Not exactly what Ferrari would have wanted from a team point of view, but boy did Sebastian Vettel come up big for them today. As Charles Leclerc’s engine sputtered to a stop, ever so suddenly, the onus was on Vettel to deliver a rescue act.
And deliver he did. Starting the race in P11, Vettel took the gamble of going on a one-stop strategy. That paid dividends as Vettel came home in P7.
He said on the team radio, “Ok guys, nothing, absolutely nothing left in these tires. I think it was the best call, otherwise, I think there’s no chance to stay in front of this bunch. Had nothing left.”
He also quizzed his race engineer as to how many laps did he put in on the soft tires. His race engineer replied, “37, 37. That was quite impressive.”
The German rightfully won ‘Driver Of The Day‘. He managed his soft tires immaculately, keeping them intact for an incredible 37 laps! In the blazing heat of Barcelona, no less.
He was quite pleased with that showing and the call to stick to a one-stop strategy.
Speaking to the media after the conclusion of the race, Vettel opened up about the team’s strategy. He said, “It’s quite simple, you know. We didn’t have anything to lose.
“We were P11 and I think we were trying to offset till the end of the race. Obviously we were catching the cars in front, then they pitted for their second stop.
“But I was not in a rush to catch them and managing the tires then I was told to push, which I did. [I was] asked if I can make it to the end.
“And I said you could have asked that 3 laps before because I had asked a couple of times, what’s the target, how long we want to go, so that I can look after my tires. It did pay off, but it wasn’t the plan before the race.”
That risky strategy gave Vettel an additional 6 points, adding to the 10 that he won across the first five races. This was Vettel’s second-best result in the season thus far.
His performance at the Hungaroring(P6) marks the only race in which he crossed the checkered flag in a better position than his P7 finish.
There’s still a long way to go before Vettel can compete at the top, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. It’s a big morale booster heading into the next race in Belgium on the 30th of August.