Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2020

Lack of grip “feels like we are hitting a wall” – Vettel

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel praised his engineering team for their efforts to solve his grip problems despite failing to make the cut for Q3 in qualifying today.

The Ferrari driver told his team on the radio there was nothing left in the car as he returned to the pits after dropping out in Q2.

“To go faster I need more grip,” he said after qualifying. “I have to say compliments to my engineering group: We tried lots of things, I felt a bit better in the car this weekend but if you look at the stopwatch it seems to make no difference.

“So it feels like we are hitting a wall. I was happy with my laps and I don’t think there was more in my car.”

He ended Q2 three-tenths of a second slower than team mate Charles Leclerc, having switched between medium and soft tyres in a bid to improve his time.

“It’s obviously disappointing to be in 12th, disappointing to have a gap between the cars but as I said I’m doing everything I can,” said Vettel. “I don’t think there’s more in the car than what I did today.”

“We are where we are for a reason,” he added. “We are not fast enough.

“I think we get beaten fair and square by the people in front. It’s not that we got unlucky or something was wrong.”

Vettel predicted “it will be very difficult tomorrow to fight for points” in the race “but I will do my best and see where we are.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “Lack of grip “feels like we are hitting a wall” – Vettel”

  1. “feels like we are hitting a wall”

    He’d know :P

    1. @ezef1 Boom! Seriously though, these comments strike me as bizarre to say the least considering the other car is three tenths quicker – is he insinuating the cars are not equal?

  2. The whole situation about the car and technical issues it had is strange and I wouldn’t be surprised if we found out that Ferrari had thrown Vettel overboard some time ago. His results might suggest he’s not a driver he used to be but that’s not entirely true in my opinion, he’s probably lost a lot of interest since Ferrari’s in such a mess, but I have no doubts he’s trying all he can in that car. And still, he doesn’t say a bad word about the team. People who don’t miss a chance to humiliate him should note that.

    1. It’s a sad situation I still feel if he’s going to RP/AM he should negotiate a deal and mutually with Ferrari end his contract.

      I can’t understand in what world a driver of Vettel’s caliber will bolt on the soft tyre and still be 3/10th slower than his team mate on the harder tyre, something is definitely not right there.

      1. Bottas an Hamilton did their best time in q3 on the medium. At least it seems you can remove the tire performance of the equation. I believe Seb has the same equipment than Leclerc, but the team is probably not developing the car in the direction Seb wants and that can lake a big difference…

    2. Says the man who digs out Hamilton st every opportunity. Laughable. Embarrassing.

      1. Not true. While I find the aura built around him too much sometimes, I respect him as a talented driver. It’s rather the fanbase which tells the others to admire the best ever team and be satisfied with the current state of F1 that makes me ridicule their holy cow.

  3. We all can argue how much Vettel’s driving capabilities contributed in winning those championships with Red Bull, but he simply isn’t this much worse than Leclerc.

    I used to despise Red Bull’s dominance back then, and Vettel’s smiling face after each win somewhat annoyed me during my desperate wish for a competitive field. If he decides to retire, I’ll miss one of the best driver of his generation and also one of the most humble, intelligent and likable driver on the grid.

    1. you hated that finger just confes!

      1. Who didn’t? :))

      2. It was horrible. I hated it and I’ll happily admit it.

      3. Oh I did, I hated that “finger”.

      4. Slavisa (@sylversurferr)
        9th August 2020, 7:46

        I am not Vettel hater, but oh boy, I hated that “finger”.

  4. It feels like the media and most of the pundits have already forgotten about Hungary. He had an excellent weekend there.

    Vettel was never very strong at Silverstone. Last weekend he was struck by an intercooler problem, a pedal problem, another pedal problem and finally this weekend an engine failure. It’s like 2014 all over again for him: emotionally he’s down, his equipment is failing him, and he’s up against a very strong team mate.

    1. Atleast in 2014, podiums were possible. This year, they are almost impossible.

    2. …and he’s up against a very strong team mate

      This is the key @me4me. For a 4-time WDC I expect him to dominate his rookie team mates, but whenever there is a decent teammate, somehow car doesn’t suit him.

      1. Or is that when the car doesn’t suit him his teammates look better?

        He is known to favour a car with confident rear grip, this sensitivity to the car has stopped him from delivering the consistent results that someone like Hamilton or Alonso always managed.

        Ferrari are not delivering that in the current car, so to get the balance he wants, they will be dialling out the front end. Which makes him slow. Charles is doing a better job of dealing with it.

        If Seb ends up in a green Mercedes next year, it will be interesting to see if that car gives him the rear end he needs.

      2. You mean like Hamilton was dominated by Alonso? Did you expect.the.same.back.then?

      3. @rockgod

        When did Vettel have a rookie teammate?

        As far as I remember, the last champion to lose out by a rookie teammate was Alonso and arguably Jenson Button (against Vandoorne).

  5. What might happen if somebody else drives his car? Did they think to try that?

  6. The dangers of mixing metaphors….

  7. I understand where he’s coming from. Since 2018 our SF cars have been oversteery and twitchy in the back hence Raikkonen’s uptick in form in 2018.
    The 2018 Alfa Romeo had a lot iof undesteer and took time for Charles to adapt to it (Bahrain Qualifying) and for a guy that enjoys oversteer the SF90 was great news.
    It’s not great that Seb is uncomfortable in the 1000 but hopefully she comes back around and treats him right.
    But good news that he is saying positive things about his engineers. Hoping for a possible double points finish tomorrow.

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    9th August 2020, 13:03

    91 LH, 68 MS, 65 AS, 57 SV

    Suddenly Vettel’s Ferrari is running as slow as the Haas. Now is it because Vettel is driving slow or because his car is slower or perhaps both?:) Maybe Ferrari is trying to cheat him and he’s just playing along giving them exactly what they want and more.

  9. It’s one thing to get beaten out by your teammate, and quite another to be this far off the pace. People said a lot of similarly disparaging things about Grojean in 2018 (I think), and all the while he insisted there was something wrong with the car. Lo and behold, they finally swap the chassis and the one he’d been driving had a crack that seemed fine when in the garage, but under load would distort. I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar were the case here.

    I don’t think Seb has ever been happy with the cars after the regulation changes in 2014. And it’s not just him that found it difficult to come to grips with the on-the-nose, electrically assisted torque monsters the turbo hybrids turned out to be. The first few years, any time a tiny snatch of oversteer hit, the cars would spin and no amount of car control skill could bring them back, and it hit everyone from time to time. I don’t think Ferrari have ever really got it right, and the toxicity of that team culture hasn’t helped matters at all. They’re obviously trying to change that, trying new org strategies instead of sweeping through with the guillotine every couple years, but that’s a process that takes years to bear fruit.

    All that said, Seb is a professional race car driver in the top tier of single seaters. Other drivers have adapted their driving styles to fit the nature of the cars they have now, but it doesn’t seem like he has, nor has he even made noises to the effect that he has tried. Peter Windsor did make a good point recently that some drivers are more reactionary in their driving style, which is great when it works and terrible when it doesn’t, and that others instead focus on mastery over their car’s idiosyncrasies such that they might not be the quickest every time, but they can outperform their car when it’s not working as well as it should. I think it’s two poles of a spectrum, and he’s right saying Seb is closer to the former than the latter.

    In professional racing, that’s just not good enough. You can’t limit yourself to a narrow spectrum of performance relying on the car being to your liking (frankly this is true in pretty much any discipline where optimization and circumstances dictate constant compromise, which is almost all of them). Whatever else you might feel about Alonso, this is why he is one of the best of the best drivers in the world. He can adapt to anything he drives and outperform it. Hell, he even manages to do so in sim racing whereas other real world race car drivers tend to fair less well against sim only racers. Drivers currently on the grid that seem to do this best are Hamilton, Leclerc, Riccardo, Verstappen, Perez, Norris, and Russell.

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