Sebastian Vettel admitted Ferrari will have to learn lessons from their Belgian Grand Prix horror show if they’re to give the Tifosi anything to cheer in Italy. The four-time champion finished up 13th at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday with the SF1000 comfortably outpaced by the Mercedes, Red Bulls, Renaults, AlphaTauris, Racing Points and Lando Norris’ McLaren.
Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc was a place worse off as even the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen got the better of the Ferraris.
The German was hopeful the team’s woeful weekend in Belgium would have been race-specific as they gear up for back-to-back races in Italy.
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The F1 circus makes its way to Monza next week before Ferrari celebrate their 1000th Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit they own.
Vettel said Ferrari need to go back to the drawing board if they’re to avoid further embarrassment in their home races.
“On one hand, Spa is one of the most power-sensitive tracks and we struggle this year when it comes to power so naturally we would expect to fall behind,” said Vettel. “But the other one is that we were even behind the people we were quite a bit faster than, especially on race day, in the last couple of races, speaking of Alfa Romeo and Haas.
“So there’s something that is not exactly clear. I hope it will be Spa-specific but we have to work hard. There’s a lot of lessons this weekend and we need to make sure we stay strong, stay together and we do the best we can.
“We have two important races coming for the team in the next two weeks. That’s where we focus on. We also have to be realistic. You cannot expect miracles. The package is what it is.
“We are not as strong as we would like to be. So we need to stay optimistic and see the good things, even if at the moment there are not many.
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“I tried a lot of stuff in the race, driving-wise, to try and drive around the car and its problems but the underlying factor is that we were just not quick enough. Then, at that stage, you cannot pull out miracles. You can work on a couple of tenths.
“It was difficult to have a decent pace this weekend. There’s lots of things that we learned. We need to make sure we stay calm and we don’t get frustrated because frustration is usually not leading you anywhere.”
Ferrari’s straight-line pace was a real issue in Belgium and that does not bode well as they get set to return to the Temple Of Speed.
Vettel admitted he has to look back to better times there with another difficult weekend in prospect for the Italians.
“Good memories [of Monza],” said Vettel. “Obviously, my first victory [in F1 with Toro Rosso] about 12 years ago. I have to look to my past. Obviously great memories in the last couple of years with so many fans.
“It will be very different this year. I think we would need the support but it’s a different situation we’re in. It is Monza. It means a lot to the team, to us and we will have to keep fighting.”
Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 campaign, with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz set to partner Leclerc from next season.
Leclerc insisted nothing but hard work would solve Ferrari’s problems as they face missing out on a place in the top three of the World Constructors’ Championship.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Leclerc. “It’s been a very difficult weekend for us. The race was not any easier.
“We’ve had issues on the two pit stops I’ve made, which made me lose quite a lot of lap time and positions. Then I tried to catch back but it’s very difficult for us to overtake, even with the DRS. We need to work and find something because this is very difficult.”
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