Another day, another possibly close run, unfortunately, cut short, and another dramatic drive for the great German. He was the driver of the day at the just-concluded 2019 Russian Grand Prix at Sochi. He couldn’t finish the race and retired midway. He wasn’t even on the pole position. Yet, Sebastian Vettel made dramatic headlines at a contest where Silver Arrows once again produced gold of performance in maintaining their unchallenged and undefeated winning streak. But at the conclusion of the race, what one really looked out for was the version of Sebastian Vettel on the 2019 Russian Grand Prix.
The Sochi contest was yet another occasion where the Scarlett Scuderia’s tactics came into questioning, as amplified by a rather controversial stance taken by Sebastian Vettel on the track during the opening stages of the race.
Early on, seconds from the start, the experienced Ferrari driver got a great slipstream on his arch-rival Lewis Hamilton, and immediately thereafter, on his young teammate Leclerc. This meant that within seconds of the start, Vettel was up into the lead.
What was rather remarkable in Vettel’s early surge toward the track position was that by the time the contest reached the first corner, the former Red Bull driver was up on his pole-sitting teammate.
But where the contest turned dramatic and controversy-hit from a Ferrari perspective was in the immediate aftermath of Leclerc losing the lead to Vettel.
Apparently, Sebastian Vettel appeared to flout a team-agreement where in, as decided, in the event of him passing his teammate early on would call for him to allow the other driver to pass through soon after. This, however, didn’t happen, leaving Leclerc confused.
Regardless of that situation, Vettel, post pitting, emerged behind Leclerc and would run into an MGU-K snag on his car soon after, only to retire from the contest.
This left a lot to the imagination as all wondered whether Vettel would’ve been able to control the proceedings of the race had he not run into misfortune in his SF 90?
Nonetheless, what was interesting was to note the observations made by Sebastian Vettel on the 2019 Russian Grand Prix incident:
“I don’t know exactly what happened there.
I think we had an agreement – I spoke to Charles, in particular, before the race. I thought it was quite clear. Maybe I missed something. I’m sure we will talk about it.
It’s bitter today because we wanted to have the cars finishing one and two, and now Charles is third. It’s not the result we wanted.”
Furthermore, Sebastian Vettel on the 2019 Russian Grand Prix team-agreement declined to reveal the details of his agreement/discussion with his teammate and maintained his silence, adding no more than the following:
“I don’t want to share, to be honest. It was not a great deal, but I don’t want to put the team in a bad position afterwards because somebody said something here, there.
“I know it’s not fair because people deserve to know, but it’s no big deal. Obviously, I was in third, Charles was in first, and we were talking about a strategy to find a way past Lewis.”
That said, at the end of the 53-lap run, all that Ferrari were able to manage was a lowly P3. This meant, a sour end to what had until the arrival at Sochi been an outstanding mini-run, with the Scuderia winning three back-to-back races on the trot, starting from Spa, moving onto Monza, and finally completing their hat-trick at the Marina Bay at Singapore.
Yet, despite race-retiring at Sochi, Vettel was able to identify a few positives for his team suggesting that what mattered most was that, “we have a good car.” He would go onto add further, “I think today is the first race where we had more pace than Mercedes.”