Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari wary of rivals pace after opening day in Bahrain

by Vince Pettit

Despite a dominant display on the opening day of the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix at the Sahkir International Circuit, Sebastian Vettel believes there is more pace to be found in the SF90.

With track conditions no representative of qualifying or the race, the first practice session of the day was limited to the team checking over upgrades to the car and to make sure everything was working correctly.

The team put in some impressive lap times to top the time sheets as Charles Leclerc led home Vettel to a one-two in Free Practice 1.

“The car is not yet where it was in Barcelona. Certainly, it’s better today than in Australia.” said Vettel.

“It was a better day overall, but we still need to pick up the pace for tomorrow. I am not entirely happy. It has been quite a tricky day because the track was very slippery and it was difficult to always extract the best from the tyres.”

The second session of the day presented the team with a chance to run in qualifying trim, this time it was Vettel’s turn to finish fastest.

“We were on a different strategy compared to other drivers and teams, that’s why for tomorrow we still need to improve. I think we have some more potential in the car that we have to unleash for qualifying”.

While happy with the two sessions Team Principal Mattia Binotto doesn’t believe the pace shown by competitors is representative.

“Today we concentrated mainly on the problems we had in Australia, running a programme aimed at checking if the measures we introduced had fixed them.

“That’s why I think it’s difficult to compare our performance to our competitors today.

“I think we are in better shape than in Australia. However, I still think our rivals are very strong and that the performance levels in qualifying and the race will be very close.”

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