Sebastian Vettel felt pleased with his display in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix despite seeing his record of finishing on the podium in every Suzuka race come to an end.
Vettel is a four-time winner at Suzuka (2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013), and has finished third in the other three races that he has contested at the famed circuit.
After being hit with a grid penalty for the race in Japan for an incident last weekend in Malaysia, Vettel started sixth, but fought his way up the order to get in contention for a podium finish.
An aggressive strategy saw Vettel close up on Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at the start of the final stint of the race, but the German could not reel in the Briton, leaving him to settle for fourth place come the checkered flag.
In spite of the result, Vettel took plenty of positives from the weekend as Ferrari made a step towards Mercedes at the front of the pack.
“It was very good first two laps, passing Daniel [Ricciardo] and then Sergio [Perez] which was crucial. We were faster than Max closing gradually,” Vettel told NBCSN.
“We got early and aggressive. Tried to do something else to increase our chances at the end. A risk we took but it didn’t come up. We had pace enough for P2.
“We were further off than we should have been, but that’s how it goes. In the moment I think it was the right decision. It’s one of those things to come out as an expert. In the moment we had to try to get P2.
“It’s a pity, but if we start higher we do better. Would-could-should means nothing. But we made a step on the track that we hoped we needed to do, to get us closer to the first couple of cars. All in all, a positive day.”