The Chinese GP weekend overall reads as a disappointment for Ferrari. Frustration could already be heard in Sebastian Vettel’s team radio after qualifying in P3 on Saturday, and a risky strategy did not pay off as expected on Sunday. A podium for the German champion and P5 for teammate Leclerc seem below what the team in Maranello has set for themselves. Let’s take a look at the drivers’ feelings after the race and at what went wrong.
Race pace and team orders
The pace shown by Ferrari in the Chinese GP was slightly less competitive than that of Mercedes. At this point, we have learned that the SF90 can deliver an impressive amount of speed on the straights, while being less performant in slow and twisty corners, such as those in Shanghai. For this reasons, the team had to go all-in for a slightly more courageous strategy. Charles Leclerc managed to get past Sebastian Vettel on the inside at turn 1, while the latter was trying to overtake Bottas. However, the two Ferrari drivers later swapped as the German consistently showed better pace that the Monegasque, in an attempt to take on the Silver Arrows. Two unexpected undercut attempts from Max Verstappen put even on the pressure on the #5 and #16.
The feelings in Ferrari after the Chinese GP
The words of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc are full of disappointment, but also hopeful for the next few races. Here’s what the German had to say:
“We are happy we got the podium, but overall we can’t be satisfied because we were too slow today. […] Also it was a shame we didn’t manage to finish third and fourth. In terms of calls from our pit wall today, the priority always lies within the team. […] I think we have a good car, but we are still not able to unlock its potential completely. […] We are getting an ever clearer picture of what we are lacking at the moment. I think the next few weeks will be important for us, so that we can get on the right road for the coming months”.
Charles Leclerc believes the whole team can do better, too.
“Today’s race wasn’t one of my easiest, since it looks like we didn’t have a good enough pace to fight at the front with our competitors. My start was good, then I think both Seb and myself were struggling with the tyres. We swapped positions and I thought he would have pulled away but he didn’t. This didn’t help my tyres because I had a bit of overheating and I lost some time. On my second set of tyres I hoped I’d be able to go all the way to the end. Unfortunately I had to stop again and so lost a place. We will sit down all together in order to understand what could have been done better and I’m sure we will come back stronger at the next race”.