Ferrari looked very quick in pre-season testing, but they failed to show that same pace during the Australian Grand Prix weekend as rivals Mercedes dominated. And Sebastian Vettel was struggling to explain why they were slower.
Sebastian finished in fourth place, 57.109s behind Mercedes driver and race winner Valtteri Bottas, and one place ahead of team mate Charles Leclerc, having also suffered the disappointment of being overtaken by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Vettel wasn’t happy with the feeling of his car from the very first practice session in Melbourne and admitted he was unable to get on top of that as the weekend went on. “We were just slow,” he said. “I felt like I did not have grip”. In Barcelona, we were very happy with tyre life from day one. The balance was right, the car was responding to what I was asking it to do and I had a lot of confidence.
Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto said the Italian team had no explanation why they struggled to get the car into the right operating window after those successful winter testing sessions. “We struggled with the tyres, we tried different set-up approaches, but we never got the right balance,” he admitted. “We were lacking grip. Do we understand that yet? Probably not. We need to go back, analyse all the data and assess what happened.”
This was the first time in his Ferrari career that Vettel has failed to step onto the podium in Melbourne, with the German having won the previous two races around the Albert Park circuit. “All weekend, summing up, I didn’t get the confidence I had in Barcelona, I didn’t have the car to play around, it wasn’t doing what I was asking. “There were glimpses, here and there we were strong. Our performance in some corners was good, but in the majority of corners it wasn’t, that’s why we were slower than other people and lost out today.”
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