Sebastian Vettel was once again at odds with Ferrari over strategy as tensions flared during the Spanish Grand Prix.
The four-time World Champion was less than impressed with the work done on the Ferrari pit wall last weekend at Silverstone, and once again there seemed to be a breakdown in communication at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Vettel had struggled to break into the top 10 during his opening stint, but after working his way up as high as P5 later in the race, as those around him made their second stops, Ferrari asked Vettel “What do you think about going to the end on this tyre?”
A frustrated Vettel snapped saying: “Ah, f**k sake, I asked you this before.
“I can do that. Let’s try. There’s nothing to lose.”
“Exactly, you’re P5, that’s what I was asking for,” his engineer replied.
It was another strong hint of tension existing over at Ferrari between the team and Vettel in the lead up to his departure at the end of the season, and the German racer explained the process of what seemed a rather chaotic strategy.
“It’s quite simple, we didn’t have anything to lose,” he told Sky F1.
“We were P11, I think we were trying to offset until the end of the race, we were catching the cars ahead and then they pitted for their second stop, but I was not in a rush to catch them and was managing the tyres.
“Then I was told to push, which I did, then was told, or asked if I could make it to the end and I said ‘well you could have asked that three laps before’, because I had asked a couple of times for the target, ‘how long do we want to go so that I can look after my tyres’?
“But I said we would try to make it, the last five laps were really really difficult, it helped that we got lapped to be honest.
“Obviously we took that risk because we had nothing to lose and it did pay off, but it wasn’t the plan before the race to do close to 40 laps on the soft tyre.”
— Sebastian Vettel #5 (@sebvettelnews) August 16, 2020
Vettel ultimately finished the race in P7, winning the ‘Driver of the Day’ award, but he wasn’t prepared to say that the Spanish Grand Prix was a step forward for him after a tough season so far.
“Mixed to be honest, still up and down,” he replied when asked if he felt an improvement.
“Some sessions feel better than others, the first stint was quite poor, the second stint I felt much more in control of the car.
“Still some work to do on my side.”