Sebastian Vettel was back on the podium for the first time since Mexico 2019, but thinks he even had a chance to win in Turkey.
Vettel, after a great start in incredibly tricky conditions in Istanbul, found himself in the lofty heights of P3 in the early stages of the action-packed race.
The four-time World Champion was hampered slightly by yet another slow Ferrari stop but he was able to keep himself in outside contention for a podium spot and was rewarded on the very last lap when a mistake by Charles Leclerc opened the door to take P3.
P3 could have even become P2 as Vettel finished just three tenths behind a struggling Perez come the chequered flag but he reckons a switch to dry tyres with 20 laps to go could have seen him on the top step of the podium.
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“It was quite intense and quite long but I had good fun,” Vettel said in the post-race interviews.
“I had a really good opening lap. I think I found myself already up to P4 and was quite happy on the extremes then switched to inters. It was a bit more difficult then than the beginning and only towards the end I was able to find the pace again.
“Obviously it was very intense on the last lap and a bit of a surprise to snatch the podium but certainly very happy. I think it was a really enjoyable race in very tricky conditions.
“I saw that Charles [Leclerc] was quite close to Sergio [Perez] and I heard Sergio was struggling with his tyres so the laps before I was already chasing them down and then could see them fight. As soon as I saw Charles locking up I obviously saw there was an opportunity for me.
“It was also very close with Sergio as well. I think he had nothing left on his tyres.
“All the time [I was thinking about pitting for dry tyres]. I think about 20 laps to go I was thinking about dry tyres because the surface was close [to dry] and the tyres were worn. Ultimately we had slicks, I think it was just a matter of nobody dared to put them on and there was some rain drops in the end but it didn’t come.
“I would have really liked to put the dry tyres on as I think that would have been a chance to win but equally happy with third.”
Vettel’s P3 takes him up to 33 points in the World Championship standings and into P13 overall.