“We tried our very best and I’m looking forward to staying with you for the coming years. Thanks also to the team, here and in Maranello. Next year we’ll try again.” These are the words Vettel put together to salute his team via radio, following a competitive and eventful race in Abu Dhabi. The German crossed the line in P2, a result which reflects the second half of Ferrari’s season.
“I think today’s race sums up the year pretty well: a few ups and downs and in the end just being close, but not close enough. Today, I really tried to hang on as long as I could, but it was tough being behind Valtteri. I believe I was a little bit quicker, but it was very difficult to get close, especially in the last sector, until he had some issues and I managed to get past.”
As Vettel and Raikkonen mentioned yesterday, the Ferrari racecar is exposed to its weaknesses in the third sector, but was performing well in the straights. The German did not hide the was dreaming about victory, but in the end his SF71H simply lacked pace compared to Hamilton’s killer performance, not just today but throughout the entire grand prix.
“We were strong in the straights and we had speed, but we were struggling in the last sector to keep up, especially in the last two corners. At one point, I had hopes of winning the race, so I was pushing as hard as I could, but in the end it was not enough.”
Shutting everything down comes next, in order to unwind and rethink his personal strategy along with the team. However, Vettel puts everyone on notice, because Ferrari has ramped up its game tremendously and it still holds more potential to unlock. “It has been a very intense year and I think we have to look at ourselves, as there are many things that we can do better and the potential this team has is still huge.”