Last place on the starting grid – but Vettel still has these trumps
Munich and Sepang – Sebastian Vettel’s qualifying is not going well for Sebastian Vettel – but there is a lot to be said for catching up.At Hamilton, the competition expects problems.
Getting pity from his worst rival is never a good sign in sport, because before it gets that far, some things must have gone wrong – as it is now also the case with Sebastian Vettel.
Lewis Hamilton’s current streak of bad luck even aroused his compassion:”I’m sorry for what happened to Sebastian,”said the World Cup leader after qualifying in Sepang.
While Hamilton can unexpectedly start from pole position, Vettel has to start from last place after technical problems – and this after the collision in Singapore had already made him clearly fall behind in the World Cup fight.
If Vettel doesn’t catch up with Lewis Hamilton, the gap to world championship leader Lewis Hamilton could grow to over 50 points five races before the end of the race – the World Cup would be practically decided.
But anyone who believes that Vettel’s head is in the sand is mistaken:”It’s bitter, but we don’t have to worry about tomorrow.We got a fast car.There’s still a lot in there.”
In fact, there is a lot to be said for Vettel to catch up with – and even more so against Hamilton’s victory, because despite the big increase compared to the 3rd place, there is still a lot to be said for Vettel.Training, the silver arrows showed that you didn’t have the fastest car.
“Kimi (Rhaetian kings, Noted.Red.) was ahead until turn 14 and then made a mistake.He might have been a bit faster on the stopwatch,”said Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff at Sky.
Despite the mistake, the Finn did not even come half a tenth behind Hamilton.And the qualifying sessions to date have shown that Vettel is usually a few tenths faster than his teammate.
Mercedes’ ability to achieve such a performance explosion was due to Hamilton’s driving qualities and a lucky coincidence.Shortly before the qualifying session, clouds had brought about a drop in temperature of five degrees Celsius.
“We have such swings in the performance with the tires.When you have it in the window, the car works like a track.If it is not the case, driving is a disaster.The temperatures have come towards us”, Wolff admitted.
This led to an improvement of 2.5 seconds in Hamilton compared to the 3rd place.Training – with the usual turning up of the Mercedes engine in Q3, this cannot be explained by itself – but whether you are so lucky in the race again?
Red Bull is suspected that Hamilton will have tire problems “We saw Hamilton’s car slip.At a race distance, this can be difficult in terms of tyre wear and tear,”said Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko.
That would be good news for Vettel, as this makes Hamilton’s victory less likely.But the Briton could easily take a third place at 28 points if Vettel doesn’t go on a terrific race to catch up.
In the Longruns, Ferrari gave us a good start in the third quarter of the year.I gave him a second of practice.That’s why they are the fastest car for me in the race,”Wolff expects.
Both Marko and Wolff agree that Vettel can finish fifth, if not even on the podium – in 2016, World Champion Nico Rosberg in Sepang was on the podium despite a start and penalty.
Because turbulent weather conditions and safety cars are not uncommon in Sepang, Vettel also has the advantage of being free to choose the strategy and tyres.
The uncertain weather conditions could cause the Scuderia to replace even more parts of Vettel’s Ferrari:”We’ll take a look at it.It could make sense,”said Vettel.