Ferrari's quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel praised the job his team did over the winter. The German hailed especially the rethought way the Italian manufacturer was able to work together for the last months.
Ferrari started the 2017 season with high expectations and immense pressure from the outside. The team itself followed a rather unusual policy with the way it handled the media over the winter testing period. Drivers and senior figures were prohibited to answer any questions and the team refused any media requests. That was a complete turnaround to last year when Ferrari's and the parent company FIAT's president Segio Marchionne requested the team to win the championship and openly declared his team's goals.
Despite to the high expectations, last year's campaign did not really bear fruit as the team endured a rather complicated season with technical problems, development flops and some sporting rows.
However, Ferrari popped up with a promising car during winter testing and the team could carry that form over to the season-opening Australian GP's qualifying session.
“We have a good car, we are working well as a team, things are improving, so obviously it’s nice to see things are working, the car is working. We had a mixed day yesterday but the confidence in the car was there from testing and we showed it again today,” Vettel started his analysis.
“In the end I was not entirely happy with my lap. I was pretty happy with the end, maybe not the opening of the lap, where we lost a bit too much, but I think Lewis did a very good lap so… I would have loved to but I don’t think pole was out for grasp.”
The German's race simulation completed on Friday was no match for those of Mercedes, but Vettel hopes Ferrari could improve on the long run pace a bit over Friday night.
“But tomorrow I think we can do something in the race, as I said, the car feels good, we’ve improved it, so the pace should be much better than it was yesterday, when we had some practice. So looking forward to it. It’s been a big winter for us. A lot of change we have been through as a team the last 12 months, to the better I think. “
The 29-year-old thinks Ferrari's improved pace is down to the fact that the team has managed to refine its working methods and rebuild its structure.
“The team is getting stronger. Of course everybody has been pushing very hard. It’s not so easy coming here with the long journey to get to Australia but I think people are fired up and people are motivated for tomorrow as you said at the start, I think it’s the first good opportunity.”