Sebastian Vettel: I had to try failed Baku pass on Valtteri Bottas

Sebastian Vettel says he had to try to make a race-winning pass in the closing stages of Formula 1's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, even though its failure cost him a podium

Sebastian Vettel: I had to try failed Baku pass on Valtteri Bottas

The Ferrari driver - who led the race comfortably until a safety car period allowed Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes to make a pitstop and emerge still ahead - locked up trying to retake the lead on a restart with four laps to go, ultimately dropping to fourth.

"I'm happy that I tried, I'm not happy that it didn't work, but I have to try," said Vettel.

"I don't think it was overly optimistic to jump down the inside.

"I wasn't overly late, otherwise I don't make the corner at all, but I did make it, just.

"I didn't have any option - Lewis [Hamilton] was on the right so I can't close on him.

"Valtteri was ahead of me, he left a gap. I was surprised, judging the braking was very difficult.

"I was a bit trapped because I couldn't see where I was relative to Turn 1.

"We have our references, and they are on the right - a kerb, the signs on the wall, and on the left there is hardly any reference.

"I had a decent restart, I saw the gap on the inside, and unfortunately I locked up.

"Without the lock-up, braking at the same point, I think I make the corner and it turns out to be a good move.

"It's easy to say it didn't work, so it is the wrong thing, but I had to try.

"We can't let one or two seconds from the race have a shame on all the race, because there are a lot of positives."

Vettel initially fell back from the top three cars after locking up, but he battled on with a flat-spotted tyre and tried to steal a podium finish from Sergio Perez at the end.

"With that flatspot, I tried to get back to the Force India," he said.

"First I had to reshuffle a little bit and understand what the car balance was like with that flatspot.

"[Force India] were quick on the straights, then [Perez] had a tow from the cars ahead, and I had not really a chance to try something. Bit of a shame.

"Other than that I think it was a strong race, and that's how it goes sometimes.

"Without the safety car it would have been easier for us - there is probably 47 laps of positive and maybe one turn without a positive note. It's part of the game."

The result meant Vettel lost his championship lead to race-winner Lewis Hamilton, who is now four points ahead.

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel , Valtteri Bottas
Author Glenn Freeman
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