Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc experienced very different fortunes on the opening day of the British Grand Prix weekend. While the Monegasque ended fourth, his German team-mate’s day was affected by technical issues.
Vettel’s first practice was cut short after the team detected an issue with the intercooler system. His car was ready for the afternoon session, but the German experienced another technical gremlin on his very first stint. It took some time for the team to find out that the issue was related to the brake pedal.
„It was a disrupted day, we had an issue with the brake pedal. It was not ideal of course. We had to stop and fix that,” started Vettel his assessment.
„It was not a good day with little mileage, so I could not feel where the car really is. It was a bit difficult to get into the rhythm, but we have a little bit to learn for tomorrow. We need to improve the car. We’ll see where we are tomorrow.”
Vettel hopes that Ferrari can keep up with the midfield. "On my side there are [no positives], but the speed was pretty okay. It failed on the first run, and I was a bit off, a bit out in terms of rhythm. Around here especially, you need a couple of good laps and we did not have many laps in general.”
„The track should be in a different state, it should cool down, let’s see what really happens. I hope we come up with something. I think on my side, a lot of things will calm down naturally overnight, and we will have a better day tomorrow.”
When asked about how it feels to have a fellow countryman with Nico Hülkenberg’s surprising and unexpected appearance at Silverstone, Vettel said: „I think we had times when we had six or seven German drivers so it’s good to know that I am not alone this weekend. It depends on Sergio’s state, and I hope he recovers very soon and it is not too bad for him, but it is a nice surprise.”
The quadruple world champion’s team-mate Charles Leclerc had a normal Friday when it came to the usual programme, but he suggested that his car’s behaviour was far from ideal. The Monégasque has revealed the Scuderia experimented with a radical setup direction on Friday that did not pay dividends.
The Ferrari SF1000 has been at the bottom in terms of top-speed so far this season which is related with a draggy aerodynamic concept and an underpowered engine. In order to make up for the straight-line speed deficit, the Scuderia brought an extremely low-downforce rear wing that is unusual for a team to use around Silverstone.
The 22-year-old was surprised with the car’s pace over a single lap, but said that the car felt very uncomfortable to drive during his race simulation which might force Ferrari to revert to a more usual setup for the rest of the weekend.
“The quali pace is definitely a bit better than what we expected to be honest, so this is good. We’ve taken quite a radical approach with our downforce level, so it seems to pay off in quali but it doesn’t in the race [runs], so we need to analyse the data and see what we’ll have to do tomorrow.
“The balance was extremely hard to drive. Very, very difficult not to do a mistake, so we definitely need to do something on that because otherwise doing that many laps like that during the race with this balance will be a huge challenge. But again, we can still change quite a lot of things, so we’ll try to understand what we can change to maybe sacrifice more of the quali pace to be better in the race,” Leclerc concluded.