Sebastian Vettel has confirmed a steering issue which occurred on the formation lap steadily got worse throughout the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Ferrari controlled the opening stint of Sunday's race after locking out the front row for the third occasion in 2017, though Vettel had complained about issues as he closed in on his pit-stop. His pace quickly dropped after his stop on lap 32, meaning Raikkonen quickly caught up -- resulting in the Finn being stuck behind his slower teammate and being unable to extract the maximum performance from his Ferrari.
Despite pressure from Raikkonen and the resurgent Lewis Hamilton, Vettel was able to hang onto a second win at the Hungaroring and extended his lead in the drivers' championship over Hamilton to 14 points.
"I thought that we had a very good pace and I think Kimi had a very good pace so he could go a lot faster than me for the majority of the race," Vettel said in the post-race press conference. "I think I felt already there was something not right when we dropped the car on the grid. Driving the car to the grid was fine but for the formation lap when we dropped the car the steering wheel was already not straight and then well I did the start then there was a safety car then in the opening laps I felt that it wasn't right but it didn't impact too much because it was only small."
The German said managing the issue was key in the latter stages in terms of keeping off the kerbs and preserving the tyres, which was a problem for the Italian manufacturer at the last race at Silverstone where both drivers suffered tyre failures.
"We spoke a little bit on the radio about it, and I was talking through the problem and they told me to avoid the kerbs which I was doing already. But on a track where you use the kerbs nearly in every corner it's obviously compromising your performance. And, the second stint I just wanted to make sure that I will have enough tyres with whatever problem I might face so just towards the end of the race to have enough tyres.
"Of course I was holding it back a little bit, but it's not like I had an awful more pace. Also in the end I was really going flat out and obviously they were all behind me queuing, and it's good that you can't overtake that easily around this track but I had no room for error so it was a tricky race with the lapped cars, not the easiest to go through."