Sebastian Vettel on Ferrari's problems and making car 'happy'
"I don't know where he is right now, so if you find him, or if you've got his number, that grip guy... we've been looking for him for a while!"
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 31/05/19 10:06am
Sebastian Vettel believes he could get closer to Mercedes in a "happy" Ferrari car but admits the team are still struggling to find that sweet spot as they slip further behind their rivals in the championship.
Despite coming into the season with huge expectations on the back of a successful testing, Ferrari have endured their worst start to a campaign since 2016 with Mercedes dominating - winning all six races.
Ferrari, who boast the strongest engine on the grid, have shown glimpses of the pace most expected from them, but are yet to hook up a full weekend with a package that is high on power, but low on downforce.
"It's just because overall we are lacking downforce, a weakness that we know," Vettel, who has yet to win a race since last August, said. "I don't think the car is as bad as it looks.
"The results should be better here and there but it's very difficult for us to get the car in the window where it is happy.
"Certainly when we get it in there we're more competitive but still a way from where we want to be. That's really the key lesson: we need to focus on trying to get the car short-term more in that window."
Vettel also highlighted another key weakness; that the car is simply lacking grip. The 'grip guy' has been hiding from Ferrari for a while, as the German explained:
"Looking forward for the next three, four, five races, obviously make sure we improve the car, put more grip onto the car so that we can go faster, simple as that.
"But that guy seems to hide fairly well.
"I don't know exactly where he is right now, so if you find him, or if you've got his number, that grip guy... we've been looking for him for a while!"
Ferrari's performances have allowed Red Bull, or more specifically Max Verstappen, to emerge as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas' closest challengers in recent weeks - a scenario Vettel is not willing to settle for.
"It's not going to happen overnight," he added. "We need to work hard and pay a lot of attention to small things, to details in order to get closer and once we are matched I think we can put a lot more pressure on them.
"I will have a lot closer races but currently we are sitting too far away, behind Mercedes and probably a match on average with Red Bull is not where we want to be."
Optimism for Canada?
Ferrari, F1's most famous and successful team, are still waiting for their first victory of the season but there are hopes that Canada may suit their SF90 more than most other tracks, with several high-speed corners and one of the longest straights on the calendar.
"I don't think there will be any magic solution in Canada - the car is the one we've got here," team boss Mattia Binotto told reporters after Vettel's second-place finish in Monaco.
"It will be mainly the one of Canada, but it's a different track, different configuration, different compounds, different set-up."
Binotto continued: "[Mercedes] have still got the best and strongest car at the moment.
"So I think they are the ones that should be higher, but maybe the gap is closer. If there is any opportunity we will be ready to take it."
The Canadian GP is live only on Sky Sports F1 on June 7-9.
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