Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was happy with his performance during the Friday practice sessions ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, finishing in third place just behind the two Mercedes AMG PETRONAS drivers in FP2.
“I think we had a decent day. We were testing quite a few things, and our pace didn’t look too bad, at least from what I was told inside the car.”
The German was aware that the silver arrows drivers once again looked quick and in control, but was pleased with his short run pace today, which he believes bodes well for race day.
“Mercedes looked again very strong today on long and short runs: as for ourselves, we are pretty happy with the short runs, but I haven’t seen much yet of what the other people did for their long runs.”
Vettel is confident they will be able to find more pace in the SF16-H ahead of qualifying, and although he knows it is unlikely Ferrari will be able to realistically claim victory in Malaysia, the four-time world champion will be ready to take advantage if any good fortune comes his way.
“I think we can improve, especially to get the car a little bit more together. I am confident that we can find a bit here and there for tomorrow.
“Our target is to win and nothing less. At the same time, you need to be awake and realize that we are not strong enough to come here and say we will win: but if there is a chance, by any circumstances, then we need to be right there and take it.”
With the newly re-surfaced track a big talking point ahead of the weekend, Vettel deemed it an improvement, and experienced no issues except for in the final corner.
“The new asphalt seems to be a step forward, the last corner is a bit trickier but, all in all, it is a step forward.”
Vettel did not run the hard tyre during FP2, unlike both Mercedes drivers, with Lewis Hamilton recording a lap just three tenths off the pace of the German’s time on the soft tyre. Vettel confirmed that the soft compound tyre was his preferred rubber, and his strategy for the race will most likely work around that fact.
“I haven’t used the Hard tires in P2, the Soft is the preferred one; now we have to see what strategy we might choose for Sunday.”