Sebastian Vettel does not believe Formula 1 rival Red Bull will be a threat to Ferrari if the Scuderia can get on top of its qualifying struggles.
Ferrari looked strong in Friday practice in Spain but failed to carry that form into Saturday, with Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel qualifying fifth and sixth behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls, both more than one second off the ultimate pace.
After the Mercedes pair crashed out on the first lap of the race, Ferrari looked to be the quickest car. But the loss of track position on a circuit where overtaking is tough cost Ferrari dearly and it lost out to Max Verstappen, with Raikkonen and Vettel completing the podium.
“If we get Saturday right, they [Red Bull] shouldn’t be too much of a threat,” said Vettel after his morning run on day one of in-season testing. “They have kept improving, so did we. Saturday didn’t go the way we hoped.
“If we qualified it would have been a different race but would, could, should. We were as competitive as expected here, apart from Saturday.
“Sunday we were in the ballpark, we just struggled to get past and once we were past – which was not too many times in the race – we showed we were quicker.”
Vettel added Ferrari “tried some stuff” at Barcelona on Tuesday morning to try to cure its qualifying problems, and that he remained hopeful the team would be competitive at the next race in Monaco.
“It should be a strong track for us, we were very competitive last year,” he said. “We have improved the car in the areas we need for Monaco. It’s better in terms of ride, curbing, in general so it should help for Monaco.
“The favorites have to remain Mercedes. If there is a chance to win, we will try.
“The first step towards the potential championship is the race in Monaco and after that is Canada, so we go step by step.”