Vettel troubled by Ferrari gap to Mercedes, Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel said having nothing to lose heled him pip Charles Leclerc for third place at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but he remains downbeat at finishing a minute off Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Vettel extended his opening stint in order to take soft tyres to the end, giving him enough pace to pass Leclerc in the closing stages.

Despite securing his second podium in succession, Ferrari‘s inability to take the fight to Mercedes and Red Bull was not lost on Vettel.

“Obviously I was sitting in P4 with nothing to lose, so we stayed out very long in the first stint. Just hoped the softs would last until the end, and they did,” he said.

“I think it was the fastest tyre at the end, so we were able to close the gap. I had one opportunity which I took, so, happy to get some champagne now, and a cool down.

“But we couldn’t match the pace of these two [Hamilton and Verstappen], that was quite clear the whole weekend.”

Trips to Spa and Monza may bring things back into Ferrari’s favour after the summer break, but Vettel is not so sure.

“Lots of work ahead of us, but [it will be] good for the guys to get a break, the guys have been working very hard. For us to charge out batteries a bit.

“The battle continues. There will be tracks that are better for us, but overall we need to get stronger.

“I don’t know what other people do in terms of updates and power units, on the engine side.

“On paper, they look better for us, but still, we have margins in the car.

“It will be a busy break for us. I don’t think anyone’s mind can rest in the two weeks. Maybe we can come up with some new ideas for the second half.”