Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel feels Singapore Grand Prix was more the point where his 2018 Formula 1 title hopes started to diminish rather than the German Grand Prix.
One of the biggest mistakes from the list in 2018 was Vettel’s slip at Hockenheim in the slippery conditions where the German was certain to win the grand prix – he lost the crucial 25 points taken up by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
From the outside, the fans, media and pundits regarded his mistake in Germany as the catalyst but Vettel thinks it was more the race in Singapore and the following ones in Japan and Russia which played a crucial role in him losing the battle.
When asked if it was in Germany or Italy that he though where he lost the fight, Vettel did not agree with it. “None of the two, to be honest,” he said to the media in Mexico. “For me it was more Singapore.
“I think from Singapore onwards we just didn’t have the pace to keep up with Mercedes for a couple of races and then obviously some other things happened on top that didn’t help and we couldn’t score the points due to mistakes that we did, mistakes that I did.
“So it didn’t help. I can’t be too hard on myself with what happened in Germany because I’ve done much bigger mistakes this year but obviously it was the most costly one. Unfortunately it’s part of racing: when you push you might be sometimes pushing a little bit too hard. I chose the wrong corner as well.
“But anyway, it’s behind me and I’m not really thinking about that too much. I consider it part of racing and it happens to others as well. So, but yeah, seeing that struggled in the last couple of weeks, just for pace and speed was probably more defining than that.”
In the build up to the races in USA and Mexico, Vettel admitted that the performance upgrades which Ferrari brought in the second half did not deliver as per expectations which forced them to revert to the older spec to fight Mercedes.
Despite knowing that he has a slim chance to take the fight to Hamilton in terms of the title battle whether in Mexico or beyond, the racer in Vettel never backed away that he cannot win the championship until it is finally over.
The German admits it was still a horrible moment to know that he officially has no chance to fight for the title which will take some time to sink in. “It’s a horrible moment,” he said. “You put a lot of work in and OK, I get your point that you saw it coming.
“I did pay attention in maths so I could make the numbers, but still, you hang in there as long as you can. I’ve had three times now in my life that sort of disappointment, where you realise that you can’t win the championship any more and those are not happy days.
“You reflect not on one moment but the whole year: the work that goes in, the effort that goes in from the end of the last year until now and yeah, I think we had our chances. We used most of them, some we did not. But in the end we were not good enough.”
Even with the loss, Vettel congratulated Hamilton for his fifth title as he matches with Juan Manuel Fangio. The German shook Hamilton’s hands after the race and he even went to Mercedes’ hospitality to congratulate Toto Wolff and the whole team.