Sebastian Vettel entered the French Grand Prix at the back of an action-packed weekend race, a few days ago at Montreal. There, he took a second and was on course to finish on the top step of the podium, when a five-second penalty ruined his chances, the German having been found guilty of cutting a significant part of the track in maintaining his lead over Hamilton, his dauntless pursuer.
So at Le Castellet, with his backs against the wall, his team’s woes further exacerbated by FIA rejecting what Ferrari offered as “overwhelming evidence” (in a failed bid to protest against Vettel’s penalty), the German had to give absolutely everything. After all, he wasn’t some random cry-baby, protesting the ruling of an FIA, often thought of rubbing drivers the wrong way.
This was Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion, someone who once made winning an everyday habit at Red Bull, and someone who, from the onset of 2014, failed to stop Lewis Hamilton.
But where the qualifying’s results stood, it immediately became clear that Sebastian Vettel was going to endure a tough weekend, managing no better than a lowly seventh vis-a-vis Charles Leclerc’s third, in front of yet another familiar sight: a Mercedes 1-2.
What was to happen at the 53-lap contest was anybody’s guess. For Sebastian Vettel, though, the effort at Le Castellet had to eventually be about damage-control. And it can be said that despite the two drivers garnering what could only be described as polarising views; efforts that seemed quite the opposite to one another, Leclerc managing a podium while his teammate managing only a fifth, Ferrari failed.
And now, despite the fastest-lap of the day belonging to no other than Ferrari, in the form of Sebastian Vettel’s 1:32:740 ( the fastest lap), the experienced marksman has declared that, “Ferrari failed its objective at the French Grand Prix!”
While Vettel has 111 points and a third on the driver standings at the moment, his deficit to second-placed Bottas is already of 40 points, the Finn standing firm with 151 points.
On the completion of the race, here’s what Sebastian Vettel had to say about the 53-lap contest:
“I think we wanted to close the gap to Mercedes by a decent amount, and we didn’t,” Vettel said.
“So in that regard, we have to be honest, we failed. But I think nevertheless we tried everything we could, I think Charles’ podium is a little bit of satisfaction.
“But yeah, as I said, the big objective was to come here and close the gap, but we had to, unfortunately, learn that our parts weren’t working the way we were expecting them.”