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Vettel concedes Ricciardo too good despite engine problem

Written by  May 28, 2018

Sebastian Vettel conceded he didn't have the pace to challenge Daniel Ricciardo despite the Red Bull driver struggling with engine issues during the Monaco GP.

The German made the slightly better start off the front row compared to his former teammate but any thoughts of a move into Sainte Devote were quickly ended by a small defensive move by the Australian.

Following on in second, it appeared the loss of ERS power suffered by Ricciardo would open the door for Vettel with some 20kph advantage on the main straight, however, with the RB14 still superior in the corners it meant the gap stayed above a second pretty consistently.

"I think we had the pace, but it was a tricky race," said the four-time world champion. "Daniel had the answers at all time.

"First stint I could follow him fairly easy, then he started to push just when Lewis started to pit. Then he was a bit stronger there and we couldn't follow. I was going through the tyres fairly quick.

"The next stint was a bit the same," he added. "I think he had a problem halfway through with his MGU-K, I think toward the end that picked up again."

If Ricciardo's weakness was on the straights, then Vettel and Lewis Hamilton behind in third both faltered with the tyres as both the Hypersoft and Ultrasoft suffered substantial degradation and graining compared to the Red Bull which still looked pretty new even at the end.

"Obviously it made it difficult in the low-speed corners where you don't need power," Vettel explained. "You need grip to stay with him and then benefit from the more power that we had clearly on the straights. But we couldn't.

"You could see also at the end of the first stint when Lewis pitted and then triggered the pit stops, Daniel was a lot quicker toward the end. Initially we could go his pace but then we were falling off."

 A late Virtual Safety Car caused by Charles Leclerc smashing into the back of Brendon Hartley did look like possibly offering a final chance at snatching the win, instead the 30-year-old slipped back ending the race seven seconds behind Ricciardo.

"I don't know what happened there," he admitted. "I don't know why I lost so much time initially.

"I had poor warm-ups to it was tricky and the tyres weren't in a great shape," he recalled. "I didn't want to risk anything because it's easy to have a lock up. I had one, so that was a bit of a warning.

"I just didn't have much confidence in the tyres so I lost quite a lot. Otherwise it would have been nice to keep the pressure up to the end."

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