Sebastian Vettel praised his team's bold strategy in today's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as he managed to open his 2022 account with eighth.
With a disastrous Australian Grand Prix weekend behind him, Vettel seemingly refound his mojo at Imola as he managed to drag his AMR22 into Q3, where he eventually qualified ninth for the Sprint, but he fell back to 13th after becoming a sitting duck on the softs.
But with rain falling just minutes before the race started, Vettel would have another chance at getting back into the top 10, and when cars in front of him, such as Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz, came together at Tamburello on the opening lap of the race, Vettel vaulted himself up to ninth as the safety car came out to retrieve the stricken Ferrari.
That became eighth on Lap 7 when Fernando Alonso fell down the order due to sidepod damage that eventually caused him to retire from the race. The German jumped Kevin Magnussen into seventh after the first round of pitstops.
Try as he might, Vettel couldn’t hold off Yuki Tsunoda’s attacks, and the Japanese driver sailed past on Lap 54 to demote Vettel to eighth, which quickly became seventh after Charles Leclerc pitted for another set of tyres after making contact with the barrier at the Variante Alta.
But the power of the Ferrari proved to be strong for Vettel to resist as the championship leader sailed by on the run down to Tamburello with four laps to go. Still, with Magnussen making no impression in the race’s closing stages, Vettel secured his first points of the season with eighth as well as his first points at a Grand Prix held in Imola.
Vettel thanked his team for their efforts and the excellent strategy that saw him leapfrog Magnussen in his post-race interview.
"The team did really well today, and we maximised everything to finish P8. It is an important result for the team because they have worked so hard in a challenging season so far. It is clear that we benefited from the cooler and damp conditions on Friday and Sunday, but we still needed to capitalise on the opportunities that came our way. We also achieved that through good strategy, making our pitstop for dry tyres at the right moment.”
“We may not have had the pure pace in this race, but we managed the tyres well, and we got both cars into the points. It is nice to get off the mark and get points in the bag, and now we are looking forward to Miami."