Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Vettel: Mercedes have more performance in hand

2017 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel has played down claims Ferrari has become the team to beat in Formula One after its promising start to testing.

The four-times world champion set the quickest time of testing so far on the morning of the seventh day of running. But he is sure Mercedes have more performance in hand.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Testing day seven in pictures
“People forget historically how slow they were going in the test, how much they were able to ramp it up for the races,” said Vettel. “It’s clear that they are very fast if you look at their long-run pace, et cetera.”

“They are the ones to beat. For us it doesn’t matter exactly where we are now, we are growing, we need to work hard. It’s important not to get distracted.”

Vettel set the benchmark time for testing so far despite backing off on several of his quickest laps towards the end of his lap. He said the team was “just trying to run to our programme”.

“Sometimes you go faster, sometimes a bit slower. But you could see this morning what we were trying to do and we’re going faster than the rest of the week and last week. I think it’s pretty clear.”

“I feel pretty happy inside the car,” he continued. “It’s early days. It doesn’t really matter here.”

“If you look at one simple lap time, we need to look at more than that and in that regard there’s still a lot of work to do. We need to do more laps. We have one-and-a-half days left so we can get a lot of laps in this afternoon and another good feeling for the car and hopefully a good finish to the test tomorrow with Kimi [Raikkonen] in the car and then we’ll see.”

Vettel admitted he had gone off briefly during the morning which had put the team’s programme back slightly. “I think we’d like to have done more laps by now,” he said.

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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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  • 23 comments on “Vettel: Mercedes have more performance in hand”

    1. Vettel had gone off? Where? He had a spin?

    2. He’s right! Mercedes is enjoying the focus being elsewhere. Being so dominant seems to be rubbing people the wrong way these days. Better to let Ferrari grab all the headlines while they focus on dialling in another monster of a car. Good luck to everyone else come Melbourne.

      1. So whats your job title at Mercedes?

        1. Minister for Propaganda. He’s worried lol.

          1. Such has been the pace difference between Vettel and Ricciardo on this second stint that the two cars started the stint nose-to-tail and now Vettel crosses the line with Ricciardo not even in sight heading into Turn 13.

            Race simulation is on. Though Mercedes should worry about their front end grip. #overrated.

            1. This isn’t twitter AceAce…

            2. Understeer (long wheel base not dialed in and/or to much rear downforce)

            3. lol you’re reading to much into testing times #casual

    3. Hopefully he’s just trolling, as the kids would say. Ferrari also have performance at hand, Vettel eased of in sector 3 earlier, he could have hit the 1.18 mark if he wanted.

      1. I think the reality is no one quite knows where they are. Safe money is obviously on Mercedes, but they’re clearly not 100% sure what Red Bull have up their sleeve, and Ferrari seem keen not to give their real pace away.

        I truly hope we see a battle in Melbourne, but I still think we’ll be seeing a Mercedes whitewash.

        1. Bring on Melbourne.

    4. He’s playing down expectations… which is smart considering how often Ferrari over estimate their hand before the season starts. Ferrari are definitely in better shape this year as compared to last year, but Mercedes always finds some more time between the last pre season test and the 1st race. Looks like an exciting start to the season though.

      1. Indeed, he is playing down expectations. What a stark contrast to last year.

        1. Ferrari were quickest in preseason testing last year too.

          Then they were close in Melbourne and by Hungary they were behind RedBull. I don’t trust Ferrari is any better until proven otherwise.

          1. … on a different tyre compound.

            How many times does it have to be repeated?

      2. It’s a pretty safe bet the 2017 Mercedes engine hasn’t run in qualifying mode outside the dyno room at Brixworth.

        I was also impressed the first week at how fast the Mercedes engine was spooling up coming out of corners– they’ve found something that allows them to drop the hammer pretty quickly coming out of a corner.

        1. Pretty sure grip is the limiting factor out of most corners and not how fast the turbo spools up.

    5. I think we can say one thing for sure. We will only know when we see the races played out. If we go by last year, there’s a good chance we are about to see unreliability being a factor even for a team that dominates testing, some drivers getting poorer starts, contact between drivers, mid-race strategy mistakes, cars behaving differently at different tracks, and who knows what else. I think universally most just want closer racing and not one team running away with it.

    6. I think Vettel is right, Mercedes probably is quicker than they are showing. RedBull’s pace is worrying imho. They are almost a second per lap behind Ferrari in longrun pace and eventhough they might be holding something back, I don’t see them finding a second all of a sudden. It looks like Williams, like in 2014, is there or there about with RBR and even Ferrari but they will loose the development battle I’m afraid.

    7. Still cannot get over Ros not being here wish he would defend it as think Ham gets him this year.

      1. Like Rosberg said when he was in the paddock…

        “The cars will be driven by gladiators”

        Operative word being “gladiators” something which he’s not. 😉😂

        1. F1racesteward
          10th March 2017, 7:51

          Funny the non gladiator crushed the “god of f1” last year

    8. It is testing, only thing we can say from testing data is .. McLaren is rubish.

      Last time there was any spectacular performance was when Brawn showed up and went faster than anyone else right away.

      From 2014 onwards engine power can be turned up or down to any desired level, masking laptime as much as desired. Nothing can be concluded.

      So we question all words from Mercedes especially, regarding other team performances.

      If anything we can spot teams who are basicly in trouble, everything else is just biased oppinion based on previous seasons.

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