Vettel: Ferrari had "way less grip" than in testing

Sebastian Vettel says his Ferrari Formula 1 car had "way less grip" in the Australian Grand Prix than it did during pre-season testing at Barcelona.

Vettel: Ferrari had "way less grip" than in testing

Vettel and Ferrari entered this weekend's 2019 season opener as the early favourites after a strong fortnight of testing at the Spanish Grand Prix circuit in which Vettel set the benchmark time.

But Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was fastest in all three practice sessions then 0.7 seconds faster than third-place starter Vettel in Saturday's final part of qualifying, which prompted Vettel to declare Ferrari "should be better than this".

Vettel was able to stay with Hamilton - who was jumped by teammate Valtteri Bottas at the start - in the early part of Sunday's race, but fell back in his second stint and was passed by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

He went on to finish fourth, just ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc but 57 seconds behind Bottas.

"If you want to be fair, then way less grip," said Vettel, when asked what was different about the Melbourne weekend compared to testing.

"In Barcelona we were very happy with the car right from day one.

"The balance was right, the car was responding to what I was asking it to do. I had a lot of confidence.

"All weekend, summing up, I didn’t get that confidence that I had in Barcelona so I didn’t have the car underneath to play around. It wasn’t doing what I was asking.

"There were glimpses here and there that were really strong, and I think our performance in some corners was really good.

"But the majority of corners it wasn’t. That’s why we were slower than other people and lost out yesterday as well as today."

Vettel was the earliest of the frontrunners to stop on lap 14 of 58, but said he has less confidence in the car after switching from the soft compound to the medium.

Asked if he had stopped too early, Vettel said: “Initially I thought yes, but to be honest the whole second stint on the medium tyres wasn’t very strong.

"The first stint I was fairly happy, maybe a bit the opposite to Charles, but the second I was not.

"At this point, I’m not sure why but I’m sure there is a reason so we need to get a little bit deeper and have a good look, but clearly there was something going on.

"I didn’t have the same trust and feel in the car that I had in the first stint so I was struggling with overall pace throughout the second stint and obviously at the end I was struggling really with tyres.

"So, arguably yes we were a little bit early in the box, [but] on the other hand there were other people stopping at the same time as us that didn’t struggle that much in the end.

"So, I don’t think it’s the strategy [that’s] to blame really.”

Additional reporting by Scott Mitchell

More from the Australian GP:

shares
comments
Grid "panic", lost mirror added to Kubica F1 return dramas

Previous article

Grid "panic", lost mirror added to Kubica F1 return dramas

Next article

Wheelnut damage led to Grosjean's retirement

Wheelnut damage led to Grosjean's retirement
Load comments
How the pitstop rules change has left F1 teams scrambling Prime

How the pitstop rules change has left F1 teams scrambling

The technical directive issued by Formula 1 to reduce levels of automation in pitstops has given teams an unwelcome period of adjustment. Although safety was the primary goal, it has already had a significant impact on the title race and puts extra pressure on teams to deliver as the season reaches the business end

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1 Prime

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1

Uncertainty over the shape of the calendar doesn’t just vex the fans and the commercial rights holder. MARK GALLAGHER explains at how race promoters have been pushed to the financial brink

Russian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Russian Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race Prime

The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces Prime

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Prime

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery Prime

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021