Ferrari thinks that if it can further improve its form in Q3 then it has the package needed to fight for victory over the remainder of the season.
Although Fernando Alonso has been the highest-scoring driver in the last four races, the team feels that its chances in the races are being hurt by the fact that Red Bull Racing and McLaren are able to extract more performance in the final dash for grid positions. Team principal Stefano Domenicali believes that is the area Ferrari now needs to address, because he thinks otherwise its car is pretty strong.
"I think that we have now a situation where from the performance in the race we are all there," he explained. "This weekend, in terms of the absolute result, there were a lot of things that could have changed the outcome, but in terms of performance – in qualifying, we have to improve Q3 because there is something that is still not there.
"The race pace is not too bad at all, and for these conditions [cool and wet race], the weather is perfect for the McLaren cars and the McLaren drivers. But if you look at the last four races in different conditions, always difficult, Fernando was the one that had more points than everyone else."
When asked in what way he felt the team was lacking in Q3, Domenicali said: "I think that we don't get the best out of our performance, independently from the others. It is clear that for example looking at Red Bull Racing in Q3, that it is maybe more conservative with some boost or power in Q1 and Q2 and they use it just for the qualifying lap. For sure there is always something more than what we can see looking at Q1 and Q2."
Domenicali also thinks that his team will be better off when F1 gets a return to warmer conditions, because it will help Alonso and Massa get their tires into the right operating window.
"Statistically, sooner or later the hot will arrive – I hope first of all in one week's time because I am on vacation with my family and to have rain there will be worse! But, seriously, for sure this is affecting our performance, above all when we have to warm up the tires in the crucial laps. For sure the heat will come, and we need to make sure that we are pushing the development of the car.
"We will have a track like Belgium, where we can have a good [race], and [for] Monza, a special package and also do the job. It is the second part of the season where we have to have a good race to get some victories, and then in the end we will see where we can be."
Domenicali has said his team will keep pushing to improve its car, even though Vettel is 89 points ahead of Alonso in the title standings.
"The championship is very difficult, but the only thing we can do is try to win the next couple of races, and then we will see," he explained. "Maybe Sebastian will start to struggle – it is difficult, I know; but I hope, and if we challenge them then it is still open from a mathematical point of view. Our aim is really to believe in and fight to the end of the year."
Domenicali also said that his aerodynamic department should perhaps learn some lessons from Felipe Massa's experience in Hungary, because the Brazilian set his fastest lap of the race with a broken rear wing following an early off.
"He lost part of the lateral rear plate, and I was just discussing with my engineers because Felipe set his fastest lap time like that. When I hear of aero people who are always [saying], 'This is a tenth of a second better so can we put it on the car?' and then looking at this result, it makes me laugh."