Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was thrilled to have claimed his first Formula 1 podium finish in over a year as he finished third at the Turkish Grand Prix.

Vettel made a stunning start to move up from 11th on the grid and work his way up to third by the end of the opening lap. The four-time world champion excelled in the treacherous conditions and snuck onto the podium after capitalising on a mistake from teammate Charles Leclerc as he battled Racing Point’s Sergio Perez on the final tour.

Prior to the race, Vettel had managed just 18 points to his name amid a tough 2020 campaign, but he almost doubled that tally by becoming the 12th different driver to stand on the podium this year.

“It has been a difficult year,” Vettel said. “Qualifying has been the Achilles’ [Heel] this year. The race is obviously then largely defined by being stuck in the pack.

"I think it’s been a while that I’ve been racing in the midfield - it’s very, very close and even though you have a better pace sometimes you can’t really show it.

“So it’s tough but we looked forward to the last couple of races and hoped for improvements this weekend.

“I think the conditions made the biggest difference. First of all the slippery track, secondly the wet conditions. Looking forward to squeezing out anything there is to squeeze in the last races to finish as high up as possible for myself and also for the team.”

Vettel said he enjoyed fighting towards the front of the grid again after spending much of the season languishing in the midfield, and his battle with Lewis Hamilton gave him particular satisfaction. 

“I think I just anticipated it to be very, very slippery off the line, made up a few places there and then I wasn’t one of the ones who tried everything into Turn 1,” Vettel explained.

“Obviously there was a Renault that spun. I think everybody who was in that group was dragged to the outside and I could just snatch the inside line and make up a lot of ground.

“Then, I think it was good to have a clear track ahead and benefit from that at the beginning of the race. When we then pitted for inters I think it took a little bit too long to get into the groove, I lost a couple of positions which later on then I was catching up the field again.

“I had a good battle at that stage with Lewis [Hamilton] for a couple of laps and we pitted again. The tyres then grained very quickly and I think at that part of the race maybe I was too conservative, otherwise it could have been even better — maybe less exciting at the end but better in terms of positioning, but nevertheless happy.

“Obviously happy I was able to close the gap towards the end. Sergio was right on the limit — I don’t think he had anything, not even another lap left on his tyres, so it was really close across the line.

"I was hoping to benefit on traction but he just saved it over the line. Charles had the mistake but it was all very close for the three of us. It was a fun afternoon.”



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