Sebastian Vettel has admitted that his car is not performing to the level that he needs it to be, but has added that he thinks the team can make “steps in the right direction” in the coming Grand Prix.
“I’m not yet where I want to be with the car,” Vettel said after today’s Chinese Grand Prix, “but it’s an ongoing process; hopefully at the next few races we will make some more steps in the right direction.”
“Our weakness isn’t in the corners, but on the straights. The first stint today was okay but after that I’m not sure what happened”.
Vettel had a strong start to the race, jumping team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and running in second place for the first part of the race. After that, however, Alonso had passed him in the pitlane and he was starting to lose ground to a charging Nico Rosberg who eventually got past him too. This left Vettel defending against his team-mate for the second race in a row, and for the second race in a row, Red Bull issued team orders against Vettel.
Vettel initially defied the orders, telling his engineer “tough luck”, but he later clarified that this was due to a misunderstanding over tyre strategies: “I moved over for Daniel once I knew that we were on different strategies. When I was first asked, I didn’t understand as we were on the same tyre, unlike in Bahrain, so I double checked.
“When the team said we were on a different strategy, I moved over and then, as the race went on, I saw more and more that I didn’t have the pace. There was no point in holding Dan back.”
Ricciardo has had the upper-hand on Vettel across all four races this season, especially poignant as Ricciardo only joined the team this year while Vettel has been with the team in 2009.
Image courtesy Red Bull/Getty Images.