For the fourth Grand Prix in a row, the best Ferrari he finished the race in fourth position. The classification had not been found pleasing to the Maranello, but the good output Kimi Räikkönen and strategies that seemed promising were invited to think about the possibility of taking the third step on the podium Daniel Ricciardo. The reality, however, hit stronger, and Ferrari comes out of Austin with the low loot of 12 points.
Sebastian Vettel narrowly escaped the incidents of the first corner, which prevented him from winning position on his sixth place in output, and although his race pace was good, never managed to overtake Räikkönen. The abandonment of the Finnish and Max Verstappen left him in fourth position, in such a situation “in no man’s land” after the Virtual Safety Car that might allow you to do a last change of tires two laps from the end, to get to the end without worries, and without losing any position.
Vettel believes that the Virtual Safety Car robbed him of the opportunity of trying to fight for the podium, and his tyre strategy was optimal to aspire to this:
“The output was not so good, and I got lucky in the curve 1, since someone I was hitting, I think it was Nico Hülkenberg. Luckily, I did not break anything, so I was able to follow. The pace was good, and we were able to extend the first stop more than anyone. Other pilots in front of our stopped before, and was an opportunity to try something different“.
“Then we stopped before to mount the tire to the middle and maintain position in front of Max, and a turn or two after came the Virtual Safety Car. That was not ideal; otherwise, we might have had a chance of a podium finish. In summary, the race was much better than the classification, in terms of competitiveness, but it was a little different from what we expected. It is a shame that it manages the race with the two cars”.
Everything indicated that Kimi Räikkönen not only would ahead of his teammate in the general, if not even increase their advantage. The finn won position in the output Verstappen, kept it until his second stint, and was able to hold behind his teammate for much of the race.
In his last stop, however, a nut, bad set ended his career. Räikkönen stopped his car at the pit exit in, and even got put back to return to the pit lane, only to then get out of the car. Afterwards, Ferrari was sanctioned with a fine of$5,000 out of way unsafe to the Finnish, who commented that the pace of the car had been good, but that things had not been shot at all times:
“The end result is far from being ideal, has been one of those weekends. It is a pity because the car’s performance has been good, we have had a decent speed in the race, but we will never know how much. The fact is that we have not finished. When we put the soft tyres, he began to have problems for some reason. The balance was good, but I never had the grip that I expected.”
“When I got back to the superblandos, the car went well again. When I left the pits after the third stop, I realized that something was not going well, and I asked if everything was alright, because I saw some sparks. At the end of the pit lane, the team told me to stop, that the nut of the rear wheel was not correctly attached. I don’t know why I never get everything to go 100%, we have to find out”.