Formula 1: Vettel quantifies Ferrari's pace deficit to Mercedes

Sebastian Vettel believes the Mercedes Formula 1 team has an advantage of "three, four tenths" over Ferrari, despite the Scuderia's victory in the Australian Grand Prix

Formula 1: Vettel quantifies Ferrari's pace deficit to Mercedes

Vettel readily admitted after Melbourne that his win was a "lucky" triumph, and that Ferrari was not yet "a true match" for Mercedes.

Ahead of the second race of the year in Bahrain, Vettel offered his estimate of how much pace Mercedes has in hand over Ferrari, as well as its other main challenger Red Bull.

"If you look at the pace - testing, first race - it's pretty clear that Mercedes is fastest, probably with a three, fourth tenths' gap," Vettel said.

"That's also what we saw in the race. Obviously, Lewis was controlling his pace in the beginning and then pushed when he had to.

"He had, obviously, time in hand. I think that's the fair answer. And then I think it's very close behind them."

Hamilton took pole in Australia by a margin of 0.664s over Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, but Vettel is convinced this was not a true reflection of the pace gap between the cars - as both Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen should've been closer to the Mercedes.

Asked whether his gap estimate was for qualifying or race conditions, Vettel replied: "Overall. I think in qualifying [in Melbourne] the gap there looked a bit bigger than it probably should have been.

"I think if you look at the session again, it's pretty clear that Q2 in particular Mercedes and Lewis didn't get the lap together, and then in Q3 he did.

"And I think Max had a small mistake in Q3 and I had a small mistake, so we should have been a bit closer.

"I think that's the gap we saw in qualy and in the race, so both."

Team-mate Raikkonen said he had "zero interest" in trying to guess how much Ferrari is trailing Mercedes by, insisting Hamilton's pole margin from Australia is not too important.

"You can keep guessing [the gap] as long as you want, we will see over the weekend where we are," Raikkonen said.

"I have zero interest to start guessing where we are, or what the difference is in qualifying - there are so many things that will change that - we will do our best and see where we end up.

"The most important part is the Sunday after the race, wherever we finished.

"I am happy to be two seconds off if we win every Sunday."

shares
comments
Fernando Alonso 'sad' Formula 1 has become so predictable

Previous article

Fernando Alonso 'sad' Formula 1 has become so predictable

Next article

Esteban Ocon expects to miss out on new Force India F1 wing in Bahrain

Esteban Ocon expects to miss out on new Force India F1 wing in Bahrain
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021