Sebastian Vettel doubts whether Valtteri Bottas really affected his performance in Hungary

In the wake of Lewis Hamilton’s comfortable drive to victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, second placed Sebastian Vettel has stated that he is doubtful he would have been able to overtake the Englishman for the lead, even without being held up by Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Vettel started the race in third, behind both Mercedes drivers, but found himself battling for the race win after a long stint starting on the soft compound tyre. However, a poor Ferrari pit stop suddenly extinguished any hope the four-time world champion had of catching his rival.

When Vettel came into the pits, he was stationary for over five seconds, three seconds longer than Bottas, the man he would be agonisingly held up behind for the majority of the latter stages.

When he did manage to find his way around the Finn, in controversial circumstances to say the least, it was much too late, as Hamilton had amassed a lead of over twenty seconds.

In a post-race interview, Vettel was quick to admit that ‘something didn’t go as we planned’.

“We lost out and we came out behind, that didn’t help,” he said, per Autosport. “Without that it would have been a much more relaxed last part of the race, probably hunting down Lewis.”

However, an obviously dejected Vettel did not hesitate in admitting that he would still have found it difficult obtaining the race lead. “With the gap that he had, I think it would have been difficult to catch – and then it’s a completely different story, especially around here to overtake.”

“I think we could have done the catching bit, but not really the overtaking,” he concluded.

Bottas, who was lucky to finish the race after two separate collisions, first with Vettel and later Ricciardo, was later praised by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff for his “wingman” performance.

Contrary to Sebastian’s belief, Hamilton is confident that, were it not for his teammate, “(It) would have been very tight at the end.”

While this result does not put an end to Vettel’s hopes of a fifth world title, Hamilton certainly has the edge, leading the way by 24 points with nine races remaining. All eyes will certainly be on Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix on August 26.

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