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Vettel surprised by Ferrari's competitiveness

NEWS STORY
08/04/2018

In the days leading up to the Bahrain weekend, Sebastian Vettel claimed the gap to Mercedes was around three to four-tenths of a second.

However, throughout the various practice sessions it was clear that the gap was smaller, while in qualifying it was the Italian team that had the edge, out-pacing Valtteri Bottas by 0.143s and world champion Lewis Hamilton by 0.166s.

Speaking in the aftermath, Vettel claimed to be surprised by the turnaround since Melbourne.

"I think it's surprising for us to be, after Australia, that competitive," he told reporters. "Obviously I think we have good pace and the car is working.

"In Australia I think we struggled a little bit with the feel for the car," he admitted, "I think here it's been better. We improved a little bit working with the car. In the beginning of the season it's always difficult because we don't know yet the car that well.

"Obviously today was quite nice and the car came alive," he added. "I didn't have much session this morning, or this afternoon. It was a bit tricky to know what we expect but I felt quite good right from the start and I knew that I could make progress throughout the session.

"We mostly tried to work on the set up, understanding the car. So we tried different things. Obviously across the weekend you don't have that much time. In Australia it was a tricky track, it's improving a lot throughout the weekend, it's very bumpy.

"It's difficult to change too much and draw any conclusions," he admitted. "I think after the weekend, after the race distance, especially when you have so many laps, I think I had a very good understanding and feel. Obviously we've been talking about it and looking into it and I think overall we've been happier."

For much of the weekend however, teammate Kimi Raikkonen has been the quicker of the two and the Finn looked to be heading for pole especially when Vettel ran wide in his first flying lap in Q3.

"That's when I wanted it to peak," he said of Q3, "and I think I peaked in the first run just before the last corner when I wanted a bit too much! I knew I had it in me and basically it was a bit copy, paste, the final lap I had, but the final corner I managed to stay away from the kerb.

"I'm very happy with both laps in the end. Happy obviously with the result, the car, the way the car was handling and responding. So yeah, chuffed."

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