Vettel admits ’struggling’ with 2018 Ferrari
"At the moment we’re a bit worse off"
Sebastian Vettel has admitted he does not yet feel at home at the wheel of this year’s Ferrari.
As in 2017, the German kicked off his new championship campaign with a win — but he said he is not as happy as he was in Melbourne 12 months ago.
"At the moment we’re a bit worse off. Last year we had more pace at this point," he said.
Also true is that his teammate Kimi Raikkonen outpaced him all weekend in Australia.
Vettel admitted he is struggling with the 2018 machine.
"I’m not yet exactly there with the car, and if I don’t feel what I need to feel then it’s a bit tricky."
He said the 2018 car has "huge potential", but admitted that he also needs to improve from a personal point of view.
"I’m still struggling a little bit," said Vettel.
"I want the car to be spot on when I hit brakes and turn in, and in that window, I’m not yet happy. Of course it’s our job to drive around problems but if I could choose, I would like it a bit different.
"When you have confidence it makes a big difference," he continued. "If you trust the car, you don’t think for a second — you just go out and do it. At the moment, it just feels a bit too conscious."
Vettel’s Melbourne win was helped by the race strategy, with Lewis Hamilton majorly disadvantaged by the virtual safety car period.
But another factor was Vettel’s ’overcut’, with a pit radio message emerging that depicts Raikkonen urging Ferrari to not "f*** me up" through strategy.
Former world champion Nico Rosberg says Ferrari clearly sacrificed Raikkonen to help Vettel.
"Poor Kimi," he is quoted by Speed Week. "He was used to help Sebastian.
"But Kimi wouldn’t have won anyway, so it’s completely understandable that Ferrari had to try it in that way."