Sebastian Vettel believes that Scuderia Ferrari can find the pace that deserted the team on Thursday at the Monaco Grand Prix, as temperatures improve.
Free Practice sessions 1 and 2 took place in cooler conditions than usual at the Circuit de Monaco, enabling Mercedes AMG Motorsport to dominate the early stages of the weekend.
Vettel managed to make it into the top three in Free Practice 2 and briefly challenge the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, after both he and team-mate Charles Leclerc had to settle outside of the top three in the morning session.
Vettel’s best time of a 1:11.881 was 0.763 seconds adrift of Hamilton’s pacesetting Free Practice 2 time, compared to a difference of 0.717s earlier in the day.
“We are struggling a bit, we are lacking some pace compared to our main rivals,” said Vettel.
“We are still not happy with how the tyres work.
“I think we have a bit of work ahead of us.”
The four-time Formula 1 world champion says that Ferrari can improve its performance across the board.
In Free Practice 2, Vettel was lucky to escape a clash with the barriers after locking up at St. Devote on a set of the soft compound tyres.
He hopes that the warmer ambient temperatures expected on Saturday and Sunday can help Ferrari achieve its first win of a testing 2019 season.
“In terms of balance we can still improve on everything,” Vettel added.
“We will work in order to have a car that is more predictable. I am sure on Saturday the situation should improve and maybe it will be also warmer, which could help us.”
Vettel has been sporting a one-off helmet design for the Monaco race, paying tribute to three-time F1 champion and Ferrari icon Niki Lauda – who passed away on Monday at the age of 70.
“I decided to use a helmet dedicated to Niki,” Vettel said.
“Being a tribute to him, as a person and to his career, the design is based on his last Ferrari helmet.
“I thought that maybe it was nice to take him along for a final couple of laps around Monaco.”