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Vettel rivals not deceived by his modest German result

Lewis Hamilton delighted in victory Sunday at the German Grand Prix, but Fernando Alonso is not deceived by a modest fourth—place finish of championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

Although they have not given up hope, Vettel’s rivals agree that they face an uphill battle to catch the reigning champion from the Red Bull team in the remaining nine races of the Formula One season.

“You can’t expect him to be perfect all the time ... I’m sure he will bounce back, he will be very quick at the next race and I think it’s maybe a one—off,” said the McLaren driver Hamilton.

Ferrari’s Alonso said: “They (Red Bull) are by far the favourites for Budapest. So after this race it still doesn’t change anything compared to yesterday. We have a small chance to recover the gap in the championship, if we do races like today.” The Hungarian race on Sunday comes before a four—week summer break, and Red Bull and Vettel will be determined to restore the pecking order in Budapest where Mark Webber won last year from Alonso and Vettel.

“Hungary is the next race, which is normally a good track for us, so we’ll see, but we have homework to do. McLaren and Ferrari were very quick in the race and we need to come back to the pace they have,” said Vettel.

The German was never a real factor on Sunday once he spun in the early stages at the Nuerburgring. He missed the podium for the first time in the season, his pace slower than in previous races and brakes problems adding to the misery.

“I think fourth was the maximum we could achieve today — it’s not satisfying, but you have to accept that others were quicker today. I didn’t feel good all weekend and didn’t have the pace that Mark did in the car.

“We had a problem mid—race with the brakes, but we managed it well ... Hungary is the next race, which is normally a good track for us, so we’ll see, but we have homework to do. McLaren and Ferrari were very quick in the race and we need to come back to the pace they have.” Vettel commands the standings with 217 points for a huge lead, with Webber (139), Hamilton (134) and Alonso (130) separated by a mere nine points and Jenson Button (109) losing ground after having to retire with hydraulics problems.

Alonso made up a huge gap in the second half of the past season, only to lose the title to Vettel in the final race, but realizes it that only a joint effort from McLaren and Ferrari can re—open the title race.

“They (red Bull) were on pole position yesterday (Saturday), we are on the podium and he (Vettel) isn’t. To have that combination in our case, we need the best possible performance from our teammates, as I said yesterday, in my case, we need the best McLaren performance as well, to see the McLarens very, very strong and taking points from Red Bull.” Hamilton may be cautious regarding his title chances, but silenced the critics on his sometimes hot—headed driving style with a second season victory in a thrilling race which saw the lead change seven times.

“Every win is special — but with all the emotion, effort and energy the team put into today’s victory, this one feels even more special than usual,” he said.

“Being able to drive with your head as well as your heart, and getting it just right, is massively satisfying.” “The fight for the world championship will be very, very, very hard now. We’re back in the fight, though, and I really hope we can carry this forward and keep the momentum going.”

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 12:19:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/vettel-rivals-not-deceived-by-his-modest-german-result/article2292935.ece

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