Sebastian Vettel says Scuderia Ferrari‘s pace around the Shanghai International Circuit is competitive, but still have plenty to improve on heading into Saturday’s qualifying session.
The German topped the time sheets in the first practice session of the weekend ahead of Mercedes AMG Petronas‘ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc. Vettel was second fastest overall in the second practice, only falling short to championship leader Valtteri Bottas by 0.027 seconds.
Vettel’s second practice run was partially affected by the Racing Point of Sergio Pérez, who was holding the German up during a lap.
The four-time world champion also attracted attention on social media during the session for telling his Ferrari mechanics to cool down the brakes of Toro Rosso‘s Alexander Albon, whose brakes were on fire at the FIA weighbridge.
— tami. (@Vetteleclerc) April 12, 2019
Out of the two Ferrari cars, Vettel had a relatively clean Friday compare to his team-mate, who missed out on half an hour of the second session due to cooling issues with his car. Vettel completed high fuel run with the hardest Pirelli compound for majority of the second session.
Vettel said that it has been a positive day for himself and the team as they look to be the favourites to lead on Saturday and Sunday, but the German is wary that the team still needs to their homework in order to keep on improving the car and remain ahead of their competitors in qualifying and race trim.
“Overall it was a positive day,” said Vettel. “We still have to do some homework, the picture is a bit similar to Bahrain, where we were competitive.
“There are some parts of the track where we are very strong and others where we still have to improve. I expect it to be very close tomorrow and also on Sunday, so it will be key to keep working to improve the feeling with the car.”