Sebastian Vettel revealed that Scuderia Ferrari struggled to get longevity out of their tyres during the Spanish Grand Prix, which caused the second pit stop that relegated the German from a strong second place to fourth on Sunday.
Vettel had jumped Valtteri Bottas at the start and had maintained his position after the first pit stop cycle, but a second stop for the German during the virtual safety car period saw him fall not only behind the Finn but also behind Max Verstappen, who was able to keep him at bay until the chequered flag.
Pirelli brought a modified tyre to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend with a reduced tread to try and combat any potential overheating, and Vettel felt that this had an influence on his race as Ferrari suffered more than other with the different tyres.
“Our tyres didn’t last as long as for the others, so we couldn’t follow the same strategy,” complained Vettel. “We had to stop again and we obviously lost two positions, and also a bit of time during the pit-stop itself.
“But staying out was not an option today. We had problems finding the right balance of the car and we were struggling with the front tyres. Maybe the changes for this weekend had a bad impact on us, worse than the one the others had.
“So, I am happy to go back to ‘normal’ tyres in Monaco as we seemed to struggle a little bit more than the others.”
Vettel admitted Ferrari was not as strong as the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team during the race in Spain, with eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton able to pull away from the German with relative ease in the early stages, but again he attributed some of this to the tyres.
“Today we just didn’t have the right pace, Mercedes was faster than us and we hadn’t many chances,” said Vettel. “We tried our best, but something was missing and we need to improve on this. During the whole weekend it has been tough to find the right balance on these new tyres.
“But I see no reason for not being optimistic for the next race.”