(Motorsport-Total.com) – “It was a very difficult race. The car was very difficult to drive.” This is Sebastian Vettel’s conclusion after the Austrian Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver fought in an inferior vehicle after three safety car phases and a spin from eleventh to tenth. A hard-won point for the four-time world champion.
“I had very poor braking stability. And it was incredibly difficult to drive with this rear end. It wasn’t nearly the same car that I drove two days ago,” Vettel radioed to his racing engineer after 71 laps. He seems perplexed and disillusioned – after all, the team-mate is on the podium with second place.
There are many reasons for the meager yield: a weak engine, a nervous rear end and an unnecessary spin. The following statement by the German in front of the ‘RTL’ microphone also fits: “Today I had a lot of trouble keeping the car on the track.”
Oversteer leads to a spin in curve 3
He had been tinkering with the engineers since Saturday to get more stability in the rear of the SF1000. “We took out the front wing, in other words tried to somehow get stability on the rear axle. We didn’t succeed until the end.”
Vettel fought with blunt weapons in the middle of the field. At first he played his tire advantage at the start – he started from 11th place on the medium – and overtook Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault (on soft tires). But the gap to the top did not suggest anything good.
In the first round, the Heppenheimer lost over six seconds in the midfield frenzy to Valtteri Bottas. He was stuck in a group with Lance Stroll at Racing Point, but he could hardly be dangerous for the “pink Mercedes”.
The losses of Max Verstappen and Stroll washed him up to eighth. When Vettel stopped in lap 26 under the safety car for the first stop, he was 38 seconds behind the leader, eight seconds behind Charles Leclerc. With a heavy car and on the somewhat harder tire, he lost around one and a half seconds per lap.
The misfortune followed in lap 31: after the restart, the four-time world champion tried aggressively to catch up on places. On the fresh hard tire he attacked Carlos Sainz on the inside lane in turn 3. But the two touched and Vettel turned.
Standing upside down in the direction of travel, he had to let all competitors pass on the Schönberg strait before he could start the race again in 15th place. How does he assess the situation afterwards? “I’m glad that I only turned once,” he admits in the ‘Sky’ interview.
Rank five to seven the maximum at the moment
“It was very difficult and got very tight. I think it was Carlos or one of the McLaren who turned the corner. I was at the limit because I just wanted to be as close as possible and lost the tail. But that’s it happened honestly a few times today, “Vettel reports.
Towards the end of the race, he benefited from further failures. In the second safety car phase on lap 51, he finally stopped a second time and picked up fresh soft tires for the last stint. However, in the last twelve laps after the third SC phase, he was no longer able to sprint.
Vettel finished 24 seconds behind Bottas and almost 22 seconds behind Leclerc. In the last stint he lost 1.7 seconds per lap to the top. He even had to be overtaken by Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi.
“It is definitely not the car that I had on Friday. I don’t know why, so we have to see what it is. We tried to find something yesterday, but everything seemed fine. Today was, I think , a continuation and confirmation that the direction is wrong, “the 33-year-old has to say.
With the top he can “not have a lot of say” at the moment. At no time was he able to make up for an offensive position or to intervene in the battle for the top positions. Some onboard shots suggest that he had to fight the car all the time to keep it on the track at all. “Today’s race was very chaotic. Of course, I had my hands full at the end.”
What would have been possible without the spin in turn three? “Under normal circumstances, fifth, sixth, seventh place is what we are made of.” The safety cars played into the cards of the German, but he cannot be satisfied with the outcome of the race. “It was quite entertaining in the end, but not the result I wanted.”
Binotto: Dreher was “not a great deal” by Vettel
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto is also not enthusiastic about Vettel’s performance and makes it quite clear to ‘Sky’: “It was certainly not his best race today. I think he was not comfortable with the car and the balance of the car . “
The Italian confirms Vettel’s statements that the Ferrari was significantly less drivable on Sunday than in the free practice sessions. “A driver cannot do his best under these conditions.”
The situation with Sainz also doesn’t speak well to Binotto: “As far as the lathe operator was concerned, it wasn’t a great move by him. He is aware of that. I think it’s a shame because today it would have been important to score points, especially if that our direct competitors cannot do. “