Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had one of his better races of the season, finishing P7 at the Spanish Grand Prix. The German made a risky one-stop strategy pay off. He managed his soft tires immaculately, extracting every bit out of them for a total of 37 laps! During the course of the race, Vettel was quite busy on his team radio. He assigned his race engineer a ‘task’ that would help him finish in the points.
Vettel was told (3 laps too late) to fight till the end on the softs. Knowing the scale of the job on hand, Vettel worked out a quick strategy in his mind. He asked over the team radio as to what kind of pace all the cars that had pitted were going at. That number was revealed to be 1 minute 22.6 seconds.
With that information in mind, Vettel said, “Ok, here’s the task for you. 22.6 them to the end and (then tell me) what do I have to do to stay ahead.” He was given the magic number of maintaining a 23.4, 23.5 race pace till the end. Vettel replied to that saying, “I can do. I can do that. Well, let us try, we’ve got nothing to lose.”
Although, he dropped a couple of places when Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz past him, Vettel’s display was impressive enough to win him ‘driver of the day.’
Speaking to the media after the race, the 4-times world champion said, “I think there’s still lots of work to do. Obviously, we are where we are at the moment, that’s our true pace.”
“Today we were fighting for P10ish. (However) with a different strategy and managing tires well we managed to come 7th. But we didn’t have great pace otherwise you’d take control of the race in a different fashion. But that’s all we could do. Still a lot of stuff we can work on.”
The result would have eased some of Vettel and the Tifosi’s pain but there’s still a long hard road to traverse up ahead. A week off would do both Vettel and Ferrari some good before the action resumes in Belgium. Can Vettel build on this performance or will we see more struggles? All will be revealed in two weeks’ time.