Scuderia Ferrari started the 2019 Formula One season with a lot of expectations, but Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc did not have the slightest chance in Australia against Mercedes. The German driver had to settle for fourth place, nearly one minute behind race winner Valtteri Bottas, while Red Bull was faster in the race than the Scuderia, as Max Verstappen overtook Sebastian on the track.
Asked whether Scuderia Ferrari would have won the race in Barcelona in the current form, Sebastian Vettel said: “We do not race in Barcelona in February, so it makes no sense to think about it. But I understand the background of the question.” The background of the question is clear: have Mercedes and Red Bull improved so much since the testing session which took place two weeks ago or has Ferrari made a step back on the Australian circuit: “That’s exactly what we currently do not know.” – admitted Sebastian Vettel.
“It’s different this year than last year” – the four-time Formula One world champion continued – “Last year we came out with problems from the winter tests, this year the opposite was the case, last year we had a very bad rear end, so we had to tune the car to understeer, this year the problem was quite different – but so far we have no answer.” Scuderia Ferrari lost most of the lap time mainly in slow and medium-fast corners: “In the fast corners we were good – and that is an indication of a good car,” says Sebastian – “In slow corners, the mechanical grip outweighs the aerodynamic. Here it is important to make the tires work.” – he explains.
But even at the top speeds the Ferrari cars did not look very good. No Ferrari-powered car was ahead in the speed rating: Kimi Raikkonen in seventh and Romain Grosjean in twelfth place were the best in this ranking, as the remaining four Ferrari-powered drivers landed in the final four ranks. Even if Ferrari is still in the dark, a doomfull mood does not prevail in Maranello after the weak start: “We have all the ingredients and we also have the car for it.” – Sebastian Vettel in certain, as teammate Charles Leclerc adds: “This track is not necessarily representative.”