Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel thinks Mercedes’ pace in qualifying sessions is a “gamechanger” in the 2017 Formula 1 championship fight at the moment, as the Maranello team’s driver saw his lead over Lewis Hamilton cut from 20 points to just one at the end of the 2017 British Grand Prix, which Lewis Hamilton won comfortably from pole while Sebastian slipped back to seventh due to a late tyre failure.
Mercedes has taken pole for eight of the ten races so far this season, and the Italian team has not started from the front since the Monaco Grand Prix in May, which the four-time Formula One world champion says is a key area of focus for the team: “It is probably true that the last couple of races Mercedes was a bit stronger, but I think the real gamechanger is qualifying.” – Sebastian Vettel explained, as reported by the Italian media.
“They are able to turn up the engine, they are gaining between three and six tenths to us on the straights. In Baku it was seven, in Austria it was half a second. That’s something we can’t do. We are working on it, but it doesn’t happen overnight. There is no reason to panic or worry, but we need to be aware. They are very quick, they have a couple of advantages that we need to work on, and then it could be a different picture. It’s a no-brainer, if you have the cars in front for the first lap, the first corner, the race looks different.” – the German driver continued.
Sebastian Vettel said that he remains happy with Ferrari’s race pace, and that its step forward from the 2016 Formula One season to this year should not be overlooked: “Last year we were far, far away, this year we have been matched [with Mercedes] for the majority of the year. We must not forget where we have come from – we have done the biggest step out of all the teams. Red Bull has been vocal in the winter how good they would be this year, so far they haven’t been there. Everybody is pushing hard, and we are trying to work hard on that advantage that [Mercedes] currently have in qualifying. We know where to tackle but it’s not that easy. The car is great, it has been fantastic again in the race here, arguably not quick enough, but still quicker than what we got in terms of result. They may be a little bit quicker at the moment, but we never give up.” – Scuderia Ferrari’s German driver concluded.