‘Mercedes is at ease, Ferrari having to stretch’

Date published: March 3 2020

Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

With testing done and dusted, Sebastian Vettel predicts Mercedes head to Melbourne “on top” as the Brackley squad seems to be “more at ease” with its 2020 car.

Mercedes set the pace in pre-season testing, in fact finished with the two fastest times.

Valtteri Bottas was quickest on both Fridays with a 1:15.732 followed by a 1:16.196.

Max Verstappen was second fastest overall ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc.

Vettel’s best was only good enough for ninth.

“It just looks as if Mercedes is more at ease,” he told Autosport.

“Not just for the one lap, which is what people look at, but just in general, also the [long] runs.

“I think we also had some runs that were better, some runs that were worse.

“It’s a bit hard to tell, with the time of day, track conditions, then I don’t know what people are doing in the background.

“Obviously we tested some stuff that was very good, other stuff that wasn’t good, so it also has an impact on lap times.

“Probably if you look right now, Mercedes is at the top.

“Every time they go out, they are fairly quick with ease, whereas others I think need to stretch a bit more.”

The teams now have an opportunity to work on the cars at their home bases before heading to Melbourne.

Vettel admits he’s not confident about Ferrari’s chances at the Australian GP but believes whatever the outcome Ferrari can and will improve as the season progresses.

“I think we see enough with six days of running – you know roughly where you’re at, but come Australia, things may look different,” Vettel said.

“We’ll really see where we are in the first two races. I think you have a good picture, and then take it from there.

“Right now, maybe we are not at the top of the timesheets every day, so maybe not the favourites, but let’s see where we are in Australia.”

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