Scuderia Ferrari had a positive day on Thursday during the first two free practice sessions ahead of the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, but German driver Sebastian Vettel still thinks that we should expect a “full force” Mercedes on Saturday and Sunday, after its “weird” display in second practice, at the Circuit de Monaco.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton managed to set a new lap record to top FP1, a couple of tenths up on Sebastian Vettel, but Mercedes had a rather low-key second session, dropping down the order. Seb posted two sub-1m13s laps in FP2, ending up with a 1:12.720, to finish over half a second clear of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, were over a second adrift in eighth and 10th, behind both Ferraris, both Red Bulls, both Toro Rossos and a Force India. Asked if he believes Scuderia Ferrari has the necessary pace in order to out-qualify Mercedes this weekend, new lap record holder Vettel explained: “Now is only Thursday, so we still have a bit of time. I don’t know what happened to them [Mercedes] today, it was a bit weird, but I’m pretty sure there is a reason and they will be back to full force on Saturday. It will be close, also with the Red Bulls. Around here it’s also important to have a good feel for the car, to get the lap together, so you cannot always go with the one time you set at the end of the day. But surely we managed to put it together and we’re quite happy.” – Scuderia Ferrari German driver said, as reported by Tuttosport after the second practice session in Monte Carlo.
Sebastian Vettel encountered a small issue during the early stages of the practice, having lost around 20 minutes of running, as mechanics carried out work on the SF70H car: “We got out a bit late, which wasn’t scheduled, but nevertheless got answers we wanted, so it was a productive day.” – the four-time Formula One champion concluded.