Sebastian Vettel was glad to deliver Ferrari its first Formula 1 win since the end of July after controlling proceedings in the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, bouncing back from a "tough couple of weeks". Yet the deficit to Hamilton in qualifying in the latter parts of the season along with today's troubles converting pole into a win may just be a cause for concern.
For the rest of the race, Hamilton was consistently the fastest driver on the track, now lighter on fuel and running on the stickier super softs. It's embarrassing. (Bottas) simply is not on the pace of Hamilton. I hadn't gone in there any quicker than I had done before or anything like that.
Vettel led the F1 drivers' championship for Ferrari from the opening round in Australia until the Italian Grand Prix in September, only for reliability issues across the Asian flyaways to severely dent his hopes of a fifth title.
Indeed, Vettel eventually apologised for causing the crash, but managed to dodge an FIA penalty.
The safety car was deployed almost immediately after Haas driver Romain Grosjean bumped into the side of Force India's Esteban Ocon. Where they were closely matched, the ascendancy of aero influence in the new regulations was proving again that passing where there is no high speed differential will be difficult. "I was pushing all the way, I think Valtteri was as well".
"Lewis delivered the best fourth-place finish I have ever seen", Wolff said. "That often happens when the tyres are cold, but these things happen". It was early doors, for one.
Some of the lunges into turn 1 and ensuing overtakes from Daniel Ricciardo defied belief. "But that is not what I am about". However, as good as the champion was, the W08 exhibited severe understeer when Hamilton was following cars.
Of course Toro Rosso make the risky switch to Honda next year, but for Red Bull and Renault, and indeed McLaren, a more powerful and reliable power unit can't come soon enough.
The Dutch driver has had a mixed season with unreliability hurting him earlier in the year but he has bounced back to earn victories in Malaysia and Mexico. "I know it sounds negative but as a racer we want fast, nimble cars where we can attack always every single lap".
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