Vettel 'wants to think less' with 'tricky' SF71-H

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel has admitted that he's still struggling to get comfortable with the new 2018 Ferrari.

That's despite his dramatic win over Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in the Australian Grand Prix season opener last weekend in Melbourne.

"I'm not yet exactly there with the car," he said this week. "And if I don't feel what I need to feel then it's a bit tricky."

Vettel had been running in third place early in the race and admitted that he'd been falling back from the leaders during the opening phase.

"Towards the end of that first stint I lost a little bit the connection to Lewis and Kimi ahead. I was struggling a little bit with the tyres," he said. "Obviously I was praying for a safety car."

And a safety car - or a virtual one at least - was what he got when one of the Haas cars stopped on track.

Both Hamilton and his own team mate Kimi Raikkonen had already made their pit stops. However Vettel was now able to do so under VSC conditions, and it put him into the lead of the race.

If it hadn't been for that turn of events, Vettel acknowledged that third place might have been the best he could have done.

"I think the car has huge potential but yeah, I’m still struggling a little bit," he admitted afterwards.

"I think if we also compare to where we’re still a bit weak, it’s where I also feel that the car is not yet there.

"What am I missing? When you talk about something that you miss as a driver, the car doesn’t respond the way you like and it’s still sliding in places you don’t want it to slide.

"I want the car to be spot on when I hit brakes and turn in," he continued. "In that window, I’m not yet happy, so it’s always sort-of a compromise.

"Of course, it’s our job to drive around problems that we have," he conceded. "But if I could chose, I would like it a bit different.

"It’s not a big drama," he insisted. "I think we can live with it. But I feel also if we get on top of that then you feel more confident.

"That’s exactly where it makes a difference: if then then have the confidence and you trust the car, you don’t think for a second, you just go out and do it.

"At the moment, it just feels a bit too conscious. So, let’s hope I get to think less, and we need to think less in the next races.

"A track like [Albert Park], when you have confidence it makes a big difference," adding that gusty winds had also been a factor on Sunday.

"You always try to push but equally to try to be a bit safe – because you don’t want to throw it away," he said.

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