Sebastian Vettel conceded that the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB14 of Daniel Ricciardo was ‘quicker than us’ as he finished second at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver had started second on the grid and was unable to get ahead of Ricciardo at the first corner or during the pitstops, and bemoaned not being able to get close enough to his rival to mount a serious challenge.
“Today, I was trying to get closer to the car in front and do something; but obviously if you get closer it doesn’t help with your tyres,” said Vettel. “In some corners you don’t really need power and Ricciardo was quicker than us.
“He was always able to open the gap and I was never really there.”
The Red Bull suffered an engine issue but Vettel admitted if Ricciardo did not have his issues, it would have been a lot worse for Ferrari.
“He could keep his pace and I think that perhaps it could have been worse for us if he hadn’t had some issues,” he admitted. “Unfortunately, there weren’t many chances to do something different.”
Tyres have been an issue all weekend at the Circuit de Monaco and Vettel struggled to get them into the best working range in order to fight Ricciardo at the end, and was not helped in the cause by Stoffel Vandoorne exiting the pits between them.
“I think it was tricky for us to make the tyres work the right way,” said Vettel. “Then, when the Virtual Safety Car came on, a McLaren was just exiting the box and took a lot of time, while I was struggling with tyre warm-up, and I think that was the biggest issue that cost me quite a few seconds.
“It took to me one and a half lap to get the rhythm back, but by then it was too late.”
Vettel’s second place reduced the gap at the top of the drivers’ championship to fourteen points and believes they can make the Ferrari better to continue the fight with Lewis Hamilton.
“There are so many races to go and I believe we need to understand our problems,” said the German. “We have a good car, but we can make it better.”