Vettel doesn’t expect Ferrari to fight title contenders

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Ferrari has set its sights on beating Red Bull in tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and believes Mercedes is out of reach, according to Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel was quickest in the final practice session before qualifying but wasn’t expecting to be able to take on the silver cars.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
“After this morning we were expecting a bit more, not really to fight the Mercedes, but to beat Red Bulls,” he said.

“I don’t think we were any slower, but we didn’t get the lap together when it mattered, probably we were a bit on the aggressive side trying to anticipate the track conditions. For tomorrow it should be positive, for tonight it was a bit too much.”

Vettel said he was “not really happy” with his qualifying effort after taking fifth on the grid. “I was struggling a bit with the balance of the car to start with.”

“In the end it was good, but then in the last lap I had a bit of a messy last sector. I saw a bit of smoke from [Max] Verstappen ahead, enough to lose a bit of concentration.”

The Ferrari should be more competitive tomorrow, according to Vettel, but he doesn’t expect to be involved in the fight between the title contenders.

“The car feels good, we managed to improve it today,” he said. “Mercedes are a bit far away, but we hope to get ahead and be in front of Red Bulls tomorrow. We are on the softer compound, which should give us an advantage off the line and for the first lap.”

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    13 comments on “Vettel doesn’t expect Ferrari to fight title contenders”

    1. No one expect much from Ferrari, Seb, don’t worry.

      On a serious note, it’s quite worrying that Kimi managed to outqualy Vettel over a season. Problems aside, that shouldn’t happen and I think it shows how uncharacteristically out of shape Seb has been this season.

      1. And yet magically finished above him in the points. There’s ZERO for him to worry about.

        Also, when .057 of a second is the deciding factor that separated them over the entire season, I’d say it’s not something to be read into as much as some are doing.

      2. Race position > Qualifying

    2. :D YEAH! @fer-no65 Either Seb is underperforming or Kimi is overperforming… Or car is plain bad and they are doing the best they can on similar level…

      Judging by their body language and overall statements.. Seb is underperforming and Ferrari is second class as always… ever since Kimi won title. (Long time ago).

      Still great job Kimi for winning quali battle. Kinda reminds me of Nico winning title so far, despite Lewis being better.

      Here we have Kimi being a better qualifier than Vettel…

    3. @fer-no65 @jureo It bothers me how many people are saying Vettel is underperforming just because he is on par / slightly slower than Kimi. I don’t see it that way at all.

      I think Kimi has risen back to the level where he was in his Lotus years. Back in those days we had a consensus that Kimi, Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton are together best drivers of the grid. Who is the fastest of that group remained subjective, but overall everybody thought those four drivers are above the rest.

      Now Ferrari changed their suspension to push-rod suspension, which has helped Kimi greatly. Kimi has been much more approving regarding the feeling of the car this season, and that has enabled Kimi to use all his undeniable potential.

      I think both Ferrari drivers have been doing good job this season. If they both were underperforming I’m sure Ferrari wouldn’t have given a new contract to Kimi and they would’ve been looking an options to replace Vettel. Neither of those have happened.

      1. People say that because he is the guy who is there to be the future. Kimi is just filling space.
        Kimi is driving well? Vettel is supposed to be beyond that, and he is not.

        He looks less and less to be the guy Ferrari needs to start a project from scratch and get somewhere.

        1. Lol. Think you need to check the stats again as a refresher. It’s the tool that’s the issue, not the artisan

          1. That can be said about most guys there.
            If he can’t overcome his “tool’s” limitations, then he is not that good.

            1. Like I said, go refresh yourself on each and every one of his stats to date and then pause for thought.

      2. @huhhii well it all boils down to standards… Kimi is as good as he ever was in last 5 years… Hard to say about 10 years ago Kimi, when hr was maybe even better ..

        Vettel meanwhile clearly is not on the level of his championship years or even 2015 season. He made many racing errors, and is not his usual epic self.

        Maybe both drivers are excellent and just the car ia bad. We would only know if Awesone Kimi would be in Mercedes trashing Hamilton like NR… Only thrn maybe car is good and Lewis is underperforming? Impossible to tell.

        But certainly on paper he is keeping up with Vrttel, second best qualifiet and race winner in F1 today.

    4. @huhhii @fer-no65 @jureo don’t worry, guys. Vettel always find something to ruin Kimi’ race if he was lost quali.

      1. Vettel tried to often to push the car beyond its limits, the results is a number of mistake preventing him to continue like the first part of the season. When qualifying battles were on his side. No doubts. Moreover, without the roll bar problem in Singapore, the qualifying battle outcome would be different.
        Finally, if you think that a driver sets his car up just for the quickest lap on Saturday, you are so far from reality: race is on Sunday and Vettel has always had a better pace than his team mate, especially the last ten races. I am not looking at overall results, but at the pace in the same conditions (tires, fuel, traffic…).
        Talking about some cents or less, with such an unstable car, when you are called to push to the limit is a nonsense.
        And… regarding the championship standings, being ahead of Raikkonen, with more unfinished races is not so bad, if Kimi is said to have done a great season.

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