LE CASTELLET, France (AFP) – Sebastian Vettel conceded Sunday that he and Ferrari had failed to deliver at the French Grand Prix where they had aimed to halt or slow Mercedes’ juggernaut.
The four-time world champion finished fifth, having started seventh on the grid, while Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc came home third behind Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
After failing also in an attempt to overturn the penalty in Montreal that deprived them of a Canadian win two weeks ago, Vettel’s only consolation was that he recorded fastest lap in the dying seconds on a fresh set of soft tyres.
“Our objective this weekend was to close the gap a significant amount, which we didn’t do. So, in that regard, we failed.
“But that does not mean we are giving up,” said Vettel. “It’s pretty straightforward. We are fast in the straights and not so fast in the corners.
“So, depending on the track layout, some weekends are good for us and some weekends are worse. Hopefully, the track layout in Austria comes a little bit our way.”
Vettel added that his troubled weekend even threw up a gremlin on his final lap when he managed to clock a circuit record lap to take fastest lap of the race from Hamilton.
“It was quite tight,” he said. “We seemed to have a problem with discharging the battery in the final lap, so it was a bit strange.
“Otherwise, it should have been a bit more straightforward.”
After reeling off an eighth win in succession and extending their unbeaten run overall to 10 races, Mercedes now have a lead of 140 points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.