Ferrari don't need an "awful lot" to be in Mexico mix - Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari is close to the battle building between Mercedes and Red Bull at the front, despite finishing fourth in Practice at the Mexican Grand Prix.

The German goes into the weekend needing a victory to have even a remote chance of keeping the Formula 1 championship alive and that also depends on leader Lewis Hamilton finishing outside the top five on Sunday.

 

Though it was thought the unique requirement of a high-downforce set-up for a high-speed circuit could favour the Scuderia, chances of that scenario playing out seem even harder to envisage for now as they struggled under braking and in the low-speed corners.

“We didn’t get a smooth session and the car was a bit so-so, some laps were really good, others were not so great,” he claimed. “In general, the car is quick but we need to work. I don’t think it’s an awful lot of work, it’s more about finding the balance."

Long runs too, were not where the four-time world champion wanted: “So-so,” again was his analysis. “I was stuck in a lot of traffic but I think it was the same for everyone. It’s a short track, all the cars on track, it’s always tricky. I think it was OK but we need to work.”

Vettel's afternoon was also interrupted by a strange incident when he reported a failure under his seat which resulted in a liquid spewing onto the seat inside the car.

“A fire extinguisher burst in the middle of the run,” he revealed. “Initially it was just burning and then turned out to be cold. The change cost some time, but we could recover at the end, as it’s a short track. It’s not ideal.”

The reason for the unique setup in Mexico City is altitude, with the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez the highest circuit above sea level on the calendar, with that comes challenges not seen elsewhere.

“It’s tough here to cool the car for everybody, so if you’re stuck behind someone, it’s a bit tough,” Vettel explained. “If you’re ahead, you can do your pace. Keeping the temperatures as low as possible will be tricky, whoever succeeds will have the edge.”

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