Kimi Raikkonen had the better day of the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers in Bahrain on Friday, finishing fastest in opening practice ahead of Sebastian Vettel, before the duo dropped to third and fourth respectively in the second session behind the two Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS drivers.
Raikkonen ended the opening session with the quickest time, but dropped to third in the evening session as the Mercedes duo took over at the top, but was still able to finish ahead of team-mate Vettel. Despite this, he feels there is still some work to do for the team to improve, with the Finn finding the second session in particular a little tricky with the set-up of the car as it was.
“I still haven’t had a look at the lap times of the session, but I think we are not as good as we want to be,” said Raikkonen. “In the second session it was a bit tricky with the set-up, we had some problems with the handling and we struggled in a few places.
“This evening we’ll analyse all the data in order to improve and do a better job tomorrow. Having a clear qualifying makes life easier in the race.
“I don’t know if we can challenge Mercedes, tomorrow is another day, conditions can change and this plays a big part, so let’s wait and see.”
Vettel insisted his quick lap that saw him finish fourth in the second practice session was not as good as it could have been, and is not sure just how close to Mercedes the team are as he believes they have not shown their full hand despite Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton finishing top of the times.
“My fast lap was not perfect, but everything in the car feels good,” said Vettel. “Of course tonight it was quite different from this afternoon, as it was much colder.
“It’s hard to say if we got closer to Mercedes, everybody seemed to be closer to them but I’m sure they didn’t show everything today.”
Vettel revealed that the clash with the Sahara Force India of Sergio Perez that saw the German return to the pits with a broken front wing was partly caused by a braking issue on his Ferrari, and that he went to see the Mexican to apologise for the incident.
“I came out of the garage and had a problem,” revealed Vettel. “I hit the brakes but suddenly there was a blow and I couldn’t brake properly.
“Therefore I hit Sergio Perez in the corner. Of course I’m sorry, but I couldn’t do anything else in that moment. I was looking for Sergio to say sorry, but he was still sitting in the car.”