After witnessing a dominant performance by Mercedes in Friday’s practice sessions, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull duo Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen feel it will be difficult to beat the German team in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton came first in both the sessions, closely followed by Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull’s Ricciardo came closest to the German team in third place, 0.228 seconds behind Hamilton followed by Vettel who came a tenth slower in FP2
“It will be difficult to match Mercedes,” said Vettel. “They look very quick in all conditions and on all tyres. Then it’s very close between us and Red Bull.
“Car-wise, we can fine-tune the balance and that should help us get the pace up for qualifying and also for the race.”
Ricciardo will take a 10 place penalty on Sunday, so chances of him challenging the German team are slim. Talking about his rival’s pace, Ricciardo said: “Mercedes are really quick on high fuel.
“We seem pretty good on low fuel, but they’re quick on high fuel so I think they’ll have a bit more on low fuel for tomorrow.
“Comparing ourselves to Ferrari, it doesn’t seem too bad. Mercedes still has a bit of pace over everyone at the moment.
“I think the car was behaving relatively well, so a few small changes tonight but nothing too big. We are in the fight with Ferrari at the moment.”
Red Bull’s Verstappen came fourth and fifth respectively in FP1 and FP2 and after his strong performance in Mexico City hopes to have another good run at the Interlagos.
Talking about his chances of winning in Sunday’s race Verstappen said “I don’t know yet. I think the Mercedes is quick but if we can make some improvements, then we are there or thereabouts.”
He added: “Our car for the last few races has definitely been the quickest car. We just need a bit more top speed. I think the car itself is pretty good.
“The pace on the soft, it seems like Mercedes is very quick. We know that they are normally a bit harder on the tyres so maybe that’s why the soft works quite well for them.
“There’s still some improvement to make.”