Sebastian Vettel says he has faith in Ferrari ahead of the 2018 season. After winter testing, the general consensus is that Ferrari may not only be trailing Mercedes, but also Red Bull in terms of pace. But Vettel said testing can be deceptive.
Indeed, when the German did a record laptime late in the Barcelona testing season, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wasn't sure what to think. "We never drained the fuel or used the softest tyres, so it's only Saturday in Melbourne that we'll find out," he said.
Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas agrees, saying the reigning world champions "didn't feel the need" to push for every last thousandth in testing. A week before the circus arrives in Melbourne, Vettel says he isn't worried. "We're starting from a good base with our car," he said. "Now we'll have to work on development to further explore and improve its potential."
While that might sound like an admission that Ferrari is trailing, Vettel said the simulations done by Mercedes and Red Bull cannot be trusted. "I have a lot of confidence in our team. I know how skilled and committed the guys in Maranello are," he said.
"We did not experience any major issues with the car, and I had fun driving it while our competitors used one type of tyre for their race distance simulations. This is something you can't do in a grand prix. It has an impact on the strategies and ultimately on the result," Vettel added. "I can't wait to be in Australia, because once we get on track there, we will all be driving and racing under the same conditions."
Vettel told Sport Bild: "We can build on last season and we believe we know what screws need to be turned to improve. But it's important that our car is immediately competitive." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing