Sebastian Vettel’s Formula 1 career is officially over and the German certainly went out all guns blazing, after a spirited drive at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The four-time World Champion managed to put all the farewells and tributes to the side momentarily, as he did all he possibly could to try and claim Aston Martin sixth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Starting from ninth, the 35-year-old made an excellent start, where he enjoyed a great duel with both Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.
However, as the majority of the field began to pit, it quickly became apparent that the Silverstone-based side had gotten the German’s strategy all wrong.
Aston Martin decided to make Vettel run very deep into the race on his opening stint, before boxing him late on, meaning he had fresher rubber at the end of the race.
Ultimately, this strategy failed, as Vettel was overtaken by a number of drivers who opted for a two-stop strategy.
Vettel gave it everything in his second stint to fight his way back, although, in the end he could only manage P10.
With Lance Stroll claiming eighth, it meant the side did finish level on points with Alfa Romeo in sixth; however, the Hinwil-based side claimed the spot thanks to Valtteri Bottas having claimed fifth at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
After the race, Vettel admitted the team got the strategy “wrong” and “threw” sixth spot in the standings and an additional $12 million “away”.
“It was absolutely the wrong strategy, so it was a shame we went backwards,” Vettel told reporters post-race.
“I really tried, but I gave everything I could.
“It would have been great to give the team sixth place, but we threw it away with the strategy we chose.”
Vettel was with old friend Alonso and the Spaniard’s team-mate for the entirety of the first phase of the race, with the Frenchman having been incredibly difficult to overtake.
Alonso perhaps could’ve overtaken Vettel; however, wasn’t wanting to attack the German as a sign of respect.
Vettel admitted he “saw” the respect from Alonso at the start of the race but that he was simply “stuck for too long” behind Ocon.
“I saw it especially with Fernando at the beginning of the race,” added the German.
“After that it was hard, very hard for the Alfa Romeos. Of course, they wanted to defend their place in the Constructors’.
“It was a shame that I was stuck behind Esteban Ocon earlier in the race, because I had better tyre degradation. We were stuck for too long, so we lost too much time.”