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Ferrari: No explanation for Austin slump yet

Motor Sport 2019-11-06 22:33:00

Although Sebastian Vettel missed out on pole position to Valtteri Bottas by just 0.012 seconds, in the race Ferrari hit trouble from the start.

First Vettel fell down the order complaining of tremendous understeer, while Charles Leclerc could not keep up with the cars ahead as he struggled for grip.

Speaking about what happened, neither the team nor the drivers had a clear understanding of what went wrong.

"Not yet," explained team boss Mattia Binotto on whether he understood the performance swing from Saturday to Sunday. "It is as simple as that. Not yet."

Leclerc said: "On the first stint especially, I have got no explanation for that. Something really felt wrong, and we need to analyse and understand what was wrong with that.

"On the second and third stints, it was not as bad as the first one. We were still slower than the leaders but not as much as the first stint. So I think we need to analyse what happened on the first stint."

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He added: "I had a lot of problems with the front in some of the corners, and it was pretty inconsistent all throughout the first run. But to be completely honest I have no answers to tell you what was wrong. It just felt like really, really poor grip."

Ferrari also says there was no obvious explanation as to what caused the huge understeer Sebastian Vettel suffered in the opening laps – although it could be linked to the suspension failure that eventually put him out.

Binotto said: "It is not clear even if the suspension was broken from the very start – it could be. He [Vettel] got the initial feeling immediately that something was wrong with the car, so we may believe the suspension was broken.

"But from the data, and where eventually it has been broken, is not clear yet."

Vettel thinks that the Austin race issues were not representative of the team's true performance, and is hopeful there will not be a repeat in the final races.

"I think it was clear that something didn't work," said the German. "Obviously we have been not just a little bit behind but significantly slower, so I hope it is not an issue for the last two races. The mindset is clear. We want to win."

Leclerc added: "There are no reasons why it should continue so we will keep pushing."