Vettel rues early mistake that left him chasing in French GP
Sebastian Vettel reckons he could have perhaps added more points to his French Grand Prix tally without an early mistake that left him chasing his rivals.
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Vettel and Aston Martin team mate Lance Stroll snatched the final spots among the top ten as both drivers enjoyed a recovery drive at Paul Ricard although for different reasons.
After qualifying P12, Vettel opted to relay on an alternate tyre strategy, launching his race on the hard compound and banking on an extended first stint.
The German made good progress but suffered an off at the long sweeping right-hand Beausset corner that eventually left him chasing those ahead of him in the closing stages of the race.
“We had to try something different and I think it worked,” Vettel said. “Unfortunately, I had one off in the first stint where I lost a lot of time.
“But it’s quite windy and the car was quite inconsistent for all of us today, so that was very tricky to judge. I was pushing quite hard and maybe in that one lap pushing a little bit too much.
“Otherwise I think maybe we could have been closer with the group at the very end of the race and we had better tyres, maybe score some more points.”
French GP: Sunday’s action in pictures
Indeed, Vettel concluded his race in P9 but just a few seconds behind a battling trio comprised of Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso.
But overall, the four-time world champion was happy to cap off a challenging weekend with a good result.
“I think the team in general is strong,” he said. “Obviously we are not where we would like to be with the car but I think overall the team is doing very, very well.
“I think we have been catching up a little bit, which is important. It’s very tight and we need to score points like today, even if it’s not a lot. We did good.
“We are fighting with AlphaTauri and Alpine as well. It’s going to be a long year, hopefully we are getting better and better and starting to have a bit of an edge, but it’s a long way to go.”
Teammate Lance Stroll certainly had his work cut out for him on Sunday after failing to set a time in qualifying and launching his race from last on the grid.
But the Canadian, who also opted to start his race on the hard tyre, kept his head down to reap a top ten finish.
“I didn’t get a great start, but I overtook some cars in the first few laps,” he said. “The car felt good and we had some good pace throughout the race.
“I did all my overtaking on track, so that gave us a good result today.”
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