Sebastian Vettel says a software issue led to his lack of pace compared to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo qualified in an impressive second place, splitting the two Mercedes, while Vettel failed to make it out of Q2 after having his best lap compromised when Kimi Raikkonen crashed. However, it was clear that Vettel was struggling to match Ricciardo's pace and speaking after the session he revealed that updated engine mapping had not worked on his car.
"There wasn't supposed to be a difference, but today we had problems on my side, so we need to understand,” Vettel said. "Fortunately it worked for him so at least we have one car where it belongs. It at least made it round, but I struggled a lot when going on power so driveability was down.
"We know generally we are not yet where we want to be, with yesterday a lot better than today, which is the thing we need to understand, why it was worse today even though we programmed it to be better.”
Explaining the problem in slightly more detail, Vettel attributed it to the complexity of the new cars.
"There was a different set up in the car, a different software out take. With modern F1 cars there is a lot of software programming. It's not that easy for the drivers any more to understand what is going on."
Although unhappy about his own problems, Vettel said he was taking encouragement from Ricciardo's performance.
"Yeah, definitely. That was the main relief yesterday, that the car was performing, and it's now up to us to pull things together. But there is performance in the car, and that's the most important bit. We have a quick car, we just need to make it robust and reliable, although it's better to have a robust and reliable car and trying to make that quick."