Vettel: Gap to Mercedes "too big" in China

Sebastian Vettel says his deficit to the Mercedes Formula 1 cars was "too big" in Chinese Grand Prix qualifying, and suggests Ferrari is still unable to replicate its pre-season testing form.

Vettel: Gap to Mercedes "too big" in China

After Ferrari had the upper hand on pure pace in Bahrain, Vettel led the way in the opening practice session at the Shanghai circuit – but Mercedes has had the upper hand since.

Vettel ended up qualifying third behind an all-Mercedes front row, trailing pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas by 0.301s.

Asked about the gap after qualifying, Vettel said: “It’s too big. We’d like it to be the other way round, obviously, but I think we had a decent session.

“It’s important if we can’t beat them to be right behind them, so we have some options tomorrow hopefully.

“On our side I think we were able to improve the car from where we were yesterday so I’m reasonably happy with that, but not entirely happy. I think there was a little bit more. It was a bit tricky today to put the laps together.”

Vettel said Mercedes “seemed to start off from a better place” in qualifying, but hoped to use Ferrari's superior straightline speed to give the Silver Arrows a challenge on Sunday, despite them being “bloody quick in the corners”.

“For us when we get close we have an advantage in a straight line so maybe we can do something there but the race is long. It should be a good day tomorrow.”

Nevertheless, Vettel conceded that Ferrari was still searching for the kind of form that allowed it to initially emerge as the pre-season favourite following two weeks of testing in Barcelona.

“We have a strong platform to work from. We started very well in Barcelona - that was really good, really strong. Since then I think we’ve struggled a little bit to repeat that.

“The past two races we’ve little issues here and there, so you’re not happy and you try to drive around the problems, try to set up the car differently.

“I think we’re getting more and more there, understanding some things related to different tracks. But as I said, the car is strong, so it’s up to us to extract the performance.”

More from Chinese GP qualifying:

shares
comments
Hamilton "experimenting" in qualifying after handling issues
Previous article

Hamilton "experimenting" in qualifying after handling issues

Next article

Verstappen explains "quite normal" Gasly Q3 block

Verstappen explains "quite normal" Gasly Q3 block
Load comments
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Prime

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021