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Vettel boosted by Brazil win after ‘tough couple of weeks’ for Ferrari

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Sebastian Vettel was glad to deliver Ferrari its first Formula 1 win since the end of July after controlling proceedings in the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, bouncing back from a “tough couple of weeks”.

Vettel led the F1 drivers’ championship for Ferrari from the opening round in Australia until the Italian Grand Prix in September, only for reliability issues across the Asian flyaways to severely dent his hopes of a fifth title.

Vettel’s defeat to Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship was confirmed two weeks ago in Mexico, with Ferrari having lost the constructors’ title to Mercedes one week earlier.

Despite the result having no bearing on the championship, Vettel was delighted to deliver Ferrari its first win since Hungary and bounce back after a rough period, having overhauled Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas early on en route to victory.

“Initially I had a very good getaway and then I had some wheelspin, so I thought that I’ve missed my chance,” Vettel said.

“But I think Valtteri was struggling even more off the line so I really had the chance to squeeze him on the inside line, I think I surprised him a bit, which obviously was very crucial.

“After that, I was pushing, after the safety car, for 65 laps flat out. I was trying to give everything to pull a little bit of a gap and control the race from there.

“I’m really happy especially for all the guys in the team and back home in Maranello. They’ve been working so hard.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us, but nice to get it to the end and have both cars up here.”

Vettel headed up a double-podium finish for Ferrari as teammate Kimi Raikkonen took third, with the German’s result also putting him on the brink of securing P2 in the drivers’ championship.

Vettel enters the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi 22 points clear of Mercedes rival Bottas, meaning a top-eight finish will be enough to clinch runner-up in the final standings.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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