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Vettel: ‘Quite a big gap’ to Merc

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 18-06-2015 skysports.com

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Sebastian Vettel fears "there’s still quite a big gap" between Mercedes and Ferrari ahead of this weekend’s Austrian GP, despite the major engine upgrades the Scuderia unveiled last time out in Canada. 

Ferrari’s developments were said to have added another 15-20 bhp of power and used three of the engine ‘tokens’ they are allowed in-season. However, Mercedes also used an upgraded engine specification in Montreal and scored another one-two finish, with Lewis Hamilton leading home Nico Rosberg.

Vettel, meanwhile, finished fifth after starting 18th – the German’s car having developed engine problems in qualifying, while he also picked up a grid penalty for overtaking illegally when final practice was red-flagged.

As such, the four-time champion wasn’t able to challenge the Silver Arrows in the race. And speaking on Thursday, Vettel predicted that Ferrari can only challenge at the Red Bull Ring if they put together a “flawless” weekend.

“Ideally we always try and fight for the win. I know that we have a strong package this year, so if everything goes normal we should be a little bit further up again – especially on Sunday – this weekend,” he said.

“But we also have to be realistic. Challenging the Mercedes we know that, first of all, we need to have a flawless weekend, a perfect weekend, and hope for them to have a little bit of struggle.

“Under normal circumstances, it’s quite difficult to beat them as they’re still the favourites going in and there’s still quite a big gap.”

Even so, Vettel, who won the Malaysia GP, remains hopeful that Ferrari can offer a greater challenge in the second half of the season.

“Already I think that we have done an incredible job - if you look at winter testing and where we are now, I think we consider ourselves quite a bit closer,” he added.

“It’s not that easy to make the gap smaller and smaller because Mercedes is a strong team and obviously they are improving as well. They introduced a new spec. of engine in Canada, so they’re also making progress.

“But our target is to make bigger progress and finally closing the gap. So we’re hoping, in second part of the season, we are starting to get closer.”

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