Ferrari’s dismal 2020 hit a new low at the Belgian Grand Prix, and an “extremely frustrated” Charles Leclerc had little encouragement to give.
But in 2020 the Scuderia’s fortunes took a sharp turn for the worse.
Leclerc started the 2020 Belgian GP very nicely indeed, making it up to P8 on the opening lap, but he quickly began to sink back down the order and when he pitted under the Safety Car a slow stop dropped him well outside the points.
The Monegasque driver would finish the race in P14, with Vettel just ahead in P13.
And with no points to show for his efforts Leclerc slipped to P5 in the Drivers’ Championship, whilst in the Constructors’ Championship Ferrari remain P5 with 61 points, though a double-points finish for Renault sees them move to within two of the Scuderia.
“It is extremely frustrating,” Leclerc told reporters after the race.
“It was a very difficult weekend for us. The race wasn’t exactly easy either. We had problems at both my pit stops. I lost some time and positions as a result.
“Then I tried to catch back up but then it’s very difficult for us to overtake, even with the DRS, so we need to work and find something, because like this it’s very difficult.”
BELGIUM RACE HIGHLIGHTS 🍿
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 30, 2020
Vettel was left hoping that Ferrari’s struggles were “Spa-specific“, and urged Ferrari not to become frustrated.
“On one hand, Spa is one of the most power-sensitive tracks and we struggle this year when it comes to power so naturally we would expect to fall behind,” he said.
“But the other one is that we were even behind the people we were quite a bit faster than, especially on race day, in the last couple of races, speaking of Alfa Romeo and Haas.
“So there’s something that is not exactly clear. I hope it will be Spa-specific but we have to work hard. There’s a lot of lessons this weekend and we need to make sure we stay strong, stay together and we do the best we can.
“We have two important races coming for the team in the next two weeks. That’s where we focus on. We also have to be realistic. You cannot expect miracles. The package is what it is.
“We are not as strong as we would like to be. So we need to stay optimistic and see the good things, even if at the moment there are not many.
“I tried a lot of stuff in the race, driving-wise, to try and drive around the car and its problems but the underlying factor is that we were just not quick enough. Then, at that stage, you cannot pull out miracles. You can work on a couple of tenths.
“It was difficult to have a decent pace this weekend. There’s lots of things that we learned. We need to make sure we stay calm and we don’t get frustrated because frustration is usually not leading you anywhere.”