Vettel buoyed by Ferrari's 'very good Friday' at Abu Dhabi GP

Sebastian Vettel believes the Ferrari Formula 1 team had an unusually good Friday practice performance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and might be closer to Mercedes than normal

Vettel buoyed by Ferrari's 'very good Friday' at Abu Dhabi GP

Vettel ended the second session at Yas Marina third, two and a half tenths of a second ahead of the two Red Bulls and within 0.269s of the pace set by Mercedes' title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

"I think it was a better Friday for us. Actually it was a very good Friday," said Vettel.

"This morning was a bit trickier with a hot track, we struggled a bit.

"This afternoon the car calmed down. It was actually quite good.

"I felt quite happy on the long run. I struggled a bit with the fronts early on, maybe I was a little too aggressive but overall the car felt good and I think we should have good pace.

"Hopefully tomorrow we'll have a similar feeling in qualifying and put the car where it belongs."

Vettel stopped on track in the final 10 minutes with a gearbox failure, but the unit was only being used for practice so he will not incur a penalty and said "we got most of the homework done" beforehand.

Though it has mainly been Red Bull tipped to get among the battling Mercedes this weekend, Vettel hopes Ferrari has a shot at an upset too.

"I don't want to predict the outcome but I want to have a strong race," he said.

"If it means splitting them, running in front of them, with how the race turns out, that's good news.

"They are the absolute favourites again this weekend. Nothing's changed in that regard.

"The closer you can get, the better it is."

RED BULL EXPECTS TO CLOSE

Though Red Bull was outpaced by Vettel on Friday, both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo - who were 0.001s apart in fourth and fifth - are confident of improving later in the weekend.

"Ferrari is quite strong this weekend but I am sure we can be stronger," said Verstappen.

"You can see Ferrari is 0.25 seconds off and I am pretty sure we can do that as on my fastest lap I got blocked.

"I lost two or three tenths there, we are not too far off."

Ricciardo shared his team-mate's faith that Red Bull would close in on Ferrari, and thinks Mercedes could be within range too.

"I think we can find that little bit for tomorrow and it will be a good fight for third place," he said.

"Mercedes as expected are ahead but not miles ahead.

"Looking at today I think maybe we can still race them on Sunday, which is nice."

shares
comments
Lewis Hamilton leads second Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice too
Previous article

Lewis Hamilton leads second Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice too

Next article

Sauber F1 team says Felipe Nasr has lost his main sponsor

Sauber F1 team says Felipe Nasr has lost his main sponsor
Load comments
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022