Daniel Ricciardo flips the bird to Valttari Bottas during Hungarian Grand Prix

Hope Soto
August 1, 2018

As F1 prepares to down tools for four weeks, Vettel trails title rival Lewis Hamilton by 24 points after the Mercedes driver's back-to-back wins in Germany and Hungary.

Toto Wolff tends to wear his heart on his sleeve, which is refreshing in an age of political correctness, but at times - like after the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday - the Mercedes chief shot himself in the foot by labelling Valtteri Bottas as the team's ideal wingman. The season resumes in Belgium on August 26.

The most exciting element is that Hamilton is still young enough at 33 to compete for more World Drivers' Championships and create more history.

"We effectively passed Valtteri for P2 but then I think I got a bit unlucky with the traffic and lost a couple of seconds, and then obviously we had that little issue at the pitstop, so we ended up coming out behind - and then it was a different race".

"We caught up with Bottas after the first stop but there was no chance to overtake". The contact damaged Bottas' front wing and dropped him to fourth behind Kimi Raikkonen (before dropping to fifth at the finish), but despite the risk of a puncture Vettel emerged without damage.

In Hungary, Ferrari looked strong in practice only to wilt when rain fell in qualifying.

"He started second and he was second after the opening lap, and, from my standpoint, it was Valtteri's best race at Mercedes in the last two years".

Bottas hung on to second until a dramatic 66th lap.

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"So I sat back and waited for the last 10 laps, and that's when we did it". Still, 20 laps before the end, I was feeling ok.

With just five laps remaining, Vettel pulled off a move on Bottas, passing him on the outside heading to Turn 2.

"I was happy today, happy to finish and get some points and have a race I feel I maximised".

So from hoping to attack Hamilton, Vettel was now faced with trying to pass the Briton's team-mate.

Raikkonen said Ferrari needed to improve and "tidy up" a few things to ensure it maximises the speed of its 2018 package, which has been quicker than Mercedes two weekends in a row but failed to turn that into victory. Ricciardo said after the race. "But we've got to continue to keep rising with all the other elements, which allows us to beat the Ferraris when they don't bring their A game". "But that is part of racing".

The second half of the season has been good for Hamilton in the past, with the Briton coming back strongly previous year to clinch his fourth title.

"Absolutely not. I think it's far too early [to say that] and you've seen the ups and downs we've had from this year, you've been ahead by some points and behind some points", he added.

Team boss Wolff said: "It wasn't realistic for us to win".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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