Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel says the Maranello team “were not fast enough” following Friday practice ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after being outperformed by both Mercedes and Red Bull.
The Ferrari driver ended Friday’s combined practice times down in sixth place and despite just 0.333s splitting him from pace-setter Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes he was left underwhelmed by his car’s performance at the Yas Marian Circuit – a track Ferrari has never won at in a decade of the Abu Dhabi event.
Vettel fears tyre life will be a determining factor in optimum pace in Abu Dhabi, which has been a regular feature in the 2018 Formula 1 season, and feels Red Bull are the ones to worry about given its eye-catching long run pace and minimal tyre degradation.
“I think it will be decided by the tyres,” Vettel said, having been heard over team radio complaining of tyre degradation in FP2. “Obviously Red Bull has been a bit strong in the races when it comes to tyres but as I said I am not entirely happy yet but in the evening it was better so let’s see.
“One lap we still have some margin and we should be okay tomorrow but for sure it is going to be tough and it is going to be tight.
“On the long run they didn’t last , but I was quite surprised on the short run that you could go again and have another attempt. That was something that we did not expect.
“It will be difficult and today we were not fast enough.”
Sebastian Vettel will be bidding to end his seven-race winless run which stretches back to the Belgium Grand Prix. The German driver is a three-time win in Abu Dhabi with all his victories claimed while at Red Bull (2009, 2010 and 2013).