Sebastian Vettel has insisted that there is “nothing wrong” with the current Ferrari car despite Mercedes dominating the opening three races of the 2019 Formula 1 calendar, claiming that he and the team simply need to do more to unlock its potential.
In pre-season testing in Barcelona, Ferrari looked to be the fastest team with their brand new engine and chassis, but the pace has not followed into competitive racing as Mercedes have secured three one-two finishes in a row.
The Scuderia are 57 points behind their championship rivals in the constructor’s rankings, but Vettel doesn’t think there is a problem with the car.
“We have a very strong car, there’s nothing wrong with it but I think we’re not able to yet put it in the window, especially for myself, here and there,” said the German.
“I’m not entirely happy yet compared to where we started off.
“Obviously the three tracks we’ve been to now are quite different. The conditions we had are different – but I think we start to see a sort of pattern and understand what – especially throughout a grand prix distance – understand what we need, what I need, to really unlock this car.
“I think these couple of weeks and the next weeks will be very important for us to understand where we need to go in the next months.”
Vettel went on to stress again that he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with the car, but perhaps the strategy of how it is used might be the issue.
“I think, at this point, it’s a question of putting it together,” he suggested.
“Obviously Mercedes had a good run with the first three races. I think in Australia we struggled with the conditions, and probably set-up. I think we learned our lessons for Bahrain, it was a lot better.
“Still, here and there, there are some parts of the race where we are too weak. And I think it showed again [in China]. So, I think we can be very happy with where we are on the engine side. It seems to be strong.
“I think overall our car is working and there’s nothing wrong with it – but I think it’s just about placing it in the right window and then being able to extract the performance that the car has, which I think Charles was able to show in Bahrain more than myself.
“It seems to be there somewhere but at the moment seems to be a bit more difficult to find where it is, to be able to be a fair match to Mercedes at this point.”
The four-time world champion is currently fourth in the driver rankings for 2019 after three races.