Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari needs to face up to its recent failures after being comfortably beaten by Mercedes at the Spanish Grand Prix.
After three consecutive pole positions, Vettel was only third quickest in qualifying in Barcelona and then dropped to fourth place in the race as Ferrari struggled with tire usage more than Red Bull and Mercedes. However, Vettel says there are a number of factors that need addressing and Ferrari cannot hide from the fact that it was lacking in a number of areas.
“I think [three] things this weekend,” Vettel said. “Firstly, we were not quick enough. If we’re not able to see that, we’re more than blind, because we didn’t have the pace in the first stint. Second, I think we struggled a bit over the course of the weekend with the tires. They changed but they changed for everyone. Our ambition needs to be that we’re better off rather than worse off. That’s the second thing we need to focus on.
“Third, I think it was a poor weekend in terms of reliability. Kimi had an issue with the engine, had to change the engine and obviously retired in the race. I don’t know what happened. Overall, there are three things we must be able to see. If we don’t see those, there are no excuses.
“I’ve said many times this team is strong and we have a lot of potential, but we also need to make sure we address the problems that we have and work together in the same direction. The season so far has been positive for us. [Sunday] was not a good day but it’s important to understand why. You look back and you understand what is missing in the preparation to the race, or this race, or the next races.”
After Ferrari was questioned for pitting under a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) that cost it track position to Max Verstappen in the fight for third place, Vettel actually believes he is likely to have finished fifth in Spain without some fortune.
“I think the last couple of races we were a bit closer in terms of pace, we had a car fighting for the win, having winning pace. We didn’t have winning pace [in Spain], that’s why we didn’t win. There are a couple of things, as I said. Short term, we all had our updates for this race; maybe the others have brought more than us. On top of that, we had different tires, which maybe suited others more than us.
“But what does it help? Why find excuses? Bottom line is we’re not quick enough to win. That’s what we have to address. Not did we have a disadvantage here, was that the case, was this the case, did the safety car help or not?
“In the end we weren’t quick enough and our tires didn’t last as long as others. Otherwise I stay out, stay in front of Valtteri [Bottas] and finish second. It wasn’t an option and we finished fourth. We even got lucky with the VSC, otherwise we would have been miles behind Max. Not sure what the gap was to Daniel…”