Formula One teams now have a four-day break from track action before the final pre-season test starts at the same venue on Tuesday. Lewis Hamilton topped the final day of the opening 2018 Formula 1 pre-season test at Barcelona for Mercedes, while Sebastian Vettel was third fastest with a lap of 1:20.241 on soft tyres – the compound he used for most of the dry running. Seb completed one day in the car in cold temperatures on Tuesday before a second day in warmer conditions on Thursday.
Yet the final day of testing began on a damp track: “It is tricky when everybody is so excited because you have a new car but you are unable to tick all the boxes and find the answers to all the questions you have. Anything is possible this year, but I don’t know the answers yet.” – Scuderia Ferrari’s German driver explained, as reported by the Italian media earlier today.
Sebastian believes that Mercedes starts the 2018 Formula One season as the favourites for this year’s championship. The four-time F1 world champion finished last year’s title race in second place after losing crucial points to rival Lewis Hamilton in the final third of the season. The results of the first week of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya have been inconclusive owing to cold weather, but Sebastian believes Mercedes remains the team to beat: “[It’] pretty much the same,” he said. “I think Mercedes is the favourite so if we can be close, very close, closer than last year, that would be great, and then we see from there. It’s a long year, it’s March, we will keep going until the end of November. So it’s a long time from here until the end of the season.”
Asked if he felt Scuderia Ferrari had made a similar step in performance this year as the one it made between 2016 to 2017 — when the team went from zero victories per year to five – Sebastian Vettel added: “So far, things have been looking OK, but there has been very limited running for everyone, so it’s very difficult not just for yourself to judge but also to judge compared to the others. To be honest though it’s not that important in the first week. You just want to make sure the car is running. But that’s been tough as well because there wasn’t that much running.” – the German driver concluded.
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