For a man who lapped some six tenths of a second out-of-reach of any of his adversaries in the opening FP1 practice session, and a competitive second-fastest later on in FP2, for Sebastian Vettel to say that there is 'some time still to gain' ahead of qualifying in Abu Dhabi this weekend is worrying for his rivals indeed.
Vettel fairly blitzed the field at Yas Marina on Friday afternoon – leaving his own Red Bull Racing team-mate and fellow title protagonist Mark Webber trailing by more than a second – and only McLaren-Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was able to pip him in the evening session.
As he bids to repeat his Abu Dhabi Grand Prix victory of twelve months ago in the F1 2010 season finale, the 23-year-old German is looking in fine form – but he cautions that RBR cannot afford to rest on its laurels, as the others are not far behind.
“That wasn't bad,” Vettel reported at the end of the day, with more than a touch of understatement. “The car felt strong early afternoon, although tonight it was a bit different due to the conditions. All-in-all, I was pretty happy.
“I think there is some lap time still to gain, so we will analyse things now and hopefully pick up some pace tomorrow. As expected, the McLaren was quick today, Ferrari is up there and the Renault isn't looking too bad either so we will see what we can do.”