Sebastian Vettel says he and Ferrari are hoping to validate answers it believes it has regarding its lack of pace at Formula 1’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Ferrari set the quickest time during pre-season testing and was expected to challenge for victory in Australia, but fell short, with Vettel only fourth, backed up by new team-mate Charles Leclerc.
Its subdued race display came off the back of a weekend-long sub-par showing, with Vettel qualifying seven-tenths of a second behind pole sitter Lewis Hamilton.
Neither Vettel nor Ferrari had a definitive answer for its lack of pace in the immediate aftermath of the race, but the four-time World Champion is optimistic of a better showing in Bahrain this weekend.
“Obviously there was a lot of reports and big analysis because we wanted to be in a different place,” said Vettel.
“So the last couple of weeks have been very intense.
“I think we have some answers, but as always you never get all the answers because we never get the chance to go back and repeat.
“Things move on, we’re here now in Bahrain on a different track but I think we learned some stuff about the car and ourselves that should help us to be more competitive here.
“I think we are not in a position to be making promises, the truth is we need to wait and see.
“It’s easy to quantify how slow we were in qualifying and to quantify how much slower we were in the race.
“There are some numbers that we can with confidence say that we should have been better or would have been better if we go back and repeat, but it’s all theory so we need to prove it on track.”
Vettel emphasised that his belief in Ferrari remains “even stronger” than before and pointed to the positives it was able to learn during the second half of 2018, in spite of its failed title tilt.
“Last year in the second half of the season when things went against what we hoped I still think there were plenty of positives: we built a very strong car and were able to develop that car until the summer break,” he said.
“Then we started to get a bit wobbly understand what was right with the car, we developed in the wrong direction and by the time we got it back there were three or four races that were crucial and we lost too much.
“Overall, there were positives. I think it is specific to motorsport and Formula 1 especially, if you win everything is fine but if you come second it must have been horrible.
“I don’t think so as we still had highlights from last year with plenty of positives and made a good effort to finish second.”