Vettel disappointed to lose second, but feels Mercedes deserved one-two finish in Spain

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MONTMELO – Sebastian Vettel felt frustrated to have lost second place to Lewis Hamilton in the final stages of the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, but felt that P3 was the best result Ferrari could manage given the relative pace of its car.

Vettel made a good start to leapfrog Hamilton into second place by the end of the first lap, and defended well to keep the Briton back and force him to switch to a three-stop strategy.

Despite showing good pace on the medium compound tire, Vettel faded in the final part of the grand prix when he switched to hards before ultimately finishing 45 seconds down on the race winner.

Speaking after the race, Vettel said he was disappointed to lose second place, but thought that Mercedes deserved its one-two finish in Barcelona.

“Well to be honest I thought it would be tricky to keep him behind,” Vettel said. “They were a fair amount quicker as we saw at the end of the race.

“Obviously we were a bit lucky, at the first pit stop Lewis had a problem, so we were able to stay ahead. I think we reacted as well as we could.

“Then he decided to pit very early and go for a three-stop. I think it was our best chance to stay out, which is what we did, but unfortunately I came out in a bit of traffic. Lost maybe a couple of seconds, two or three seconds, which would have been just enough to stay in front.”

“With the speed they had, they deserved to finish in front of us today. So well done to them.”

Vettel believes that Ferrari has made progress since the last race in Bahrain, though, and remains confident for the upcoming races.

“For us, I’m pretty confident we will get closer again pretty soon, so hopefully in two weeks’ time it will be a different picture,” Vettel said.

“I think we’ve done a step forwards as a team in terms of performance. Obviously it doesn’t really show here but I’m quite confident for the next couple of races.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.