Vettel laments traffic in opening laps
14 April 2013 – Sebastian Vettel says traffic throughout his first stint on the Medium tyre severely damaged his chances in the Chinese Grand Prix, explaining that with more clear air in the opening laps of the race he would have been able to secure a better result.
The reigning World Champion ultimately finished fourth on an opposing strategy to the podium finishers, arguing that getting stuck behind Sauber driver Nico Hülkenberg reduced the effectiveness of what he believed to be a strong tyre strategy.
"Our strategy seemed to work," explained Vettel. "We knew it was crucial to get clear laps at the start, but we did not. I was behind Nico and, if you follow another car too much, it's bad for the tyres. It was hard to find the right compromise today."
Although he reckons more was possible from the 56-lap Grand Prix, Vettel labelled race-winner Fernando Alonso as "too quick" to challenge even in an ideal scenario.
"I don't think so," Vettel replied when asked if victory would have been possible. "I think Fernando was too quick. If you look at the strategy, they started in clean air and they finished in clean air. I didn't have that. I'm not blaming anyone; it's just how it is when you start further back. With more clean laps at the start, we could have had a chance."
Having crossed the line just two tenths behind Hamilton, Vettel admitted that it was disappointing to miss out by such a small margin after his late pit-stop for Softs.
"When I came onto the long straight for the first time and saw Lewis at the hairpin, I thought I was too far away, but we had more speed on the tyres," Vettel added. "It's a little disappointing to lose out. With a few more corners we could've tried something."