Vettel happy to set own strategy in Baku


Sebastian Vettel confirmed that he, rather than his Ferrari team, was responsible for his early switch in strategy that helped secure second place at the European Grand Prix.

Vettel followed Nico Rosberg home in Formula One's first event in Baku, a distant second to the rampant Mercedes, but comfortably clear of Sergio Perez in third, who got past the four-time world champion's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen late in the race.

Errors in Ferrari's strategy have arguably cost Vettel race wins in Australia and Canada this season, perhaps prompting him to take matters into his own hands in the Azeri capital.

Ferrari called second-placed Vettel to the pits just eight laps into Sunday's race after Daniel Ricciardo had pitted from third, but the German replied: "Are you sure about this? The pace is quite good."

It proved to be inspired resistance from Vettel, who comfortably executed a one-stop strategy to secure his fifth podium finish of 2016.

"Basically I was called in," he told reporters post-race. "We wanted to react to Daniel who pitted. He was struggling a lot with his tyres; obviously we passed him and then he went into the box. 

"But I had a decent feeling, the pace was quite OK, I thought, and then we decided to stay out so I was asking the team to stay out, the tyres felt OK and I wanted to keep going. 

"I was maybe at that point, seeing that Daniel was struggling and feeling that the tyres were not feeling so comfortable in the first, six, 10 laps, a bit worried that the second stint would be very, very long. 

"In the end I don't think there was much in it. 

"Obviously we lost position to Kimi who undercut us but obviously we played well as a team together to make sure that when I came out behind him with the fresher tyres to use the pace and secure second place."