|Perhaps Binotto and Vettel are blind. If you look closely at the details of the Mercedes car design it's clear it's a far more sophisticated design. The Ferrari looks anemic in comparison|
A distant fourth wasn't what Sebastian Vettel was expecting in Melbourne, where the German driver was at a loss to explain Ferrari's sudden drop in speed.
Solid performance in pre-season testing indicated that the Scuderia would likely show up in Australia as the class of the field, but practice sessions, qualifying and race day surprisingly contradicted that expectation.
"We were just slow," bluntly said Vettel after crossing the finish line some 35 seconds behind dominant winner, Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas.
"[I had] way less grip. In Barcelona, we were very happy with tire life from day one. The balance was right, the car was responding to what I was asking it to do and I had a lot of confidence.
"All weekend, summing up, I didn’t get the confidence I had in Barcelona, I didn’t have the car underneath to play around, it wasn’t doing what I was asking.
"There were glimpses – here and there we were strong.
"Our performance in some corners was good, but the majority of corners it wasn’t, that’s why we were slower than other people and lost out today."
Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto was equally quizzical about Ferrari's relative lack of pace, suggesting tires – or rather the SF90's inability to exploit them efficiently – were a critical point.
"We struggled with the tires, we tried different set-up approaches, but we never got the right balance," he admitted.
|Aldo Costa produces another design masterpiece for Mercedes|
"We were lacking grip. Do we understand that yet? Probably not. We need to go back, analyze all the data and assess what happened."
After a scrappy start which saw him inadvertently pushed off the track by his team mate, Charles Leclerc took a long 31-lap first stint, after which he closed upon Vettel where he remained as team orders freezed the red cars' positions.
"The top-three was not reachable today, but we'll work to try and understand what went wrong" said Leclerc.
"Melbourne is also quite a strange track which never really represents the reality of things. We'll work on our side but I don't think we're that far.
"We were quick in Barcelona so there is no reason our car isn't quick anymore. So I'm pretty confident that our pace is somewhere there."
Aldo Costa's Championship Winners – He has no equal
|No.||Seasons||Constructors' Champion||Drivers' Champion||Cars||Engine|
|1||1999 FIA Formula One Season||Ferrari||N/A||F399||Ferrari|
|2||2000 FIA Formula One Season||Ferrari||Michael Schumacher||F1-2000|
|3||2001 FIA Formula One Season||Ferrari||Michael Schumacher||F2001|
|4||2002 FIA Formula One Season||Ferrari||Michael Schumacher||F2002|
|5||2003 FIA Formula One Season||Ferrari||Michael Schumacher||F2003-GA|
|6||2004 FIA Formula One Season||Ferrari||Michael Schumacher||F2004|
|7||2007 FIA Formula One Season||Ferrari||Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen||F2007|
|8||2008 FIA Formula One Season||Ferrari||N/A||F2008|
|9||2014 FIA Formula One Season||Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||F1 W05 Hybrid||Mercedes|
|10||2015 FIA Formula One Season||Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||F1 W06 Hybrid|
|11||2016 FIA Formula One Season||Mercedes||Nico Rosberg||F1 W07 Hybrid|
|12||2017 FIA Formula One Season||Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||F1 W08 EQ Power+|
|13||2018 FIA Formula One Season||Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||F1 W09 EQ Power+|
|14||2019 FIA Formula One Season||Mercedes (Guaranteed)||Hamilton or Bottas||Guaranteed|