Sebastian Vettel has urged Red Bull to up their pace as he believes McLaren are “in front” in terms of long distance speed…
Sebastian Vettel has urged Red Bull to up their pace as he believes McLaren are “in front” in terms of long distance speed.
The reigning World Champion may be fighting Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso for this year’s Drivers’ Championship title, however, in Abu Dhabi on Friday the battle was between Red Bull and McLaren.
While McLaren topped the timesheets in the day’s first session, Vettel came to the fore as the sun set in the evening’s 90-minute practice.
The German was quickest on the medium Pirelli tyres and as the floodlights took full effect and the drivers swapped to the soft tyres he was once again quickest.
Vettel finished up with a 1:41.751, which put him 0.168s ahead of Hamilton.
“I think we can be pretty happy overall,” said Vettel. “I got a very good lap in on the soft tyres. The general pace the McLarens were in front of us.
“Obviously we push as hard as we can.
“I think we got enough running today. We’re not entirely happy yet with the car, I think we can improve it. We must do so for tomorrow in order to make sure we qualify as high up as we can.
“It’s not in our hands what the others are doing, so we have to make sure we get grid spot we can, and then we see whether it’s enough to beat the rest.”
As for the track, the surface
“The base wasn’t bad but I think it was quite slippery for all the drivers, all the cars.
“We saw many cars going off the track here and there, trying to explore the limits. That’s what we usually do on the Friday. We’re more or less there but as I said we need to improve the car for tomorrow.”
Asked whether he expected to be fighting Hamilton, who set the pace in FP1, for pole position come Saturday’s qualifying, he said: “It looks like!
“At least today the battle was on with him, he was very quick on the medium tyre, so we need to do a bit of catching up to make sure we are very close to them and possibly ahead of them tomorrow.”