Sebastian Vettel believed a podium finish could have been possible had he enjoyed a better qualifying session after being forced to settle for fourth at the Hungaroring on Sunday.
The Scuderia Ferrari had qualified fifth on Saturday, and despite making a good start was unable to improve his position heading into the first turn, instead gaining a position due to strategy to jump ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Vettel felt he was stronger towards the end of the Grand Prix in Hungary than the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, but was unable to find a way passed due to the circuit not being conducive to overtaking.
“I was hoping for more today,” admitted Vettel. “I had a good start, maybe too good, because the run into Turn 1 is very long, so I had to get out of the tow a bit too early.
“It was bit of a shame because I was stuck in fifth position from then onwards. Then I knew everything would have to go through strategy and pit stops and so we overcut Verstappen.
“We were much stronger at the end of the race, maybe a couple of tenths, but unfortunately not quick enough to pass. If I had been able to, I would have done more, but I tried everything until the end, we were on a good strategy, we had more pace at the end but as I said this is one of the most difficult tracks for overtaking.
“With a better position yesterday, I think we could have finished P3 without any problem. We are not happy to finish fourth, because we have to win, we need to improve here and there, but I think the difference with Mercedes is not that big as it looks. They seem to be better managing their tires and that makes for a big gap over a number of laps.”