Vettel plays down Ferrari pace advantage

Date published: March 29 2019

Sebastian Vettel has warned people not to pay "too much attention" after Ferrari finished over half a second ahead of Mercedes in FP2 of the Bahrain GP.

Sebastian Vettel has warned people not to pay “too much attention” after Ferrari topped both free practice sessions in Bahrain.

After a thorough investigation into their pace issues during the season-opening Australian GP, Ferrari look to have returned with a vengeance in Bahrain.

Charles Leclerc topped the daylight FP1 session, before Vettel pipped his team-mate by 0.035s to finish fastest in FP2 and secure back-to-back 1-2’s for the Scuderia.

However, despite Mercedes being over half a second adrift after FP2, Vettel believes different set-ups played a part in the gulf.

“Obviously today the result was good and we were probably on a different strategy to other people so I wouldn’t put too much attention on that,” he told reporters in Bahrain.

“I think for tomorrow we still need to improve, especially Mercedes looks very fast.”

Despite the marked improvement, Vettel is not yet 100% happy with the car.

“The result is one thing but we still need to work and I think we can improve. That’s the feeling I had inside the car.

“For sure it was better than Australia but there’s still more in the car. Then I think if we unleash that then we should be in good shape tomorrow and hopefully we can be a lot closer and put Mercedes under pressure.

“I expect them (Mercedes) to be very strong in qualifying. Also keeping an eye on the Red Bulls, they looked very strong in the corners today. I think it will be very close. I hope it will be very close.”

Leclerc is already emerging as a strong challenger to his team-mate, and the youngster said he felt more comfortable in Bahrain as the laps went on.

“I felt more comfortable in the car lap after lap,” he explained.

“Now it’s all about putting everything together tomorrow.”

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