'We were just slow' - Vettel unsure where Ferrari's pace went
Ferrari looked ominously quick in pre-season testing, but they failed to replicate that pace during the Australian Grand Prix weekend as rivals Mercedes dominated. And Sebastian Vettel was at a loss to explain why…
The German finished a distant fourth, 57.109s behind Mercedes 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 had] way less 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.
“All weekend, summing up, I didn’t get the confidence I had in Barcelona, I didn’t have the car underneath 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 the majority of corners it wasn’t, that’s why we were slower than other people and lost out today.”
Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto said the Italian team were unsure why they struggled to get the car into the right operating window after such a successful test.
“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.