Vettel thanks rain for podium finish at Silverstone, doubts Williams made a massive step

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Sebastian Vettel was the biggest winner when a late rain shower hit Silverstone during the British Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon, moving up from fifth to third in the final stages of the race.

Vettel had dropped as low as ninth after making a poor start, but managed to pick his way through the order in the dry to run fifth as light rain began to fall at Silverstone.

The decision to come in early on the same lap as race winner Lewis Hamilton proved to be the right one as Vettel overtook both Williams drivers in the closing stages to score Ferrari’s first podium finish since Monaco.

“Without the rain we would not be on the podium,” Vettel said after the race. “I think we kept our head down  and were patient enough to wait until the rain properly started to pour down.

“In the end, that’s England for you. Couple of minutes later you have sunshine.

“Obviously it helped us today, we made the right choice, came in on the right lap, the team did a great job on the radio. Thank you very much and thanks to everyone for a great atmosphere today.”

Speaking to NBCSN after the race, Vettel said that although Ferrari was fortunate with the timing of the rain, the team made the right calls.

“Well I think we finished on the podium for a reason,” Vettel said. “Obviously nobody knew it was going to rain and nobody knew it was going to be like that, so that you could call a surprise. For sure it helped us and we made the right calls.”

“We had an aggressive call with the strategy which took us back to where we started but with a massive gap to the cars in front, so not much chance to catch up. That’s when I started to look around and was hoping for some rain which came.”

Despite its cars leading for much of the race, Vettel does not believe that Williams made much progress at Silverstone, but thinks that Ferrari must understand why it was so far back.

‘I think the whole weekend we weren’t really on target,” Vettel said. “If you look at the gaps to the cars in front, they were bigger than normal.

“I don’t necessarily think Williams made a massive step because the gap between them and Mercedes was more or less the same, but for us it was bigger than usual, so that’s something we need to understand.”

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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