Four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel reckons fourth was probably the maximum for Red Bull during the German Grand Prix.
Vettel started sixth at Hockenheim, round ten in the 2014 F1 World Championship, and just like at Silverstone two weeks ago enjoyed a good fight with the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso – particularly in the early stages.
Vettel opted for a three-stop strategy stopping on laps 14, 34 and 45 and running supersoft, soft, supersoft and soft – something that eventually paved the way for him to finish 8.4 seconds up on Alonso, who was one spot back in P5 at the chequered flag.
“It [fourth place] was what we could do today,” Vettel reflected. “Obviously it was more entertaining than I was hoping for, especially at the beginning again. We started where we finished at Silverstone with Fernando! It [the battle] was quite tight until the last set of stops.”
“After the first stop I was quite lucky. Kimi [Raikkonen] was there and gave me DRS and it was very close at the hairpin. I didn't know which way to go so I decided to go for the outside, which was crucial and we managed to stay ahead [of him and Fernando].
“Then I was able to lose Fernando a little bit towards the end but he came in before us again and there was a yellow at that time. So, when I came in the lap after, it was very close at the pit exit and he had the DRS and could overtake us. That was not exactly according to our plan.
“It was good for us though that we were on the supersoft and then had another stint on the soft tyre, the harder tyre, towards the end. That allowed us to pit earlier and we got the undercut.
"I think Fernando did exactly the opposite and stayed out longer initially and then tried to put us under pressure with the supersoft [at the end]. But I think us and also them, and all the others – except Mercedes – were surprised by how weak the supersoft was in terms of range. I think [overall] that [P5] was the best we could get today,” Vettel concluded.