Sports

Vettel not panicking as he places faith in 'fantastic' car

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel said there was no need to panic after seeing his Formula 1 championship lead slashed to a single point on Sunday.

The German, who felt lucky to see the chequered flag after a penultimate lap tyre puncture at the British Grand Prix, finished seventh with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton triumphant in front of his home crowd.

"The car is great, it has been fantastic in the race again today," Vettel told reporters.

"So there is no reason to panic or to worry. But we need to be aware that they (Mercedes) are very quick and there are a couple of advantages that we need to work on. Then it could be a different picture."

Vettel said the puncture had happened out of the blue.

"It was very sudden," he said, explaining that he had already dropped the pace and was nursing the car home in third place before the blowout.

"The tyres were going down but nothing out of the ordinary, so it was quite sudden when the tyre decided not to take me to the end of the race," he added.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen finished third but he, too, suffered a late tyre problem that forced him to pit while in second place.

Pirelli's sporting director Mario Isola said the two tyre failures were not the same and they were investigating.

The tyre problem changed the title race entirely, leaving Vettel with a fragile lead as he prepares to go to one of Hamilton's favourite circuits in Hungary.

But Vettel is looking on the bright side. After all, at one point after the puncture, he had looked unlikely to score.

He said: "It could have been a bit better for sure, but a disaster? I don't think so."

For Hamilton, the victory felt almost like a formality.

It was the Briton's fourth home win in a row, something achieved by no other driver at Silverstone, and fifth in total.

He has also been on pole five times at the former World War Two airfield.

Just as Italy's Monza is a temple to all things Ferrari, Silverstone - so often wet, windswept and cold - is where Hamilton's army of fervent flag-waving fans assembles every year for a mutual love-in.

Asked why he is so dominant on this circuit, he said with a smile: "Because I own it."

He later added: "They don't build circuits like this one any more. This just has that character and history... I'm good at this track but then the energy I get from these fans, there is no other driver that gets that kind of energy anywhere.

"It just lifts you, there's no avoiding it... every lap, 51 laps, everyone stands up.

"Every single lap. They're egging me on. You don't see that anywhere else in the world." 
- REUTERS

Formula 1