Austin - Sebastian Vettel said he felt mixed emotions after
keeping his slender title challenge alive by finishing fourth in Sunday's
United States Grand Prix, won by Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
The four-time champion, who started fifth on the grid after
taking a three-place penalty, recovered from an opening lap spin to fight
through the field in a tactical contest that left Lewis Hamilton frustrated in
his bid to clinch his fifth drivers world title.
"My feelings? Mixed," he said. "Happy. Really
happy for Kimi. But not much for me. It should have been a better day."
Vettel can only stop Hamilton taking his fifth drivers title
next weekend in Mexico by winning the race and hoping Hamilton hits problems
that keep him out of the top seven places.
He said he suffered a major blow when he clashed with Red
Bull's Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap.
"I must have been in his blind spot. I'm not sure he
saw me. The corner kept tightening and we hit. It was a big loss for me."
Vettel's disappointment took nothing away from a resurgent
Ferrari's satisfaction in recovering their mid-season pace, after abandoning
several recent upgrades, and claiming a revitalising victory.
"I am very proud of them all," said Ferrari team
chief Maurizio Arrivabene.
"I was always proud of the guys and even more when we
are winning races. It's been hard for us recently and we had a race engineer
pass away last weekend.... I have nothing more to add. It was great today.
Thank you USA!"
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff admitted that Ferrari had
been faster than his team, as he had feared.
"We lacked the pace and I said don't close it too
early. They are very fast. Kimi winning is great for him and for Ferrari, so
let's go to the next race in Mexico now.
"It was difficult to overtake, but for us it was a
strategy that got worse as it progressed. We need to re-think and see what we
can do better. We put on a good show altogether and that's what's more