Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has played down the race pace of Mercedes and Red Bull Racing shown during the Barcelona pre-season Formula 1 testing ahead of the 2018 season. The German reckons they used up only one set of tyres which is not possible in a grand prix.
“Our competitors – Mercedes and Red Bull – used one type of tyre for their race distance simulations, which is something you can’t do in a Grand Prix," he said. "This has an impact on the strategies and ultimately on the result.
“We, too, did a good job in terms of mileage, totaling some 4,323 Kilometers of running. I have a personal best of 188 laps in one day, which is 875 Km and a total of nearly three thousand! We did not experience any major issues with the car, and I had fun driving it.
“I think we’re starting from a good base with our SF71H car. Now we’ll have to work on development to further explore and improve its potential. I have a lot of confidence in our team, I know how skilled and committed the guys in Maranello are," he added.
Even though the German recorded the unofficial lap record of the current Barcelona layout, the Italian outfit seemed to be lagging behind Mercedes in the race simulations done in Barcelona, according to the lap times.
But as Vettel states, the simulation was done on one particular tyre without any knowledge of the fuel loads and other parameters. In fact, both Ferrari and Red Bull were in a similar league, while behind Mercedes.
Despite the comparisons, Vettel reiterated about having 'confidence' on SF-71H. Meanwhile, talking about blisters and graining on the new tyres, the German felt Pirelli had done a good job with the selection of the new compounds.