Vettel plays down bad British GP result after late puncture

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Sebastian Vettel played down the impact of a puncture that dropped the German from third to seventh on the penultimate lap of the British Grand Prix.

It was already a case of limiting the points loss to main championship rival Lewis Hamilton for Vettel, as the Mercedes driver strolled to victory at Silverstone, and he was heading to finish the race fourth after losing out to Max Verstappen at the start and later being overtaken by Valtteri Bottas through Stowe.

That suddenly became third as team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, running second, suffered his own tyre failure with three laps to go promoting the 30-year-old back on to the podium. No sooner had the Finn exited the pits, however, the four-time world champion was seen recovering from the grass at Luffield as his front left tyre failed.

The result was a complete wiping out of his 20-point lead in the standings before the race, with Hamilton now just a single point behind heading into the Hungarian Grand Prix in two weeks, the last before the summer break.

“Hindsight is great it's easy but at the time [the tyre] felt OK," Vettel replied when asked if the one-stop strategy Ferrari used had been too risky. "Kimi I think had a similar issue, and his tyres were at least five, six laps fresher so I think it caught us both by surprise.”

A reporter then suggested the end result was a disaster for Sebastian. “I think it could've been a little bit better for sure. Disaster, I don't think so," he claimed.

"I think we had a good car, especially in the corners. The balance was alright. In the race obviously, brakes caught fire at the start, which compromised the start and from there it was a difficult race.

“I didn't get past Max, we did it with the pitstop. Then we were like P3, P4, it was clear that Valtteri would come because he benefitted at the beginning because I was stuck, but overall small things here and there that led into a busy afternoon.”

A highlight from Sunday's race was the duel between the former and current Red Bull driver through Stowe and the Vale chicane.

“I'm sure [the fight with Verstappen] looked good but yeah," Vettel chuckled. "I wanted to make it past him, I didn't. So it was quite tricky, I tried everything."

Pirelli revealed initial inspections of the two tyres that failed suggested different reasons for the problems, with Raikkonen's a result of the tread failing, possibly due to a blister, as opposed to a loss to a complete puncture for Vettel with an earlier lock-up fighting Bottas possibly linked.