SO FAR SO GOOD: Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel kept up with dominant Mercedes during practice in Melbourne. Image: AP/ Rob Griffith
MELBOURNE, Australia - Sebastian Vettel could hardly hide his delight after completing his first Formula 1 practice sessions for his new team, Ferrari, on Friday (March 13 2015).
As expected, he was slower than the the Mercedes' of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but quicker than everybody else with the third-fastest time ahead of the season-opening 2015 Australian GP.
Vettel was careful not to read too much into his team's strong performance but his body language told a different story as he climbed out of the cockpit and flashed a cheesy grin.
'WE HAD A SMOOTH DAY'
He said: "We didn't have any issues with the car... there were no problems with reliability. It seems the hard work during testing was positive," he told reporters outside the team's garage. "We had a smooth day, the most important thing.
"In terms of performance the higher up you are the better it is but it's Friday. I've been in F1 for quite a while now and Friday's not that important."
Vettel's upbeat mood could not have been more different to that of 2014 when he was struggling in his final season with Red Bull. He'd won four consecutive championships for the team (2010-13) but didn't win a race the next year and found it hard to keep up his spirits.
MERC 'OUT OF REACH'?
Ferrari didn't win a race either in 2014 year but the early signs are encouraging, even though Vettel conceded that his new team was not yet ready to challenge Mercedes.
Vettel added: "It would be nice to stay in front of as many people as we can. I'm sure Mercedes is out of reach. You also have to be realistic but the most important thing today is that we didn't have any problems - it was very, very smooth."
Vettel's disposition was helped by the strong performance of team mate Kimi Raikkonen, fourth-fastest overall, but he still wasn't ready to get too carried away. "It depends on how much fuel other people were running and what they were doing but for what we did we can be happy.
"The most important thing was that we didn't have any problems. A lot of work has gone into this car, not just from the people here but also from Maranello so it seems we are on a good track."
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