Sebastian Vettel disappointed to miss out on podium

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Sebastian Vettel is disappointed to have finished off the podium in China following a strong run to 4th.

The defending world champion started 9th on the medium compound tire, but he closed on 3rd placed Hamilton in the dying stages of the race, eventually finishing just 0.2 seconds behind the Mercedes. However, Vettel did admit he was unsure whether or not he could catch Hamilton.

“When I came on to the long straight and saw Lewis at the other end turning into the hairpin I thought ‘well, that’s a bit too far’,” Vettel said in a team statement.

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“But obviously we had much more speed on the fresher tires. It was a little bit disappointing to lose out by such a tiny bit; a few corners more and we could have tried something.”

Vettel believes that he lost the chance to jump Hamilton during his first stint, getting stuck behind Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg.

“We knew it would be difficult and that it was crucial to get clean laps, but we didn’t in the first stint. I was faster than Nico, but if you follow another car you lean on your front tires too much and it was hard to find the right compromise, but overall we can be happy.”

Red Bull had a mixed weekend, with Mark Webber failing to finish the race having started from the pit lane, but they still lead both championships and they will be working hard to improve their fortunes in Bahrain next weekend.

F1 2017 driver review: Carlos Sainz Jr.

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Carlos Sainz Jr.

Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 54
Championship Position: 9th

Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.

Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.

Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.

Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.

Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.

Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.

Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.