Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari’s poor showing on Saturday was a true reflection of the car’s performance this season after both he and Charles Leclerc qualified outside the top 12 for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Ferrari was off the pace on Friday and Vettel said he was hopeful the picture would be slightly better on Saturday, but FP3 saw the German finish at the bottom of the standings with Leclerc 17th. Although both were at risk of elimination in Q1, the two drivers advanced to Q2 where Vettel ended up 14th on the grid, one position behind his teammate.
“It is the true picture — it’s what the car can do around here today,” Vettel said. “We tried everything we can and a lot of effort going in from last night to today, trying to make things better. I think we did a little bit, but obviously we’re not where we want to be — but that’s not the first race and the first qualifying where that’s the case.
“We tried to do our best; it’s obviously the car we have and the car we know for the whole season so far. So it’s not a surprise today.”
Although he has over 50 wins to his name in Formula 1, Vettel says he still sees the value in fighting for the maximum performance regardless of the positions.
“It’s my job, I still like driving. Obviously P13 is not as exciting as P1 but still we tried to put everything together. This morning it looked like we didn’t make it into Q2 and we did with both cars. Obviously it’s not a success but it’s everything we could do today and it’s where we stand.”
Leclerc says Ferrari needs to try and keep its spirits up in order to give itself the best chance of recovering as quickly as possible.
“To be honest, it’s very difficult to find an explanation,” Leclerc said. “It’s a big step back compared to the others so we need to try and find the main issue, try and address it. It’s not a good day but it’s like this at the moment. We need to keep working very hard.
“I think everyone in the team needs to keep their heads up even though it’s very difficult in tough times like this. I can also understand the fans at home that are very disappointed. But as drivers we will try and make the best race possible tomorrow, even though we can’t expect any miracles.”