Sebastian Vettel: “Lap times aren’t important”

The Scuderia Ferrari team ended the first day of pre-season testing at Jerez with the fastest time of the day, with new Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel setting the pace.

The former Red Bull Racing driver set a best lap time of 1m22.620s on Pirelli’s Medium tyres during the afternoon to get ahead of long time pacesetter Nico Rosberg for Mercedes, and immediately felt comfortable behind the wheel of the SF15-T. Despite being the fastest, he understands that lap times mean very little at this stage of testing.

“Today was a good start,” insisted Vettel. “I can’t say more than that, because this is only the beginning. Everything is different, even the philosophy behind the car, when compared to what I was used to. But I immediately felt at ease within the team and the guys gave me a very warm welcome.

“For now, lap times aren’t important: I did mine on the medium compound, but the comparison has to be made yet again with the Mercedes. They are very quick, let’s just hope they are not quite as fast as last year…”

Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene was cautiously positive about the teams’ first day on track in Spain, insisting that despite setting the pace, they need to build on this performance. He does not believe the lap times of everyone were representative of true pace, with some teams Arrivabene believing have yet to show their hand.

“It seems the SF15-T took on board what was said about it at the launch,” joked Arrivabene. “Joking apart, this is only the beginning and at this stage, lap times are all relative. We are just getting on with it for now and I’d rather emphasise the work done by the team, who seem to me to be very motivated, which I am very pleased about. I say “well done” to Sebastian, but we have to keep in mind that our rivals, especially Mercedes, must not be underestimated.”