Sebastian Vettel was “over the moon” to win Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix despite struggling with a handling issue for much of the race, extending his Formula 1 championship lead.
Vettel had to nurse his car for much of the race, holding on for his fourth win of the year despite coming under significant pressure from Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes title rival Lewis Hamilton.
Vettel made no secret of the challenge he faced when talking on the podium after the race, admitting it was a struggle to keep the car under control.
“I’m over the moon, it was a really difficult race. Maybe it didn’t look like it, but I had my hands full from three or four laps after the safety car,” Vettel said.
“There was something wrong, I don’t know why the steering started to go, and it seemed to get worse. Then I stayed off the kerbs and tried to save the car. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t do a favor to Kimi, obviously I couldn’t go faster, I didn’t have the pace.
“But towards the end it did come back a bit. I had a couple of laps where I had a bit of a cushion and could breathe a bit. I really had to stay focused the whole race.
“I was hoping for a couple of laps to breathe but they didn’t come. So a bit tough, but a great result, a great day. Thank you for the support. It was really great.”
Explaining the issue, Vettel said: “It’s a weird feeling. It was tilted to the left, so you go down the straights and the steering isn’t straight. In right-handers it’s sort of OK, but in left-handers you have to get used to it.
“After a couple of laps it’s OK, but it keeps changing all the time because you have to go further than you want, and then you think in your head.
“Not ideal, but it doesn’t matter. A big thank you to the team after a great race.”
Vettel heads into the F1 summer break leading Hamilton by 14 points at the top of the drivers’ championship.