raymondu999 wrote:Vettel was what? 1.2 ahead at the first lap, 1.9 at the second lap? I think they were relaxing after that point - and from the live timing perspective it looked every bit like it was going to be a 2011-esque performance.
I don't – I think Vettel pushed the tyres too hard to get out of the DRS zone, hence why he struggled at the end of the stint. I think the McLaren had roughly equal pace to them.
I agree. It felt more like Vettel pushed on the opening two laps whereas Hamilton was more easing the tyres in. Don't forget that as Vettel pitted for tyres Hamilton was already in the DRS zone and was faster at that point. Alonso was also closing in. Vettel had to pit at that time because his tyres were shot, relatively, and he was going to start losing more and more lap time giving Hamilton and Alonso the chance to pass.
There were phases in the first two stints where Vettel looked like he could match Alonso and Hamilton, possibly even push them. But for the most of those stints he looked more like he was only just hanging on whilst the others were driving to target times.