On his 250th career race start, Sebastian Vettel could not particularly do much. After suffering a crash in Qualifying, the team managed to put his SF1000 back on the track for today’s race.
Quali saw Vettel go off-track spinning at Turn 2 and hitting the side barriers. But ultimately starting from P14, the same old problems of Ferrari meant he could not turn the heat up and mount a proper challenge to virtually any driver on the track. For most of the race, he was stuck in the bottom half of the grid.
Team radio post gara di Sebastian #Vettel. #RussianGP #F1 #Ferrari #TeamRadio #Race #Onboard pic.twitter.com/2dXy5iBtaZ
— Alex Brunetti (@deadlinex) September 27, 2020
Sebastian Vettel ‘tried everything’ in the race at Sochi
Speaking over his team radio, Vettel stated, “The car was very difficult to drive. I really tried everything, but we’re going through the tires very quickly. I tried everything but not much I could do. So, struggling most this session.”
It certainly was a tough race for the 33-year-old German. Somewhere in his mind, the risk taken in qualifying not paying off would be detrimental to his race. The fact that the car struggled for much of the season offered no particular hope to his chances.
Seeing Charles Leclerc 30-40 seconds ahead of him would not bring him a lot of encouragement. It has further divided Ferrari fans into thinking either Vettel has slacked off or the car is naturally slow this season.
Where do Ferrari and Vettel go from here?
Vettel briefly battled Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Ocon for P10. But eventually, he found himself lacking the necessary speed to execute overtakes and inside line moves on rival cars.
What will be worrying for Ferrari is the fact that the Alfa Romeo and Haas cars outpaced Vettel. Kevin Magnussen and surprisingly, Antonio Giovinazzi were comfortably leaving Vettel behind.
In addition, Vettel’s move to the newly branded Aston Martin Racing team might mean that he is no longer motivated. Considering how the relationship has strained over the years, Vettel would not have seen today as a huge surprise.
He knows that his role at Ferrari is now limited to taking the team to a respectable position. With 7 more races to go and the next one in Nurburgring, the 4-time World Champion will realistically aim for a points finish.