Sebastian Vettel expects Ferrari to be more competitive and able to challenge Red Bull on Saturday at the United States Grand Prix.
Mercedes set the pace in both practice sessions on Friday but Daniel Ricciardo got within 0.2s of Nico Rosberg’s time in FP2 as he split the two Mercedes drivers. Vettel was fourth quickest but over 0.8s off the pace and the German says Ferrari has yet to show its true potential in Austin.
“I think we have a chance,” Vettel said when asked if Ferrari can beat Red Bull. “I think today they were very quick, there’s no doubt, but then again it’s Friday so I wouldn’t worry too much. You never know what other people are doing, I think we know what we were doing.
“We didn’t have the best day. For sure it will be very close and difficult to match them tomorrow with the speed they showed today but I think the Ferrari you saw today is not the Ferrari you will see tomorrow.”
Vettel returned to the pits clutching his right hand side wing mirror after a piece of bodywork damaged it in FP1, an incident which he says hampered Ferrari for the rest of the day.
“Well it was a tough day to be fair. I think this morning we had some problem with a bit of wing that failed and came off and we lost some track time. It was a bit costly for the afternoon because we couldn’t really rebalance the car so I think we’re a bit on the back foot today.
“I’m not totally happy with the car balance yet, it’s a little bit too nervous all around but I think for tomorrow we can improve. Usually on Friday you don’t see the full picture so hopefully tomorrow we’ll be a lot stronger.”
However, Vettel also hinted at other problems for Ferrari on Friday which he did not want to reveal.
“I think we didn’t have the rhythm today for a couple of reasons, some of them I mentioned, some of them I don’t want to mention. Tomorrow I think we should be better and if I trust 100% the car with some things that I think will be better tomorrow then I think qualifying can be very good and able to hopefully squeeze a bit extra. Surely it will be very close but we will fight.”
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