Sebastian Vettel's race at Interlagos was hampered by a sensor issue that caused his pace to drop during the Brazilian Grand Prix. Vettel crossed the line in sixth place, behind the two Mercedes', Red Bulls and teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Before the race got underway, Vettel was hit with the problem when he tried to pull away on the formation lap. The car didn't get away well, forcing him to make up a number of positions to reclaim his second place starting slot.
“Right from the formation lap, we became aware of a problem with a sensor on Seb’s car,” said team principal Maurizio Arivabene. “This meant that for the whole race he had to run different settings to those we would have normally used and that made the car difficult to drive.”
Adding to his woes, Vettel says that the team's tyre strategy wasn't favourable. The Scuderia outfit started on the soft tyres which failed to help in the long distance. After switching to the medium compound, Vettel couldn't mount a challenge.
"I don’t think it was an advantage today to start with the tyres that we had,” said Vettel. “We thought it was, it turned out not to be the case. [We] struggled to get the tyres to work properly and [were] sliding quite a bit so not a good race.”
"I thought [our tyres] were OK straight away but they were just not fast enough in comparison. The super-soft didn’t struggle enough, let’s put it that way. You could see that they had maybe two or three laps where they would get some pain, where I thought now we are quids in. After that, they were fast before and fast after that phase.
“The super soft was fast, faster arguably, and they lasted also long enough. I don’t think before the race anybody thought that super-soft/soft strategy was feasible but it was actually not a problem.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing