Sebastian Vettel denies Ferrari team orders used in Monaco GP win
"It is Vettel's title to lose now," says Sky F1's Martin Brundle
By Pete Gill and James Galloway in Monaco
Last Updated: 29/05/17 8:05am
Sebastian Vettel has insisted his pitlane overtake of Kimi Raikkonen for victory in Monaco wasn't part of a pre-determined plan.
Vettel's win of F1's showpiece race was effectively secured when he took the lead after the one and only round of pit-stops after running longer than his team-mate.
"That wasn't the plan, the plan was to win," Vettel vowed. "There was no plan of any team orders or anything."
"We have certain roles and we all know it," said Raikkonen enigmatically. "I don't know what happened other than that we had one and two and l got a lesser result than l wanted.
"I got the bad end of the story today. It's still second place but obviously it doesn't count a lot."
While social media cried foul, especially as the pre-race expectation had been that the overcut on ultrasoft tyres would be more effective than the 'undercut' on the slower supersofts, Vettel's laps in clean air were as much as two seconds faster than Raikkonen had managed just before his stop on lap 31.
When the Finn was further hampered by traffic, Vettel's progress into the lead became an inevitability.
"The lead car got priority but there was a chance to stay out longer and turn it around. It is the first time for a long, long time that it has worked here," Vettel told Sky F1. "I don't think you could have guessed that. I want to win, that was the only chance l got and l made use of it. I was very happy with the laps l put in at that time."
The championship leader added: "I can understand obviously that he's upset."
Second place was Raikkonen's joint-best result in four years but, barely raising a smile on the podium after the race, he admitted it "doesn't feel awfully good".
The Finn confirmed he had been "called in" rather than requesting a pit stop and added he didn't know why he came back out in traffic.
"Obviously there are reasons for whatever we do," he said.
"As a team we wanted a one-two, it happened, but for myself I could have done a bit better," he told reporters. "I haven't seen the big picture, I only know that we came second."
By cynical means or not, the upshot was the dream result for Ferrari as they claimed the lead of the Constructors' Championship from Mercedes while Vettel maximised his opportunity to extend his drivers' title advantage over Lewis Hamilton.
"I always felt they would do something like that," reflected Sky F1's Martin Brundle. "But l agree with what Pat Symonds said: the fastest driver won. This was Ferrari's perfect result. From a championship perspective, it worked absolutely perfectly for them. Right now, it's beginning to look like Ferrari have the upper hand in every respect."
A concurring Symonds added: "If Kimi wanted to win then from lap 25 he should have been lapping in the 1:15s. He had a clear track, he didn't do it, he lost. It was as simple as that."
But while Brundle has declared that "it is Vettel's title to lose now", the four-time world champion was altogether more restrained in his assessment of his world championship battle with Hamilton.
"It's irrelevant look at the points before August," he said. "The car is great to drive, the cars are a lot more fun to drive than previously. I am enjoying that and not looking very far ahead."
Don't miss the F1 Report: Monaco GP review as Oliver Rowland and Will Buxton join James Galloway to dissect the iconic race. Watch on Sky Sports F1 on Wednesday at 8:30pm.