The Scuderia Ferrari team saw Sebastian Vettel finish on the podium at the Spanish Grand Prix, coming in third behind the dominant Mercedes duo, while Kimi Raikkonen ended the race fifth behind Valtteri Bottas.
Vettel felt third was the best he could have hoped for during the race, and felt Lewis Hamilton was going to get through into second place sooner rather than later regardless of what strategy call the team made for the German after the Ferrari driver got ahead of the Mercedes driver at the start. He hopes that this apparent drop in competitiveness compared to the Mercedes team is temporary, with Vettel hoping Ferrari can make more gains with their upgrades in the forthcoming races.
“All in all, I think third is the best we could do for the pace we had,” revealed Vettel. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong, it think it was just something coming together and maybe this is not the best week end for us in terms of competitiveness, but I believe it’s probably more down to conditions rather then something being wrong with the car.
“For some reasons we didn’t find the same rhythm of the last two events, but I’m sure that in a couple of races we’ll come back stronger. In terms of strategy, we went for two stops because we thought it would have been the best choice for the race: we have to be fair and accept the fact that Mercedes was the best team today. I think we’re going in the right direction.
“We know that there is a gap, but we’re fighting very hard to close it. Unfortunately we didn’t make a big step this race, but I’m pretty confident we’ll make it soon.”
Team-mate Raikkonen reflected on a difficult weekend for the Finn, but insisted it was not a disaster due to salvaging fifth place on Sunday. He bemoaned having a car that slid across the track and could not keep up with the Williams of Bottas in a straight line.
“Overall, it has been a difficult weekend, but not a disaster and we learned a lot,” said Raikkonen. “In the race today we gained a few places, but I was not very comfortable with my car, as it was sliding around.
“Besides that, and for whatever reason, we are able catch the Williams but it’s very difficult to overtake them: they are very fast down the straights and once we get behind them, our car starts to be difficult to handle, much more than when you’re following other lapped cars.
“For the next races, we have to do a better job and we need to have more clean weekends, without any issue, even a small one, to make sure that everything works. We know where we have to improve.”