Sebastian Vettel is confident that Ferrari will not suffer such a drop-off in performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix, having seen pre-season billing as favourites wiped out at the Australian GP. Vettel and Charles Leclerc came home fourth and fifth in Melbourne, well adrift of a dominant Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas took victory at Albert Park, after Lewis Hamilton had secured pole position for a sixth year in a row.
While Vettel was in position to capitalise on a Mercedes mistake 12 months prior and win the season-opener, he could only watch as the Silver Arrows streaked clear last weekend, ultimately falling into the clutches of Max Verstappen, who snatched the final podium spot for Red Bull.
Ferrari and Vettel bounced back from a pace deficit last year to win from pole in Bahrain, and the German says he will head to Sakhir more confident than a year ago, despite the difficult Australia weekend.
“I think we have all the tools, all the ingredients that we need,” said Vettel.
“We have a good car, we know it. Overall we’re not competitive enough [in Australia], but we will be back.
“Last year we left winter testing with problems on the car. It wasn’t behaving the way we wanted it, the way it should.
“This year was the opposite, the car was behaving the way we expected and it felt very good.
“That’s why we came here last year and the balance wasn’t right, because we had to cover up. We had a very poor rear end last year and felt we had to trim the car towards understeer a lot. That didn’t feel great.
“We managed [in Australia] last year, and the race pace was fine, but we weren’t there in qualifying. We got lucky in the race, but I think by Bahrain we had fixed all our issues from winter testing last year in the first race, and that’s why I think we all of a sudden unlocked a lot more pace for last year.
“This year, the problem that we have has nothing to do with what we have seen last year.
“Still all the car and all the numbers and so on make sense also, but clearly we’re missing something.
“I’m sure we’ll find something because we know that the car is better than what we’ve seen, not just [in the race] but the whole weekend.”