Sebastian Vettel completed his first official run in Ferrari's new SF15-T by ensuring a 100 per cent strike rate at the top of the testing times at Jerez, and admitted that, compared to his last experience of winter running, it could not have been better.
This time last year, the German was amongst those enduring teething troubles with the new Renault V6 which severely limited his running. However, with another 87 laps to add to the 58 he clocked up on day one, he is already well ahead of that schedule and, despite the usual niggles, appears content with the progress he is making with his new employer.
“Certainly, it could be worse,” he smiled, “I think, compared to last year at this stage, it is quite a bit better. We did a lot of laps today, but I think it is normal in winter testing that, when you something running a bit hot, you stop and have a look which, unfortunately, takes time. But, overall, I think it was a good day and, at the end, we even got some running on the new inters, which seemed to work even in these cool conditions. Overall, I think we can be fairly happy.”
Joking that the round of applause he received from the Ferrari mechanics at the end of the day was as much for keeping the car on the track in tricky late afternoon conditions – 'they have a long night anyway, so I didn't make it any longer' – Vettel conceded that it was difficult to draw comparisons to the other teams on track, despite out-pacing world champions Mercedes for the second straight day.
“I think we probably had a different approach to today than Mercedes,” he pointed out, reflecting that, between issues, Lewis Hamilton seemed to focus on 'long runs, extremely long runs', “They didn't do as many laps as yesterday but I think, even without any running here, they would still be favourites. Where we are coming from, there is a lot of change, a lot of new things and a lot of stuff that we have learned, so it was good to keep running to learn the car, to understand all the numbers. In that regard, it is difficult (to compare), but the feeling inside the car is quite a happy one and we have a good platform to start working from.”
Vettel confirmed that, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen now takes over for the final two days of the test, he would be heading back to Maranello 'to do more simulator running and take time to analyse data'.