Amid worries in Italy that the new Ferrari SF71-H may not quite have the race pace of Red Bull and Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel has played down these concerns by claiming that their main rivals are incorrect in how they tested race pace in Barcelona earlier this month.
In a Q&A released by Ferrari, Vettel explained, “Our competitors – Mercedes and Red Bull – used one type of tyre for their race distance simulations, which is something you can’t do in a Grand Prix. This has an impact on the strategies and ultimately on the result.”
With regards to tyre degradation the German said, “I think it’s quite normal that, after the first few days of testing, every team tries to get the tyre supplier to go in the direction that suits their car best. We think Pirelli has done a good job with their compound selection.”
The four times world champion is cautiously optimistic as Melbourne looms, “I think we’re starting from a good base with our SF71H car. Now we’ll have to work on development to further explore and improve its potential. I have a lot of confidence in our team, I know how skilled and committed the guys in Maranello are.”
Although Ferrari topped the timesheets with Vettel’s best lap time on the penultimate day fastest of all, while Mercedes topped the mileage charts at the end of the eight days in Spain.
Vettel reflected, “We did a good job in terms of mileage, totalling some 4,323 Kilometers of running. I have a personal best of 188 laps in one day, which is 875km and a total of nearly three thousand! We did not experience any major issues with the car, and I had fun driving it.”
Looking ahead he added, “I can’t wait to be in Australia because once we get on track there, we will all be driving and racing under the same conditions. And, as I said before, I have confidence in our car.”