Binotto says Vettel 'not at his best' as Brawn thinks he's 'distracted'

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Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto believes Sebastian Vettel is "not at his best" after dropping out of a possible strong finish in Austria.

Both the four-time world champion and teammate Charles Leclerc benefitted from an attritional season opener at the Red Bull Ring to move up through the field following their miserable qualifying.

But whereas the Monegasque put in what he considered his best performance to date in F1 to finish second, Vettel spun in an awkward moment at Turn 3 as he and Leclerc battled the McLaren of Carlos Sainz.

“Well, to be honest, I’m happy that I spun only once,” the German said after the race.

“It was very difficult. It got very tight, I think Carlos turned in and I was just on the edge because I wanted to be as close as possible, and lost the rear.

“But to be honest I lost the rear a couple of times today. So as I said, I’m happy it happened only once.”

For Vettel, the race pace of his Ferrari was a step back compared to Friday, when he had the edge on teammate Charles Leclerc.

“We don’t know, we need to have a good look," he added on what had changed. “But for sure the car was really difficult today.”

While Ferrari boss Binotto acknowledged Seb's struggles with the car, he was still frustrated that the German couldn't adapt and back up Leclerc's result.

“When driving in such conditions, he’s not delivering on his best," he told Sky Sports. "The spin and the contact was certainly not a great action from his side, I think he’s conscious of it.

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“I think it’s a shame because today it could’ve been important to score points, especially maybe when our direct competitors are not scoring many points.

“It’s really a shame, but now we need to understand why the car was not behaving.”

Those comments are just another example of the apparent tensions between Vettel and Ferrari, which stem from Binotto's decision to replace Seb for 2021.

And F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn believes the knowledge of his looming departure is hanging like a cloud over the 33-year-old.

"It was a difficult start to Sebastian’s final season with the team," he wrote in a column for

"Everything must be swirling round in his head after he found out Ferrari did not want to renew his services for next season.

"Sometimes, the things that put off a driver are quite subtle. Sebastian has appeared surprised and shocked by what has happened and it must be a distraction, understandably so."