Despite Ferrari’s seeming lack of pace compared to Mercedes at Monza this weekend, Vettel isn’t immune to the little book of driver excuses after being beaten in a race.
The German driver reported that during the last 20 laps of the 53-lap race at Monza, he had an issue with his steering allowing the charging Daniel Ricciardo to close in on 3rd place finishing just four seconds down.
“I went into Turn 1, then there was a crack and I think something broke,” said Vettel.
“The left side of the steering was a bit down and I couldn’t trust the car on braking.
“It is a braking track, so the last laps didn’t show the pace I could have done.”
It is believed the issue caused Vettel to lose around half a second a lap to the next Mercedes up the road. Even so, that would only account for 10 seconds total race pace so it was clear that Ferrari got something seriously wrong at their home GP when finishing around 35 seconds to the winner, Lewis Hamilton.
‘I think we just screwed up,’ Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne told RTL television. ‘The set-up for the car was wrong. I think we underestimated the circuit.’
Vettel is three points behind Hamilton with seven of the 20 races remaining, and Ferrari are 62 points adrift of Mercedes.
‘For me, it looks like this weekend Ferrari have taken a step back,’ said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff after another one-two finish for the Silver Arrows.
‘I think we were very solid, but they (Ferrari) have not performed in the way everybody expected.
‘Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo started from the back of the grid, and almost finished third, which suggests something is out of synch here and not how it should be.’