Sebastian Vettel kicked off his 2018 championship campaign in the best way, claiming victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. The German, however, concedes Ferrari has to work on its car.
The Heppenheim-born hailed his team for opting for an aggressive team-intern strategy. He was also happy that luck was on his side after last year’s China and Spain Gran Prix when he was robbed of victory to Lewis Hamilton due to unlucky timing of safety car and virtual safety car period.
”Today has been our day. The Safety Car helped of course, but apart from that, I think we did everything we could do as a team. So when something happened, we were ready to react. We did our job before the race, evaluating different scenarios, and then in the race we had the pace as well. Lewis was under pressure, he was fast, but not as much as he needed.”
The quadruple world champion acknowledged his new racing office, the SF71-H required lots of fine-tuning. Vettel does not have confidence under braking and on the entries to the corners which needs to be addressed if the team want to unlock the full potential of the new car.
“As for me, I need a little bit more of confidence with the car, which is not where we want it to be yet. There is a lot of work to do, but it is great to have both cars on the podium today. Yesterday in qualifying the car came alive, but it was still a little bit tricky, so we have some homework to do. I still need to drive around the issues more than I want to. I know exactly what I want, and we need to work on it. I believe the car has the potential we need.”
Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkönen started the race from the second position and ended up third. This was the best start to the season for the Finn since his win in the 2013 season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
“A win with two cars on the podium is a very good start of the season for the team. Maybe I have been a bit unlucky today, but at least the luck came to our team. Third place it’s not exactly the result we wanted, but it’s only the first race and the big picture is not too bad. So I happily take the third place.”
Räikkönen kept insisting that he was delighted with the car’s behavior. Despite having tested much less than his team-mate Vettel in the winter, the 2007 world champion has been more consistent over the weekend.
“Overall I was pretty happy with my car today, the speed was there all day. It’s nice to have a good feeling. For sure there are things to improve, but if the feeling stays like this we’ll have all the tools to fight. And this is the most important thing.”
“This is a quite special track in many ways, so let’s see what happens in the next race. Bahrain it’s not very straightforward either; from year to year we have seen that the hot conditions don’t give a 100 percent true picture. We need to be patient and do our best wherever we go,” concluded the Finn.