Sebastian Vettel topped the times in FP1, to make it a one-two for the Scuderia Ferrari squad, ahead of the two Mercedes AMG PETRONAS drivers of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. The Maranello-based team did however run the soft compound tyre throughout the session to set their times, whilst the Brackley-based squad only ran the medium rubber.
During FP2 it was much more evenly set, with Rosberg coming out on top, but only by two tenths to Kimi Raikkonen. Vettel finished the session in fourth, after struggling with balance in his own SF16-H during the afternoon, but the German is positive ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session, where he feels Ferrari will be stronger.
“Even if today was not the perfect day, it should be better tomorrow,” said Vettel. “I think this afternoon was a bit more tricky for us and not as good as it was in the morning, but we can still work on the car and improve it overnight. Usually we are quite strong in this.
In the end it is only Friday, so I think we need to be careful with our judgements. I think the first impression of our pace today was good. Whether we can confirm it tomorrow depends also on what the others were doing today. I believe we can make the step and be stronger tomorrow.”
Having missed out on feeling the benefit of the big upgrade package Ferrari brought to Russia last time out, due to being involved in an incident with Daniil Kvyat at the start of the race, Vettel will be hoping he can now make headway in catching the Mercedes boys this weekend, with his new specification power unit.