Sebastian Vettel has questioned “the strategies and ultimately the results” of both Mercedes and Red Bull running race simulations purely on Pirelli’s medium tyres during Formula 1 pre-season testing at Circuit de Catalunya.

On the penultimate day of F1 pre-season testing, the Ferrari driver completed a race simulation starting on the supersoft tyres followed by two stints on mediums tyres which resembled a real race run. On the same day, Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes and Max Verstappen at Red Bull completed race runs solely using the medium Pirelli tyres, both pitting for fresh medium tyres twice, with the Bottas’ simulation proving significantly faster than his front-running rivals.

During the build-up to the 2018 F1 season opener in Australia, Vettel has cast doubt on the race runs carried out on just one tyre compound because the sport’s rules state F1 races must be completed using a minimum of two of Pirelli's nominated tyre compounds.

“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,” Vettel said. “This has an impact on the strategies and ultimately on the result.”

Assessing Ferrari’s progress during pre-season testing in Spain, Vettel is content with the developments made on the SF71H having enjoyed an almost trouble-free eight days of track action.

“I think we’re starting from a good base with our SF71H car,” he said. “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.

“We did a good job in terms of mileage, totalling some 4,323km of running. I had a personal best of 188 laps in one day, which is 875km and a total of nearly three thousand! We did not experience any major issues with the car, and I had fun driving it.”



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