Sebastian Vettel: 'I learned from 2017 Baku incident'

Vettel won the first two races of the season and leads Hamilton, the reigning champion who has not had a victory since past year, by nine points heading into the fourth round of 21 grands prix.

Symonds, though, reckons Mercedes, dominant from 2014 to 2016, is paying the price for its previous advantage, pointing to its tyre usage and strategic calls, with Ferrari and Red Bull now having closed the gap.

It had even more unusual drama with Raikkonen leaving the pit lane after a red flag without a steering wheel, "steering wheel, give me my steering wheel", and Hamilton forced into an unscheduled pit stop when his the headrest of his Mercedes came loose.

"We had never really ever spoken, me and Niki". However, Ferrari have proved at the first three races in 2018 they are the team to beat.

"I think last year was such a special year for us in terms of all of us being unified and the momentum that we were able to create".

"I believe you always learn something from every race and I think past year Baku was very different from all the other races".

"With an aero/chassis package, getting your set up just right might mean you're hoping to pick up a tenth or so from Friday to Saturday qualifying". Memo to their garage - Think Tyres. If we can get on top of the tyre situation we will show the true performance of the auto'. We've sat and understood where we've gone wrong, but still we've got to implement the change - because there can be five or 10 different solutions to that one particular problem.

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"Strategically they've also had troubles".

But with the Safety Car expected to make an appearance on Sunday given the barriers in Baku, strategy - and those willing to gamble on it - is likely to win the race. But recently with Mercedes we've seen some. "It is good to see they are not ideal".

He says "there's always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull). and I would expect that environment everywhere". In 2016 he crashed in qualifying and had his race plagued by engine map problems, and a year ago he was forced to surrender the lead with an unscheduled pit stop to secure a loose headrest, finishing fifth on both occasions.

"They are looking stronger than they've looked for many years and I think they've got every chance of a really good season", he said. I am 100 percent happy to just focus on myself, performing well.

"I'm hoping that I've got a auto this weekend to really battle it out with Sebastian, who's obviously the one ahead of me". It was definitely easier to work the tyres.

"I don't think that's the way to get a Constructors' Championship".

  • Adam Floyd