F1 Grand Prix of Singapore SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 16: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari talks with an engineer on the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 16, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Sebastian Vettel had an off weekend at the Singapore GP. The Ferrari SF71H was expected to be leading the way throughout the weekend. But Vettel managed to be only third behind race-winner Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen.

Sebastian Vettel After Strategy Call: I will always defend the team

The weekend was not smooth for Vettel. The three days of on-track action put the German on his back foot. On Friday, he touched the wall and missed most of FP2. Then, he could not get near Hamilton’s pace in qualifying and was denied second place by Verstappen.

The race started well for the four-time Formula 1 world champion. The German overtook Verstappen in the first lap and followed Hamilton closely, albeit with the race-leader nursing his tires. Vettel and Ferrari elected to try an undercut on the reigning champion and put ultrasoft tires to make sure the move was successful. But things did not go according to plan as the German had to go through traffic, making him lose his chance and give up the second place to Verstappen.

Being the only car up front with the purple-striped tire, Vettel had to nurse the Pirelli tires to try and get to the end, giving up any chance of an attack. He finished third and in no man’s land, proving the strategy to be non-effective against the other cars, which stopped for the soft tire instead.

The four-time F1 champion is now 40 points behind Hamilton in the title fight with six races remaining. Surely, an uphill battle for Vettel, but his title run in 2012, when he recovered from 39 points down with seven GPs to go to win his third F1 crown, always provides hope for the Ferrari fans.

The current circumstances are different, but the German has the best car as he did in 2012.

The Ferrari Strategy

Vettel was asked to talk about his strategy in the Singapore GP since he was not able to attack to make sure his tires lasted. “I will always defend the team. I think the decisions we took in the race, the decision to try and be aggressive, if it works it’s great and today it didn’t work, and it didn’t work by quite a bit, so we need to look into that”, he said, according to Formula1.com

“But I believe we saw something, and we went for it. We were aggressive trying to get ahead, taking into account that you have to go through traffic, but that came back to bite us as we also lost second place.”

“The strategy was to get ahead of Lewis, which, obviously, didn’t work and then it was a pity we lost the second place. After that, the main focus was on defending the third position, and I wasn’t very confident that we could make it to the end, but fortunately we did.”

Qualification was where the Grand Prix was lost

The Ferrari driver said he was not very confident about correcting the lousy qualifying he had on Saturday. Mercedes obviously got everything together. Credit to them. Qualifying didn’t go the way we planned.

“On a track like this, we didn’t have a clean qualifying. It’s difficult to say where we could have started the race.

“I don’t think we were chanceless on Saturday. I think we could have gone a lot quicker and a lot faster than we did. We didn’t do it so we had to try something from third and unfortunately we couldn’t make up any ground.”

The 2018 Formula 1 Championship resumes on September 30th with the VTB Russian Grand Prix

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