The Ferrari driver suffered a technical failure on Saturday which wrecked his qualifying prospects, and initially the situation hardly seemed to have improved at the start of the race on Sunday.
“I had a really bad start, didn’t go anywhere, had a lot of wheel slip – it was obviously really low grip.
“Very different if you start last – I think this is probably my first time really dead last. I think I’ve started from the pit lane a couple of times, but not last on the grid.
“Then there was the incident on the main straight but I was far back enough to have a lot of time to see where the car was going.”
Although he had been hoping for a safety car at some point in the race to help him fight his way back through the positions, the one for Nico Hulkenberg’s accident on the starting grid came too early to be of any help, meaning that he had to do it the hard way instead.
“After the safety car, I was trying to make progress which at the beginning was quite good and then I got stuck behind the Sauber for quite many laps.
Then I think running into the back of the Force India of Sergio I think was the limit on those tyres. [There was no further] safety car which I think both of us we were hoping for that could have helped.
“Tthen really on the ultrasofts I could make use of the pace of the car and make big progress, had some good overtaking and some good battles,” he added. “Obviously overtaking here is rare but I was able to get a couple of guys especially into turn 7.
“Then it was quite interesting the fight I had with Esteban [Gutierrez] and Carlos [Sainz]. It didn’t last too long but it was very close at some point. Three cars going together into turn 9, but in the end I was happy I came out of it – I had a big smile on my face going into turn 11.”
Vettel found himself up to fifth place by the end of the race, and was still pushing in case he could claim more points for the team.
“Obviously at some point I thought we maybe could get close to the battle for third with Kimi and Lewis but in the end the gap was a bit too big – I think we lost a bit too much probably in the opening stages of the race.”
It was still an impressive fight back that meant he was voted Driver of the Day by fans.
“That’s nice. Thank you very much, whoever voted thank you. Is there a trophy for that? No, I don’t want to be too greedy!
“Anything can happen here,” he summarised. “For sure it was a long way away and seemed out of reach after the poor start, but then I think we slowly got into the groove and especially in the last two stints the car really came alive and we make good progress so it was good fun, I enjoyed it a lot.”
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