Sebastian Vettel has played down Ferrari's deficit to Mercedes in the Spanish Grand Prix, maintaining the new upgrades are an improvement and suggesting the team simply 'underperformed'.
Despite bringing a raft of upgrades to the first European round of the season, Ferrari appeared to lose ground to Mercedes in terms of competitiveness, even if Vettel and Maurizio Arrivabene maintained the car was still a step forward.
Reflecting on the race, though Vettel finished third, he was disappointed with the 45secs margin to winner Nico Rosberg. Even so, he remains certain the upgraded car is better than that result suggests.
“The gap for sure was not satisfying and with all the new parts on the car we expected to get a bit closer,” he said. “I think in this regard, it's not a good result and we did not succeed, but I still think we made a step forward and for some reason we underperformed in Barcelona we had more or something else wrong in the car.
“I'm confident that it is the right way to go and we are keeping the parts for the race here and trying to understand as much as possible. We had a test straight after Spain so we could try some things that had maybe stood out and then we will see where we are at the next races.
Looking ahead to the Monaco Grand Prix, though there are concerns that the car will struggle in comparison after losing out in the slower elements of the Circuit de Catalunya, Vettel says it is hard to tell until practice gets underway.
“This is a bit tricky because it's not a normal race track, it is a street circuit and it is quite a bit shorter than other tracks. You need different things to be quick, but I think in the next two or three races we will see how close we are.
“It's true that in Barcelona in the last sector we were not that competitive, but maybe that is down to the fact that we underperformed in Barcelona rather than something being wrong with the car. Hopefully we will be as competitive as the average at the first couple of races.”