Formula 1

Vettel exits the tunnel during Thursday's practice session.

Sebastian Vettel plays down significance of Red Bull pace in Monaco GP practice

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Sebastian Vettel believes his Ferrari team has little to worry about despite Red Bull's dominant showing in practice ahead of the Monaco GP on Thursday.

Daniel Ricciardo led both sessions around the streets of Monte Carlo with his teammate Max Verstappen just behind in second as they set a record-breaking pace.

Indeed, the Australian's best time of 1m11.841s was almost six-tenths of a second faster than the German in third, with that lap also coming on a set of used Hypersoft tyres.

So far this year, however, Ferrari has been known to keep their pace somewhat hidden during practice before upping the ante when it matters in qualifying, and Vettel is curious to see if this happens again.

“Always on Friday (in practice) Red Bull looked a bit stronger, so let’s see if it’s the usual [on Saturday]”, the 30-year-old commented.

“I think it will be very close. I don’t have a favourite yet."

As well as a little sandbagging, the Italian team - along with Mercedes - are known to have additional power modes which they can deploy for a single qualifying lap and they also typically, or usually as Vettel stated, see Red Bull with their Renault engine slip back.

Around Monaco though, that power advantage is far less influential and the size of the gap between Ferrari and Red Bull is much higher than is seen at most circuits.

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Practice

Therefore, the four-time world champion knows he also needs to find more performance from within his SF71-H.

“I think for us we need to look at ourselves which is what we do and try to do our homework," he admitted.

“I was pretty comfortable in the car, it was sliding too much, but as long as you know where it’s going to end up, and how it’s going to slide, then I think it’s fine.

“Now we need to get on top of the sliding and reduce it and I think we will pick up some pace, then we should be in a good position.”

AUTO-PRIX-F1-MON-PRACTICE

Last year, it was Ferrari who eventually dominated the weekend in Monaco, with Kimi Raikkonen taking a stunning pole before Vettel used strategy to jump ahead in the race.

Asked about how it felt to be back driving on the streets of the Principality, the German added: “It is a bit more fun than other circuits, the track is very challenging and you have no room for mistakes.

“You have to think twice before you drop it and try everything. But I think it’s what it’s about."

Topics:
Renault
Sebastian Vettel
Max Verstappen
Daniel Ricciardo
Kimi Raikkonen
Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari
Mercedes
Red Bull
Formula 1

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