Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari will be looking to improve its pace in race trim ahead of Sunday’s US Grand Prix, the Scuderia’s cars not quite matching their Mercedes counterparts during Friday’s long runs.
Vettel and team and Charles Leclerc concluded yesterday afternoon’s free practice respectively P4 and P2, with the red cars delivering good speed relative to their rivals over a single lap.
But Vettel knows that performance won’t buy Ferrari a race win on Sunday.
“The car was good to start with, which is positive, but then we tried some things that did not seem to work so well,” said the four-time world champion.
“But we understand what we need to do so, hopefully we can improve in terms of our one lap pace.
“For one lap we should be there, thereabouts… Race trim we have a little bit of homework to do.
“We know our strengths and weaknesses and in quali trim, we can mask the weaknesses a bit, whereas that is harder for us to do in race configuration.
“All the same, I’m quite confident we can improve the car. We will focus on that and see what we can achieve.”
Leclerc, who will be targeting his eighth pole position of 2019, echoed his teammate’s comments.
“I think [it was] a positive day, especially for quali pace I think we were strong,” said the Monegasque.
“In FP1 I couldn’t show the real potential, the lap time was deleted and a few things like this, and we had a problem, but overall we had a positive day.
“We still have some work to do to improve our race pace and our competitors have turned out to be quite strong in that department today, so we will see where we stand tomorrow and take it from there.”