Vettel: Mercedes can be caught

Published: Friday 27th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari will eventually prove Mercedes are beatable in Formula One.

Vettel would appear to have made the right move in opting to quit Red Bull, the team that made him a four-times champion, and join Ferrari at the end of last year.

Whilst Mercedes continue to have a stranglehold on the sport in the wake of their dominant one-two performance in the season-opening race in Australia a fortnight ago, Ferrari have at least made strides.

Although Vettel was only seventh quickest behind Lewis Hamilton at the end of Friday practice ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix, team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest in both sessions.

For now, Mercedes continue to hold the upper hand, but Vettel has no doubt a resurgent Ferrari will one day topple the German giant.

“It’s true they (Mercedes) have a very, very strong package. They’ve done a tremendous job from the start of last year,” said Vettel.

“I always picture back in testing when they were doing starts and pit-stop practice when everyone else was struggling to run.

“They have a clear advantage, but that doesn’t mean nobody can get there.

“Obviously now I’m in a different environment, but what I’ve seen so far makes me feel very positive about the future.

“The potential is there, the will is there, the motivation is high.

“So Mercedes has to be the target, and not just to be as quick as them, but to beat them.

“How quick this can happen is difficult to say. It will take some time because they have done very good work in the past and up to now.

“Again, this year they seem to have made a good step with both engine and chassis which makes them difficult to beat – but difficult does not mean impossible.”

Vettel knows, though, Ferrari have to continue to prove themselves in these early races given the variety of circuits.

For instance, McLaren finished second and third in Australia a year ago, but then failed to step back on to the podium for the rest of the campaign.

It is a salient lesson to all at Ferrari that one swallow does not make a summer.

“We really need two or three races, especially because we have different styles of circuits,” added Vettel.

“Australia is different to here. Here is more of a proper race track, and different conditions of course.

“But in the end, after two or three races, if you can come out and say ‘okay, this is where we are’, that’s a positive.

“As I said, we’ll try to confirm and tackle this weekend as normal, to get the car in the right window, to get the rhythm and then we’ll see.

“Also, it’s Malaysia and anything can happen, so the target shouldn’t be just to establish our position, but also to attack.

“As I said, we’ll try to close the gap if we can to Mercedes, and in any sort of conditions a win is always possible.”

Published: Friday 27th March 2015 by The News Editor

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