Vettel surprised by podium finish
By Mat Coch
Monday 16th November, 2020 - 12:44am
Sebastian Vettel admitted his surprise to snag a podium result on the final lap of the Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix.
The German was embroiled in a three-way battle with Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc on the final tour of the 58 lap affair.
Running fourth, that became third almost within sight of the flag after Leclerc ran deep at the end of the back straight.
That opened the door for Vettel to pass his team-mate, in doing so confirming his first podium since last year’s Mexican Grand Prix.
“It was quite intense, quite long, but good fun,” Vettel said of the race.
“I had a really good opening lap and I think I found myself already in P4.
“I was quite happy on the extreme (tyres) then we switched to inters, it was a bit more difficult in the beginning, and only towards the end we started to find the pace again.
“It was very intense in the last lap; a bit of a surprise to get to snatch the podium at the end, but certainly very happy.
“I think it was a really enjoyable race and very tricky conditions.
“I saw that Charles was quite close to Sergio, and I heard that Sergio was just struggling with his tyres,” he added of the final lap tussle.
“The laps before, I was already chasing them down and then I could see them fight.
“As soon as I saw Charles locking up, obviously I saw that there’s an opportunity for me.
“It was very close as well with Sergio. I think he had nothing left on his tyres.”
Vettel found himself battling for much of the race, firstly with Max Verstappen, then Lewis Hamilton, before coming across Perez and Leclerc in the closing stages.
His pace wavered throughout as conditions moved in and out of the Ferrari’s favour.
However, the drying conditions towards the end led to the four-time champion thinking about the prospect of an upset win.
“With 20 laps ago I was thinking about dries, because the circuit was constantly drying and the tyres were worn, so ultimately we had slicks,” Vettel explained.
“I think it’s just a matter of nobody dared to put them on and there was some rain forecast in the end which didn’t come.
“I would have really liked to put them on, because I think that would have been a chance to win, but yeah, equally happy with third.”
The result is by far his best of the season, improving on a sixth place result at the Hungarian Grand Prix in Round 3.
Vettel now sits 13th in the drivers’ championship with 33 points to his name.