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.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.