Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Paul Ricard, 2019

Vettel: Ferrari upgrades failed to get us closer to Mercedes

2019 French Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari “failed” to close the gap to Mercedes because it didn’t get the expected gains from its new parts.

“We failed,” Vettel reflected after finishing fifth in the French Grand Prix. “I think we wanted to close the gap to Mercedes by a decent amount and we didn’t. So in that regard we have to be honest, we failed. But nevertheless we tried everything we could.”

Vettel said his team mate Charles Leclerc’s podium finish gave the team “a little bit of a satisfaction” but they had not achieved their overall goal.

“The big objective was to come in and close the gap,” said Vettel. “But we had to unfortunately learn that our parts weren’t working the way we expected them to.”

He set the fastest lap of the race on the final tour, but only after switching to a fresh set of soft tyres. He said the decision to pit was a “no-brainer”, but pointed out he only managed to lap two-hundredths of a second quicker than Hamilton did on his worn hard tyres, giving further proof of Mercedes’ strength.

“I don’t know if we had a problem,” he explained. “I couldn’t discharge the battery completely, otherwise it would have been a bit more safe to get the fastest lap.

“It also shows how much pace they have in hand. If they’re one-two then they just go a lot faster. So that means there is a lot of work for us, which we know from qualifying pace etc… We need to make sure we get closer to put them under pressure.”

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Dieter Rencken
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54 comments on “Vettel: Ferrari upgrades failed to get us closer to Mercedes”

  1. Fundamentally Ferrari got a good car (and a top engine). With some very unique and innovative aero solutions thats why most of the grid copied their aero direction/philosophy and not Mercedes. But what they lack is problem solving and car development. Now they are struggling with something and are taking too long to fix that particular issue.
    On the other hand Mercedes is such an engineering powerhouse that its very hard to compete with them in car development during the season. Their car understanding and problem solving is just phenomenal. Also their star driver Lewis is operating at such a high level therefore combination of all these things make them unbeatable.

    1. @amg44

      I completely agree. Since 2014, Mercedes’ in-season development has been untouchable. Red Bull are the only other team that has the potential to match the rate of in-season development of Mercedes, but they always start the year way below the Mercs, so it makes it really hard to match them up until the championship is nearly over. Ferrari have always been poor at in-season development. Even when they do occasionally get a strong design concept, they fail to maximise the success of their updates.

      Ferrari’s 2018 concept was definitely successful. Most of the teams used Ferrari’s concept for 2019, so Ferrari’s failure to maximise it’s 2019 package still lies in poor execution more than philosophy flaws. And let’s face it… Ferrari has been the quickest car in Bahrain, Canada and potentially Baku (at least before Leclerc put it in the wall). So, it’s not like their car has been an utter failure like the media has made it out to be. It’s just been poor in-season development, poor operations, poor strategy and some poor driving from Vettel that has exaggerated how bad Ferrari is this season.

      1. Nobody exaggerated how bad Ferrari is this season. They have the 2nd fastest car, so they’re doing a good work overall. But, you obviously exaggerated how good Ferrari should have been this season. You make it seem as if they’re title(s) contenders, but it’s not the case. In Canada they didn’t have the best car in race trim, without doubt. HAM played with the gap as he liked, especially in the longer stint. Maybe in Quali Ferrari was a little faster. Also, you’re portraying LEC in a better light than he actually is (at the moment). VET outqualified him by 0.7sec… and that track wasn’t as tricky as Paul Ricard. Not denying they threw away the win tho, but it would have been a hard fought win and they got the best strategy for both cars given their starting positions. For Baku, it’s mostly a wild guess. Let’s not forget many of you were betting on LEC for PP and win in Canada… just because he lapped faster than VET in FP1 and FP2. In the end VET came on top. Saying LEC should have been on PP and win in Baku just because he was the fastest in some sessions is mostly just a wild guess. So, yeah, they’re doing some mistakes, they threw away the win in Canada, ideally a 1-2 in Bahrain and Canada… but it’s only 2 out of 8 races. The car is not good enough.

        1. @mg1982

          So, yeah, they’re doing some mistakes, they threw away the win in Canada, ideally a 1-2 in Bahrain and Canada… but it’s only 2 out of 8 races. The car is not good enough.

          I thought you were disagreeing with me at the start of the comment. But you ended up just quoting what I said.

          They’re making mistakes and they were the quicker car in 2 or maybe 3 races.

    2. Where on earth does the idea that Ferrari are poor at in season development come from? Repeatedly over most of the last few years they’ve come from behind to finish the season with the best car. Alonso threw away two titles when the Ferrari was dominant, and last season Vettel was the reason the fastest car was beaten by Hamilton.

      Reality is that only Rosberg’s title and this season have been dominated by Merc.

      1. Neil (@neilosjames)
        24th June 2019, 13:19

        Alonso threw away two titles when the Ferrari was dominant

        I just spat tea all over my screen, thanks for that. Ferrari haven’t had a dominant car since Schumacher.

      2. Alonso threw away two titles when the Ferrari was dominant

        This has to be the most hilarious comment I’ve ever seen.

        If you genuinely believe this, you might want to check yourself in to your closest mental asylum.

    3. Well maybe the other teams in f1 should stop copying Ferrari and copy Mercedes.

  2. I really feel for Vettel.

    I didn’t like him in his RBR years. At all. Not to the level of Verstappen, but I really disliked him.
    After his switch to Ferrari I slowly grew on him, and last year when I’ve seen him up close in Austria (and everyone else of course), I suddenly realized that I really appreciate this guy and have real respect for him… heck, you don’t become 4-time World Champion for nothing!
    He is not perfect of course, he makes mistakes (maybe too many lately), but he is one of the few who really cares (even though sometimes it produces childish show, like 2 weeks ago).

    I am saying this because last and this year – you can really see in his interviews and body language, that he really wants to have some more success, and it really pains him the success eludes him and is further and further away.
    I don’t know, maybe it is the “pressure” of being in Ferrari, or just personal desire for more success especially if he is unsure about post-2020, but he is definitely uncomfortable with all of this… in a sense it heavily reminds me his last year in RBR… though this time he doesn’t have another Ferrari to switch to.

    So even though I am not a fan of him, I don’t enjoy seeing him feeling such emotions. He is a good driver and deserves to enjoy F1 at least, and for some reason or another he doesn’t.
    Maybe he need to talk to Kimi more?

    1. The problem is his childish shows demean others and really piled a lot of unpleasant heat on the stewards. He’s one of the most disrespectful drivers on the grid. That doesn’t equate with being a bad driver, but it also doesn’t reflect well on his own self-critical faculties. Leclerc did a great job this weekend. But Vettel focuses on how bad the Ferrari is, rather than acknowledge his team mate did well and he performed well below the level expected of him.

      1. Vettel disrespectful?

        He might be not the most pleasant guy on the radio when things go wrong, but he usually shows quite a degree of respect to everyone.
        Not taking Canada into account, which other cases are you talking about?

        1. The tirade against Whiting and the swipe against Hamilton in Baku 2017, unparalleled in Formula 1, both come to mind.

          1. Don’t forget his “I’m going home” nonsense in turkey 2010, and his disgusting shenanigans at the brazil weigh station last year. Vettel is a clown, always has been.

          2. @dallein @megatron I really don’t dislike Vettel, I just don’t find his temper flares appealing, mainly because they tend to be unjustified. I also think he is ‘blanking’ Leclerc in these comments, he could be much more generous. Also, I felt his Canada outburst, including ‘burning’ the rule book, hinted at him setting himself up for an exit from Formula 1 this year with the excuse that it’s rubbish now.

          3. @david-br and he goes on and on like a soap opera on its 15th season!

            i also have the same feeling about his exit from F1 in a low… he is pretending to be loosing points/wins due to just rules ignoring his own mistakes, and judging cases unfairly (japan, max/kimi situation) when it doesnt suit his own case… he couldnt maintain a healthy partnership in red bull either… and when he is angry, he is unbearable!

            i watched norris’ few moments with his team/radio, damn he was more mature than vettel ever will be! he was told to deal with problems, and he took them like a boss, and he really deserved the 7th, and ric although he was entertaining, he made bad mistakes which cost norris a good 3 spots possibly…

          4. And I wonder what you think of Verstappen then?..
            He didn’t show any respect to anyone not shouting “I Love you, Max” during all his years in F1…

            What you think of deliberate crashes between Senna and Prost… twice? Schumacher and Hill? Schumacher and Villeneuve? Schumacher’s fist play? Schumacher’s very questionable Monaco Qualifying track-block?
            Senna was also not known to be particularly nice guy in regards to stewards… and one time he was even displeased with the “wrong” side of P1 on starting grid and complained about it…

          5. @dallein But Verstappen has the excuse of immaturity and he seems to be maturing. Vettel seems to be in the same place where he started. Schumacher was far worse than Vettel, leaving aside his deliberate crashes and leaving his car blocking qualification, his threat to push Barrichello into the wall was unforgivable.

            But my original point was Vettel’s habit of not giving credit to his team mate and loading blame onto the team when his own performance has been the clearest factor in the time deficit to the lead (his own). I was responding to you feeling sympathy for him in terms of his racing career and I was trying to explain why I don’t feel it, despite not disliking him personally (having no idea who he really is, of course).

          6. @mysticus Exactly, a driver 15 seasons in and still the same temper tantrums and throwing blame elsewhere. Back to the Canada incident: whatever the interpretation of the regulations, I’d expect a driver (and team) to acknowledge in the end that once they’d lost control, left the track, and reentered the track out of control, responsibility for generating the situation was primarily theirs.

          7. @david-br

            Calling Karthikeyan a cucumber. Accusing kvyat of driving dangerously.

        2. @dallein Yes, extremely disrespectful. Not just that curses at the stewards, but also the way he behaves on track is extremely disgusting.

          He drives into Verstappen in Suzuka and then blames Verstappen for not leaving enough space! Or he rams into Hamilton at Monza and blames Hamilton for not leaving enough space (Hamilton actually was all the way on the outside of the track!). Turkey 2010. Over and over he rams other cars and invariably blames them.

          Or when Vettel and Hamilton were released at the same time (I think in China) and Vettel simply pushed Hamilton into the pit lane where a mechanic was standing holding the airlines out of the way. That wasn;t just disrespectful, but terribly dangerous as well. Vettel blamed Hamilton. Whiting came back next race and made it very clear that it was Vettel who was to blame for that (Hamilton gotten a reprimand for excess wheelspin).

          1. @f1osaurus

            in canada, after his penalty, he blamed hamilton for trying to overtake him on the outside rather than inside where vettel was and implied it was easier to overtake from inside :) he sometimes thinks he is an angel with wings who can make things fly or disappear out of will while ignoring all physics/rules :)

  3. So Leclerc’s Ferrari was less than a second off one Mercedes, while Vettel’s Ferrari was 40+ seconds off them both and over a minute off the lead Mercedes.

    And yet it’s ‘we failed.’

    1. To be fair Vettel stopped 2nd time to take Softs for FLAP attack, so he would have been around 36 seconds behind rather than minute, had he not stopped.

      1. @dallein I guess that is a bit fairer :o) Even so, well off the pace.

      2. The point is that a better assesment would be that HE failed more than the team, as the team managed to get within one second of a Mercedes at the finish line. That’s still not enough, obviously, but it’s not the outright failure of the team that Vettel paints. If anything he actually diminishes the results the team and his teammate managed.

        1. @zimkazimka
          vettel was some 3-4 sec behind max i think who was already 30-31 sec behind ham! at the end he was around what @david-br said off the lead.. lec was about 19 sec behind… if vettel managed his stints well, he had the car to challenge 2nd/3rd positions.. his messages and attitude seemed to be off someone nothing giving frackles about his position, let alone wdc anymore and compliant that they are beaten already… and ferrari will sync the tunes if they follow vettel… i hope they lean on lec as he seems to be the more ambitious driver of the bunch, more so than bottas!

    2. whatever you say you really dislike vettel and almost all of your comments is about bashing him. see deep in yourself and you’ll find the truth. btw did you see the race yesterday? leclerc was nowhere close to bottas, the ridiculous vsc offered him a chance. it was pure luck to get this close. before the vsc leclerc was 7-8 sec behind the slower mercedes, so whatever you think vettel is probably right. ferrari failed, they want wins not podiums.

      1. before the vsc leclerc was 7-8 sec behind the slower mercedes, so whatever you think vettel is probably right. ferrari failed, they want wins not podiums.

        If you want to be a smartass .. at least make sure you get your facts right. He was 3.5 seconds behind Bottas before the VSC came out. He was 2.5 seconds after the VSC ended, and he was 0.5s behind Bottas for most of the last lap.

        1. Oh c’mon bottas was cruising for most of that race to look after his tyres. Let’s not act like leclerc catching him is impressive.

          1. So he was snoozing and didn’t realise that Leclerc was in Dr’s range?

          2. *DRS range

      2. @David
        “before the vsc leclerc was 7-8 sec behind the slower mercedes, so whatever you think vettel is probably right. ferrari failed, they want wins not podiums.”

        wrong, lec was coming at bottas fast, it was 3.2 sec before vsc, and 2.6 after… but he was already coming at bottas around .5 – .7sec a lap! if anything, vsc made no difference or made it harder…. if you dont aim for moon, you wont end up in stars when you fail your target… i think ferrari is failing to see what is important for the team… they are failing because they are prioritizing a driver over another instead of maximizing overall team!

  4. Dear Ferrari,

    Any chance of winning a championship this year is over – second in the WCC chase looks like a sure thing so might so please start working on next years car. And I beg you to send Vettel packing!!

    1. The only reason 2nd in the WCC looks guaranteed is because Red Bull have Gasly. But yeah… both Ferrari and Red Bull need to get rid of their weak links. The sooner Gasly and Vettel are sent packing, the better.

      1. @todfod
        how dare you say that (pun intended) “whatever you say you really dislike vettel and almost all of your comments is about bashing him.”

  5. When I heard they had gone back to the old floor on the car from Sky F1…I thought here we go again…they have fantastic innovations, but fail to get the best out of them….maybe a little quick to get rid of James Allison??

    1. Also too quick to fire Arrivabene, no matter how much I hate(despise) Castrated Donkeys and their ex president. There was a lot of things that Arrivabene did right to bring that team to be atleast competitive and on par with Silver Arrows. All of that work has been undone this year in speactacular manner.

      1. Is it that people forget James Allison designed the 2016 car?

    2. get rid of James Allison

      They didn’t “get rid” of him, did they? As I recall, after the passing of his wife, James wanted to move back to the UK.

      1. this. he had to spend more time with the kids, forcing him to return to England.

        1. They wouldn’t let James work part time….and let him go….ultimately to Mercedes
          Not like Ferrari to make a wrong decision…….

  6. I wonder if Max will pass vettel in wdc?

  7. I’m wondering if at least part of the problem with that Ferrari was behind the wheel? If Vettel came to France with expectations of the Canadian penalty being quashed he would have bed very disappointed that the powers that be would not even give Ferrari leave to appeal. Vettel seemed off all weekend and with no apparent issues with the car and Leclerc being able to leave RB in well behind in the same car what other explanation is there?
    This would not be the first time Vettel would have lacked pace because he was not happy.

    1. In words of Brundle- Vettel doesnt look like a guy who has a honeymoon.

      1. *had

  8. This clown continues to embarrass himself on a weekly basis. LEC drove much better than him, yet he blames the car.

    Without an extremely dominant car and a hamstrung teammate vettel is worthless.

    1. trolls like you really should disappear from the internet forever. these races are unwatchable, these comment sections are unreadable because of you and your funny nickfriends. good deal i can say, where’s the end for f1?

    2. Sigh and leclerc still finished nearly 20 seconds behind Hamilton. Vettel knows leclerc catching a cruising bottas isnt something to get excited about. Ferrari were nowhere near Mercedes when they were pushing.

      1. The thing is, Vettel couldn’t even keep up with Verstappen.

    3. Also if vettel is worthless what does that make leclerc? Take away bahrain and what has leclerc done this year?

      1. You mean take away the first 5 races where he was either ordered to stay behind, or let Sebastian by?

        He would have been leading Vettel on merit if it wasn’t for team orders.

        Leclerc hasn’t been phenomenal this year.. And he’s made his fair share of errors.. But he’s still far more impressive than Vettel.

        1. @todfod Exactly! Don’t forget the Monaco blunder when he wanted to go out and was denied.

          Also, Leclerc does look like he learned from the Baku crash. Leclerc was already fast enough on medium tyres to make it through Q2. While Vettel couldnt cut it and had to go out on softs again. Instead they sent out Leclerc for another attempt on medium tyres. When there was no need to do so and then he went too far assuming he had to go faster giving it eleventy procent.

          It looks like he learned not to go too far and make sure you make it to Q3 instead.

          1. @f1osaurus
            “Also, Leclerc does look like he learned from the Baku crash”
            for me lec is the better overall package then vettel on every dept… when he fails and make mistakes like baku he admitted mistake and even called himself stupid that shows his humble behaviour, humility unlike his mate! if it was vettel did that, he would blame it on the apex stones/the wall/the russian spy fly who got into his eye/engine manufacturer/or tyre pressure loss on his rear right… but never himself!

          2. @mysticus True. It’s good that he finally got a chance to prove himself. He actually got quite close to Bottas in the end while Vettel couldn’t even get close to Verstappen.

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