Enduring yet another dismal showing at Sochi, Sebastian Vettel finished 13th in the Russian Grand Prix. With the Ferrari SF1000 just not up to the required speed this season, it was difficult for Vettel.
However, the team gave an indication that their car was not the only one to blame for the performance. Using the phrase ‘lacking to overtake’ in their post-race report, Ferrari possibly wanted to shine the light on Vettel, claiming that he could have done better.
After suffering a crash in phase two of Qualifying, the Ferrari personnel went all out to get the car repaired. But the race highlighted the struggles and how the rest of the 2020 season could be on similar lines.
Vettel tried to put in a strong defense so that his teammate Charles Leclerc could close the gap. But in doing so, and coupled with his own tires’ degradation, it left him in dire straits during clutch moments.
Sebastian Vettel had a much more ‘complicated’ race than Leclerc
Echoing these thoughts was Ferrari’s Head of Race Strategy, Inaki Rueda. In an interview, he stated, “Lacking the speed to overtake, the undercut on Grosjean and Giovinazzi was on the table as an option.
“But that would have meant Seb spending practically the entire race behind Magnussen. Unfortunately, having been passed by Ricciardo on lap 27, his tyres dropped off. And after a few laps during which we hoped they might come back, we decided to bring him in on lap 30.
Although the Hard was very consistent, Sebastian lost time because of the blue flags. And there was not much he could do except settle for the 13th place from which he had started.”
Sebastian Vettel was very vocal about his desire to pit over the team radio. The 33-year-old driver had already gotten a hint of the immense degradation on his Medium set of tires. But despite his pleas, the team took a call of giving Leclerc the earlier pit stop priority.
It was what logic suggested too, considering how Leclerc was fighting hard for a Top-6 finish. Eventually, Vettel boxed in at around Lap 30. But by then, it was too late to be overtaking any of the cars in front of him.
Ferrari slightly optimistic about the remainder of 2020 season
Team Principal Mattia Binotto has already stated that the results in Sochi were not due to the new upgrades. And that it was more of the track conditions and downforce, that were relatively better suiting their cars.
But Ferrari is scheduled to bring in new bits, to collect more data from the remaining races this year. At the very least, they could make continual efforts in assessing and estimating what the 2021 season could bring for them.