Sebastian Vettel: Front three too fast for us

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Sebastian Vettel has admitted that the drivers who finished on the podium today were too fast for Red Bull, lamenting the Pirelli tires for his own lack of pace.

Vettel had qualified in P2 and held position until the first round of stops, but he eventually lost out to Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa to finish 4th. Despite trying to make a three-stop strategy work, the defending world champion was forced into pitting one further time due to the tires.

“I think we can be happy with fourth today,” Vettel said in a team statement. “The first three cars were a little bit too fast for us and regarding looking after the tyres, they did a better job.”

After missing out on the podium today, Vettel encouraged his team to work on improving the tire wear of the RB9 car, suggesting that its pace was beyond what the Pirellis would allow.

“We need to catch up; we’re not going the pace of the car, we’re going the pace of the tires and obviously we do something to make the tires wear more.”

He did, however, admit that the team’s 22 point haul was good, and it has ensured that Red Bull remain at the top of the constructors’ championship.

“We got some good points today, although of course we wanted more. The start was good, we then tried to hold on with a three-stop strategy, but had to change to four stops.”

Vettel will be disappointed to have failed to challenge for the win in Spain, finishing 38 seconds behind Alonso. Red Bull will be working to return to winning ways in Monaco, where they have won for the last three years.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”