Sebastian Vettel scored his 2nd podium finish this season, following his 3rd place in China. The German emerges once again as the best of the rest behind the mighty and dominant Mercedes, which obliterated their fourth consecutive 1-2 in 2019.
As Mercedes goes down in history, Ferrari appears flabbergasted over their lack of pace compared to their direct rivals. Despite bringing their first major updates this season, the Maranello-based team still stands second in the pecking order. "Obviously the last four races on average we were not quite there, [and] we are not the favourites going to Barcelona" commented Vettel after the race.
As for the general mood of the team, Vettel underlines that the hopes are high and motivation is there, with more to be brought to the table in the upcoming races. "But the team is in good spirits. We have another couple of stuff [updates] getting on the car so…we need to chase them [Mercedes] down.
"We are looking forward to a smooth weekend because our first four weekends haven't been that smooth. It will be crucial to catch them and turn things around."
It was highly anticipated that getting the tyres to the right temperature was going to be a tough challenge here in Baku, as Vettel later said: “The first stint was really poor, I really struggled to initially get the tyres to work. They were too cold and then I damaged them, and then they were hot and they were damaged. They were never really working.”
"I was really uncomfortable and inconsistent, and I couldn't get a feel or confidence with the car, that is usually not so good around here.”
Vettel delves into the second stint by explaining that the medium tyres turned things around compared to the previous Ferrari footwear. Overall it was just about finding the right set-up combination and getting the tyres in the right window. “After that, I was surprised, I was looking forward to a difficult stint on the medium tyres but no problems to switch them on and they lasted until the end with no problem. Much happier and much more confidence and I think we had some pace to go with them, sometimes put a bit of pressure”.