Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was astonished after the qualifying session by the speed of the SF16-H. The German could not deliver any answer for the questions why his car was not competitive after the strong and promising pace showed on a similar track in Japan two weeks ago.
Ferrari was caught by surprise during Friday’s outings when it realized that its car cannot keep up with the speed of rival Red Bull and Mercedes. That came as a real shock after Suzuka where Ferrari only got beaten by Mercedes in the qualifying and showed strong pace against Red Bull despite grid penalties for both its drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel.
”Qualifying was not so good, hopefully the race will go better. Surely we can try and look at different things, learn from today, go forward, and for sure we are not pleased with the gap to the cars ahead. It was not the best session for me: overall it was ok, the car felt fine, but in the end we were not just quick enough.”
Ferrari lost half a second in the first, three tenths in the middle and three tenths in the last sector of the track. The car was no match to its rivals in either sector of the high-speed track of Austin.
“For sure in Q3 I could have done a slightly better lap, but at the end of the day obviously we are missing a bit compared to the cars in front, so I think tomorrow could be a different day. Probably in my last lap I was a bit too aggressive. There remains a bit of a question mark at this point, at least on why we were so competitive in fast corners in Suzuka and here we are missing out; but then again we are missing out across all sectors.”
The quadruple champion can only hope that Ferrari can pick out the right strategy for today’s race.
“For tomorrow we’ll see, there’s always a chance to outsmart the people but I think we have to react on the fly. The strategy is set for the beginning, in terms the tires to start the race with, but we kept some new tire sets, so we’ll see. It could be an interesting race: tire degradation is always important, it could be playing a big role tomorrow,” added the German.