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 squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021