Sebastian Vettel is optimistic that the Ferrari team can improve its set-up ahead of final practice and qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.
The German posted the fifth best time in the morning session and improved to fourth after lunch, but admitted that the SF16-H was a long way from where he wanted it as the Scuderia tries to close the gap, not only on pacesetter Mercedes, but also Red Bull, which leap-frogged Ferrari in the standings after the German GP and also paced FP2 in Belgium.
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With neither Ferrari driver happy with the performance of their car, Vettel was quick to dismiss suggestions that the Scuderia could be well-placed to capitalise on Lewis Hamilton's impending engine penalties.
“I don't know how far back he is starting from but it is quite warm for Spa,” he observed, “The competitiveness is difficult to say. I don't think everyone had clear runs so it's difficult to judge. Today was a tricky day, very slippery and I think everyone was struggling to make the tyres last. I was sliding a lot and the cars I saw were struggling a lot, which is a bit of a shame."
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With only one set of the hardest, medium compound, tyres available to him all weekend - having opted to gamble on more familiar cool Ardennes temperatures, Vettel could find his race compromised on Sunday.
“It's very hot and I don't think it matters what tyres you have, it's slippery for everyone," he pointed out, "We'll see... We have to improve our car as it's not where we want to be, but it's the same for everyone and we will try and work on that.
“It's quite tricky conditions for one lap, and I think the lap we had on the super-soft was okay, nothing special. It's a bit difficult to judge as [team-mate] Kimi [Raikkonen] didn't have a clean run. I think we will be faster tomorrow. We can improve the car.”
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