Vettel: Ferrari can be pleased with third in Japan

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Sebastian Vettel was pleased to finish Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix in third place as he maintained his 100% podium record at Suzuka.

Since first racing at the iconic track in 2009, Vettel has never failed to reach the podium, claiming four victories during his time with Red Bull.

The German driver arrived in Japan with his tail up after winning last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, but was unable to replicate this pace during Sunday’s race, finishing third after being passed by a recovering Nico Rosberg in the final stint.

“It’s great to be back on the podium here, it’s, I think, my favourite race; I love the track, I love the fans, I love the trophies,” Vettel said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get the bigger one today.

“It was close with Nico. I think we had a chance but it’s always easy with hindsight. Overall, I think it was a fantastic race. The start was very tricky and it was interesting to see those two fighting in the first corner – obviously I could benefit – but, yeah, all in all, very happy with the race today.”

Rosberg dropped behind Vettel after being squeezed out by Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the first corner. However, an early final pit stop gave Rosberg the undercut, allowing him to pass Vettel for P2 late on.

“Had we pitted one lap sooner I think it could have been more interesting and challenging for Nico to get past,” Vettel reflected.

“It’s not so easy to follow the cars here through the high-speed sections, so I think we had a good chance but, yeah, probably underestimated the out-lap that he had, so, with hindsight, it’s always easy.

“Nevertheless, it’s a great day. Good recovery. Especially as Friday wasn’t that good for us. I know it was wet but still, the feeling we go was not that great. Saturday morning as well. So, yeah, good qualifying and obviously that was the base for another podium today.”