, safety car is not very quick. So it was difficult to know how much time we needed to give the safety car before we could go.

“Overall I think we had less straight-line speed than Mercedes this weekend and it was tough always seeing him in the mirror in the race and seeing he was close especially in the first and last sector.

“I really had to nail the middle sector every single time and at the end I think it was at the limit with the tyres obviously I tried to manage the gap but to be honest it was fairly flat out the whole time so I had to push to stay ahead and try to keep control with one, or two, or three seconds in the end.”

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