Vettel: Mercedes ‘in a league of their own’

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel has claimed Mercedes were in a league of their own in Friday practice at the Australian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver’s comments arrive after the Silver Arrows topped both 90 minute practice sessions with Vettel more than 0.8s adrift of reigning world champion and pacesetter Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton had stated prior to practice that Mercedes ‘had work to do’ to catch Ferrari and were ‘not talking BS’ regarding the deficit to the Scuderia heading into the season opener.

“I think they (Mercedes) looked really quick,” said Vettel, who was fifth fastest in Practice 2.

“I don’t know if it was just us struggling a bit, but as a matter of fact they were in a league of their own.

“So it was a bit of a surprise.

“Maybe everyone else was struggling and then we can turn it around, but they looked very strong and much stronger than they claimed before the weekend.”

Vettel admitted that he struggled to find a rhythm at Albert Park and was lacking confidence with the car.

“It was a tricky day for us,” Vettel admitted.

“I think for us we are not where we would like to be – not in terms of lap time but in terms of car feel and handling.

“We didn’t really get into the groove and rhythm and that’s quite important around here.

“I had this more than once, but I can feel that I have the car under me that I had in testing but it is not doing the same thing here and there and that is why I am lacking confidence.”

The F1 field will return to the track for Practice 3 at 1400 AEDT with qualifying at 1700.

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