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Vettel produces a champion’s comeback to finish fourth

May 11, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

After suffering from problems on his car during practice and qualifying, Sebastian Vettel’s run of bad luck finally came to an end during today’s Spanish Grand Prix, as the German driver produced a quite remarkable drive to finish in fourth place.

The German driver suffered a gearbox failure during Q3 yesterday that left him 10th on the grid, and this soon became 15th after the team changed the faulty part on his car.

Off the line, Vettel made a poor start and was hit by McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, but an early pit stop allowed him to run in clear air and put in some impressive lap times. With a three stop strategy, he managed to scythe his way through the field, passing Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas during the final few stages of the race to secure fourth.

“All in all I think that was the best that we could do today,” he explained. “The start was not so great and I lost a place, but then I was able to get it back towards the end of the lap. It’s always tricky when you are further back.

“Daniel drove a good race today and I think, from a team point of view, third and fourth is what we could get today.”

Once again, Mercedes dominated proceedings on Sunday as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg waltzed to a one-two finish. However, for Vettel, their success is his motivation for the rest of the season.

“Mercedes is very strong,” he accepted. They have a phenomenal engine, two very good drivers, a very good car, and a very good team, they’re doing a good job so it would be wrong to complain and moan about how dominant they are – they worked better than everyone else in the winter and deserve to be in that position.

“Hopefully, from our point of view, rather sooner than later we’ll give them a hard time – that’s our motivation. I hope that in time we can catch up, and as I said start giving them a run for their money.”

The German driver will be hoping to return to the podium at the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, but with the deficit to championship leader Hamilton standing at 55 points, his grasp on the world title is already becoming loose.

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