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FERRARI CONFIDENT OF BRAZIL WIN

1y ago

6.5K

Sebastian Vettel believes he has the race pace to overhaul pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas at the Brazilian GP and is confident of ending Ferrari's win drought.

The Scuderia have yet to secure a victory since the summer break, a run stretching back to July's Hungarian GP, but appear to have a strong chance of stopping that streak at Interlagos - particularly after Lewis Hamilton's dramatic crash.

Bottas performed admirably in his Mercedes team-mate's absence and snatched pole by three hundredths of a second from Vettel, but will have to keep an eye out for two eager Ferraris into Turn One.

And while Vettel admitted he "chickened out" on his final lap in Q3 and was disappointed not to improve his opening time, he was confident Ferrari's pace in heavy-fuel conditions would leave him in good stead for Sunday's race.

"Our long run looked good, especially compared to Valtteri, so let's see what happens," Vettel, who will start ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, said.

"We are a lot closer than we were yesterday and I think tomorrow we should have a good race car."

An added sub-plot to the battle between Vettel and Bottas is the fight for second place in the Drivers' Championship, with the four-time world champion leading the Finn by just 15 points in the standings.

"The primary target is to win and that should do well for points in the battle for second," added Vettel.

After a disappointing Friday's practice, Ferrari seemed to dial in their car for P3 and qualifying and improved significantly to battle Mercedes.

But they were still eventually thwarted by a rejuvenated Bottas, who had been in close range of Hamilton all weekend before the world champion span off into the barriers on his first flying lap in Q1.

"We've been working hard on the issues," Bottas admitted. "I know there were many difficult races for me but I managed to learn from those, just solving every issue one at a time, going deep into myself if I needed to change anything.

"The last three races, every time has been a step up. Hard work will always pay off.

"It's going to be important to have a good clean race tomorrow but it will not be easy as they are quick as well."

COULD RED BULL MAKE IT A "STONKER" OF A RACE?

With light rain falling intermittently at Interlagos, Saturday's qualifying session took place in markedly different conditions to what is expected come lights out.

And though Red Bull could only manage fourth on the grid through Max Verstappen, with Daniel Ricciardo taking a grid penalty, they're holding a race day card up their sleeve as they look for a third win in five.

"It's due to be a bit hotter and it that's the case, Mercedes tend to struggle a bit more in the heat than others," team boss Christian Horner told Sky F1.

"If Valtteri converts his pole into a lead then it could be a really exciting Grand Prix because Ferrari are always pretty strong on a Sunday and Max is really fired up at the moment.

"It could be a stonker."

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