Russian Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Maurizio Arrivabene & Sebastian Vettel say the remaining races should suit their car more than the Sochi Autodrom did.
Ferrari looked incapable of seriously challenging Mercedes throughout the entire weekend in Russia. Outpaced throughout practice and comprehensively beaten in qualifying as Mercedes locked out the front row, the race was a little stronger in that Vettel was briefly able to get ahead of Lewis Hamilton through an undercut at his pitstop. However, Hamilton was quickly able to stalk his prey and pounce into the braking area of Turn 4 and reclaim position back from the Ferrari before teammate Valtteri Bottas acquiesced position and the race victory to him.
With Vettel consigned to finishing P3 and thus losing more ground in the Driver’s Championship with just five rounds remaining, Vettel said Russia just didn’t allow them to make any inroads: “Today the feeling with the car was very good and I was able to push, but I just wasn’t as fast as the others. Obviously, today it was better than yesterday in terms of pace, but it wasn’t enough to put pressure on our competitors. We tried everything and I am happy that we got a podium finish, but obviously this is not the result we were looking for.”
“My start was good, but there wasn’t much track space for me and I could go nowhere. After pit stop we were able to overcome Lewis, but he could pull ahead more than us and at the end there was nothing to do. We lost some points during the two last races and it doesn’t help, but we have our plan to follow and hopefully we can make some progress in the races to come. Maybe the next couple of tracks are better suited for us, we will know when we get there. We need to keep pushing and try; who knows what will happen in the next races.”
Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene said that, throughout the entire weekend, ‘something was missing’: “Right from Friday, the Sochi weekend was rather a difficult one for us. Despite all our efforts to find the ideal set-up, neither on Saturday nor in the race were we competitive enough to worry our closest rivals. Compared to the way we performed at other circuits, something was missing here and so we were unable to reduce the points gap.”
“On paper, the next race in Japan should have very similar characteristics to the one at Silverstone, so in Suzuka, we will get a more precise indication as to the potential of our car. If it goes well, we will know that, despite the difficult situation in terms of the classification, we still have the right tools with which to fight all the way to the very end.”