Sebastian Vettel feels this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix looks “more promising” for Ferrari on paper after its difficult start to the season, but remains wary of possible tyre struggles in Montreal.

Ferrari is yet to win a race this year despite impressing through pre-season testing, allowing Mercedes to steal a march in both championships after six straight victories.

Ferrari has been tipped by championship leader Lewis Hamilton to fight back at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve thanks to its straight-line speed advantage – a key factor in performance at the track.

Asked if Ferrari could expect a performance similar to Bahrain (where it was on course to win the race before a spin for Vettel and a power unit failure for teammate Charles Leclerc), Vettel said the outlook looked positive, but made mention of the tyre concerns that have blighted the team's start to the year.

“We will see. I can’t make any predictions, but on paper it looks a bit more promising, so more towards Bahrain,” Vettel said.

“On the other hand, the asphalt is very smooth and it will be difficult to get the tyres up to working temperature. We have been struggling with that at the last couple of races, so it remains to be seen.

“I am confident we will have a good weekend here, because it does emphasise some of our strengths.”

The onus on straight-line speed in Canada comes at a time when Ferrari is looking to save its season and get back into the title race, having already fallen 118 points behind Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.

Vettel – himself 55 points back from Hamilton – refused to get too downbeat about the title picture, though, instead focusing on getting Ferrari back in contention with Mercedes in the upcoming run of races.

“I think we have not had the start we are looking for, but nevertheless we were able to score some valid and good points,” Vettel said.

“I think the next races will be really crucial for us to try and get back to the front and give a hard time to Mercedes. Once we can establish that I think we have plenty of reason to look forward.

“It will be crucial to do it sooner rather than later, but at the moment I am not too fussed and saying this is the date that it has to happen by. We will see how it goes.

“Clearly we are behind, clearly there is quite a big gap between Mercedes and the rest, so Mercedes and ourselves.

“We have to close that gap and get ahead otherwise it will be difficult to turn it around. That’s as much realism as you can get right now.”

Additional reporting by Julianne Cerasoli.

 

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