Sebastian Vettel has downplayed Ferrari’s one lap pace during the final pre-season test in Barcelona, despite topping the times by over a second.
On his final day in the car, Vettel posted the fastest time of pre-season testing so far with a 1m17.182s on the hypersoft tire, some 1.178s clear of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas. With Mercedes splitting running between both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to complete race simulations during both the morning and afternoon sessions, a comparison was not possible on low fuel, but the defending champions looked strong on long runs.
“It always depends what you do,” Vettel said of the final lap times. “It’s the wrong conclusion to look at the timesheet; there’s a lot more than one lap. I think today the track was also quite fast, but we were running a slightly different program to others.
“It’s just a time. There’s been a lot of times; what’s important is the car was working all day. We did nearly 200 laps, so that was good. Overall the conditions were better than yesterday. It’s always difficult to compare, but it matters in a couple of week’s time – that’s when it’s serious.”
Vettel refused to be drawn on whether he feels it has the potential to fight for victory in Australia, but said the one certainty he can be pleased with is the car’s reliability.
“Well we still need to work on the performance and feeling,” he said. “I think in terms of reliability, it’s rock solid. Hats off to all the guys in the factory. There’s so much planning involved and trying to squeeze out everything. Fingers crossed it stays like that. It’s the major ingredient if you want to do well.
“We made some good progress [in] understanding the car, so we can be reasonably happy with the amount of laps we did, the running we had. So I hope we have another good day tomorrow. Kimi [Raikkonen] obviously wasn’t that lucky last week so he needs some catching up. We have plenty to work to do before heading to Australia.”