Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel has suggested that the Maranello team were guilty of self-sabotage at the Singapore Grand Prix. As it turned out, a strategy blunder limited him to a third-place finish at the Marina Bay Circuit which leaves him 40 points behind race-winner Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.
Vettel was clearly unimpressed by his team’s management of Saturday’s qualifying, in whch he was more than half a second off Hamilton’s pace, with Max Verstappen managing to squeeze between the title rivals.
Although the German was able to dispatch Verstappen on the opening lap, Ferrari seemed to commit to a two-stop strategy when pitting Vettel early for ultrasoft tyres – a decision potentially prompted by mishearing a radio message between Hamilton and Mercedes.
Red Bull pounced to get Verstappen back into P2 after his service and Vettel was unable to mount an attack due to the need for tyre management.
“I think overall we were not fast enough,” Vettel said. “We did not have pace in the race, we tried to be aggressive in the beginning but it didn’t work out.
“I had a different race to the other guys and I wasn’t convinced we could make it to the end, but pitting was no option because you lose too much time so you just focus on making it home.”
This race had represented a chance for him to eat into a championship lead that has widened due to on-track errors in Hungary, Germany and Italy, but the German said there was collective fault for this misstep.
“It doesn’t help obviously. I’m mostly thinking about today’s race and today with the way we raced we didn’t have a chance.
“There might be something extra in the way we weren’t quick. I said before the weekend we could only beat ourselves and I think today we didn’t get everything out of our package.”
Now, the German driver and the Scuderia Ferrari team will be eager to look ahead to Russia. Traditionally speaking, the Sochi Autodrom has normally suited Mercedes, but Ferrari hope to change that dynamic in 2 week’s time.