Sebastian Vettel believes Mercedes will be the team to beat once again in F1 this year.
Ferrari made a significant step forward during the off-season 12 months ago and won two of the three opening races. However Vettel is not necessarily expecting them to have overhauled their rivals this year.
“I think Mercedes are the favourites,” he said during testing today at the Circuit de Catalunya, “but if we can be close, very close, closer than last year, that would be great.”
“Then we will see from there, it’s a long year.”
Vettel and Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton are both striving to win their fifth world championships this year, though Vettel’s last title came five years ago.
“It’s always too long if it’s more than a year ago,” he said. “I want to make sure we bring it back, that’s our big ambition, our target, to bring the championships back to Maranello.”
Poor conditions at the track have prevented the teams conducting much useful running in the first week, said Vettel.
“So far thing’s have been looking OK but there’s been very limited running for everyone so it’s very difficult not just for yourself to judge but also judge compared to the others. To be honest though it’s not that important in the first week, you just want to make sure the car is running. But that’s been tough as well because there hasn’t been much running.”
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2018 F1 season
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year