Vettel disappointed after pit error costs him podium finish

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Sebastian Vettel was left disappointed on Sunday after a problem at his pit stop cost him a podium finish in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Vettel started the race from third place on the grid, and had been tipped to challenge the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the front after displaying a good long-run pace on Friday.

Although he could not keep pace with the leading pair, Vettel enjoyed a comfortable buffer to fourth-placed Felipe Massa ahead of his first pit stop on lap 36 of the race.

However, a problem with the wheel nut on his right-rear tire forced Vettel to sit stationary in his pit box for 13 seconds, causing him to fall behind Massa in the process.

The German driver did catch the Brazilian towards the end of the race, he was unable to make a pass and had to settle for fourth place at the flag.

“The issue during the pit-stop is something that can happen,” Vettel said. “I had a problem, but generally the guys are the quickest on the pit lane so there’s nobody to blame.

“We are a team and when you push to the limit these things can occur. I would have preferred to get the trophy for third place of course, but we’ll come back next year with the same objective. The car was very good, I think we made another step ahead and we had a great pace.

“Today was a bit disappointing because we’ve lost the podium, but I’m sure tomorrow it will be better and we’ll focus on the next race. The team in Maranello is very committed to this and they’re all working hard.”

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene admitted that there were few positives that could be taken from the weekend, particularly in light of Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement on the first lap of the race.

“Which positives can we take from this weekend? Not many,” Arrivabene said. “But certainly once more we are aware that Sebastian was the big asset we could get this year, together with a team which is fully committed and now is said to be the second force in the championship.

“But I’d like us to be the first, and that means we have to commit ourselves beyond what’s possible. We must use whatever we have available and try to get as close as we can to our main competitors, taking advantage of their mistakes.

“Also, as per the time we lost during Seb’s unfortunate pit stop, we must work with humbleness: because, even if everything had gone well, that wouldn’t have been enough to beat both Mercedes on track. But this only prods us to never give up.”