Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017

Vettel “chickened” on the brakes in final lap

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel admitted he could’ve found a little more time on his final qualifying lap if he hadn’t braked too early for the final corner.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017
Chinese GP qualifying in pictures
The Australian Grand Prix winner will start from second place behind Lewis Hamilton for the second race in a row. He beat the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas by just one thousandth of a second.

Vettel said it “was a nice session, I enjoyed it a lot, if I could’ve been a bit quicker here I would have enjoyed it even more.”

“But I was very happy with the lap I had. Last corner maybe I lost a little bit, maybe ‘chickened’ onto the brakes a little bit too soon. Obviously it was very close with Valtteri so good job we just got enough margin to make it to the front row.”

The Ferrari driver won the season-opening race by jumping ahead of Hamilton through the pits. However he was reluctant to predict whether they would be quicker in the race again.

“It obviously depends what these guys are doing,” he said. “I think our car is strong no matter what.”

Vettel was quickest in Q1 and set the fastest time at the beginning of Q2 as well until it was beaten by his team mate. But he had no answer for Hamilton in the pole position shoot-out.

“Certainly we’ve seen also in previous years their quali they seem to really be able to get on top of what they have,” he added. “I think we can still improve so let’s see what the race looks like tomorrow.”

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 9 comments on “Vettel “chickened” on the brakes in final lap”

    1. I think Hamilton did as well tbh as Bottas was faster in sector 3.

    2. GRO & GIO didn’t ‘chicken on the brakes’ ;)

    3. That’s the key in China you can lose the whole lap in one corner, nice to see Vettel here doing a Prost and playing it safe, he’s already focusing on his WDC battle with Lewis.

      1. No he wasn’t playing it safe, he wanted pole and just didn’t have the confidence on the brakes at one corner.

        1. Everyone on the grid wants the pole including Marcus Ericson. It’s against a racer’s instinct to brake earlier even if he wasn’t confident. Therefore, he played it safe.

    4. :D He chickened out, because they are going 325kph in to the first corner mostly flat and then scrub the speed with cornering… and only then brake. :P

      What we see my friends is top drivers in the world being pushed by their machinery and conditions, to the point of chickening out.

      1. He is talking about the last corner, not the first

    5. Many may complain, and often rightly so, about some of Seb’s antics. But he does keep it real quite a lot. There will never be a day where, say, Fernando will admit publicly and unasked to a driving “error”.

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