Sebastian Vettel declared “I don’t care about the rest of the year” after finishing second behind Lewis Hamilton in a chaotic Chinese Grand Prix.
Vettel won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix last month, but had to settle for the second step on the podium following a captivating race at the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday.
The four-time world champion pitted to switch to dry rubber tyres on a drying track when a virtual safety car was deployed on the second lap following Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll’s collision.
Mercedes duo Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas stayed out along with Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen until two laps later, but all pitted for soft tyres when a real safety car was called and following Antonio Giovinazzi’s smash into the pit wall.
Vettel consequently dropped from second to sixth, but was able to work his way back up to finish runner-up in the second race of the season.
The German is level on 43 points with Hamilton, who said he is expecting possibly the closest battle for the title this year and does not see Vettel as his only threat.
Vettel, though, is not looking too far ahead after a thriller in China.
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“I really enjoyed today, I don’t care about the rest of the year. It was a good race, bit unfortunate with the safety car, but what can you do?” he said.
“We tried it, we took the risk. I think there was potential reward. It’s impossible to forecast another safety car.
“But I was quite happy with the race we had after that, I had some overtaking and the last couple of laps I really enjoyed getting the lap times by radio and tried to chase down as much as possible, maybe push him into a mistake but yeah, the gap was big and we couldn’t put enough pressure on.”