Sebastian Vettel has admitted that the Ferrari Formula 1 car is not feeling as good as he hoped, after finding himself half a second adrift of Lewis Hamilton, following Ferrari’s strong winter test.
Vettel ended Friday Practice 2 in second place, splitting the Mercedes, but trailed Lewis Hamilton by 0.5 seconds.
The Ferrari driver was adamant that the Ferrari hasn’t changed massively from Barcelona pre-season testing and believes that the sweet-spot can still be found overnight to be more competitive for qualifying, however downplayed its Friday Practice single lap deficit to Mercedes.
Asked if the gap to Mercedes from Free Practice is representative, Vettel said: “I hope not.”
“Today is not really that important if you look at the final standings which is one lap.” Vettel said.
“Overall it’s been OK. I think we can still improve. The car doesn’t feel as good as it should. We recently had to do a brake repair, so we know the breaks are good.
“We’ve been very happy at testing times looked good but here is where it matters. The car hasn’t changed much and it’s good to be back but we can still improve.
Amid signs that Ferrari’s test pace may have been unrepresentative, the German was asked to differentiate between 2016 and this year, as the media predict a 2016-like mid season downfall for the Maranello team.
Vettel, however has warned that Ferrari’s Melbourne pace in 2016 was strong, and it was the Red Flag and a bad strategy call that cost the team victory last year.
“One year ago we came with high expectations but it’s a completely different year so I don’t think there’s much point comparing.”