Vettel under no illusions

08/03/2018
NEWS STORY

At the end of yesterday's action, which saw Daniel Ricciardo leave his rivals for dust, Niki Lauda opined that Red Bull would be Mercedes main challengers this year, the three-time world champion claiming that Ferrari hadn't impressed as yet.

Quite how the Austrian sees it twenty-four hours later, with Sebastian Vettel demolishing Ricciardo's previous best, one can only wonder however, the German is taking nothing for granted.

"The times on these test days don't mean much," said Vettel. "The important thing is that the SF71H has proved to be very strong, allowing us to run all day without any significant problems.

"We are still working on some things for the first race and it's not really possible to make any predictions based on the performance of the other teams, because everyone is running a different programme," he added. "However, I'm happy for the guys in the team."

Indeed, for while Vettel was lighting up the timesheets, Valtteri Bottas, and later teammate Lewis Hamilton, completed race sims during which they were lapping around a second quicker than either Vettel or Max Verstappen on their simulations.

Furthermore, though down in eighth and ninth on the timesheets today, the Mercedes duo posted their best times on the medium tyres.

At Red Bull, Verstappen expressed little interest in Vettel's time. "Today was about doing a lot of laps... a lot of laps!" said the youngster. "The focus for us today was on long runs and the feeling with the car was good.

"No problems with the car and I was happy with the pace," he added. "We can definitely work from here.

"If it's going to be good enough, we'll have to wait and see," he admitted. "We'll find out when we get into the races, but I think we can be happy with what we have. I'm ready for it."

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Published: 08/03/2018
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