Sebastian Vettel said he had Pastor Maldonado-like gap to clear Esteban Ocon in F1 Hungarian GP, but he didn’t do it, as he expands on his pit stop situation.
For Aston Martin’s Vettel, a second place finish for the second time in 2021 came after a strong drive, with all of his experience in Hungarian GP – perhaps he might even have scored a win. On another circuit, it might have been possible but the Hungaroring is one of those tracks where it just is nearly impossible at times.
The win, though, wouldn’t have counted as his second place isn’t, after the FIA found only 0.3l left in his car as opposed to the required 1l. Nevertheless, the racing he did, still counts for something, as he chased Alpine’s Esteban Ocon all-through till the chequered flag dropped. He had half chances – which he described as Maldonado-like gaps.
He didn’t wish to count that as a jibe and quickly asserted that he made them work too. “The moment I got close, we got a back-marker which allowed him to get tow of them, but it helped me a little bit because he ran into trouble in sector two which allowed me to get close to him,” said Vettel to TV media.
“I think there was probably half a sniff in Turn 1 but I was not sure, it was a gap for Maldonado, and I didn’t really wanted to go because if he doesn’t see me, we are both out, so not that much time to think – that is with all the respect to Maldonado – I think you guys know what I mean, sorry. In fairness, he made some of those gaps work.”
Vettel had the chances as he said. But in the German’s eyes, he would have needed to do a little more to get the win, as Ocon did enough and perhaps more than enough to take the victory, even though Aston Martin were little bit quicker at that moment. He was full praise for the Frenchman.
“I think Esteban made the difference,” said Vettel. “He drove fantastic. He had a fantastic race and he didn’t do a mistake. Frustration is maybe a big word. Obviously emotions run high after the line and I was a bit down because I thought we really have a chance for a big surprise but the surprise was on Esteban’s side and he deserves it, so not much point to look for excuses.
“The guy won his first grand prix and the moment… It’s his day and his moment. I tried everything to push him into a mistake. He had some minor lock-ups, but nothing big. It’s obviously not easy to pass here but it’s also not easy to stay controlled and smooth like he did under pressure,” summed up Vettel.
However, it is worth noting that Vettel had issues in his pit stop. He said he was a touch aggressive on entry followed by pushing on the out lap did not help. It was only a small thing but he had to push on the outlap but maybe if the stop had been 100% fine, it might not have been a total necessity.
“I lost a bit, probably I under-estimated how hot the rear tyres were after the first stint,” said Vettel. “You come in and I shifted the brake bias system for stopping in the box in the right place and not take off the mechanics and maximise that part but I think by doing so, I was too aggressive and I locked the rears coming in and triggered the anti-stall and it took me a while to get back into the drive and probably lost a bit of time.
“I tried and pushed on the outlap because I knew that’s our chance and I pushed in the way in as well but probably it was a bit too much. Other than that, I pushed the whole race, trying to get close some way but it was so difficult in Sector 2. It is really so difficult around here and I tried everything. I felt we were little bit more faster but he did well and didn’t do mistakes, so fair enough and well done to him,” summed up Vettel.
The story was written by Neil Farrell
Here’s the last info on Sebastian Vettel DQ
Here’s Lance Stroll on his Lap 1 crash