Sebastian Vettel says comparing Ferrari’s tough start to the 2016 Formula 1 season to last year, when he won a race early on, is unfair.
Ferrari had a driver on the podium at each of this year’s first five grands prix but has so far failed to win despite demonstrating the pace to do so. Last year, Ferrari was coming off the back of a miserable 2014 season but had a strong campaign with three wins and as a result entered 2016 with higher expectations.
“It’s not fair to compare to last year,” said Vettel. “Last year we were in no man’s land. The gap was big to the cars ahead and big to the cars behind.
“This year by nature the gap is smaller – we are closer, we probably haven’t had smooth races like we had in the beginning last year, so things didn’t yet come together – which is also our fault.”
Vettel said key to improving Ferrari’s fortunes is getting on top of its problems in qualifying as he believes a win was possible in Monaco.
“It’s easy to explain if we nail it on Saturday more, which we have to, we have a better race,” he said. “In Monaco, we had a better race than Barcelona – we are talking about for sure a podium but [maybe] a win.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with the pace of the car. It is there but we struggle here and there, race and qualifying, to extract it. That is our job, so in that regard you can say we haven’t succeeded.”
Vettel also highlighted that Ferrari underwent a big overhaul in its structure and management through late-2014 and ’15, so is still early in what is a new project.
“You need to respect the fact we are fighting teams that have not had such a big shift in the recent past, team structure, management, whatsoever,” he added. “We started with a project that together we want to bring back to the top and now our targets are more ambitious than anybody else’s. They are bold targets but we are on the right track.”
FERRARI 2015 VS FERRARI 2016
Points after six races:
2015: 158 (-84 to Mercedes)
2016: 121 (-67 to Mercedes)
Lead driver in standings after six races:
2015: Vettel, 3rd, 98 points (-28 to leader)
2016: Raikkonen, 4th, 61 points (-45 to leader)
Podiums so far:
2015: 1 x 1st, 2 x 2nd, 3 x 3rd
2016: 3 x 2nd, 3 x 3rd
Average grid position (inc penalties) after six races: