Sebastian Vettel says there was clearly something wrong with Ferrari’s performance in Australia that should be improved at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but warns the team will never find all the answers.
Ferrari entered the 2019 season as favorite in Melbourne due to a strong pre-season performance, but struggled in the first race and Vettel finished nearly a minute adrift of race winner Valtteri Bottas. Despite the lack of pace, the German believes it would be harsh to be overly critical of the team’s start to the season, as he is confident Australia was not a true reflection of its potential.
“I don’t think it is fair,” Vettel said. “Obviously for the last two years we’ve started with a win so the questions were a little bit nicer and easier, but that is normal. After a race where we expected to be better but didn’t perform you will always get those questions.
“I think the team internally has been quite calm. It hasn’t been easy these past two weeks to try to understand and catch up; clearly there was something we were missing as we had a very good car at pre-season testing.
“We are not sure where it went for the first race, so we hope we have it back and have some answers to the problems at Melbourne with setup. Whether we learned the lessons will become clear here. In the end looking back we were slow pretty much everywhere — with the exception of high-speed corners, there was clearly something wrong with the car.”
Ferrari has been working to understand the reasons for its struggles in the first race, but Vettel says the inability to rerun that race means there will always be unknowns.
“I bloody hope so!” Vettel laughed, explaining if Melbourne was a one-off. “I think the key factor for me is that I drove the car in winter testing and I really liked it and felt really comfortable as it was doing what I wanted. I didn’t have much to complain about but we went to Australia and it wasn’t there.
“That was the one standing out but hopefully this weekend we can get back to the feeling with where the car was in pre-season testing. We have some answers on lack of performance from Australia but it will be like that — we will never find out as we don’t get a chance to race in Australia again. We need to make sure we learned our lessons.”