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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Ferrari still have pace in hand

08 May 2015

The substantial raft of upgrades Ferrari brought to Barcelona appeared to yield progress on Friday, as Sebastian Vettel split the Mercedes in FP2. But while the German admits the Silver Arrows still hold the advantage, he says both he and his team can also find time as the Spanish weekend develops...

Q: Sebastian, can you once again take the fight to Mercedes this weekend?

Sebastian Vettel: Let's wait and see - but of course that would be nice. It was a pretty slippery day today. Everybody was kind of all over the place today. We've seen that pretty much every year here but the more we run, the more laps we do, the better. Tomorrow afternoon the track should be super. 

Q: So how did today go? Four-tenths of a second off the pace of Lewis Hamilton in the second session -what do you still have in your pocket to close the gap?

SV: We know that we can improve the car over the weekend. But the gap is still there - that is the bad news for us. I cannot say that I managed a perfect lap today. I hope I can save that for tomorrow. I don't know if Lewis' lap was perfect, but I doubt it as everybody was sliding so much. 

Q: How confident are you that the updates Ferrari have brought this weekend will deliver?

SV: Well, as usual if you bring new parts you have to confirm them on the track - and to make a verdict after only one day on a rather green track is hard to do. I think tomorrow after qualifying we will have a clearer picture, but my gut feeling is that it is a step in the right direction. If we didn't have that impression there would be no reason to bring them.

Q: Niki Lauda said that he expects Ferrari to be very close. Does he know something that you don't? 

SV: Ha, I am sure he does. And secondly: Niki says a lot! (laughs) But yes, I hope he's right - it would be very welcome. And don't forget: we were here less than three months ago for the winter testing and back then the gap to Mercedes was huge. What happened for us in the weeks since then is very positive. If we can keep this trend up that would be great, but four tenths is still a gap. 

Q: How does the car feel?

SV: I think we are very happy with the car. I think this afternoon has demonstrated that a bit. But it is on Sunday where it really matters so let's hope that the good feeling continues. 

Q: The first European race is always a bit of an indication of the pecking order until the summer break. Would you agree?

SV: Yes. Historically Barcelona has always been a good indication of how strong your package is and if we can show that we are competitive here my guess is that this will also go for the next races to come. Of course we have to keep improving. Standing still is suicide in such a competitive sport. 

Q: Having had time to analyse your performance in Bahrain, what were your feelings coming into this weekend?

SV: True, Bahrain was not my best race - but I had strong races before and I still managed to get some good points there even though the podium was out of reach. But it was no disaster - we still know how to do it! (laughs) 

Q: The indications are that Kimi Raikkonen will be your team mate again in 2016. Would that make you happy?

SV: I would not mind. My contract runs a little longer and I have no idea about Kimi's contract details - but if he stays that should be positive for the team as the team knows him for a long time now.