Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel: “Mercedes is still ahead by quite a way”

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Sebastian Vettel completed his first pre-season testing season as a Scuderia Ferrari driver with the second fastest time on Sunday, and completed his first race simulation in the SF15-T.

The German, joining the team in place of Fernando Alonso in 2015, completed 129 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya, and was encouraged by the reliability of his Ferrari, although he feels the team need to improve the long distance pace if they are to match the Mercedes duo up front.

“The positive thing is that, once again, we have done a lot of kilometres and gathered useful information,” insisted Vettel. “The fact that our race simulation went more or less as planned is encouraging from a reliability point of view, although this is an aspect where we can still improve.

“From a performance point of view, it’s clear that Mercedes is still ahead by quite a way, but right behind there is us, Williams and Red Bull, all very close. We will know more in a couple of weeks.

“Meanwhile we must move forward one step at a time, looking above all at what we are doing ourselves”.

Ferrari Technical Director James Allison bemoaned a few issues that caused the day to be a bit disjointed, but overall leaves Spain feeling satisfied about the way the SF15-T is running.

“The day did not run as smooth as yesterday,” revealed Allison. “In spite of this, we managed to score plenty of laps on our board, successfully completing a race distance, so that now we have two of them under our belt prior to Melbourne.

“We leave the winter testing pretty happy with the way the car is performing, the way the test has been done and the way the team is operating”.

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