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Vettel's VSC "like a miracle", declares Bottas

NEWS STORY
30/09/2019

As if the two Ferrari drivers squabbling with their team wasn't enough to give Mercedes hope of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, the VSC that followed Sebastian Vettel's retirement on lap 28 decided things once and for all.

While Lewis Hamilton took the opportunity to pit without relinquishing his lead, Valtteri Bottas pitted but slipped to third behind Charles Leclerc.

However, when George Russell went off into the barriers, thereby causing the safety car proper to be deployed, Ferrari chose to pit Leclerc once again, the Monegasque rejoining behind the Finn.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Asked about the pressure from Leclerc as he sought to pass him and set about chasing Hamilton, Bottas told reporters: "Yeah, for sure, it's never easy.

"I think they had a strong car today, good pace and, as we've seen this year, they've been extra quick on the straights. So I knew if they get close enough, especially in Sector Three, they are going to be a big threat into Turn Two.

"Just really had to try to keep it together," he continued, "try to minimise the mistakes and, you know, the car felt pretty decent today, especially with the soft tyre in the corners. So, try to really maximise everything I could in the corners, and try to get a good Sector Three and good exit out of the last corner and that way I could keep the position.

"But yeah, to be in that position beforehand, I think the team did all the right things today.

"Already the decision yesterday to start on the mediums to go long in the first stint, you know then, at certain points when you go long in the first stint, you start to hope for that VSC or Safety Car to come... and today it came. Like a miracle. So, that's always good. So, yeah, bit better feeling than yesterday for sure."

Asked if, following the spit stop, his focus was on holding off Leclerc, as opposed to hunting down Hamilton, the Finn said: "I think at that point we were on a similar tyre with Lewis, same car.

"For me the priority was definitely to try to keep Charles behind," he admitted. "For sure I was trying in the beginning. If I could get a chance at the restart of the Safety Car and the first lap, but there was no way. So, I was trying to balance out in the first few laps to push hard enough to keep Charles behind and, at the same time, try and leave a little bit of margin to Lewis. Because when you follow very close behind obviously you slide and destroy the tyres easier.

"So, I think the few seconds gap I had most of the second stint at the end was ideal. I could get a bit of a tow effect on the straights and not too much sliding in the corners. So, that's pretty ideal. But I have to say, Lewis was very quick today and, especially the first stint, I don't know why, I didn't have the pace to match. Second stint was a lot better."

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1. Posted by stackvideo, 30/09/2019 22:46

"Personnally, I thing the pits should be closed when the VSC is deployed. "

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