Sebastian Vettel was the biggest winner when a late rain shower hit Silverstone during the British Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon, moving up from fifth to third in the final stages of the race.
Vettel had dropped as low as ninth after making a poor start, but managed to pick his way through the order in the dry to run fifth as light rain began to fall at Silverstone.
The decision to come in early on the same lap as race winner Lewis Hamilton proved to be the right one as Vettel overtook both Williams drivers in the closing stages to score Ferrari’s first podium finish since Monaco.
“Without the rain we would not be on the podium,” Vettel said after the race. “I think we kept our head down and were patient enough to wait until the rain properly started to pour down.
“In the end, that’s England for you. Couple of minutes later you have sunshine.
“Obviously it helped us today, we made the right choice, came in on the right lap, the team did a great job on the radio. Thank you very much and thanks to everyone for a great atmosphere today.”
Speaking to NBCSN after the race, Vettel said that although Ferrari was fortunate with the timing of the rain, the team made the right calls.
“Well I think we finished on the podium for a reason,” Vettel said. “Obviously nobody knew it was going to rain and nobody knew it was going to be like that, so that you could call a surprise. For sure it helped us and we made the right calls.”
“We had an aggressive call with the strategy which took us back to where we started but with a massive gap to the cars in front, so not much chance to catch up. That’s when I started to look around and was hoping for some rain which came.”
Despite its cars leading for much of the race, Vettel does not believe that Williams made much progress at Silverstone, but thinks that Ferrari must understand why it was so far back.
‘I think the whole weekend we weren’t really on target,” Vettel said. “If you look at the gaps to the cars in front, they were bigger than normal.
“I don’t necessarily think Williams made a massive step because the gap between them and Mercedes was more or less the same, but for us it was bigger than usual, so that’s something we need to understand.”