Sebastian Vettel has hailed Ferrari’s start to 2019 Formula 1 pre-season testing as being “close to perfection” after dominating the opening day at Barcelona

The four-time world champion posted a 1m18.161s to finish nearly half a second clear of the field on the first day of running on Monday as he led the way for Ferrari in the Scuderia’s latest F1 challenger, the SF90. 

Vettel also logged a total of 169 laps around the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona to lead the mileage charts and cap-off a fine start to Ferrari’s winter preparations on a day that was only slightly blemished by a minor early spin.

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“We couldn’t have hoped for a better day - I think it was unbelievable,” Vettel said following the end of running on the first test day. 

“The car was working really well, we had no issues slowing us down, we did the programme just the way we wanted, we were able to squeeze a little bit more out even. 

“The first impressions yesterday were good and strong, the same today. The car is working. I feel comfortable. Obviously I'm still a bit rusty because I haven't driven the car for months but getting better - I certainly got enough laps today.

"I’m going to sleep well tonight. The guys are very happy.”

Vettel stressed it was important not to get carried away despite the positive start to testing for the Italian squad as it looks to bounce back from successive title defeats at the hands of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton

“It’s the first day, and it’s meaningless in a couple of weeks, but for now, huge compliments to everyone in the factory,” Vettel added. 

“How they have tackled the new regulations and what they put on track today is very close to perfection for the first day of driving. 

“The amount of laps we did, how the team was handling the car, obviously everything was more on the edge compared to last year’s car. 

“No major dramas so from that point of view, it was very good.”