Lewis Hamilton clinched the 2018 Formula One championship in the last race weekend in Mexico. Unfortunately for Sebastian Vettel, his No. 5 Ferrari is back to feeling comfortable again. See, Vettel expects a strong surge to end this season. Despite the drivers championship out of reach, the constructors title is still within grasps. Plus, Vettel wants to end the year as good as they can and hope to transfer some new found success over to the start of the 2019 season.
See, Vettel started 2018 off great. He won each of the first two races but an upgrade developed in May halted any of his championship hopes. In the first seven races, Vettel had three wins and a runner-up. Then, came the fifth place run on June 24 in the French Grand Prix. Then, came a third place finish in Austria. He won in England but crashed out while pushing too hard in his home race in Germany. Mistakes started amounting and the car was off.
Some say Vettel was pushing too hard to overcome a deficiency in the upgrades. Nevertheless, Vettel went from eight points up on the standings this summer to over 70 points out and destined to finish runner-up to Hamilton in the standings. Since the team went back to the original set ups and ditched the upgrades, they’ve been back.
Kimi Raikkonen won the United States Grand Prix and Vettel finished second in the last race in Mexico City to Max Verstappen. Ferrari’s now have more pace again than Mercedes. It’s too little too late now though.
“We have got the car back to what we know and what we feel more comfortable with at the last two races,” said Vettel in Brazil. “So hopefully we can keep that up and keep competitive here (Brazil) and in Abu Dhabi and give [Mercedes] a very hard time. Here it is always difficult to predict because in Interlagos there is something magical about this place and things happen. We will see how it turns out.”
Vettel doesn’t know why the development went south but he feels it gave Hamilton and Mercedes the title. From July on, Hamilton had eight straight top two finishes including six of which wins. Meanwhile, in that exact same span, Vettel had just three top two finishes with only one win. See where this whole season took the alternate path?
“It’s a big question,” said Vettel, when asked where Ferrari’s development had gone awry this year. “Obviously along the way something went wrong and we need to learn from it… We didn’t go and develop in the right direction, so clearly we missed something and not because something was on purpose by default set wrong.
“So it’s up to us to find a fix for it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. But it’s not so simple to find and fix it as it sounds.”
Vettel, hopes to end on the right footing now. In Brazil, the German driver won last year and has five consecutive top five finishes. He won on this circuit in 2013 and finished third two years ago. If he can lead for at least 11 laps on Sunday, he would surprass Michael Schumacher’s record for laps led at Interlagos – currently 236. Seven laps led for either Vettel or Raikkonen will give Ferrari the record for the most laps led by a constructor at Interlagos, currently held by McLaren.