Kimi Raikkonen says Ferrari was never in realistic contention for victory in Sunday's British Grand Prix and concedes Mercedes was simply quicker.
Having been beaten to pole position by over 0.5s, Raikkonen was able to keep Lewis Hamilton within touching distance during the opening stint at Silverstone. Raikkonen's pace ultimately dropped in the latter stages as Hamilton opened up a comfortable buffer of over 10s, before the Finn suffered a dramatic front-left tyre delamination with four laps remaining.
After being forced to pit it looked as though Raikkonen would miss out on a deserved podium finish, until Ferrari teammate Vettel suffered a puncture -- also on his front left tyre -- promoting Raikkonen back up the order into third. Despite recording just his third rostrum appearance of the season, the 2007 world champion reckons second place would have been the maximum result the Scuderia could have achieved.
"We had a decent start but once we fell behind, we had no real chance to beat them," Raikkonen admitted. "We could have been second today but we didn't really have the speed against Lewis. Obviously we have some work to be done."
Ferrari has not recorded a Formula One win since the Monaco Grand Prix in May, with Mercedes taking three of the last four grand prix victories. It could have been a clean slate of wins had Hamilton's headrest not come loose in Baku, though Raikkonen does not believe Mercedes' recent form is a sign the team has gained a performance step over Ferrari.
"I don't know whether we're closer or not. I think the first part, yes but around the pitstops, probably not. So I have to say, obviously we have to look and try to learn. For sure the last few circuits hasn't been ideal for us.
"I'm sure Hungary should be a better circuit for us, and our strengths -- but we wait and see. Need to keep working hard and try to improve. Try to keep fighting as much as we can."