The Scuderia Ferrari team enjoyed a strong performance during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday, with Sebastian Vettel splitting the two Mercedes drivers in second and Kimi Raikkonen fourth.
Vettel was delighted to qualify on the front row of the grid, and hopes to be able to get put pressure on and maybe get ahead of Lewis Hamilton on Sunday to possibly take his second victory of the season. He was happy with his efforts in qualifying, despite missing out on pole position by more than four tenths of a second to Hamilton, but was happy to beat the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
“In the end it is a great success for us to be able to split the Mercedes,” said Vettel. “Again, we seem to be a bit closer; but then everybody seemed to be a bit closer this weekend. So, hopefully, we can be another step closer tomorrow.
“In the beginning of qualifying I was not entirely happy, but then it got better and better. The last lap was very important and we were able to get it right.
“Now I can’t tell whether I will be able to win the race tomorrow. Let’s not forget that this is only the fourth race of the season; we are very happy with where we are, how competitive we are.
“We’ll go step by step, we’ll try our best possible race tomorrow, and if this means we can put pressure on the Mercedes, then we’ll do it. But the target is still to look after ourselves; if there is a chance to fight one or two of them, for sure we’ll go for it.”
Team-mate Raikkonen was slightly disappointed to qualify fourth, feeling the grip levels on the track could have seen him push a little harder, but hopes to make a good start on Sunday to get ahead of the Mercedes of Rosberg and have a strong race. The Finn will be looking for his first podium finish since his return to the team at the beginning of 2014.
“It was a positive day even if it’s a bit disappointing to finish fourth, because our aim is to be at the front,” said Raikkonen. “My last lap was quite good, I made a small mistake and ran wide a little bit in one corner, but it was nearly nothing, it did not cost me a lot of time.
“It was very close with everybody. On the track there was more grip than I expected and probably I could have pushed a little bit more, but I was not sure I could.
“My car was working well today, the position on the grid is not ideal but it’s a good starting point for the race. Tomorrow we’ll try to make a good start, and move on from there with a good first lap. To get ahead of Rosberg would help a lot, and then we’ll see what we can do. We’ll do our maximum”.