Sebastian Vettel was quick to defend Ferrari’s failed attempt to give him an edge over Lewis Hamilton at the Singapore Grand Prix. The 31-year-old German went into the race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit needing a victory to put the pressure on Hamilton with the Mercedes’ man sitting 30 points ahead of him in the drivers’ standings and starting on pole position.
Vettel successfully got ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to move up to second on the opening lap, but Ferrari’s decision to pit him a lap early to undercut Hamilton and also place him on ultra-soft tyres backfired.
He emerged behind the yet-to-pit Force India of Sergio Perez and his struggle to get past the Mexican resulted in Verstappen reclaiming second place, while the failure of his ultra-soft tyres to go the distance resulted in him settling for third place – 40 seconds behind Hamilton.
The British driver’s lead at the top is now 40 points and he looks on course to secure a fifth world title in 2018, while Vettel refused to point the finger at his team.
He told Motorsport.com: “I will always defend the team.
“The decision we took in the race to try and be aggressive, if it works then it’s great. Today it didn’t work. It didn’t work by quite a bit. So we need to look into that.
“But we saw something and that’s why we went for it. Inside the car it’s difficult to keep on top of everything because you cannot see where you come out, etc.
“Overall if you see the gap at the end it was clear that we were not fast enough in the race today. We need to understand why.
“It’s largely down to how we decided to race and which tyres and for how many laps, etc. With what we did, we tried to get to first position and get ahead. But Lewis was too quick.
“Once you are ahead you can control the pace around here, but we never got ahead.”