Vettel confident Ferrari can solve ‘Rubik’s Cube’ vehicle

12 May, 2019, 03:44 | Author: Nicole Aguilar
  • Mattia Binotto and John Elkann

"The performance has fluctuated in the first four races", said the Austrian. While the five-time world champion is under contract with Mercedes until the end of next season, the prospect of radical regulation changes for the 2021 season will at least persuade him to consider one final blockbuster move to the oldest and most prestigious team in the sport.

On single-lap pace, Ferrari had a 0.3s deficit to Mercedes, and the gap extended to 0.4s to 0.5s on like-for-like long runs.

Asked about his comments, Vettel told a news conference: "The auto, I've tried". The Finn had been quickest in both Friday sessions. But in terms of finding a setup, Barcelona is much more familiar ground and there are far fewer excuses for starting on the wrong foot with setup. "But in terms of the pace of the vehicle, there's not that much difference between us and Ferrari".

Hamilton told reporters he had just not done very good laps, although he was still quick enough to secure a Mercedes front-row lockout for Sunday's race. So, could Friday's woes be solved with a better understanding of the data and some setup tweaks overnight? "But this is a thing that can be fixed and also things that are not un-normal when you are putting new parts on the vehicle".

"We are going to put our main focus on trying to improve in this sector".

But drill a bit deeper into where Ferrari is losing time and it's a familiar picture that emerges.

The forecast ahead of this weekend at the Barcelona Catalunya circuit shows dry conditions throughout practice through to Sunday's race.

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"The last four races, on average, we were not quite there so I think we are not the favorites going to Barcelona", said Vettel, victor with Red Bull in 2011, after finishing third in Azerbaijan. Hamilton has been humble and gracious so far as Bottas has gone toe-to-toe with him - as exemplified by their first lap battle in Baku - but this weekend has hinted he won't be quite so accommodating in future. "I like the track, I like the challenge, I like racing with the fans behind me".

"It's always an interesting day when you're bringing new parts to the auto to get a feel for it and see if they bring the performance they should", said Bottas.

"The auto felt really good today, completely different to how it was in winter testing, and it seems like our cornering performance has improved", Bottas said.

"I guess we were hoping [to be closer with upgrades]". "It's always such a special occasion and I can't wait to see all the fans in my grandstand, I'm looking forward to seeing it in full papaya!".

Hamilton, meanwhile, revealed why Mercedes still has some cause for concern when it comes to engine power and Saturday afternoon.

"We're working flat out trying to make sure that we have the fastest vehicle on the grid and that we win all the races that are left". "If ever we part, it will be very positive, no drama".

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