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Vettel: We are in better shape than last year

NEWS STORY
12/03/2017

Round about this time last year, we headed to Melbourne having seen Ferrari take a positive step forward.

Though Sebastian Vettel has covered 1,411 miles over the course of the pre-season test, and his teammate 1,058, Nico Rosberg had managed 1,897 and Lewis Hamilton 1,845.

On the other hand, Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel were quickest.

Sound familiar?

Off we went to Melbourne confident that Ferrari would mount a serious challenge to Mercedes, building on the three wins of 2015, and give us a season to remember.

By season end Ferrari had slumped to third in the standings having never made it to the top step of the podium once.

This year, the Italian team is taking a far more measured approach. For the most part it has adopted a radio silence policy, even the press releases are kept to the minimum, certainly the targets and predictions, the Maranello outfit clearly wanting to do all its talking on track.

While, once again, Raikkonen and Vettel head the timesheets, this time around reliability is better. In 2016 the Ferrari duo were 1,272 miles short of the Silver Arrows pair in testing, this year is just 405.

Still keen to play down his and his team's chances, Vettel is giving little away, other than to say that 2016 wasn't as bad as it looked.

"We are better prepared than last year, we did more laps," he following this week's test. "Overall the team is in better shape. We learned a lot from last year, and I think last year was the most important year for us.

"Even if you look at the results you say it was not such a successful one," he continued, "what happened in the background though was really, really important to make a step forward, and hopefully we've done that.

"Last year we learned a lot of lessons, the whole organisation, the whole team has grown. I think it was the most important year.

"Obviously 2015 was a great year to start for myself, for the team to restart the mission to win," he concluded. "2016 was a step back in terms of results, but I think a massive step forward in terms of organisation."

Time will tell.

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