Sebastian Vettel led the way in opening practice for the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday, with the Scuderia Ferrari driver admitting it was good to feel the ‘power of the car’ around the Suzuka International Racing Course.
The rain in the afternoon session restricted the championship contender to just one installation lap, but Vettel felt it was important not to waste the wet weather Pirelli tyres with further rain a possibility later in the weekend.
“I think we had a decent morning,” said Vettel. “We tried a lot of things and it was good to feel the power of the car.
“This afternoon was expected to be wet. We would have loved to run a little bit more, but you can’t do the right amount of driving, because you don’t want to “burn” your tyre supply in these conditions.”
Vettel remains confident that he can return to the front of the field this weekend after the disappointments of his retirement in Singapore and fourth place finish in Malaysia, and even if it rains during qualifying, the German feels Ferrari should be quick.
“The results of the last two races were not good, but the car is strong,” said Vettel. “We have every reason to be confident and I am sure that on Sunday we’ll be able to show what we can do.
“If tomorrow’s qualifying is wet, then we should improve. The last qualifying in wet conditions happened in Monza and it was not a good result. In Malaysia it was a little bit better, but we hope we learned our lesson.
“It’s up to us to get it right. Whatever the weather will be, I hope we can show our potential.”