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Formula 1

Vettel ‘never had a brake failure like that before’

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
4 min read

Sebastian Vettel says he has never suffered a brake failure like the one that ended his Italian Grand Prix and was part of the “worst conclusion” to Ferrari’s miserable weekend.

Four-time Formula 1 world champion Vettel, who started his 248th F1 race on Sunday, suffered a rear brake failure on lap six of the Italian GP and went straight on at speed at the first chicane while running 17th.

Vettel was told early in the race to manage the left side of the car and avoid running in the tow, and even tried more lift-and-coast and moving his brake bias forward to combat the problem.

But he suffered a failure braking for Turn 1 and smashed through the polystyrene marker boards on the run-off area, fortunately avoided a serious incident and was able to slowly bring his car into the pits to retire.

“It is actually the worst thing [that can happen] but it probably happened at least in the best spot,” Vettel said.

“If it happens elsewhere it is not so nice.

Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Italian Grand Prix 2020 Monza

“I completely lost the pressure in the pedal and I went straight.

“Already laps before we ran into trouble and we managed the brakes, but it was obviously quite bad.”

He added: “We need to understand why. Fortunately it happened in Turn 1 where there is plenty of run-off, but I’ve never had a brake failure like that before.”

Vettel’s early failure continued a difficult weekend at Monza where Ferrari qualified outside the top 10 at an Italian GP for the first time since 1984.

It suffered a double-DNF when Charles Leclerc crashed at the Parabolica on the first lap after a safety car restart.

Charles Leclerc Ferrari crash Italian Grand Prix 2020 Monza

Leclerc had cycled to sixth place by virtue of a fortunately-timed pitstop before the safety car but lost the rear entering the final corner on hard tyres.

His impact was so heavy it caused a red flag but Leclerc emerged from his car with only “a bit of pain” and was mostly unharmed.

“I just lost the car,” he said. “It’s my fault. It was a very difficult race to be honest.

“I struggled quite a lot on the first set. Then with the hard tyres I struggled massively, so I tried to push but I lost it in Parabolica and crashed.”

“Already quali was very difficult, not finishing the race is even worse” :: Mattia Binotto

Team principal Mattia Binotto had no immediate explanation for Vettel’s failure.

He said the double-DNF meant Sunday was “the worst conclusion of a difficult weekend”.

“Already quali was very difficult, not finishing the race is even worse,” he said.

“Especially on Seb, because of a reliability problem. But I think we need to turn the page, looking forward, making sure that all these are lessons learned for us.”

Binotto said Ferrari could now move on from two miserable weekends at the power-sensitive Spa and Monza circuits, where it never expected strong results given its engine is underpowered this year and its car is draggy.

F1’s Mugello round next week is officially named after both the region of Tuscany and the fact it will be Ferrari’s 1000th F1 world championship entry.

The circuit is owned by Ferrari and Binotto said its focus must be on securing the best result possible there, but with Mugello having a very long main straight and high-speed sections Vettel said he is not expecting much from the weekend.

Sebastian Vettel

“It’s clear in terms of expectations,” Vettel said. “You see where we are.

“It’s not a weekend we are expecting an awful lot, but the last races we struggled a little bit more to make the car work 100%.

“Maybe, and I hope, in Mugello we are in a better place, but that doesn’t mean we are fighting for the podium, so we need to be realistic.

“Expectations are very low. Hopefully we have a smooth weekend.

“A weekend without trouble, that would be a good start, at least on my side.”

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