Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari has failed to meet its French Grand Prix targets following a dominant 1-2 from Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, while it was a poor showing on and off the track for the Italian squad.

Ferrari came into the French round galvanised having led the entire Canadian Grand Prix only to lose the race with Vettel being hit with a five-second time penalty for going off track then impeding Hamilton in the fight for the lead.

But when Ferrari’s appeal hearing was thrown out on Friday by the FIA due to the lack of new evidence, plus a mixed reception to its upgrades including a new front wing, the Italian squad looked crestfallen unable to match the pace of Mercedes at Circuit Paul Ricard.

With Vettel only recovering to fifth place from a poor qualifying which saw him start the race in seventh, he accepts Ferrari is continuing to fail in its targets as it loses further ground in both the drivers’ and constructors’ title race.

“It’s pretty straightforward that we are fast on the straights but not fast in the corners. So depending on the track layout some weekends are better for us, some are worse,” Vettel said. “I think this weekend the big objective was to close the gap by a significant amount which we didn’t do. In that regard we failed but that doesn’t mean we are giving up.

“Everybody is fired up even more. We have to understand why some of the parts didn’t work and hopefully by next week we have some answers to try something again and may be the track layout in Austria can come a little bit our way as well.”

Vettel also believes the hot temperatures at the French round hampered its pace compared to Mercedes given its struggles on getting the 2019 Pirelli tyres in the best operating window.

“I think one other factor here is that it was quite hot,” he said. “The tyres struggled and we’ve seen not for the first time if we struggle with the tyres over one lap or consecutive laps the more grip you have the more you look after your tyres.

“Again, that’s favouring Mercedes rather than us, giving us the weaknesses that we have.”

Vettel remains third in the F1 drivers’ standings but is now 76 points behind leader Hamilton, while Ferrari trails Mercedes by a whopping 140 points in the constructors’ championship.

 

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