Australian Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel acknowledged that Ferrari aren’t yet where they think they should be, after a low-key day for the Scuderia.
Friday was a day that saw the Italian team seem to lose their way a little as it progressed. The morning session, held in cooler conditions with a green track, saw the Scuderia exactly where one might expect them to be, fighting at the very front.
Sebastian Vettel finished the first practice session in P2, just 0.038 seconds behind pace-setter Lewis Hamilton on the Soft tyre. However, the second session saw Hamilton find a second of pace on the same tyre. Vettel, in contrast, could only find 0.2 seconds and finished FP2 in P5 and almost 0.9 seconds off the front.
The Ferrari driver was unconcerned as he spoke to media afterwards, saying he felt it was just a tricky day where the team are yet to unlock their true pace: “Maybe we were not as fast as possibly we wanted to be and could have been, but it’s Friday, after all, so it doesn’t really matter. I am sure that by December 1st no one will remember how fast we were on March 15!”
The Ferrari didn’t appear to be quite as malleable as the Mercedes through some of the faster sweeps of the Albert Park circuit, and Vettel acknowledged that he didn’t feel quite as hooked up as he had during testing in Barcelona. The track temperatures climbed considerably over the two hours between FP1 and FP2, to conditions representative of those that are forecast for qualifying and the race, and Vettel says the handling just wasn’t quite there: “I am still lacking a bit of confidence, it was a tricky day for us, as it probably was for everyone. We are not yet where we would like to be, not so much in terms of lap time but more in terms of car feel and handling. We didn’t really get into the groove and into the rhythm, which is quite important round here on such a bumpy but I think that tomorrow will be a better day and if we can get that confidence back, then there’s a lot of lap time in that.”
“There were bits of the session that were really, really good and we can build on, so now it’s all about stringing it together and having a better day tomorrow. The night is long and our engineers are very smart. I am relaxed”.