Australia

‘A dagger to the heart of Ferrari’

The German overtook Max Verstappen for second place on the first lap but was unhappy with his team’s tactics after they pitted him early, a move which saw him lose time behind a Force India and subsequently lose a position back to the Red Bull.

“We tried to be aggressive in the beginning and obviously it didn’t work out,” said Vettel, who finished third behind Hamilton and Verstappen.

Vettel’s annoyance was compounded by the fact he is now 40 points behind race-winner Hamilton, after a Grand Prix that Ferrari were expected to dominate, and Mercedes were expected to struggle at.

“It was pretty obvious what we tried to do and it didn’t work,” he added.

“It was clear we were not fast enough in the race, we need to understand why. It’s largely due to how we decided to race and which tyres for how many laps. What we tried to do was 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.”

‘DAGGER IN THE HEART OF FERRARI’

The result prompted F1 legend Eddie Jordan to declare the 2018 drivers championship race decided.

“This was their race,” Sky F1’s Anthony Davidson added. “This is Vettel’s track and this is Ferrari’s track. And they didn’t capitalise.”

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene explained the strategy while declaring Hamilton deserved the victory.

“After Sebastian overtook Verstappen, we went for an aggressive strategy, trying for the undercut on the Ultrasoft tyres,” he said.

“Unfortunately, during the one lap that would prove to be crucial, we found ourselves behind another car and so we were unable to run at a fast enough pace.

‘I WILL ALWAYS DEFEND THE TEAM’

It’s not the first time Vettel has questioned his team’s strategy in recent weeks — he was similarly dismayed after the qualifying sessions in Italy and this Saturday’s.

But the four-time world champion did insist in the post-race press conference he “will always defend the team”.

“So that’s what I meant by saying we didn’t get everything out of ourselves.”

Vettel admits Ferrari can learn lessons from their rivals after being beaten by both Mercedes and Red Bull.

“If they finished ahead of us by half a minute, they clearly did some things better than us.”

This article was originally published by Sky Sports and reproduced with permission.

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