Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari’s 2020 is cornering faster than its predecessor but on a windy day at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya he doesn’t feel looking solely at lap times gives a fair comparison to the F1 pecking order.

The four-time F1 world champion is satisfied with the gains Ferrari has nailed down with its SF1000 through a greater downforce package to produce a more stable and faster car through the corners following his final day of driving in pre-season testing.

Vettel topped the times with a best lap of 1m 16.841s and notched up a total of 145 laps despite a restrained start due to a damp track from overnight rain while the day was stalled by four separate red flags.

The final red flag, caused by Lewis Hamilton stopping on track with a Mercedes engine issue, cut into Vettel’s race simulation which he felt hampered the true showing of his pace along with the windy conditions that battered the Spanish Grand Prix venue.

“We knew that the car is more draggy and measured it as more draggy but I don’t know by how much,” Vettel said. “We are faster in the corners by quite a chunk but it isn’t a good day to compare the years as last year I think we had a decent baseline and today the conditions were not fair to really compare.

“I hope tomorrow is a cleaner day for us to have a look. Every year is a bit different and Mercedes qualified faster last year than they went at this test, so it doesn’t say much but it does say a little bit.

“I think we tried a bit of everything but also in testing you don’t show all your hand so you do it when people aren’t watching or can’t read the laps.

“I think today was quite a poor day for conditions as I think the wind was very intense and uncomfortable in the car so not the best day to have a good read but we didn’t have any problems.

“The red flag didn’t help to really test the car but Charles will have the same programme tomorrow so he is getting a clean run and better conditions, I guess, so he should be to tell better than today.”

With all F1 teams trying to disguise its full potential at pre-season testing, Vettel believes taking the timesheet as gospel gives unreliable evidence of where each team is both this season and compared to last year.

As a result, Vettel is refusing to make firm predictions until the first few races of 2020 are completed.

“There are no secrets really but there is no need,” he said. “It is the same for everyone, some people are showing what they have got but it doesn’t matter too much.

“I think we see enough with six days of running you know roughly where you are at but come Australia things might look different. I can really see where we are after the first two or three races and then take it from there.

“Right now we are not top of the timesheet everyday so probably not the favourites but let’s see where we are in Australia and take it from there.”

Vettel hands over to Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc for the final day of pre-season testing tomorrow.

 

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