Vettel plays down Ferrari pace on Day Seven


Sebastian Vettel has reiterated that Mercedes are still "the ones to beat" after Ferrari set a new marker in the first testing session of Day Seven.

The German set the new fastest lap of testing so far on ultrasofts despite lifting off in the final sector and also produced four laps under 1:19.5 on softs with a test-best of 1:19.341.

However, Vettel was keen to keep a lid on expectations and that not much can be gleaned from the lap times at this early stage of the season.

"Mercedes are still very fast if you look at their long-run pace," Vettel told reporters during the lunch break on Day Seven.

"They are the ones to beat. Historically, look at how slow they go in testing before ramping it up.

"Right now, it doesn't matter where we are here. You don't get any points now."

"If you look at the timesheets at the end of the day of course it's important to be somewhere up there but our target is just to go through our programme.

"We are a little bit behind but we are making progress."

"The team is working very hard and last year's experiences have helped us grow as a team."

Vettel was also quizzed about whether he was deliberately backing off in the third sector on his quickest laps during the morning session.

He added: "It's not always intentional. You could see what we were trying to do this morning. We were going faster than the rest of testing.

"I feel pretty happy inside the car but it is still early days. You need to look at more than one single lap time. We still have a lot of work to do.

"The team is working very hard. last year's experience has in many ways helped us to grow as a team. hopefully we can carry that into this year."