Sebastian Vettel's underwhelming Brazilian Grand Prix was put down to a sensor issue which Ferrari said affected the German throughout the race at Interlagos. Vettel had been expected to challenge for victory from second on the grid, but ended up finishing sixth.
Ferrari were able to start Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen on soft tyres – the middle compound available – with Mercedes and Red Bull on supersofts.
However, the yellow-walled tyres did not last long enough to allow Vettel and Raikkonen to utilise the harder rubber, while Max Verstappen pulled out a huge opening stint to put himself into position for victory – until a crash with Esteban Ocon ended his hopes.
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene later revealed, however, that Vettel had never been in true contention after an issue was found just before the start of the race.
"Right from the formation lap, we became aware of a problem with a sensor on Seb's car,'' Arrivabene said.
"This meant that, for the whole race, he had to run different settings to those we would have normally used and that made the car difficult to drive.''
Vettel's poor show compounds a miserable recent run in which he has seen Lewis Hamilton streak clear of him to seal the drivers' title.
"Well I tried everything but obviously in terms of the result, one, and one being bad,'' Vettel said.
"It's just a difficult afternoon. I don't think we were on top of the car today, the tyres. I don't think it was an advantage to be honest starting with the soft, the super-softs lasted a longer time, longer than I think we all expected. But that's how it is.''
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