Sebastian Vettel has compared Ferrari’s current predicament to trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube, in the wake of trailing Mercedes once more during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Ferrari and Mercedes appeared closely-matched pre-season but only in Bahrain has the Italian outfit displayed potential race-winning pace.
In Azerbaijan Mercedes stormed to its fourth successive 1-2 finish while Vettel came home in third position for his second podium in a row.
It leaves Vettel 35 points adrift of title leader and Azerbaijan Grand Prix victor Valtteri Bottas, but he has repeated his belief that Ferrari has a fundamentally strong package.
“Our pace was alright today, but not good enough,” he said.
“The whole team is working to the maximum and so I feel confident. I believe in this team and I know we can improve.
“We have a good car, but we’re not using it in the way to get the results we should be getting.
“It’s like a Rubik’s Cube where you have to have everything in the right order.
“We have a lot of clever people in the team who could solve that puzzle in less than two minutes, but in this case the cube is a bit bigger.”
Vettel nonetheless conceded that he struggled for performance on the Soft tyres during the first stint of the race.
“I didn’t have as much grip as I’d expected,” he said.
“We were not quick and the performance was uneven because I damaged the tyres trying to get them up to temperature and then, once they were there, they didn’t give the performance I’d expected because they were damaged.
“After the pit stop I really got a good pace and I had fun because I felt the car was fully under control and I felt free to push, even if it wasn’t enough to put our rivals under pressure.”