Sebastian Vettel: We are not the Favorites!

Sebastian Vettel in Melbourne 2019

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari want to fight back in Bahrain. It seems that Ferrari has done its homework. No traces of stress, at all. Sebastian Vettel (31) came extremely relaxed and balanced to the media meeting at the Ferrari Hospitality. He joked with the reporters, first in English followed by jokes in German with the German journalists.

They asked him if he would wear his new look (now definitely mustache) in honor of Britain’s racing legend Nigel Mansell. The mustache was the hallmark of the 1992 World Champion. “It’s possible” laughed Vettel, “I like Nigel and appreciate him very much, he was a lion in his car.”

Also, the question of why the track in Bahrain suits him so much (he is the most successful pilot in the desert with four victories) he couldn’t answer completely seriously: “That’s because of the pot we get here, this cup is by far the best of them all, huge and heavy as it should be.”

Sebastian Vettel  in Bahrain

Sebastian Vettel gutgelaunt bei der Ankunft in Bahrain. Credit: ABMS

Then he got down to business in a more serious tone. “We found some answers as to why we were not in Melbourne where we thought we should have been, but there are no definitive answers, so we’d have to go back to Melbourne.”

The Heppenheimer still believes in the SF90’s potential: “In Melbourne we lost time mainly in slow and medium-speed corners, but not in ultra-fast ones, but in Barcelona we were fast everywhere, even in the last, slow sector of the track.” Therefore, he suspects: “The track in Melbourne is different from Barcelona, ​​but we were hoping for more, so it was mainly the balance of the car we never really found in Melbourne.”

Later he gets even more specific: “The aerodynamic specification we opted for in Melbourne was probably not the right one, and I lost time in the second stint because my set of tires just did not have the grip I hoped for.”

ABMS and F1 Insiders ask: “Does that mean that you had the wrong parts in Australia and that the set of tires in the second stint was a so-called ‘Monday tire’?

“To question one: We certainly had the right parts with us, but we didn’t use them. To question two: I just know that the same tire compound on Friday developed a lot more grip under similar conditions.” And also had an explanation for the lack of top speed compared to Mercedes and Honda in Melbourne: “This is also related to the balance problems. Basically, we had an efficient car in 2018 with less downforce and therefore higher speeds on straights. This year, the car has much more downforce, but that’s what we aimed for.”

That might be the case, but there was one important development in 2018. That year, Ferrari, lost half a second to Mercedes in Melbourne as well and two weeks later in Bahrain Ferrari was on top again. Vettel to ABMS and F1 Insider: “In 2018, the downforce of the diffuser in Melbourne abruptly stopped frequently, resulting in unpleasant understeer, but we were able to eliminate the problem until the next race in Bahrain. This year there hasn’t been a major flaw on the car.”

In regards to predictions for Sunday, Vettel is professionally cautious and modest: “We certainly closer to Mercedes. They dominated two weeks ago, so it would be presumptuous to call us favorites here in Bahrain, but of course, we have the hope that we will regain the strength we experienced throughout the test in Barcelona at the beginning of this year. “


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