Vettel credits wind for helping French GP comeback charge

© XPB 

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel believes the headwinds blowing across Le Castellet were a precious ally when he came to charging back through the field on Sunday.

Vettel salvaged fifth place in the French GP after colliding with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap, a move that put both drivers out of contention for a race win and earned the German a five-second time penalty.

The Scuderia stalwart admitted he had been surprised by his progress over the course of the 53-lap race.

“Obviously I was out of position but I was surprised to be honest," he said after the race

"I think it was to do with quite a strong headwind we had. From the east end of the track to the west end down the long straight.

"That was helping a lot because we were gaining a lot in the second part of the straights, which obviously made the tow quite strong.

"If the wind was the other way around I think it would have been more difficult."

Vettel also underlined the behavior of Pirelli's soft tyres which he exploited to the max after taking on new rubber during his first lap pit stop.

The German was wary beforehand of how the tyres would degrade given their thinner tread for Paul Ricard, the same structure he had struggled with in Spain last month.

"Our strategy was a good call, there no problems with the tyres," he said.

"Kimi was able to sort of stay with that group. It proved that our strategy was a good call.

"For Kimi, he did more than 30 laps with the ultrasoft. Where I would have been, I don't know is the answer, because I had a different race after the first lap.

"We were a lot better than in Barcelona. We have made progress. I would have loved to have a different result, but we move on."

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