Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari’s pace during Friday practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix was an effective answer to the speculation over the team’s form last time out in Austin.
The FIA issued a technical directive regarding the way fuel flow meters are handled by teams ahead of the United States Grand Prix, and a poor Ferrari performance in the race prompted talk that the directive had impacted on its power unit advantage. But Vettel led a Ferrari one-two on Friday, during which the team once again held a clear advantage in terms of straight-line performance.
“To be honest, I don’t care so much,” Vettel said of the speculation. “We look after ourselves; we try to do our job. Obviously Austin was not a good Sunday for us. It’s a bit sad nowadays that people swing to one direction so quickly but that’s what it is. We have to deal with it and the best way to deal with it is to ignore it and just get on with your job.
“Generally, opinions swing so quickly nowadays. It doesn’t take much — it takes one and a half hours and everything is completely different. It takes one race only to make that up. I think the main thing for us is to focus on ourselves and hopefully give the right answer on the track.”
Despite topping the times, Vettel was not completely happy with his car’s handling but is confident improvements will be made ahead of qualifying at Interlagos.
“I think it was OK. Obviously not an easy day with the conditions and so on and not so much fluent running, but it was OK. I think we understood what the car needs, and now we take it from there and hopefully we can improve it. I believe we can, and we must. Pace was OK on one lap, but not peachy for consecutive laps.
“We need more grip, which is not so easy to find, but I think we can balance the car a little bit more which should make the long run a bit more pleasant.
“We can look at all the small things — there are a lot — and make sure we nail those. The car was decent today but I am pretty confident we can do a step forwards.
“In the race it will be difficult because others looked quite a bit faster than us, but that’s pretty much in line with the picture we’ve seen the last couple of races, so no surprise. As I said, the main thing is that we work on ourselves and be in better shape for the rest of the weekend.”