Ferrari set sights on Mercedes


Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has rallied his troops and urged them not to focus on the likes of Williams and Red Bull, but instead try to reduce the gap to Mercedes.

The Italian squad appear to have found their mojo again as they were the fastest team after Mercedes at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel finishing third after Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg from Merc.

Arrivabene believes it is important to focus on those ahead of Ferrari.

"Our goal, we were looking forward to Williams, to Red Bull, at the beginning. Now, we need to start to be a bit more convinced about ourselves and to reduce the gap with the Mercedes guys," he said.

"We were, since Barcelona Friday and also Saturday, quite convinced by what we've got in the pocket. So we were not really concerned.

"It's a pity that Bottas was not there because then it was giving us a kind of clear benchmark. But I think that we need to stop thinking about second.

"We need to start to think and looking forward for the first."

The Scuderia didn't have a problem-free race in Australia as Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire after the team failed to attach his rear-left tyre properly during his pit stop.

Arrivabene was seen talking to the mechanics after the incident and he later explained: "I simply said 'Calm down, be focused, don't worry'. Things like this happen.

"Seb, of course, was happy because his dream comes true – to get a podium with Ferrari is something really special for a Formula 1 driver.

"Concerning Kimi, I was going straight away to talk with him. What you need to do with a driver, you need to understand and you need to keep him up, otherwise if you're going to celebrate with one and ignore the other it doesn't work.

He added: "The two guys are working very well together and my job is to keep the right balance and to make Kimi confident."