Sebastian Vettel has recalled the Safety Car-related roadblocks he came across at the Singapore Grand Prix on the way to a P8 finish.
As Vettel races ever closer to his Formula 1 retirement at the end of the season, his latest battleground was Singapore, the Aston Martin driver returning to the track where he is king having won the Singapore GP five times, more than any other driver.
From P13 on the grid, Vettel made a lightning start to shoot up into the top 10, aided by his examination of possible lines on his way to the grid.
After that, he met the first of his major obstacles, that being Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri, with the Safety Car and Virtual Safety Car not helping Vettel’s cause throughout the race as both made plenty of appearances.
Vettel explained each time he smelt an opportunity to progress, either the Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car was deployed to neutralise a race where only 14 drivers of the 20 finished.
“I was checking out some lines on the lap to the grid. I knew I had to be aggressive at the start,” said Vettel in the media pen.
“After the initial bit of patience I knew I had to push. It worked, so happy with that.
“After that I think we got a little bit unlucky. I would have liked to stay out longer, I think it wasn’t great that the Safety Car just came out which then banked the positions.”
Having run ahead of his team-mate Lance Stroll, Aston Martin called in Vettel to move from intermediate to slick tyres, although the Safety Car again came into play as Stroll pitted shortly after to come out in P7, a position ahead of Vettel.
As Vettel alluded to, he felt he could have stayed out longer but instead ended up punishing his rear tyres behind Stroll.
“I was a little bit stuck with Lance at times, which didn’t help my rear tyres – they weren’t so fresh at the end,” he stated.
A roaring start from Seb in Singapore!
— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) October 3, 2022
Vettel and Stroll nonetheless completed a double points finish for Aston Martin, Vettel crossing the line P8 with Stroll in P6.
It would have been P7 for Vettel but Max Verstappen stripped him of that position with an overtake on the final lap.
“I had a bit of a wobble in that last lap exiting Turn 5. I knew it had to be spot on – it wasn’t quite spot on,” Vettel recalled.
“So Max had a decent run and they have a very strong top speed, so it was difficult. I tried.”