Pace doesn't work like that, the lap before he was 2/10ths faster and went from 12.1 to 11.9 seconds behind, when one guy is trying to catch and the other has a 12 second lead he doesn't have to do the same pace. Verstappen had a massive gap he was protecting, Vettel had a massive gap he was pushing to close and he was only making a very minor impact.sosic2121 wrote: ↑Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:51 pm
Vettel was fastest man on the track at that moment. He was gaining 7 tents on Max, and his tires were 4 laps younger(although probably used harder).
Many drivers have dane 50+ laps on SS, including Kimi.
Maybe the worst of all, for last 24 laps he switched on set of used US, (in his first stint he barely managed 17 laps on US) which allowed Max to put on set of shiny brand new SS tires(by far the best race tire).
When Ricciardo retired Vettel already done 13 laps on his used tires, so it's really hard to believe he had a pace advantage to overtake him.
Only downside to one stop was risk of puncture, which AFAIK didn't happen to anyone that day.
I strongly believe that victory was on the table and that they should have left him on the track until his times dropped off.
Edit: According to JA blog his US tires were not used.
IT took him the previous 16 laps to gain around 6 seconds, and again Verstappen had a huge gap and zero reason to push hard, Vettel was pushing hard to go for the win. Even best case scenario and that pace was maintained he needed another 30 laps to catch Verstappen let alone pass him.
He was 7/10ths faster on a lap he was pitting the next lap, everyone pushes before a pitstop. Also could simply have been a lap Max got held up in traffic for a few corners, I don't recall that specific point in the race.
Regardless his pace was nothing special and that is if you completely ignore that the leader has no need nor reason to push. Once you get a 2-3 second gap most guys out front go into cruise control because it's the best way to win. I would also say that because Vettel was pushing harder than anyone else out there, that's pretty much why his front left looked worse than anyone else out there and had the highest chance of failure.
Reality is again he didn't have the pace to catch over 20 laps left, Verstappen was in cruise control and Vettel had more than enough time to pit, make sure the front left didn't fail, had plenty of life to get to the end on ultras and had every chance of getting 2nd back over Ricciardo. Tire life is irrelevant but at that point Ricciardo was always going to have 36-37 lap older tires, the fact is on the same tire in the second stint Vettel was significantly faster than Ricciardo. On the same tire he had a pace advantage, on 36 lap fresher tires he had a tire advantage and he gained on Ricciardo easily after his stop and moved into DRS range repeatedly only to be prevented from passing on the straight as Ricciardo got his drs/slipstream.
Honestly I think he'd have been past him within 5 laps and would finish 10+ seconds ahead of Ricciardo, not least because Ricciardo would back off with 2nd place gone while VEttel would chase after Verstappen.