Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari has tried “something daring” at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix that could pay off in future races.
Valtteri Bottas took pole position by over 0.6s from Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes looked dominant in qualifying, with Ferrari struggling for performance compared to the championship leaders in the final sector of the track. However, Vettel says his third place on the grid gives him the chance to attack at the start on Sunday, while he’s also positive about the development direction the team is working in.
“It’s been a busy weekend; I’m happy to be in P3,” Vettel said. “I think it gives us a good chance for tomorrow and we look forward to the race. We brought some new bits, a new engine — everything seems to work but clearly we are not yet where we want to be. But I think in terms of team effort, everybody was doing their utmost.
“We tried a lot of stuff yesterday, and again today. Different directions. I think we ended up getting the best out of the car for today, which, as I say, wasn’t enough and we’re certainly not satisfied — but I’m very happy with the approach, with the chance that we took, in terms of trying something daring, something I think ultimately will pay off. Not yet — not today at least! But hopefully it helps us in terms of pace tomorrow (and) sets off the right direction for the next couple of weeks.”
Vettel’s best lap saw him lose over 0.8s compared to Bottas’ best in the final sector, but the German insists it is simply an area of the track where Ferrari is not able to utilize one of its strengths.
“It’s a lot of time, but … we gain down the straights and we lose in the corners. Obviously in the first two sectors we have straights to compensate, so maybe you don’t see the losses in the corners but, I think it’s pretty transparent: I think you have access as much as we have to the GPS data. We lose time in the last sector in the corners in pretty much every corner.
“So, from 10 to 15 there’s not one corner that stands out. Obviously eight-tenths sounds a lot but if you then divide it by the amount of corners, it’s a bit less – but it’s still a lot. In the end of the day, it doesn’t change anything. For us, it’s a lot of homework. The car certainly didn’t feel perfect, so there’s something we can improve but overall we seem to be a bit down in terms of grip and not being able to carry as much speed through the corner, not go on throttle as easy as them.
“So it’s a loss not necessarily in braking, I think it’s more the speed carried around the corner. It’s not the first time. Obviously here it bites you in the last sector because there are many corners and no straights – but that’s what it is. For tomorrow, we’ll see what we can do. Certainly the straight-line speed will help us to put pressure on the first straight and then go from there.”