Sebastian Vettel feels Scuderia Ferrari’s qualifying deficit to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team should be significantly less this weekend at the Red Bull Ring compared to what it was at the Baku City Circuit two weeks ago.
Both Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen were over a second down on Lewis Hamilton’s pole time in Azerbaijan, but after getting within two-tenths of a second on the Briton’s time in free practice in Austria on Friday, he believes that Ferrari will be much closer to the pace in Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session.
Despite this, Vettel believes Mercedes will still have the edge, but with Lewis Hamilton taking a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, pole position could be up for grabs.
“Baku was a one-off in many ways, qualifying for us wasn’t good. Positioning was not too bad but the gap was too big,” said Vettel on Friday.
“I didn’t feel as confident and comfortable as we should have but Sunday was OK. Generally Sundays have been OK. For here, I haven’t seen much yet but it looks close. It’s a short track so you imagine it’ll be close.
“Mercedes is the favourite. They seem very quick, whenever they went out today. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”