Sebastian Vettel had an uneventful 2019 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit to finish in third position, his second podium of the year.
The German started in the same position but could not trouble Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the race to help Scuderia Ferrari‘s title challenge.
The four-time world champion blamed the temperature of his tyres as the reason why he was unable to challenge the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport duo.
“That was fun driving today, although not so much in the first stint when I couldn’t get the tyres to work and I didn’t have as much grip as I’d expected,” Vettel said.
“We were not quick and the performance was uneven because I damaged the tyres trying to get them up to temperature and then, once they were there, they didn’t give the performance I’d expected because, they were damaged.
“After the pit stop I really got a good pace and I had fun because I felt the car was fully under control and I felt free to push, even if it wasn’t enough to put our rivals under pressure. At the restart following the Virtual Safety Car, I set my fastest lap and I managed to get the gap to Verstappen to a second.
“I think that by then he realised he couldn’t attack me and so I was able to drop the pace a bit in the closing laps. Our pace was alright today, but not good enough.”
Despite Mercedes seemingly running away in both championships, Vettel has belief that Ferrari can continue with the work hard that will eventually pay off in the coming races.
“The whole team is working to the maximum and so I feel confident. I believe in this team and I know we can improve. We have a good car, but we’re not using it in the way to get the results we should be getting,” Vettel added optimistically.
“It’s like a Rubik’s cube where you have to have everything in the right order. We have a lot of clever people in the team who could solve that puzzle in less than two minutes, but in this case the cube is a bit bigger.”