Whereas Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc was racing to a podium result, Sebastian Vettel’s Austrian Grand Prix was far from as impressive, with the German struggling to a tenth-place finish on Sunday.
Vettel, who will leave Ferrari at the end of the current campaign, started the race outside the top ten after finding himself eliminated during the second phase of Qualifying on Saturday, and his early progress was hampered by a spin when challenging McLaren F1 Team’s Carlos Sainz Jr. at turn three on lap thirty-one. Sainz, ironically, will replace Vettel at Ferrari in 2021.
The spin dropped him to the back of the field, but despite being in a car that ultimately finished on the podium in the hands of his team-mate, Vettel was unable to make any significant progress and was the penultimate finisher in tenth. It was the first time in his long career that he finished tenth.
Vettel acknowledges that he knew early on that he did not have the speed to be able to challenge even the midfield runners, with the German finishing just behind Alfa Romeo Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi at the chequered flag. The only driver who finished behind him was Williams Racing’s debutant Nicholas Latifi.
“It was a disappointing race for me, even if we knew beforehand it would be tough,” said Vettel, who will go into the second race at the Red Bull Ring hoping for better luck. “I struggled for the entire race, already after the first two laps, just as I had done in quali.
“The balance and speed I had on Friday just slipped away from us and I was really struggling to keep the car on track. So now we have to try and find out why in the hope of doing better next weekend.”