Sebastian Vettel, who finished a distant third, says the Hungarian Grand Prix confirms Ferrari is not quick enough to challenge Mercedes and Red Bull at the moment.
Lewis Hamilton chased down and passed Max Verstappen in the closing stages after the pair had enjoyed a race-long battle for victory, resulting in a high pace at the front. Hamilton’s margin of victory over Vettel was over a minute and the German says his late pass on teammate Charles Leclerc for third place does not mask the reality of how uncompetitive Ferrari was.
“Obviously we tried to hang in there,” Vettel said. “I think we stayed out another 10 or 15 laps after Charles pitted, just to try to do something different, maybe hope for a Safety Car. But by then, obviously, the top two were sort of gone anyways.
“It was really for the sake of trying something different, which looked very distant to ideal when we had the stop and I came out. But then I just tried everything I had, and got one chance near the end.
“In the end it’s not a big deal, third or fourth for the team; it’s still the same. The big picture for today is that we were not quick enough and not able to follow them right from two laps into the race.”
While the front two were fighting throughout the race, Vettel says that doesn’t exaggerate the gap to Ferrari given how hard he was also having to drive.
“I think they were pushing flat-out and we were pushing flat-out. So I don’t think they were able to gain another second just because they enjoyed themselves.”
Vettel says Ferrari needs the mid-season break after a first half of the season in which the team has failed to win a race despite looking so strong in pre-season testing.
“We couldn’t go with the pace of (Hamilton and Verstappen); that was quite clear the whole weekend. So lots of work ahead of us. I think it’s good now for everyone to get a break; the guys have been working very, very hard. We need maybe to charge our batteries and then the battle continues. There will be tracks that we will be better for us, but still, overall, we need to get stronger.”