Sebastian Vettel bounced back from an issue in qualifying that left him last on the grid to finish Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix in fifth position.
Four-time Formula 1 world champion Vettel entered the Singapore weekend targeting Ferrari’s first victory of the season, having won last year’s race at Marina Bay.
However, a rear anti-roll bar failure in qualifying resigned the German to 22nd place on the grid for the start, limiting his hopes of a big result.
Vettel made an aggressive two-stop strategy work perfectly which, combined with some aggressive overtakes around the tight confines of the street circuit, gave him fifth place at the checkered flag.
“Tough day yesterday and a better one today,” Vettel told NBCSN after the race.
“Overtaking here is rare, but I got a couple guys, especially into Turn 7. The fight I had with Esteban [Gutierrez] and Carlos [Sainz Jr.] didn’t last too long. But it was fun! Three cars, together into Turn 9, in end I was happy I came out ahead.
“It was a good race. We were gambling for a safety car starting on harder tires. We didn’t use the pace of the car on the ultra-soft.”
Despite Vettel’s fightback, Ferrari lost yet more ground on Red Bull in the race for second place in the constructors’ championship as Daniel Ricciardo finished the race second.
Vettel feels that Ferrari could have been a match for Red Bull in Singapore, and that the Italian marque needs to wipe away the 15-point gap in the constructors’ over the coming races.
“I think [Red Bull] is a match. The problem is where we couldn’t really show what we could do,” Vettel said.
“It’s nobody’s fault. Sometimes it’s ours. The next couple races we need to get ahead of Red Bull in constructors.
“The season is not over. We’re here to win, [but] we’re far away at the moment. But every race is another opportunity.”