Getty Images

Vettel left in ‘no man’s land’ in USGP as F1 title hopes all but end

1 Comment

Sebastian Vettel said he was left in “no man’s land” during the fight with Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s United State Grand Prix as his Formula 1 title hopes were all but ended.

Vettel led the opening five laps at the Circuit of The Amerias in Austin, Texas after a flying start from P2 on the grid, but was powerless to keep Hamilton back or keep up through the remainder of the race.

A late switch to a two-stop strategy left the German driver fighting back from P4 to take second at the checkered flag as Hamilton swept to his ninth win of the season.

“I think at the start it was looking good, obviously we got past Lewis but then fairly quickly we had to suddenly realize that we couldn’t keep up with his pace up today,” Vettel said.

“Then I think we were in a bit of no man’s land, not quite sure. It was close after the first stop again, but then again stuck, so towards the end we decided to pit again, take a fresh set of tires, which was a bit more exciting in the last couple of laps especially.

“But overall not the result we wanted.”

Hamilton’s victory saw his advantage in the drivers’ championship grow to 66 points, meaning a top-five finish in any of the last three races this season will be enough to give the Briton a fourth world title.

“Obviously looking back, the races where we went out didn’t help,” Vettel said when asked by NBCSN if his title hopes were over.

“I’m just not happy with today. I thought we could win, but we didn’t.”

Ferrari’s tough day was compounded by confirmation of its loss in the constructors’ championship to Mercedes, who wrapped up a fourth successive title with three races to spare.

The title was clinched despite Ferrari gaining a double podium finish, with Kimi Raikkonen being promoted to third after Max Verstappen’s post-race penalty.

“I was disappointed, I thought I finished fourth. There was some issue with Max,” Raikkonen said.

“My car was very good all the way. I just had to do fuel saving in the end, so it was not so easy.”

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.”